I’m in a slump. Somewhere inside, I’d like to get things done, and make progress on goals, but outside I’m coated with a general malaise. It’s part depression, part pandemic, and part disruptions in my medication. Basically, I’m all fucked up. I don’t know what to do about it.
Normally when I get stuck, I switch gears and work on something else. Except right now, every gear is stuck. Almost nothing seems appealing, and when something does, my own negative self talk starts trying to convince me that I suck and it’s not worth pursuing.
You know, this is the shit people don’t talk about when they talk about goal setting and hard work. All the positivity gurus give you the shiny side, and then gloss over the details of the shitty parts. They’ll say “it’ll be hard,” but then don’t get into how sometimes you want to give up and crawl in a hole and die. How sometimes it feels like you fall short of everything you want to be. When I struggle like this, I wonder how I even have the gall to think I can be more than I am.
I feel like a fool when I start to believe I could be an author, or even worse, a speaker. I feel like a fossil when I think about my tattoo career and I watch the younger generation blowing past me. I feel like an idiot when I actually think I could build a business in vintage resale, when I can’t even organize any aspect of my life. I feel like a failure when I can’t move ahead.
I wholeheartedly believe in the power of mindset and goal setting. When you align yourself properly and utilize the tools at your disposal, you can achieve almost anything. The problem is, my alignment is off, and it takes a lot of energy to keep the wheel steady. I get tired.
Not enough time is spent addressing what to do when you can’t move forward. They say “just start.” All those gurus want to preach about how to forge ahead, but very little time taking about overcoming the immediate obstacles that stop so many of us from actually implementing strategies and techniques for progress. Fuck, I don’t even know if I know how to address this shit, and I struggle with it constantly.
That’s why I start to think who the fuck am I to write a book or take up speaking? How the hell am I supposed to teach people how to improve their lives when I get completely mired in indecisive misery? Then I realize it may not matter anyway, because I don’t take the steps to do what it takes. I get caught in my bullshit before I can even get a chance.
And so it goes with everything I do. An idea, a burst of creative energy, and the steady wind down to confusion and lackadaisical thumb twirling. What I wouldn’t give to have the focus other people do. To have the combination of determination and that laser like focus that builds monsters. Instead I’m stuck with the fluctuating moods and rapidly flashing thought process of bipolar 2 and ADHD. I swear, I have no clue how people become successful while managing these disorders.
My wife says there’s people who look up to me like I’m productive and successful, but I feel like an asshole just typing those words. I think it’s supposed to give me some kind of perspective, so I can see that there’s a sort of ladder of admiration. People look up to me the way I look up to other people, who look up to others. Most of the time it just makes me ask myself a lot of questions. Imposter syndrome is a real thing, and I basically exist in that space.
So what do I do? How do I move past this and back into a place of productivity and progress? This has happened to me a thousand times, and I never have the answer. It will just happen at some point, and I’ll be back on track in some form. I say “some form” because I never know if I’m going to pick up where I left off, or have some new revamped version of whatever shiny bauble had my attention before the downturn.
Whatever form it takes, I never actually give up. I want to, and I get close, but I don’t. Fuck, I want to. But I don’t think I could live with myself if I quit. And while I have to learn to accept that I’ll never be the greatest anything, I can still be good, and mean something to someone. My life story may not be an Oscar winner, but maybe it could be a cult classic.
I’ll take time to lick my wounds when I feel beat down. Once I cathartically write and draw and paint my way to a place I feel comfortable in, I’ll pick everything back up and keep pushing. Failure happens, but quitting isn’t an option.