A hard fail

Lately, I keep turning up here with some burning desire to write abut something but, once I arrive, the impulse drains way. It seems, all of a sudden, so meaningless. It feels self-indulgent, and not in a ‘who do I think I am?’ way, which was actually once a driver for me to keep this endeavour alive – now it’s a ‘why am I wasting my energy on something this unimportant?’ flavour of self-indulgence.

And part of this is definitely fallacy, not least because it tips me into a strange sort of paralysis of meaning. By not doing this, I do not make space for myself to do something ‘more important’ – I often in fact find myself doing nothing, or less than nothing even; siphoning my energy into a scrolling screen of someone else’s devising. I don’t know, precisely, what the ‘more important’ would be, so I allow the vacuum to fill with detritus.

For a long time this space was very meaningful to me. In a very personal way. It was me standing my ground, after years of letting other people’s opinions erode me. It was an act of reclamation, and the fact it stood barely and starkly, with my full name across the top, and no inclination to appeal to the market, was intrinsic to its usefulness. But, now, I’m not sure what its usefulness might be.

I’ve thought about relegating it even further into the backwaters, detaching it from my name and making it harder to find. And equally I’ve thought about making it bigger, brighter, bolder; making it try to do a thing. Making it more important.

The real issue is I don’t know what to do with my life, let alone this tiny part of it. I have been flapping around, slapping the waters of a wave rising within me for several months now, and I am still unclear where it’s headed.

So much of my life to date has been sub-optimal. I don’t feel I’ve done enough with the time I’ve been given. I once had material promise, but I took a huge sabbatical from achievement, in order to become a person I was happy to live inside. Now that I have accomplished that, it’s starting to feel like maybe that was a distraction from the harder work, of doing something worth doing.

Truthfully, I don’t think I was capable of doing anything worth doing as the person I was before. I could do plenty, but it came from the wrong place. I have never been more capable than I am right now, of doing something worth doing. And that is why I’m paralysed with fear, and seeking to hide in the shade of regret and self-criticism. The work I did was work I needed to do. The writing I did here was writing I needed to do. And I’m proud of it, even though that makes me uncomfortable to say. But now it’s time for something different, and I don’t know what that looks like.

I have a pretty good idea of my priorities. I have a pretty good idea of the moves I want to be making. I’m just not sure of the tactics, and I’m not sure of the timings, and, frankly, I’m not sure of myself. I have always been over-ambitious, and when I was younger, I had some evidence to back me up, but all that momentum has long since lapsed. I’m worried I’ll end up wobbling around in mid-air, unable to commit to the jump I’ve taken. If I’m going to fail, I want to fail hard. I want to fail trying. I want to fail with my whole fucking heart.

The only thing I’ve ever failed that hard at is loving other people. I’m not sure how that generalises.

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