Lately, whenever I sit down to write, it’s usually to unpack something negative that happened to me during the week. Don’t get me wrong, I love to write when I feel electrified by inspiration. But failure has a perverse way of sticking to you like rotten caramel. It can hijack your mood – extinguish your spirit, and ruin your entire day. Even a single failure, when given the chance to bounce around your brain long enough, develops its own kind of… momentum. I find myself at times not “feeling” it, but rather falling INTO it.
I find comfort when I feel invisible
I feel sadness when I feel unseen
I find confusion if I think about that for too long
I’ve been watching a lot of climbing features again — mostly documentaries highlighting the harrowing stories of climbers from all over the world and the timeless metaphor for life that rock climbing continues to be. After a viscerally painful and disorienting year, I find myself coming out the other end with just as much relief as I have reluctance and fragility. As if I had recently taken a header off a high cliff, got my heart tangled in my ropes on the way down, and slammed into the dirt.
It is easy to take. Easy to talk about yourself. Getting what you want feels comfortable. Having your way feels empowering. Being selfish is rewarding. Getting ahead, gaining a step, unlocking the fast lane, accumulating wealth, collecting pride points, and scoring the win. It all feels great.
What is a trail? What does it mean to leave a trail? How do you know which trail to follow?
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live… we look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.” – Joan Didion, The White Album