Flight – tentative topic for storytellers

Tomorrow night is my story telling group. The topic or prompt is flight. The thing is that I’m not coming up with a ‘story’. I’m sort of stuck on a ‘feeling’. And while its nice sometimes to share where we are or what we are feeling, I need to move myself into more of a story mode. I’ve been stuck in feeling mode for at least a week and a half.

That’s not working for me. I’ve written a half dozen failed attempts at stories. They all shared the commonality of being an essay on what I was feeling.

That’s what this is below. The others I have mostly just canned. They were as good or as bad as this one.

imho a little too literary and way too vague.

maybe, probably not worth reading at all. But canning them and trashing them or worse saving them to clutter up my hard drive unseen at all, that process has not gotten me out of this ‘story tellers’ block that I’m in.

Its sort of worse than writers block. I’m writing, its just not necessarily worth telling about or is it?

I don’t know, I give it up to you to choose.

“Flight”

Flight is my current dream. It’s not what I want. Its just the thing I dream of when the fear starts to crawl up my spine.

Run away, leave and get to a safe place.

I do not know where that is. I haven’t felt safe in several years.

My fear tells me that I’m not safe here.

But I stay and fight. I get knocked down by life. I get divorced. I lose my home and then lose the next home and the next home after that too. I lose the new love of my life on top of all of that.

I want to take flight, but I don’t know where to go.

I stay and fight primarily for my kids. They are getting older and better able to take care of themselves, but not all the way yet.

My youngest child has special challenges and might need a parent far longer than many kids. I can’t leave.

But I keep losing my fights.

I am not sure how much I can keep helping my children. I want to help, and then feel like I’m not.

I witness example after example where I do help them. I am happy to do so and don’t know if I can keep that up.

My finances are upside down, twisted and squeezed to the point where they almost do not exist. My once pristine credit is too ugly to even look at even more. It’s at that level of ‘too ugly’ where it prevents a person from getting a job.

I’ve reached out to try and get help and only learned that I make too much money. My earnings are above the poverty level and above the level of many starting position jobs.  

And I struggle to make it work. It’s still too low for a family of four.

I am self employed as I’m the only person that can afford to risk employing me at this point.  

I have improved and grown my business month after month for months now, and its no where near enough to cover this months expenses.

It’s this feeling of improving and succeeding to make things better and still failing….

This makes me want to take flight.

Maybe time and space could let me get somewhere that I could fix everything and get caught up with myself.

And yet I know that life doesn’t stop just because we need a time out.

I meditate and meditate and work on my psyche. Its the only thing that keeps me calm enough to keep slogging through the improvements and growth to some day break my hand through the surface of the water and give the signal, “I’m drowning!”

I write this while breathing deeply. I’m soaking in the tub loaded up with baking soda and epson salt. I’m trying to sweat out the toxic cocktail of stress hormones, cortisol and more.

They do not help me hold it together. Cortisol is my enemy. It drives me like a cave man to ‘Get up and fix the problem asshole!’ And like a caveman, or at least like we imagine a caveman, its using all the wrong skills and tools. 

The caveman in me wants to clean or fix things that don’t matter. It wants to declutter and throw things out in preparation for a retreat.

It’s not useful at all at fueling the actual work that is paying off December’s bills.

So I’m trying to soak it out. I need clarity so that I can solve a challenge for a client’s IMDB profile. 

I need to get an invoice out to another client also. I have been helping her get some interesting results and traction for her podcasting project. And I’m not feeling terribly appreciated. 

I’ve done probably a dozen or more hours of work for free on her project. I don’t think she even believes in her own project at this point. 

I do. I can see the path towards her success. I can help her get there. I’m trying to help her get there.

I tell myself if I can help her, it might give me the great example I need for a case study, something that might help me generate more business from clients like her. 

Except maybe they’ll appreciate me and pay for the extra hours.

Or maybe I’ll learn just enough from this where I will be able to achieve the results with a more elegant formulae, no extra hours needed. 

I feel like a gambler that sees every near miss as a win. I recognize this feeling, and there’s not much I can do about it.

I have to pull the lever one more time, because I don’t have any other levers to pull.  It’s my one and only machine that’s paying anything.

I can even see that its paying more, about 4% more than last year even.

A 4% raise on top of too little to pay the bills and cover extra expenses isn’t very satisfactory of a thing.

I build my mouse trap better every week, every month, every year.  At any moment, it could be the moment when things start to zing.

And then I step back and look at the mouse trap and realize its no where even as good as the mousetraps I make for any of my clients.

Deep breaths.

I have something that grew on my shoulder late last November. It feels like a knot in my shoulder at times. I’m getting a biopsy in a week or so.

It too makes me want to fly away.

It’s probably nothing and yet its still there.

Maybe its a mini me, probably nothing and yet still here.

More deep breaths.

My story has no beginning and no endings yet.  

