The Gospel of St. Billy (part II)

I wish it wasn’t this way…

Just like a boxer in a title fight
You got to walk in that ring all alone
You’re not the only one who’s made mistakes
But they’re the only thing that you can truly call your own

I wish life was such that someone could take a magic wand and wave it and make everything all better. Make everything work. Make everything easier. Make everything…well, less work, I guess.

I wish at the very least there was someone there who knew the future and helped us to avoid the pitfalls we (or at least I) seem to step into. I hear you, Billy. I hear you, and I do. I own them. Every last one of them. But there are days when I wish I didn’t have to carry them anymoe.

I have forged a suit of armor for myself over the years, rivoted together with this notion that I am a go-getter. That I can’t stop pushing, can’t stop working, can stop moving forward. Part of this is true, but I would characterize it a little differently, I guess. Because in no small measure all of this movement had to do with my wanting to move forward–at least move toward the life I envisioned for myself. But I think I got a little carried away with my rivots. Me thinks I may have rivoted too much.

Because I have, in the past several months, felt quite deficient in the rivot department.

I know, I know. It’s not very apparent. I mean, everyone skips out on their blogs, stops keeping in touch with people, and basically feels paralyzed in their work, sitting in front of their keyboard for hours unable to tap even a single key. Happens every day, right?

Well, not to me, it don’t.

Damn it!

But I have to admit, no matter what it looks like–good or bad–stress tuckers you out. I’ve been tired, my friends. Dead dog tired. I’m embarrassed; I hate it. But it is what it is. My fear is that it will never go away. That I will be like this forever.

Don’t forget your second wind
Wait in that corner until that breeze blows in

I have, over the course of that last several months, tried to keep this in mind. Thank you, Mr. Joel. Point well taken.

And yet, it’s not as if I have completely sat on my hands, either. Since October of 2005, I won a major writing award, met the love of my life, got financed to develop a movie (whilst staving off financial ruin in the process), got engaged, moved into a new house (so to speak), got married, done major renovations on my house (painting ad naseum, redid the downstair bathroom, redid Zach’s new bedrom, put in a new floor throughout most of the top level of the house), refinanced the house, painted the outside of the house, researched something (hockey) I know nothing about for the movie, developed the story, paneled at the 2006 Austin Film Festival, became partners in a great start up business venture (and everything that goes along with keeping something like that afloat and growing–nationally and internationally–and creating two new “products” and then launching them), lived through teenage angst, lived through graduating high school again, lived through packing up and heading off to college (worse when it’s your kid than when it’s yourself), made two gardens, built a patio, re-wrote a screenplay (which moved from “I hate it” to “I think I like it”), worked with a group to develop and pitch a sitcom to a major celebrity (which everyone associated with him loved, but he…well, charitably speaking, no so much. It was the “This doesn’t suit me at all” that was the dead giveaway. In spite of his lawyer/trusted advisor, the person who runs his production company, the person who runs his show, and his wife all saying “This is great! He’s gonna love it!” Now picture me sitting right next to him at the table. And, oh, yeah…the guy, himself, is a writer. And a writerly institution, nonetheless! And he frowns. Can’t meet my gaze. As Austin Powers says…”Awkward.” But I digress. That’s probably a story for another day), started another screenplay (the hockey movie), redid my website (of course, first I had to teach myself how to do that), created Robbye’s website, and made (according to Robbye) the most delicious coffee known to humankind most every morning.

Okay…my friends are right. On one hand, it feels bad–like bragging–to put it all out there. But it also feels good. To see it. To force myself to think through it. List it all. Show myself.

Okay. I am not paralyzed. But why does it feel like I am working three times as hard to get everything done lately? Why does every day have to feel like I am trudging knee-deep through muck?

You’ve been keeping to yourself these days
Cause you’re thinking everything’s gone wrong
Sometimes you just want to lay down and die
That emotion can be so strong

Yes, I have. I admit it! In fact, I will go you one further. I stare at my inbox and all the messages people send me…friends, colleagues, people I need to connect with. And I hit the “new message” button. And I tap out a few words, then nothing. Half the time, I just can’t do it. So I close the window and tell myself I will do it later. And later never comes.

I don’t answer my phone. I conveniently “forget” it at home. I wait until my voicemail box is nearly overflowing. And then maybe, just maybe, once a week or so, I slog through the messages. Half-listening to half of them.

It’s gotten to the point where some people don’t reach out anymore. I feel bad about that. I want to turn that around.

Because it’s not me, I tell you. It’s not me.

But hold on

I am, I am. Every day I am getting out of bed. Every day I am wearing my clothes and chewing my rice. At least as best as I can.

Every day I am owning that I am the sole arbiter of success in my life. That I make it happen. That my actions determine the outcome. Some days I don’t like it. Especially when I am tired. Especially when I am tired of carrying the mantle. Especially when I am feeling decidedly mojo-less.

That said, the tide is turning. I can feel it. Rather, I should say, I am turning the tide. Because I think we’ve established that there is no omnipotent someone or something turning the tide for us. I am moving the ball downfield again on my screenwriting career, and I hope to have some cool news about that soon. Every day, Robbye and I are putting it together better and better: our home, our life, our love. I am trying to be a good father and business partner. I am trying to get back in touch with friends and others whom I have too long neglected.

And I am trying to cut myself a little slack. More to the point, I am trying to forgive myself. Recognize that, though more than “worth it”, it sure as hell ain’t “easy”. And own that, too. And, as Robbye would say, that “I maybe a superhero, but I am only one superhero.” And be okay with that. And be okay with me, warts and all.

So I step into the ring every day, in spite of everything. Many times, in spite of myself. And I keep slugging.

Till that old second wind comes along

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