The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE TWO HUNDRED TWO: LEARNING TO FLY
There’s no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, a state of bliss
-Learning To Fly (Pink Floyd)
Well, some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I’ve started out for God-knows-where
I guess I’ll know when I get there
-Learning To Fly (Jeff Lynne/Tom Petty)
Now I’m lookin’ to the sky to save me
Lookin’ for a sign of life
Lookin’ for somethin’ to help me burn out bright
-Learn To Fly (Foo Fighters)
You walk out closer to the edge.
Your hands are sweaty, and your feet want to turn you around to safety, but you push yourself forward.
The edge gets closer and starts to narrow to a point. Past that, it’s nothing but open space.
You stand there; your toes are now over the edge and are ‘hanging ten.’
You take a deep breath in, and the negative thoughts are pushed back one final time…
… and you jump.
This is what creative people do when they finally give their particular art to the world. You allow others to see what you have been working on, and then it’s up to be enjoyed or criticized. The fears be damned.
And that’s the most challenging thing. Creating is fun and exciting. Even when you get stuck, and you wonder how to proceed, it’s still fun. You’re starting something from scratch and shaping it. You hone it until it hums or, at least, to where you’re comfortable enough to say it’s finished finally.
Then the scary part – the letting go. You set it free to see if it flies free and true. Or if it gets attacked and torn to shreds.
It’s like those who have children, and the time comes to take them to school and leave them there all day. You want to imagine that they are playing nice and your child sweet and good and makes all sorts of friends and they come home happy. But then the nerves creep in, and your mind wanders. Is there a bully? Will your child be hurt?
Or, what if they do something that isn’t nice and they get into trouble?
But you know, sending them out into the world is the right thing. You have taken the time to teach them as well as possible (well, most parents), and you hope they bring positivity to not just their life but to others.
They are your creation. You want them to be accepted.
And that goes for the things you create with your mind and hands.
Every time I write something (this blog included) or make something with my hands, I worry about how bad what I create will be judged. There is even a moment where I contemplated not even letting it go. I think about filing it away and keeping it for myself (I hear Gollum saying My Precious in my head) and never letting it see the light of day. There have been a few things that I felt I have screwed up so much that I knew better than to let it out. But those things I thought were pretty good, the things I knew I had succeeded in creating or writing, I have had second thoughts about setting it free, from letting my little bird escape the cage.
The fear of not feeling I’m good enough or the thought of who do I think I am. The introvert I have been all my life, being afraid to hold up a sign saying, Look at me, I did a thing!
The fear of baring one’s soul, of standing naked for all to see, is almost too much.
And though that’s how I feel, I still find myself taking a picture of something I made or publishing a thing I wrote.
After much thought on this, I have come to this realization.
If I don’t set it free when I think it’s good enough, I can’t set myself free.
I’m a natural self-doubter. For a long time, I have never felt good enough. If somebody said I did something well, or they liked it, I would automatically assume they were lying or just showing me pity. I would half-heartedly say thank you and quickly change the subject. I never felt worthy of praise, even if, deep down, I thought I did a good job.
Only recently did I start to change that. I began to let that deep down voice begin to bubble up a little higher and believe that, yes, what I did was pretty good. I was screaming it out or doing a touchdown dance in the endzone, but I was letting some of that fear slid away.
I allowed myself to stand a little straighter at the precipice before flinging myself outward.
And I found it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I’m not getting a big head, mind you, and my ego is still pretty small, but I’m starting to believe in myself a bit more. I’m beginning to understand that I keep hiding these things I want to share. I need to let them breathe. And by doing so, it’ll help me breathe.
And at 49 years old, it’s about damn time. Don’t you think?
Now, I plan on standing at that edge over the abyss more often. I have promised myself and others that I will publish a book every year until I can’t anymore, lack of ideas or death. And I will fling myself out above the blackness and hope I fly.
It’s still going to be hard with my introverted heart, but as long as my mind (or courage) doesn’t fail me, I’m going to try and fly.
– Loyd Elmore Jr
July 16, 2021
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.