I’ve taken a long journey to get where I started.
A long year of writing, of running the full gamut of emotional highs and lows. It’s been a year of goal setting, of going round, and round, and round in an arduous and sometimes brutal holding pattern chasing rungs on a ladder to nowhere.
And here I am, back at the same place again. I’ve been on this carousel and have seen stages of my career pass by over and over again. As always, I tell myself; eventually, this carousel will slow. Ultimately, it will stop.
It will stop as it has so many times before. One — two — three — then stop.
And I’m asking myself the same question I always ask myself.
Do I get off now?
How many times have I been right here, right now, at a decision point, I feel I need or want to make? It seems like millions, but I know logically it’s been closer to three hundred and sixty-five.
Three hundred and sixty-five days a year. Each day on the carousel having to go round and round, each day coming to the same place, the same gut-wrenching realization.
Things are just not happening for me.
And each day it stings, the anguish bittersweet and jarring, but somehow I continue to find a way to stay on the carousel. I convince myself things will improve. I continue to tell myself they have to improve if I keep moving forward. But then I realize I’m not moving forward. I see that same place where I just started, the same hopes and dreams, and of course, all the same failures.
I’m just going round and round and getting nowhere.
As I’m typing this, I’m utterly amazed by the amount of torment a writer must learn to endure. This morning, I’m wondering how in the world we do it. How can we summon up the courage to stay on the carousel and continue writing?
Speaking for myself, I’ve never thought I was an overly brave individual. In fact, in a lot of ways, I’ve deemed myself a coward. I’ve always tried to take the less confrontational, less taxing way out.
And I feel alone. Think Robinson Crusoe, alone. The only rider on all the gilded, colorfully painted horses on the carousel, alone.
Yes, I know. I know writing is a solitary way to make a living, and most of us have become terribly insulated. And when I gaze upon a sea of writers and read their work, I can’t help but wonder if they’re going through the same dark season as me.
Are they wondering right now as I am, just how long they can stay on the carousel? Or have they managed to push past this phase of the career and are even now valiantly trying to get out quality work?
They are, and they do. From my perspective, there are a sh*t ton of heroes and heroines here that I admire and respect.
I guess it’s the age-old feelings of insecurity I have trouble shaking. I’m not sure of anything anymore. I’m not sure I can stay on this carousel, but I’m unsure whether I really want to get off.
I continue to do the work hoping for a shift in attitude, doubling down on my writing in hopes I’ll get better and bring about positive change in my career.
And of course, I pray for a miracle while my carousel horse goes up and down.
In my mind, my writing ethic aside, I’m beginning to think it’s almost like finding that d*mned four-leaf clover or receiving notice of a bank error in your favor, or picking up that lucky penny.
Because a lot of times I tell myself that’s what it’s going to take. It’s going to take a lucky break when I have no luck; never have. It’s about being in the right place at the right time. It’s about writing that piece which busts things wide open and elevates my game.
That “game,” which may never elevate.
So I sit here, atop my carousel horse, as the music starts and the lights brighten, and twinkle and I begin to go round again. I could have gotten off. Maybe I should have gotten off.
But I didn’t. At least not today.
The music is so sweet. The ride is slow and easy.
But I know I’ll only have a few seconds of solace before I swing around and see that place where I started again.
What goes around, comes around.
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