My Worst Enemy

Posted: March 3, 2014 by ajbrown in Uncategorized
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Warning:  Ranting, raving, self-loathing to follow.  This blog will be all over the place.  Guaranteed.

I am my own worst enemy.

I self evaluate way too often.  If something goes wrong somewhere I dwell on it–it doesn’t matter where, really.  Anywhere and on anything is open season and, yes, that hunter has me in its sites.  Something goes wrong at work, I self evaluate.  Something goes wrong at home, I self evaluate.  If writing sucks, I self evaluate.  If I struggle with something, I self evaluate.

I am my own worst enemy, much like a lot of characters I write about.  If you’ve read a few of my stories, you will know that a lot of my characters internalize their thoughts and give voices to those thoughts.  Often those voices poke and prod the characters, trying to get them to do something or to feel a certain way.  It’s the demon in us; the carnal nature we are all born with to turn things around on ourselves if things aren’t going right.  And if we don’t turn them on ourselves, we turn them on those around us.  After all, we want to feel good about ourselves, and if we don’t, then we beat ourselves up and we become miserable.

Hey, do you see that cartoon sign with all the arrows pointing directly at me?  Oh, the bright spot light burns the eyes.

I talk to myself, not unlike the way Golem/Smeagol did in Lord of the Rings:

My conversations aren’t usually that bad, but there is that side of me that gets angry at myself and puts me down.  My other self is a bully.  I want to punch him in the head with a raw fish.

The last six months or so of my life, that voice has been in my ear, whispering, whispering, constantly berating me, constantly telling me things I already know about myself, but saying it in such a tone that it bothers me worse than what it would if that voice wasn’t there.

Yes, I hear voices.  Does that make me crazy?

I can hear the voice, but I don’t want to listen,

Strap me down and tell me I’ll be alright.

I can feel the subliminal need

To be one with the voice and make everything alright.

~Disturbed

(Voices)

To answer my own question, no it doesn’t make me crazy.  It makes me normal in this day and age.

I’m tired–no, check that.  I’m exhausted. Work is exhausting.  Home life is exhausting.  Writing is exhausting.  Health issues are exhausting.  Thinking is exhausting.  Sleeping is exhausting.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…everything is exhausting.  I need a mental and physical time out.  I’m going to my corner and I hope there are no spiders there this time around.

On second thought, the corner hasn’t been dusted in a while so I will continue with my self loathing for a few more minutes before getting the broom and dustpan out.

I am my own worst enemy.  I’ve stated that before.

Nothing comes easy for me.  It takes a while for me to learn things, but when I have it, I have it.  Learning is frustrating.  I want to go back to school, but again, learning is frustrating for me.  Besides, I can’t afford to go to school for writing and I’m not sure where the time would come from to take the courses I want to take anyway.  Sounds like an excuse to me.

Oh, make the time.

When?

You have plenty of time, if you use it wisely.

I do use it wisely.

What about those video games you like to play?

Okay, you got me there, but I’ve cut out most of those recently.

Facebook?

Nope.  I’ve gotten away from that time suck for the most part.

How about watching television?

I don’t do that a lot, though it is March Madness time and there are a lot of great basketball games on.

Stop.  Collaborate and listen…Oh no, I didn’t just go there.

Yeah, yeah you did.

Oh, put me out of my misery now.  Please.

Seriously.  I would like to go back to school.  I could take online courses from Midlands Tech, here in wacky-weathered South Carolina, where one minute it is seventy-five degrees outside and two hours later it’s snowing.  Hmmm…maybe that’s part of the problem.  Maybe I have taken on the characteristics of the state I live in, all up and down and inconsistent.

There are four courses I would like to take, each of them costing a little over a hundred bucks, so really, not all that expensive (says the person with very little money, and who lives from paycheck to paycheck).  All the courses are writing related–something I’ve never taken and never thought I would consider doing so.

Okay, let me be honest with myself for just a minute.  I write stories.  If you’ve followed me for any length of time, then you know that.  You also know that I go through spells where I completely doubt myself and my abilities.  I have two books out, one published by a small press, the other one put out by myself.  But let’s be completely honest here:  no one pays attention to my work.  Very few people buy the books and even fewer people leave reviews on them.  It’s easy for me to say no one pays attention when the facts are there to back me up.

