I don’t think there’s ever been a time in my life when things have gone smoothly. Very few things have lived up to the expectations that were set for me. In the first issue of HUBRIS: The Journal of Cultural Horror I wrote about growing up outside of Allentown, knowing with certainty what my adult life was going to be like, and graduating from high school just as the Billy Joel song shattering that illusion came out. People you trust end up doing things that disappoint you. Your heroes are revealed to have feet of clay. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and all of the hard work and clean living the world is no guarantee that you won’t suffer and struggle and fail to get ahead.
This is why I identify as a Buddhist. The first of the Four Noble Truths is that suffering exists. Acknowledge it, accept it, and everything else is just figuring out how to deal with it. Diminish it, prevent it, avoid it, work with it, leverage it.
In the next issue of HUBRIS: The Journal of Cultural Horror, I’m going to be writing a lot about Love and Fear. As concepts, as opposed forces, as things that make the world go around. I think that one of the driving forces behind both the love and the fear is change. We embrace the things we judge to be good, reject the ones we decide are bad, and then wrestle with how to interact with them. We run toward one and away from the other. It becomes a poorly choreographed dance. When things are threatening to change, we try to avoid it. If something we love might happen, we try to foster that. It never works out the way that we want it to. We never just allow things to run their course and deal with objective reality. Change is painful. Get over yourself. Deal with the world as it is, and influence what you can based on that.
I say this for a few reasons. First, anything in the news right now. We can skip that. More relevant to my interests is that I’ve been caught in an unproductive work cycle. My tendency is to try to force myself. What I needed was a nap. Instead of trying plow through, fearing a blown deadline, I decided I needed some self-care. I took a nap. I lost an hour. Being better rested, I got more done the rest of the day because I wasn’t constantly battling fatigue and trying to stay focused. Yeah, it was kind of painful to admit that I couldn’t just buckle down. There’s this stigma of giving up, drilled into my by years of toxic corporate culture. I got over myself. Now I can get back to what I love, which is writing, and publishing, and accomplishing things without as much suffering and struggle.