I used to feel directionless.
For most of my life I have felt like this, that there was something out there, some bigger destiny, some way for me to prove my worth to the world. I would take stock of my god-given talents and look at other, more successful people in the fields that I am interested in, and ask myself, why not me?
I genuinely had never understood why not me until recently. Until I had the Realization. I capitalize Realization on purpose, because it was a singular thought that arrived in my head and though it is terribly obvious to everyone, everywhere, it has been revolutionary for me, a transformative notion.
The answer to why not me is simple:
Not me because I had never finished anything for people to grab on to. I was not a successful novelist because I had never written a novel. I wasn’t even a failure; I was an absence. The reason those other people were more successful had nothing to do with talent or opportunity or networking or serendipity. First and foremost, it was because they had done stuff. They had worked for it, they had believed in themselves, they kept going even when people told them to quit.
Not me because I had a half written novel, a handful of half-assed songs, an unfinished painting gathering dust in the basement.
Not me because I lacked the courage to say that I cared about anything, that I would be dissappointed if it failed. Not me because I was not brave enough to try. It is part of the outsider’s make up to stand outside looking in and to say we don’t want in, that we prefer the cold, we prefer the dark. For better and for worse, it seems part of my make up that I am an outsider. I have spent my life shivering in the dark, afraid to knock on the door, to ask if I can come in.
I don’t feel directionless anymore. I know what I’m doing now. I care about this. I believe in this. I want in.