Its just a whole lot of spirals in the middle.

Even if I did take flight, I’d probably just be stuck in a holding pattern myself, spiraling round and round and never quite landing.

So I stay and fight.

Too Grounded For Fight Or Flight But Fantasies Persist

Let me defend spending the time to write this article.
🙂

I just finished creating a tutorial video. It is rendering and uploading to youtube as I type this. It is the end of Father’s Day. I am a single father of three wonderful kids and we just spent a long day hiking through creeks and climbing over large rocks through the water up to a waterfall and back. A lot of other things happened too. It was a good day as a family. After they went to bed, I squeezed in some work as my cash flow is only flowing out at the moment.

I write for a lot of reasons. I write copy for myself and clients through work. I write fiction for fun in my spare time, something I had last about 3 months ago.

I write tutorials. I write emails to scope and pitch projects or to provide status updates. I write emails for sales purposes.

I write to clear my mind and maintain my sanity. This article falls into that last category.

I could even be sleeping at this point. Its just after midnight and I do need the sleep. However, I’ve had the ghosts of a thought running through my head for a few weeks now. It is a fight or flight reaction to some of the challenges I face.
I’m attempting to avoid fighting and I am definitely not taking flight and running away. I’m simply trying to break my challenges into smaller challenges and solve them step by step.

Regardless of my steps, I feel, I mean I really FEEL the urge to take flight and just travel. I could literally do a Forest Gump and run across the country or drive or walk or hike or go hike into the woods and live off the land, except I have no skills for living off the land. Not many at least. I could learn, but that seems like a whole lot more trouble than the challenges I’m facing.

That’s all beside the point. What I’m saying is that I’m experiencing a fantasy. A daydream of running away from my problems.

I am not going to do this. The urge is not nearly that strong. I’ve never done that in my life and I’m not going to start now.
The fiction writer in me thought recognizes this new feeling that I have never experienced before. The self-help guru in me recognizes that I need to write this out, clear it out of my head. Its cluttering things up and doesn’t help me do the things I need to do.

I need to make more space for realizing the positive visions that I have to successfully overcome the challenges that exist.

Side Note – My video just finished rendering. So at this point, I’m writing into my sleep time….

Off and on, I work through low levels of depression and anxiety. These are not currently serious. These are not things that I have a long history with. I’m just over a year into a divorce after 23 years of marriage. The grief cycle has me feeling overwhelmed at times. 

Life isn’t helping in that regards. I’m clearing out a lot of things in my life that do not serve me or do not serve me well. As I go through this life purge, I am emerging much more capable and focused than ever before.

The path through this purge however, is tough and this is where a lot of my anxiety stems from. I’m in transition in many ways.

Part of me would like to simply give up and run away. I have fantasies about this when things feel toughest. These are not strong fantasies. Its not like serious depression. Its not like ideation. These are more along the lines of a day dream, an idle thought like, “I’d like an ice cream cone” or “I’d like to jump in a lake” or “that woman is beautiful” or “what if I bought a large clear beach ball and put a GoPro camera inside of it and hit record and then tossed it off a mountain cliff, what would the video show”…

These are all fantasies I’ve had in the last few days. I have not acted on any of them, some of them had no actions even attached to the fantasy.

That’s sort of like the take flight feelings I have. The only difference is that they come up often.

I could load up everything I can carry in my car and just drive away. I could go buy a camper for a few thousand dollars and live off the grid. I could rejoin the military and request that I get deployed away somewhere immediately. I could go work in a call center in India “had that fantasy while looking for jobs yesterday.” I could hide away in the mountains, live on a house boat, or fifty other things.
I do not want to do any of these things, well the house boat idea has always been attractive, but I don’t need to run away to do that. 🙂

I’ve never been the type to run away from anything. I have quit things before, but not runaway.

Frankly, I’m even a little bored with the fantasies. These are proper fantasies! There’s nothing exciting about them, there’s nothing in them that solves my problems.

It is more like the notion in Pulp Fiction of just going and wandering the Earth doing good deeds. I guess people used to make pilgrimages for similar reasons. They temporarily lost their way in life and need to go travel a bit to find their purpose again.

That’s sort of where I am. I have temporarily lost my way in life. I’m actually feeling like I am very close to finding it again, its just that its not working yet.

I swear I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and even smell the fresh air wafting from the entrance. I just can’t quite get out of the tunnel yet and I keep thinking it would be nice to stop walking and instead climb out an air duct in the ceiling or something, even though to jump that high and reach the ladder would be harder than walking to the open tunnel.

This may not be one of the more interesting challenges I have confronted, but its what I have to contend with today, tonight. Actually, that’s it. My video is finished, I’m out of ideas. Its time to get some sleep.

I hope you rest well tonight. I hope you awake tomorrow and emerge from your own tunnel into a beautiful new day and find your way easily and without effort going forward achieving your goals and your dreams!