I stood on my porch last night staring into the dark winter sky. I do that fairly frequently as a smoker, having long ago given up engaging in the dirty habit indoors. As bad as smoking is for me, I appreciate the quiet moments. They help me focus the perpetual chaos of my extremely attention-deficit addled brain. I’m one of those people whose mind is never quiet, never calm, never peaceful. It’s a gift and a curse that I would never give up despite the trouble it’s caused in my lifetime.
I see everything, hear everything and feel everything. And when I can’t categorize those inputs, my mind immediately goes to work creating scenarios, trying to make them fit in nice neat little packages that help me anticipate what will become of them–often with horrific nightmare scenarios that haunt me until more facts reveal themselves. Like most people I have an innate fear of what I don’t understand.
It traps most people in the comfort of their routines and the belief in the structure of rules, laws, social mores and religion. Try to talk someone into something they don’t want to do, no matter how benign an act, and you will get a litany of reasons based on arbitrarily assigned rules of some sort. Often times we do it to ourselves…we are trained to from a young age.
“Why?” you asked as a child.
What?! What the hell kind of answer is that?
Said enough times, BECAUSE shapes our minds to simply accept things until even the thought of asking WHY becomes uncomfortable. We slip into our increasingly narrow routines, carving out a nest of comfort and then defend it, sometimes angrily when it’s challenged. I do it too.
I’ve found myself in a rut again. I slipped into it so slowly I didn’t even notice it happening and of late it’s been affecting my writing. I’ve felt it building like layers of sediment slowly burying me.
And as I stood on the porch last night, it dawned on me that my author-life is so new, so on the edge of potential, that I am robbing myself of a rich experience. I’m robbing myself by getting bogged down in sales, promotion, bestseller rank and indecision regarding finding an agent, a publisher, a publicist, movie options….the business side of being an author. The fear and reality of that complex hot mess is hampering what it is supposed to be supporting.
I write. That’s what I do.
I found it ironic that I had let myself slide into a comfort zone so soon after killing a comfort zone to become an author. It’s sort of like “Oh shit…what do I do now?”
Because what? We have all accepted routines, rules, burdens, guilt and pain in our lives by accepting BECAUSE as an answer to WHY.
BECAUSE gives us an excuse to not dig deeper (as it is intended to). It’s a subliminal equivalent to “shut up and deal with it.” And once you have accepted it, you don’t get to ask WHY again. Trying to solve problems is next to impossible after we’ve accepted BECAUSE as an answer.
You can’t get to “HOW” if you’ve been defeated by WHY.
Then it hit me, BECAUSE is a grey area answer, when the timing, complexity or awkwardness of an answer make you want to throw out a non-answer answer…when you would rather just say, “shut up and leave me alone”.
I decided that I would try to answer some of those WHYs, grey, murky and emotional or not. Like hot soup with many ingredients, trying to identify each is nearly impossible. And that’s what BECAUSE is…soup. It’s a weak broth of denial, infused with dozens of passive aggressive spices and giant chunks of varying triggers waiting to be set off. I’ve never really liked soup…it seems like a poor excuse for food. If you’re going to break out the passive aggressive answer game, put your heart into it and make a damned stew…at least you can sink your teeth into that.
Or better yet, if you’re going to get passive aggressive with yourself and answer your own questions with BECAUSE, why not just save yourself the swallowed agitation and NOT ask the question to begin with.
I’m kidding of course. The solution is to answer yourself like an adult…be honest even if it’s hard. You’d be surprised how many of your reasons for staying stuck evaporate once you answer your own questions.
Everyone dreams. Everyone has challenges. We often make a cozy nest for ourselves and sink into that comfort rather than take the steps to accomplish those things BECAUSE SOUP. The weight can be oppressive and denial has a tendency to make life seem more complex, confusing and challenging than it really is. Most barriers to our dreams or solving our problems are in our minds. And those that are real seem like immovable objects when WHY is answered with BECAUSE. But if you tack on the word “soup” at the end, realizing that the answer has been made unnecessarily murky, it becomes easier to ferret it out. Most of the things we want and say “someday” to, would happen now if we would just take a couple of steps (or side steps) toward them. BECAUSE stops us.
So I’m swearing off soup. I’ll probably keep a can or two laying around for when I’m really tired and don’t want to go to the effort of making a real meal, but for the most part, soup is off the menu at my house. And I’ll be attempting to answer my WHYs honestly.
I’ll let you know how the diet turns out.
If you liked this post, then please like this post 🙂 S.L. Shelton is the author of an Amazon Bestselling Political Thriller/Action Espionage Series, (The Scott Wolfe Series). Follow him here on WordPress, on Twitter @SLSheltonAuthor or Facebook. He will love you for it.