That’s not to say that I don’t believe I am a good writer.  I am.  But I don’t write like everyone else–I have no desire to be a cookie cutter writer, thank you, thank you very much.  I like being my own writer, with my own voice.

Writing is the one thing I believe I am good at:

Things I am probably not good at, but I keep trying anyway:

Being a good parent (the toughest job out there, folks).  Just ask my daughter.  She thinks I have no clue what I’m doing.  Maybe she’s right.

Being a good husband.

Learning (did I mention how difficult it is for me to learn?).

Fixing things, you know since nothing is really ever easy for me.

Things I am not good at that I should never try to do:

Work on my car.  Ughhh…

Anything electrical.

Anything mechanical.

Things I’m good at:

Writing.

Well, maybe.  Right?  Bueller?

Hey.  I can make a mean toasted ham and cheese sandwich.

On a totally unrelated note:  I’m really not a people person.  I think I fake it pretty good from time to time.  Other times, not so well.  But I work in a field where being a people person is a must.  And, of course, being a wanna be writer, being a people person is also a must.

Though I don’t love many people (other than my family and a few select friends), I do love my readers–all eight of you.

Here’s the thing, and I’ll wrap this up in a bit, because, really, no one likes to hear anyone complaining about much of anything (though we do like to complain ourselves):  The last few months have sucked.  I’ve had a health issue that could be a big deal.  I’m not writing much.  This blog has not been updated all that much (though I would like to work on a segment titled, Morning Conversations with the Boy, based on the little talks he and I have in the mornings when I take him to school.  Funny stuff, there).  My daughter hates me (yeah, that’s a big one.  Just ask her, she’ll gladly tell you).  Work is no longer fun.  Did I mention I’m not writing much?  Well, along with that comes the confidence I used to have in my writing has tanked.  Oh, and my books aren’t selling at all.  There’s a lot of work that needs to be done on my house.  I could use a new car–or a new to me car.

Hmmm…seems to me like all I’m doing is bitching and moaning and complaining.  I sound like such a nag.  It’s time put me out to pasture.

Okay, now that I’ve bored you immensely, let me see if I can bring this back around.

So, what am I going to do about all of this?

A couple weeks ago I decided I spend way too much time on the internet, and the computer in general.  I decided that I was going to stop being on Facebook.  I made a post, stating as such and asked folks if they wanted to keep in touch, then drop me their e-mail address and I would say hi from time to time.  Over 1300 people in my Friends list and eight people responded.  That’s more than I expected.  I’ve made a strong effort to ease away from Crackbook.  Since then, I’ve managed to find a little time to work on editing my novel and I’ve only had to go to Detox twice.

Hey, that’s a start, Jack.

What life comes down to is attitude.  I think this Blake Griffin Red Bull commercial is awesome, because of its attitude toward life:

“You have to fall in love with the process of being great.”

If you’re not happy with your life, then you do one of two things.  You either remain unhappy or you do something to change that.  You either keep doing what you’re doing and let life keep sucking, or you try to change or make changes so that life no longer kicks you in the soft spot (and we all know where that is).

Here’s a funny thing:  that voice in my head has been mocking me the entire time I’ve been writing this.

Why are you writing this?  Why would anyone care?  Are you really going to post this on your blog?  Or are you going to just delete it when you are done?  Are you looking for pity?  You’re pathetic, did you know that?

To answer those questions:

Why are you writing this?  Because I damn well want to.

Why would anyone care?  They shouldn’t.  I’m not writing it for everyone else–I’m writing it for me, to get it out of my system, kind of like a purging.  You know, a cleansing?

Are you really going to post this on your blog?  I guess we’ll see when I’m done.

Or are you going to just delete it when you are done?  Look at the answer for the previous question.

Are you looking for pity?  Nope.

You’re pathetic, did you know that?  Sometimes I am, but so what?

It’s all about attitude, folks.  Believe me, I have a lot of it.  But a lot of the time, its not necessarily the right attitude.

I am my own worst enemy.  The question is, will I remain that way?  Or will I take the necessary steps to change that?

