Brené Brown spoke in her writing about shame and that in order to experience great joy, we also have to be open to experiencing great despair. We can’t be open on one end of the spectrum of feelings and close off the other end. That is an easy message to digest when in the throes of great joy. But what about when the feelings are of despair? My flight instinct says, run, run, run. I want to get away from the discomfort and find the comfort again.
I am revising a screenplay that has brought me so much joy to write. I adore my characters and I want so much to tell their story in the most effective way. I want to communicate their humanity in a way that resonates and I want the world to fall in love with them. I know that means I have to stretch myself as a writer and be willing to work hard.
I have been forced to face something that I don’t like: I haven’t done them justice yet. I am very much a writer in training. I still have much to learn and I have fallen short in telling their story. It’s true and it’s very uncomfortable for me to admit that.
I have spent the past couple of days feeling sorry for myself. I’ve mourned my lack of abilities and I’ve questioned my commitment: maybe I’m just not a writer. Maybe I am not meant to do this. Maybe I should give up.
I was fortunate enough to run into a friend this morning who had the most perfect words for me. She said, “it sucks when we have to recognize our suckiness, doesn’t it?” Yes, it does. She pointed out how I’m feeling so much pressure right now—pressure to do better, to tell this story well, to live up to my hopes for this story, etc. And she wisely said, “in nature, what comes out of lots of pressure?” Diamonds.
She helped me see, at a time when I really needed it, that perhaps by steering into the pressure and the discomfort I can make a diamond. She also reminded me that I would really be showing myself how serious I am about this and how committed I am. What if I emerge from these blues as a better, stronger person and writer?
As usual, I have choices to make. I can choose the safer route. I can take the pressure off of myself. I can walk away and ease up. Or I can walk through this and see it through. I can endure the pressure and still give my best effort. The trick is that I also need to let go of expectations for any external results. I am doing this because I want to serve the story and I want to serve my writer voice.
Make no mistake though, I am frustrated at times, uncomfortable, and sometimes really want to quit. However, I really want the great joy that exists at the other end of this feeling spectrum so I will endure. I will not give up. I will write.