I’ll be honest – today hasn’t been the best day.
To start off with I didn’t really get a good night’s sleep, quality wise. And when I woke up (at 5.30) – I was wide awake and couldn’t go back to sleep.
Which means that I only got, at best, 5 hours total of sub-quality sleep. Great. Shitty quality and quantity.
So I got up and got dressed, and started rehearsing my lines for a motivational speaking gig that I had today. I was so sure of my lines. So sure. I was.
But as the morning started to stretch across the sky, so too did the specter of fatigue across my mental dashboard. And it wasn’t even 9AM yet.
I soldiered on, confident in that if I had a positive attitude about the forthcoming day in light of the apparent cruddy start, things should work out better than I expect.
They did, thankfully.
The show, even though there were definite parts that I could have tightened up on, got generally good feedback. For which I was very pleased and thankful. Right before the start of my performance/speech, my blocked nose decided it was time to convert into a runny nose – and thus subject to my performance to regular intervals of nasal wiping.
[I repeatedly apologized, citing a cold, as I was too embarrassed to recount that my nose was still blocked from a nasal cautery that I had 4 days ago; from which, apparently, the numbing agent has yet to fully dissipate. Tip if getting a nasal cautery: always elect for the silver nitrate if possible. All 3 options are less than pleasant, but the silver nitrate is relatively bearable. I still get nervously stiff thinking about the hot coil that mercilessly burnt off the over-active vein in my nose. That shit hurts like fuck]
Thankfully – the crowd were very supportive despite this. I am infinitely appreciative of their kindness.
However, that didn’t stop my overthinking mind from focusing on the aspects of my performance that requires significant attention, and tortuously replaying those slightly less-than-favorable performance moments in my mental television.
When I got home, combined with the mental fatigue that being under-slept inflicts on one’s self, this spiraled into an existential crisis. I found myself back at the bottom of that dark hole I used to frequently dwell in, questioning my life and questioning whether it was all worth it. Usually I can batter such thoughts away, but I was tired today – I didn’t have the strength, mentally, emotionally, or physically.
In these moments I’m subjected to hearing the sneering voices of people who believe that they know better than me, forever etched into my audio memory making overly abundant suggestions that a desire to seek an adult career in magic/entertainment is just a phase I’ll grow out of. It is at these vulnerable moments that the distorted hiss of their voices seem to penetrate most fiercely, and I must embarrassingly admit, most convincingly. Like they were waiting there, poised, waiting for such a moment of mental vulnerability to reign terror and take hold of my mental faculties. The worst part is it’s all in my head, so to an extent it has been created by me, but I’m also uniquely the victim.
I felt like giving everything up.
I do this too many times, and I hate it within myself. I start something and want to progress, but when I hit some setback it really knocks my head-game. I’d love to parade around like I’m the type that can take things on the chin and soldier on – courtesy of watching far too many Gary Vaynerchuk & Elliott Hulse videos – but I must be realistic and resign myself to the fact that I may not be that type of person at all. I’m a pussy like that. And I hate it.
It comes through in practice as well. I start something, am very passionate at the start, but when my progression starts to even out and become regular I start to rest on my laurels, and take it easy – thinking that since my progress is regular, I will continue even if I’m not putting in 100% effort. Which halts my progression altogether. Then I start to wonder, naively, ‘why am I not improving?’. Then I resolve that I may not be good enough, and leave the task altogether.
I also have a tendency to work extremely hard at something, get 90-95% of the way through it, then – at the very last leg – my work ethic turns the complete opposite direction. Like it thinks that since I’ve done the majority, the task is mostly done and I can begin relaxing now.
Why do I do this? I hate it so much. I am furious with this habit I can’t seem to kick.
I know at some point an environmental factor has contributed towards this trait in myself. I don’t know what it was, it doesn’t even matter. It is what it is. And I have it now. I have to deal with this.
Right at the crux of my existential crisis I resolved to distract myself. I was in the shower, and decided to start making hearts in the condensation that lined the glass door before me. No particular reason, just an easy shape to make.
(Thumb and forefinger begin at the same spot, then both thumb and finger spiral up and out in opposite directions, then loop downward to create the heart shape).
As I continued and did them more, I realized that I couldn’t escape what was haunting me – the very action of compulsively attempting to continually draw hearts perfectly in the condensation of the glass depicted the process that I habitually fall into when it comes to working towards something, and hated so much. I started off well and with zest, not the most perfect hearts but passable.
The second phase – the hearts start to go out more regularly, they are still of decent shape so I decide to lessen my intensity (I start to rest on my laurels as I realize I’m getting the hang of things).
This inevitably leads to a dip in quality of the hearts I produce.
I feel the same rise of anger, rage, and general hatred of everything that comprises this individual, and feel an intense need to yell.
But I don’t. This time I kept going.
I started slow, but I kept going. The hearts were still bad for a while, but after 10 seconds they started to improve in quality.
Another 10 seconds pass. The hearts have now picked up both speed and quality.
At this point, I’m making perfectly shaped hearts at will, and without relying on the rhythmic on/off beats that the act of drawing those hearts organically created.
Suddenly I get a small burst of elation. Some of the darkness had lifted, and I was the one who made it happen. I did something about it.
It is yet only a small step and not a complete solution to my problems…
…but at least I can draw hearts in the shower.