Hall of Mirrors

I wonder if anyone cares enough about what happens next in the “Barny” storyline to make it worth writing.

For all my brave talk lately of writing for myself…. it does it very lonely sometimes.

And perhaps all my bravado about how I am currently writing for myself, writing things I would want to read in order to give to others what other people’s writing has done for me, is nothing but a thin patina of brazen braggadocio covering the same old fear of actually sending my work out into the world to be coldly judged by the gatekeepers of the written world.

And it’s occurred to me that perhaps I am being selfish. It occurred to me during therapy yesterday. My therapist and I talked about how I use my writing to explore various issues of my own and I told him the gist of the Barnacled Hermit plotline, and that led to some very fruitful discussion because, as it turns out, when you explain your meaty metaphors to your shrink, he can ask some very illuminating questions about them.

And that led to him suggesting that my writing could really help people. And that has always been my intention. I want to write things that shine light into the darkness of the isolated live of other people like me, and show them that they are not alone and that there is hope and that they, too, are beautiful.

But to have that idea invoked by him made me really think about whether it is selfish of me to keep my writing largely to myself and to never really focus down enough to make something I write professionally presentable, let alone send it out into the cold cruel world to fend for itself.

If my words are my babies, then submitting them to the gatekeepers is like sending your kid off to school for the first time. I don’t want to let go of them. I want to protect them from the hazards of the real world.

And just thinking about sending them out there to be judged provokes a lot of seperation anxiety in me, mother hen that I am.

And yet, I know I am brilliant. I know I could really contribute. I know my words could do a lot of good in the world.

So am I selfish for keeping them to myself? Do I have a duty to go out into the scrum of the world and fight to get noticed so my words can reach the people most in need of their medicinal effects?

I feel like the answer is an inevtiable yes. After all, imagine if your favorite author(s) had hoarded their words instead of getting them published? You would never have experienced their writing, and you would be the poorer for it.

And yet I can’t accept that because if I did, I would have to end my solitary wordsmithing and start working hard on gettiing published.

And that involves the risk of being plucked out of my little hole when something I wrote sells and there is now an expectation that I will keep going and striving and focusing on getting even more things published and at some point I might even have to talk with strangers on the phone or in person and my social anxiety givesme palpitations just thinking about it?

I guess I have a fear of success.

And a craving for it, of course. I feel like, at this point in my life, I am really feeling the divide between the healthy and unhealthy parts of my mind. The part that is terrified of interacting on a more than superficial and transitory way is obviously the unhealthy part of me, and I really don’t want to be that way.

The healthy part is the part that would love whatever recognition and accomplishment (and reward) might come my way if my writing was to meet with any approval at all.

The unhealthy part would prefer to toil in safe, pathetic obscurity. It quite likes the idea of piling up rejection notices without fear of publication.

That part of me is, quite obviously, insane.

And I want to be rid of it, and all its clutching panic and fretful fears and immobilizing terror. I wish I could just shed it like a second skin and leave it behind as something I have outgrown and stride into the future as the confident, calm, and collected creative tpye I know I can be.

But it’s not that easy. There’s real pain under all that ice and snow inside my heart, and until that shit it thawed out and dealt with, the pain will remain.

And I feel so shriveled up and weak lately. Like there is nothing to me. Like I have no life force in me, no heat to my blood, no pump in my heart. Like all my healthy hearty and hale emotions are frozen in a locked deep-freeze somewhere deep in the vast and icy warehouse of my soul.

What am I so afraid of? I ask myself. I know I can do this. I know my writing is fucking amazing and better than most of the crap out there. I know I could be very successful at writing if I just put myself out there.

But then I wouldn’t be able to scurry back to my hole whenever I got too freaked out! says the sick part of me. I would have to go out there and stay out there for long periods of time and cut way down on my alone time and, in short, I would have to deal with life.

And deep down, I don’t wanna.

But I do. But I don’t.

And so whether it’s indecision or indolence, I end up not going anywhere in my life, and that makes me sadder and sadder as I get older and older without even even getting started at life.

And some day I die without even making a ripple in the pond.

And when I have died, they will lower me into the earth.

But it won’t matter, because I was buried insde myself way before that.

And on both sides of the grave, I just sit there and rot.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


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