I worry too much. I worry about everything and everyone. I obsessively check on people to make sure they're okay, I feel like it's my responsibility to make them feel better if they're upset or disappointed or in pain. I do everything conceivable in my power to spend my energy on them and as a result I have nothing left for myself.
My writing suffers because of it. I spread myself so thin you can't taste the butter on your toast that is me. You can't even tell it's butter. The reality is harsh. By trying to make those around me happy I rob myself of the same. I get unhappy and tired and irritable and ultimately my body tells me, "Fuck you, asshole," and makes me sick. Just to show me who the boss is.
The Amtrak trip is only a few weeks away, and I have gotten so little sleep that I'm on the edge of getting a cold—you know, that feeling that you are certain that one more sleepless night will cause you to drop with fever—and if that was not enough, my body, having been abused in the sensitive pelvis area, loves to me remind me of my fragility with urinary tract infections.
So I've been chugging cranberry concentrate in barrels, and this morning it's not as bad as it was last night, and I'm trying to quiet my brain to relax, and I can't. I'm buzzing. The train trip. The pressure. The need to finish one novel and two days after start another. I'm on a schedule. I can't tarry. I must deliver. I cannot fail.
I'm a machine.
I'm not a machine.
Machine was the shell that carried me through my unsavory childhood. By making myself busy I hoped to be scarce and less sought after and ignored and, therefore, hurt less.
I'm paying for this now.
I'm so worried about making other people feel good—trained to do so since I can remember myself—that to break this habit and grow a bit of egotistical skin is a major effort. I have only begun and I'm not done and it will take me years. Yet the advantage I have over those who suppress their past is—I know what I'm breaking.
I know exactly where this is coming from, and I know how to beat it. I'm beating it now by writing about it. Once this post is done, the worry will get out of my system and leave me alone. Until it will come back. Until I will write it out again, the insistent menace that likes to nibble on my sanity like cancer.
The truth is, all those people I worry about can really fend for themselves. The truth is, until I'm able to help myself I can't help others. The truth is, this worry is driven by fear, and fear is driven by our DNA. We gotta escape that tiger or else we end up mincemeat.
"Do people like me enough?" I worry.
"Do they like my books enough?"
"Is my craft improving?"
"What else can I do to get better?"
You see the pattern? The pattern is, I'm not good enough no matter how much I do. I won't be easy on myself because I don't deserve it. And that is what I grew up with, and that is what I aim to bury.
Why bury? Because it will never go away completely. To hope for it is to fool myself. But to acknowledge it and to flip it a finger and to tell it, "Fuck you, worry, I will write anyway," is what I can do.
So then, worry less and write more.
P.S.: Briana Morgan, don't worry. Next blog post (well, one after the next) is going to be about motivation and self-discipline of writing from home, like you asked.