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Comments
  1. Diana Harmon says:

    I happen to know you are a great husband and Dad. I know you are a great husband because Catherine says so. I know you are a great dad because I have seen you in action. And teenage girls are the hardest job ever. I know because I was a teenage girl once. I think you are a good writer also because even though your normal stories are completely opposite of my normal readings…they still grab your interest and make you keep reading even when it is scary. You are unique and your friends like you just the way you are. Keep in touch please. 🙂

  2. Justin Dunne says:

    Dude…relax.

    Glad you did decide to post this. People all over the world feel exactly the same. EXACTLY. Me, personally, I like writing. My struggle is with keeping it fun. When everything else is just to hard I like to escape in to my writing. Now that I’m trying to take it a bit more serious, it has become that, SERIOUS. You’re good at writing because I guess you enjoy it.

    I have a full time job, I don’t need another one. I have plenty to keep me busy, so, when one of the things I really enjoy starts getting me down because it just isn’t working, because nobody likes it or pays attention to it, I ask myself why I’m doing it in the first place. Writing. Because I like doing it. If I like doing it, if it is my escape from piling bills and whinging kids and work, work, work then I need to decide to just let it be.

    If I’m not enjoying, I walk away…just walk away.

    Enjoy it, man.

    Ps. There ain’t no such thing as the perfect husband or father, but that’s ok because there ain’t no such thing as the perfect wife or kids either. Let’s all just try and get along.

    Cheers mate,

    Get back on FB…I miss the sports talk.

    Justin Dunne

    • Anonymous says:

      I really don’t know what to say. I wish I could be of more help and support to you all. I am here if you need me and I will do anything I can to help. I just don’t know if it would be enough. Please feel free to ask for my help at anytime and I will do what I can. We love you and only want the best for you.

      • Beth Starkey says:

        I (your mother-in-law wrote the comment that was written under anonymous on March 4, 2014 at 10:32 am.

  3. scopperstone says:

    ha! Look! At least people read your blogs! I can’t get a reader. Hang in there. You’re a great writer. This winter is a long one.

  4. Dawn says:

    Hey Bud, don’t be so hard on yourself…
    1. All teenage girls hate one or both parents at some point.
    2. You are a GREAT writer, you just lack the widespread advertising most popular authors have.
    3. You have an amazing family and VERY good taste in friends (counting myself of course).
    4. As for your job, ride it out!! but look for something else that may allow time for school or at the very least will feed your soul instead of crushing it.
    5. I can only hope for the best concerning your health, just keep in mind that I’m here if you need anything.

    I must say I saw myself in your rant. I was exhausted (now mostly just stressed beyond belief) and am too hard on myself as well. I’m overly critical of myself even when I’m doing something I enjoy and sm good at, like cooking Christmas breakfast. Even if all goes well, I’ll still see the things that I may have done better. You are definitely not alone and I applaud your courage for posting your inner thoughts/feelings. Bravo Jef-fah-fa 😉

  5. Justin Dunne says:

    Hey Jeff,

    Wanted to share a little story with you. I heard it, remembered this blog entry, and thought of you.

    I live in one of those sprawling urban suburbs. It’s a little detached, bit isolated, but has a pretty good community feel to it.

    There’s this family, well known for being active in community affairs, and every couple of weeks the parents of 3 children go out and buy ingredients and goods to make a lemonade stand. The kids set up under a tree in the front yard for an afternoon, kick a ball, play on their I-pads and sell home made lemonade, while their parents watch from inside the house. All monies they make–not profit–all monies, get donated to charity.

    One afternoon while selling their sweet, very sweet, lemonade, two men wearing balaclavas jumped out of a stolen BMW and stole all the money, the kids phones, and I-pads. They were so quick the parents could do nothing about it.

    The moral? I don’t really know…

    When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Just be careful that two arseholes in balaclavas don’t try and take it from you…?

    Or…

    Shit happens?

    Either way mate, if you are experiencing the ‘Balaclava’ effect that life is throwing at you, I hope you can get your lemonade back real soon.

    Also, you didn’t finish with your trade mark.

    So, till next time, mate. Close enough.

    • ajbrown says:

      It’s amazing how humbled you can be from what folks say about/to you. One of my closest writer friends said I should try a different way of thinking, to try and be positive about things, and to believe in my abilities. I do believe in abilities, and yeah, there are a lot of lemons right now, but things are going to look up in the writing world. Some of the life issues are getting better–the power of positive thinking and prayer, in my opinion.

      And, Justin, Until we meet again, my friends…

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