Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Day 1112 . . .

It’s been over three years now since I graduated with my Master of Arts in Creative Writing. Let’s do a quick rundown of what has happened in those three years (and I’ll try for a semblance of chronology):

1. The Wife gave birth to the first child (the Chubbs)
2. Taught (very) part-time at International Academy of Design and Technology, teaching English Composition for almost a year
3. Found out the Wife was pregnant with our second child
4. The Wife got accepted to BYU Idaho
5. Second child born (the Little Sir)
6. Moved to Idaho
7. Started a new job at a craft store
8. In the last three years published  28 different pieces of poetry, flash fiction, prose, and non-fiction
9. Designed and hand bound a limited edition book entitled Pieces, a collaboration of five artist published by Copilot Press
10.    Started a literary journal for Sacramento writers entitled From Sac

Those are just the major highlights, but there are smaller pieces to the puzzle too: saw Streetlight Manifesto live during their farewell tour, attended friends weddings, read a bunch of books, camped as much as possible, etcetera etcetera.

I should feel good about where I am. I should be happy with my successes and progress. I should feel that I am growing as a person and moving forward and becoming something.


I don’t.

A lot has happened in the last three years, more than I can remember. Some of it I wish I could forget. Some of it I wish I could relive again and again. And I’m sure there is some I wish I could remember, but will never know. Regardless of what has been, it hasn’t gotten me where I want to be.

I don’t often talk or write about what I want for my life; what my heart wants. I keep it hidden, keep people out of that small space. It’s weak. Very weak. It can’t handle disappointment and pain and sadness and fear and stress and suffering; it can’t handle regular life. So I keep it hidden. Even from myself most of the time. There are few who have seen a piece of it, only just, but never the whole thing. It’s been so long now that I don’t even know what’s down in that miniscule muscle. But this is what I think is secreted there:
  • I want to work hard, I like working hard, but I am unwilling to do work I don’t enjoy, or work for people and businesses that I do not value or find value in
  • I want to take care of my family
    • I want my kids to be happy and enjoy life and not have to worry about life more than is normal, but I want them to listen to me when I ask them to do things
    • I want the Wife to feel safe and secure and to trust me and my work and that I can take care of her and our children and provide a place to live, even though I have shown no evidence of such desires
  • I want the Wife to be proud of what I do and who I am
  • I want my family to be proud that we are a family
  • I want to not worry about the world and its troubles and society and just live without the distractions and complications the world creates
  • I want people to care about each other, to care about what happens to other people; I want to be friends with people
  • I want to live in a house that I built
  • I want to be amazing
I think that’s it. At least part of it, anyway.

The last three years has been rough. Mostly rough. And between the dark a little light peeked through, but not enough to see the future by, or my own feet in front of me.

What I’m saying is that after three years graduating from college, after almost 10 years of marriage, after having children for almost three year, after living out on our own again for a year, after all that has happened:

Nothing has changed.

I mean, I haven’t changed at all.

I’m still the same. I still expect people to do things for me. I still expect my writing to just get published because I submitted it somewhere. I still expect the world to just give me money and love and life because of who I am and what I do as a person. I still get angry when I don’t get my way.
I don’t want to be like this.

I want to be a mature individual. I want to be able to function normally in society, in that I can take care of myself and my family.

The point of all this rambling?

This is where I am now. As a married man with two kids and a Master of Arts degree in Creative Writing, this is who I am. A partially functioning member of society who can’t take care of himself let alone his family and wonders whether or not every choice he has ever made has been wrong and is terrified that he has ruined his wife’s life and is ruining the lives of his children but doesn’t know how to change, how to make that hole in his chest go away and be better and grow and work harder and make life how he wants to live and be the person he knows his wife wants him to be, the person his parents want him to be, except all he sees in the mirror is that same face, never changing, only aging, always again, and wondering what the point of all of everything is.

This is life.


Izzy Decker said...

Thanks for sharing that. I don't know how to tell you that I admire you. For all that you struggle, and that struggle is real, the short amount of time I've been around you and your family I have seen that you are a conscientious husband and father. You support your wife which in my experience is rare, and you love your children and are there for them. Introspection is the gateway to change but it also shows us our flaws and ignorance...scary stuff.

Bay said...

I agree with Izzy! I'm not trying to discount your feelings, but you should know that you are a wonderful father, friend, and human being. You've got a lot to give to the world and it really is a better place because of you! In my opinion, you shouldn't be so hard on yourself :-)

Dad (Grandpa Jerry) said...

That was a very open and honest post - took a lot of courage to hang it all out there. Life is a challenge and always will be. Sometimes it's hard to see the changes in ourselves and our worst critic is usually ourself. Trust that Heavenly Father loves you and knows the stuff that you are made of. I like the quote from Elder Richard G. Scott "We Become What We Want To Be By Consistently Being What We Want To Become Each Day" - it's a mind blower trying to wrap my head around it. You are a good man. None of us usually feel that we are where we want to be. Hang in there and trust in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).