I’ve always struggled to define myself as a writer. I’m creative, but logical. I’m a dreamer, but my feet are still planted firmly on the ground. I’m not your typical artsy writer who spends his days in a laze contemplating the wonders of the universe and coming up with whimsical tales that highlight a deep seeded emotional turmoil or tranquility that bubbles away beneath the surface of my façade. Nor am I your boy genius. I don’t have a freakish I.Q, and my writing isn’t going to reshape the way man views the world (at least not yet). So, if I’m not the artsy writer or boy genius type, what am I?
Well, recently a co-worker of mine described me as aggressive creative, and the term somehow seemed to fit. I’m a creative perfectionist who labours over every inch of my works until I break down in tears or set the manuscript alight (and yes, both have happened multiple times). I’m confident in my works, to the point where I can become narcissistic, purely because I push myself to breaking point every single time I create. My process is self-destructive and mentally taxing, to the point where I sometimes consider myself to be an emotional masochist, deriving gratification and inspiration from my own damaged psyche.
Which would explain why I often feel the need to purge much from my life. See, I’ve been doing a bit of research just recently into my own fickle idiosyncrasies in the hopes of better understanding why I do what I do, and I’ve come to realise that on some subconscious level I don’t really like myself. Maybe I resent the fact that I chose a career with no clearly defined path; or that I spent my youth striving so hard to be fundamentally different to my peers that I now feel a complete disconnection from them. Whatever it is, I go through these moments in my life where I just want to eradicate the writer from my soul and the dreamer from my heart and move forward as just another ordinary person frittering through life blissfully unaware of his many short comings.
During these times I want to completely start again. It takes every ounce of strength not to throw away my job, my writing, and my relationships and simply wander into the sunset in a quest to be reborn as something other than a tormented writer, emotional loner, and arsehole. I move throughout the world wearing a mask of composure, when inside my mind is tearing itself in two as every single component of my life is called into question and judged against my current spate of self-loathing. The aggressive creative in me sees the failures, missed opportunities and shortcomings that have befallen me and seeks to purge the weakness from my mind and flesh.
The funniest thing about these purges that occur is that people often fail to notice the cracks in the masks that I wear, and I force myself to suffer alone. I suffer alone because long ago I learned something about myself that allows it: and that is that I am an excellent liar. And I lie a lot. There are just a handful of people in this world that actually know me. And by that I mean really know me. They understand my thoughts and feelings and recognise the signs that I’m sinking into a downward spiral while everyone else sees what I lead them to believe. Call it a slate of hand, call it a fear of intimacy, call it whatever you want. I keep people at arm’s length because I don’t want to them to see the instabilities and shortcomings of a man who wishes to be so much more than he actually is.
It’s a rather interesting predicament that I find myself in. I can convince everyone around me that I am ordinary, that I am normal, when the reality is that I’m anything but. The mundane scares me, and the fear of spending my whole life in a state of perpetual torment like this causes my pulse to spike. I want to be different, and I want to be able to accept that. But the crippling loneliness that accompanies the differentiation of myself to my brethren leaves me desperate to be regular. So I try to force myself to conform to what I believe to be normal, simply because it would be easier if I could be like everyone else.
But if that’s the case then why am I writing this? Why am I pouring my heart out to readers across the globe that I have never even met? Well, because I have to. I have to change the person that I am; the aggressive creative who piles so much pressure onto himself knowing that he will eventually crumble. I have to purge him from my soul and allow myself to re-enter the world I’ve spent so long trying to differentiate myself from. I have to form friendships that are more than just a façade, and I have to do it so that I can continue to grow as a writer and as a man. I once wrote that life is sempiternal; that I will forever ride a wave of emotion that rises and falls from elation to bitter depression, but I’m not prepared to accept that anymore.
I’m not prepared to accept that I will forever feel the need to undergo the eradication of the writer and dreamer simply because I wish to feel normal in those moments where I believe I’m failing. Screw that. I shouldn’t have to give up who I am just because I’m different. Instead I must seek to purge myself of the emotional masochist and neurotic mess that dwells within me. They say nothing positive was ever achieved with a negative mindset, so until I can remove those demons plucking at the chords of my heart how can I ever achieve something incredible?
It’s time to ease up on the pressure. Accept myself for what I truly am: a writer, a dreamer, a success and a failure, and embrace everything that I am still yet to be. By doing that I can be both different and normal at the same time. My acceptance of my uniqueness and my ability to accept my failings will see a normality in my life that has been absent for so long. Purge the toxicity from my soul and embrace myself. Only then can I calm my tormented mind.