Part of growing up involves taking responsibility for our own actions. We do this by acknowledging the part played by the person who is reflected in the mirror. Though there are still holes all over this process, I am able to do it better than ever. I cannot speak for all writers, but writers like me are like sponges. We absorb everything around us and I do mean everything. When I meet someone I don’t just notice a single thing about them, I notice everything; their energy/vibe, body language/mannerisms, word choice, tone of voice, physique, eye contact or lack thereof, it hits all at once and the funny thing is that I rarely look like I’m paying attention. That’s the thing about writers like me, we don’t have to try to see it all, we just do. We also feel deeply, it’s a highly sympathetic, severely empathetic gift that unfortunately does not always operate like a switch that can be turned on and off. Being in my twenties has helped me accept a lot about myself including that I am an emotional person. My emotions have always been strong, good or bad I feel it and when I do, the world notices. What I thought in years past was a weakness that needed to be buried is ironically, one of my greatest strengths. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to feel not just my own emotions but those of others, regardless of how close in relationship we are. Bleeding heart syndrome as I like to call it, is amazing but it must be handled with care. Creativity is like a bomb and it would be a catastrophe for that kind of power to go off in the wrong hands. I previously believed the saying; what is bad for the heart is good for the art and that lie makes me cringe now. It is very possible to thrive in creative environments without being a hurricane of feelings or someone who self-medicates or both. This is done through discipline which is the opposite of what writers like me are all about but writers like me know all this energy has to be channeled. Schedules and routine responsibilities will do that. Some structure is grand, do not be afraid. It may seem like taming a lion, an animal that was not created to be domesticated but if in the presence of Mufasa, wouldn’t you want to know his next move rather than hoping for the best? In my experience, creativity has more quality when it’s told what to do.
For example, 8-12 are my writing hours and I will not spend extra time waiting for inspiration to strike, I will simply get up and go to work. Whatever needs to be improved can wait until my next writing session.
Let your heart bleed, just be sure to put solid practices of discipline in place. Dig a trench so the blood knows where to flow.
That being said, know when a storm is coming and if you cannot get out of the way, take cover until it passes. Sometimes inspiration swirls up like a sandstorm and there’s no hope of making sense of what is in front of you until the winds die down. Widen your hips, plant your feet, close your eyes and your lips, then feel it all. After that, find a way to funnel it.
I certainly hope I am nearing the end of an inspiration storm myself. I’m banking on ‘this too shall pass.’ It dawned on me that I’ve only ever loved men I’ve never known. This is exactly how writers like me break our own hearts. It’s not because people do it to us. Although words, absence and words that should’ve been absent, coupled with unkind actions certainly do not help; at some point, writers like me have to take responsibility for metaphorically handing over our truest self along with a hammer and chisel saying; “put your back into it.” Perhaps I do all the breaking on my own. I hold the tools meant to reform and instead I use them to ravage myself, like a masochistic version of the Self-made Man. Most recently, I’ve done this by falling in love with men I’ll never have because they’re dead and dead men cannot love you back.
5 Reasons to Not Fall for Dead Men
1. They’re not here anymore
They were great. Talented, influential, strong, savage, serene, kind and soulful. They were it. Maybe they were even the greatest of all time. No matter how many concerts they filled or how many stages they stood on or how many speeches they gave, they’re not here anymore. They’re not here so they cannot talk like they did, dress like they did, act the way the acted or smile the way they smiled because they are gone.
2. No one else will ever be good enough
Once you fall for a dead man, it’s hard to care about the ones that are living because no one is like them. No one performs as good as them. No one sings quite like they did and certainly no one dances with the rhythm they had. It’s just sad because if you can even try to enjoy some other performer, your heart has already found the best there is and disappointment is a certainty.
3. Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery
Once you find the best you’ve never had, it’s not a relief when you find their resemblance in someone else, it’s honestly an insult. Something about love does that. Really loving something makes it irreplaceable so to run into a cheap knockoff is just rude. It can hurt more than the original loss of that love because you’ll never truly be over them. To see someone try to fill shoes they won’t ever fit into is heartbreaking, aggravating and nauseating at all at the same time.
4. Sadness comes without warning
Falling for a no longer living legend means you’ll probably be sad from time to time without warning. You may even cry when you hear something they sang because of what you were going through when you first found it. Then you think about them and their greatness and how they should still be here because they didn’t have to die when they did but they’re gone now, regardless of what you feel so the mourning continues.
5. Carrying a broken heart is baggage nobody needs
Just like the 5 stages of grief, Loving a nonliving legend involves some form of acceptance. There would be no way to properly function if we didn’t leave our puddle of tears. It’s important that we remember to come up for air. The man may be gone but his love lives forever. Maybe they did go too soon but thank the Lord that so much of their talent and heart is on record, in lyrics and on video because there will be those nights where all that needs to be done is to listen to them on repeat.
I’m going to go listen to Cry and cry. Again.