Finding a balance between the reality of circumstances as they are now and that other reality – where I can go to in my imagination about where I want my life to be – has always been a challenge for me. If you dream big but you have low self esteem and lousy entitlement, and you don’t know how to deal with the world, there’s always going to be a huge gap between your dreams and the reality of your circumstances.
If you’ve got a big lust for life, a powerful imagination and creativity that demands an outlet, but you’re dominated by fear and you’ve never been shown how to be practical about getting where you want to go, all that good stuff can turn on you. It did for me. The result was that I used my capacity to dream as an escape from the reality of my incapacity to do what needed to be done to actualize my dreams, and to avoid the real pain and sometimes nameless, shapeless terror that rises up in me when I do try to be practical.
Some people eat, or take drugs, to escape. I’ve done that too, and when I stopped I have often used my imagination. And my thinking brain. The minute I come up against a challenge, I’m tempted to dash off into the big dream or trying to understand the why of the challenge. Instead of just being in it and facing it. The thing that propels me away from the challenge is the same thing that propelled me into taking cocaine, into over-eating.
But I’ve just plugged away to the best of my ability, and in some areas I don’t have to run any more. With writing, that nameless shapeless terror doesn’t happen any more. I’m not afraid to write, or to get it wrong, or be blank for a while. I’m not terrified of rejection; I don’t like it, and of course it creates emotion in me, but I’m just not disempowered by it any more. I’ve built up quite a powerful capacity to hold onto my sanity and be grounded in my writing.
Much of that is the help I’ve had in rebuilding my self-esteem and entitlement. It’s allowed me to stick at it and not give up. But also I’ve had so much unconditional love and acceptance for my writing, primarily on SearchWarp. It was like a kind of miracle for me. I never expected anybody to like what I wrote. I expected rejection or just nothing. From the first thing I ever wrote there, I’ve had such great response; wonderful, generous comments, people opening their hearts and embracing me, becoming my friends. How fortunate is that?
I’ve always dreamed big but I used to get lost in that dreaming and the small steps I needed to take to make that dream a reality were too scary. When I tried, the fear would overwhelm me and I’d run. Even just sending a cover letter to a publisher was a massive challenge. The prospect of rejection was so painful – and I kept experiencing it all the time. Not any more. This is a big triumph for me and it means I’m free to step out into the world with my writing, and take the risks that need to be taken. Do those practical things. I’m not just a dreamer any more. Big cause for celebration.