There are a lot of people who aren’t doing anything. They aren’t taking any risks. They aren’t contributing positivity. They’re actually sadly only detracting from the world. And yet these rat bastards are critical to the process and literally critical.
The same people who tell you you’ll never make it and that you’ll never accomplish your dreams are the same stupid fuckers sent to thicken your skin and prepare you for the journey ahead. You hate them. You try to understand them. In the end, you need them because without resistance there’s nothing to battle against. Without them there are no thoughts to write that will one day be read by someone in pain who instantly feels relief and thinks, “This person understands me. Finally, I’m not alone.” Giving that validation to one person and then another and another is what writing is all about.
As much as we try to understand them, maybe part of the message they are sent to teach us is that there is no reason to their rhyme. We want everyone we meet to be sent for good but the ones who teach us lessons can be more valuable than the ones who placate our whimsy–doesn’t mean we have to buy into their criticisms, though.
I had my writing skills attacked second hand yesterday evening where the alleged source could not have had less of my respect. And yet, I’m grateful because he taught me a meaningful lesson.
Back when I was missing the protection of the office life, I wondered what a safer path would have looked like. And in this critic sent to me, I had the opportunity to see that safe life as if I was a museum goer listening to the audio tour of a limited-time exhibit. I tried to comprehend and meld my ideas about life with their ideas. They didn’t compute.
I left my real-life performance piece bewildered by how much sacrifice goes into playing it safe. I had been so intently, acutely and excruciatingly aware of the sacrifices my foibles and my risks entailed. I knew every cent I’d saved and spent in the name of a big dream. I knew every plane ticket I’d bought with $2,000 in all my life. When I’d once thought all these moves foolish, I was granted immunity from my pain in the form of a critic who only wanted to see me squirm, who only wanted to attain dominance, and who wanted victory in the form of my adulation and pithy praise of the safe life. However, the lesson he taught was worth all the confusion. Now without a doubt I know I made all the right choices in my journey and that eventually I will get where I want to go.
While following your dreams makes you an occasional target, the people who love you and feel good about themselves show their support. I received so many lovely messages from friends and family yesterday after posting my first blog. My father also wrote to me. I don’t want to publish the whole letter, just a quote he included. While my father’s feeling and sentiment would have always existed, creating shakes loose the words that otherwise may have been left unsaid.
After reading the article I wrote on Mother’s day, my father shared some thoughts about my mom (who died 10 years ago), and included this quote from an unlikely source:
We will have many important and happy moments in times to come and I look forward to sharing them with you and everyone else I love. (You know who the are.) – Billy Bob Thornton