Part of not writing or not creating whatever it is you should be doing but aren't, is dealing with the tumult and fray that are the voices in your head. I'm not talking diagnosable voices that might lead to some sort of prescription or anything. I'm talking about the voices of doubt and derision that tell you that you can't. That you suck. That you're a loser for even thinking anyone would want to read anything your lame ass would write.
Every time I'm faced with the blank page, those voices start to clamor. Voices from the past. Voices from my own psyche that tell me I'm not good. I'm not worthy. I'm a piece of trash and no one would ever want to read anything I wrote.
"Who do you think you are?" they whisper. "You're just a loser."
"Loser" is the secret key to the darkest door in my brain. Walk down a spiraling staircase and descend into the pitch and cobwebby spaces of my gray matter — there you will find a little girl huddled in the corner. It's difficult to even write these words because I've given you access to the most vulnerable space within me. You now have the means with which to hurt me, easily.
It's my kryptonite.
I'm 45 years old and still I'm walking up the slow slope of Woodbank hill towards my house, the one with the peeling paint, the broken garage door and the overgrown grass. I'm still trying to get past one house as quickly as I can, before the Catholic school kids come out of their garage to play basketball in the driveway.
Too late. Always too late.
"Your mother's a drunk!" they shout. "You're a loser!"
Once planted it's there forever. Why? Why can some little snot-nosed, private school brats infect my brain like that? Maybe the only reason it resonated with me is because it's what I already believed about myself. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered a whit if I liked myself.
I suspect that's the real truth of the matter.
The blank page sits there and taunts. "Loser, who would want to read your stuff?" "Loser, don't post that on Facebook, Jesus." "Loser. Nobody gives a damn."
All the voices that clamor for your attention. All the voices that want to bring you down. But then another voice, perhaps the voice of the divine. Something calls to you and says, "You're fine."
That twinkle. That sparkling little light that reaches down the deepest cavern of your biggest doubts and tells you that you can.
And so I do.
Each time that I do, some kind of victory is won. And maybe that's why you're here too. Maybe you've been in the dark. Maybe you want to see the light. I'll hold my candle up and show you the way.