I’m rocketing this post into the universe in hopes that it finds the right person at the right time to reinforce what we all know on an intellectual level but still have trouble believing: we are not alone in our experiences.
I’ve been starring in the Theatre of Near Misses, that place in life when you get your hopes up, come close to realizing some success, and then see that potential fade away. Again and again. To use an analogy perhaps lost on younger readers, I’ve been Charlie Brown, excited and full of faith to finally kick that football, only to have Lucy van Pelt pull it away at the last minute, yet again, to send me sprawling. Arggh.
I’ve been experiencing these near misses on multiple life levels and in relatively rapid succession: in my writing career, day job, personal life. A deal on a heavily-researched nonfiction book that I thought had a publisher fell through after a YEAR of discussion. A recent high following receiving an award for a screenplay I wrote was immediately followed by frustration and failure in another life area, zapping away the rush of the success. A query for an agent for my surreal kid’s book series Sphere of Weird, after looking like it was going to go … did not. So close, yet, well, you know.
I’m not going to document the other near misses or even the details of the above near misses publicly. I don’t need to, though. If you try to do anything in life, you’ve stepped onto this stage and have grappled with your own misses. If you haven’t, then f–k you.
Depending on your general outlook on life, each of us will deal with these misses differently, but they all sting regardless of how flippin’ chipper you are. For me, I generally view failures as learning opportunities, and I know the awesome power of tenacity. That said, sometimes it all feels like too much.
So the truth is, right now, as I type this, the visualizations, the mantras, the rationalizations, and all the other useful mental tools at my disposal are all simply irritating. I’m feeling hurt, alone, and crushed and I don’t want gratitude journals or the power of positive thinking. I don’t want to wallow but I also don’t want healthy platitudes. Not right now. I just desperately want go catch a break.
This too shall pass, and I know that. I’ll dust myself off and get back to the work at hand. I’ll stop worrying that I’m running out of time or that I don’t have it in me to face yet another failure after years of disappointment. I’ll stop doubting myself as a creative and as a human being. I’m already drafting new ideas in my head and evaluating the potential of retooling old projects. But right now, I feel bad.
And I know you’ve been there too.