Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Is My Life All For Nothing?

For me, when I write, the challenge is "what if this is all for nothing."

What if the time I spend writing - the books I've written - are all for nothing. What if they are forgotten? 

When I first started to write, it was mostly for entertainment. I hoped to become a "best-selling author" one day. Mostly because all the time I put into writing would be worth something and so I didn't have to depend on a husband or boyfriend or work for a company that treated its employees like crap (though I feel like most companies now treat their employees like crap!). 

Writing is not easy. At least, not for me. Especially in today's culture, where you have to be short and to the point, and somehow be entertaining. 

My writing over the past few years has been less fiction and more writing with a purpose. To somehow restore our character, courage, and confidence. Because though we SEEM like a society that has made much progress, in reality, what I'm witnessing, is a huge decline. A decline in respect for not only each other, but in the way men treat women (and I realize I was part of the problem). A decline in the way people present themselves. I don't feel you have to get dressed up to go out to the store, but the people I see shopping at 2 pm in the afternoon are sloppy, slovenly, and almost seem to go out of there way to say, "Looks are not important; I don't care if you judge me!" But if you think about it, they are really saying, "I do care what you think of me, because I'm making an effort to send a message!"

I am mortified by the older men I know (in their 70's and 80's) that make not only very disparaging remarks about women, but one older married men, is routinely chatting up sex workers on his facebook and sending them money via Western Union! 

 I have filled binders and binders of research on our past culture. I've had fun reading old magazines (from the 30's, 50's etc). I have been able to trace back the slow decline and that has led to our state of confusion (good is bad, bad is good) and illusion. 

I believe I've truly found the answer to what brings contentment and happiness. But I'm so afraid that all this research (combined with experience!) and what I want to write will be lost. 

I stumbled on Rose Wilder Lane's writing. Brilliant! 

Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Zora Neale Hurston were really the ushers of the Libertarian party. Yet, I'd never heard of them. 

Here are remarkable women from the 30's and 40's and who knows about them? Their messages were messages of "Moxie" and "Self Determination." 

They lived through extremely hard times, yet always had the fortitude and drive to overcome life's challenges. How come we know so little about these truly progressive women?  

So when I sit down to write, I often feel "What's the point?" What if my words get lost? What if I'm wasting my time when I could be doing something more productive like...reading the latest issue of People magazine? 

And I realize my fear of being forgotten, my fear of not making a difference, my fear of being laughed at by the "cool" kids, is the same fear everyone has. 

It's why people join Black Lives Matter. It's why cops become cops. It's why we search out like minded people. We want to belong and be accepted. And yet we also want to make a difference. And show we are somehow unique, individual.  We want our life to have some purpose. We want to be appreciated and loved. If not by a-lot of people, at least a few people. And this wanting to fit in yet wanting to be seen as individual is a fine, fine, line to walk. 

It is sort of like dieting. You know there is an end purpose (to be healthy) - but there is that big glaring fact of life looming in the back of your mind: Life ends. So what's the point of trying to be healthy? Why not just enjoy the pizza and beer and wine? 

And that, is what often stops us from making choices that, in the end, are not only good for us, but good for everyone. And I've found that choosing the difficult path, the path of NO, is actually the path that leads to the most happiness and fulfillment.

Sometimes, we think no one sees us. But you'd be surprised who is watching. And how one act of courage or kindness (whether it be risking your life to save another, or holding the door open for an elderly person) can stick in someones mind, and encourage them to do something courageous or kind. 

So, you might be hesitating to start a project or might be afraid to put yourself out on the limb and be judged. You might have the little voice inside your head telling you to not bother, because what if it's all for nothing? 

The trick is to get over yourself at the same time you need to believe in yourself. If you have a positive purpose behind your goal, nothing attempted is ever in vain. Your life is not in vain. There are many people I look to as examples on how to be a good person, how to get better, that have no idea that I aspire to be as smart, or kind, or purposeful, as they are. 

You were born with a talent. It might be being vocal, it might be as a photographer, it might be as an organizer; it might be as simple yet meaningful as being a loyal, loving, honorable friend. It is hard in today's culture when the signals seem to be, the more raunchy or self indulgent you are, the more respected you will be. It's difficult to 'do the right thing' when there is no seemingly punishment for doing the wrong thing; for hurting someone. Indeed, it seems that by doing the right thing, you will be punished or shamed. 

Your life is not all for nothing. The mistakes you make, will make you better. The mistakes you make will make someone else better or be a warning or caution or save someone else (hopefully!) from heartache. 

You might look like a fool - but guaranteed, you will get better. You will learn. And you will feel way more accomplished and better about yourself than you do after you've polished off a whole bag of Cheetos while watching a marathon of any Bravo tv show. 

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