Sigh, Is This My Life?

I was catching up with an old friend, Melissa, on GChat today. I told her that I wasn’t feeling particularly inspired. There are days when I just. can’t., when my brain doesn’t think creatively and I’m not firing on all cylinders. I hate those days. They mostly happen on Fridays when, at the end of an insanely long work week filled with grading essays and tutoring and teaching, I have to go to work at a restaurant so that I have enough money to pay my cable and electric bills.

Oh, what I life I lead.

The thing about inspiration is that it cannot simply be conjured out of nothing. I can’t just snap my fingers and suddenly feel the need to write 10 pages, or even a blog post. Inspiration comes at the worst time; when I’m busy grading papers that I have to distribute back to my students, or when I’m driving to-and-from work and don’t have a pen handy (and can’t write while driving…too well, anyway). It never comes when I have free time.

I want to write something witty, something hilarious, something sad and introspective. I want to make a commentary. I want to work on my next novel. But I can’t find the words. Any words.

Melissa was always great at inspiring me. We’d have mind-bending conversations at the foot of gorges in Ithaca, or bum around town blasting Wyclef and Britney Spears songs and laugh. Or we’d go to the movies and suck on gummy bears and fling them at the backs of strangers heads in the dark. She’d tell me about her dreams, I’d tell her about mine, and we’d support each other through words. The act alone was inspiring.

But it’s been awhile. And today, while talking to her and catching up (because she lives in the Middle East right now, budding journalist and all), I realized how far I’ve come and how much I’ve changed, yet I’m exactly the same person. It’s weird and kinda sorta melts my mind.

That in-and-of itself was inspiring.

During the course of our conversation, she took up the challenge of inspiring me (while simultaneously making me laugh about having to STILL work in a restaurant in order to make ends meet):

Melissa: you MUST BLOG

Melissa: write about the simple joy of being able to laugh with a friend (hint hint) no matter where they are. the fact that no matter who we become, where we go, or what changes us, there are certain people who become part of our roots that we can go back and we know that we are home, every time we see them.

Me: aww, that’s sweet

Melissa: how roots aren’t necessarily where you come from, but who you make your home with. And how beautiful it can be when you are able to choose your own roots and mix them with the ones you got stuck with and not end up totally fucked up and a little bit happy

Me: but i’m not feeling “sweet” or sentimenal

Melissa: Okay, let’s come up with some haikus then about how much we hate serving dirtbags

Me: hahahahaha

 Melissa: Condescending eyes
Your fancy clothes don’t fool me
Trashin’ underneath

You want a table
On the side, no ice, crispy
Sigh, is this my life?

Maybe one day I’ll write about how much I hate the food service industry.



7 thoughts on “Sigh, Is This My Life?

  1. I can so relate to this! It used to be a really big issue for me, but if Oprah and Deepak Chopra have taught me anything, it’s that the word “inspiration” means “in spirit,” and one of the best ways of tapping into the UNLIMITED creativity in each of us is through mediation. And as I’ve developed a meditative/spiritual practice, for reals my book has just started pouring out of me — it’s amazing how an empty mind can inexplicably lead to a full page! (Side note: do I sound like a crazy bag lady on the subway trying to push meditation on you? Do you already meditate daily and therefore have evidence that my advice here is totally invalid? If so, please disregard my absurdity and carry on.)

    • Hahaha Nic…I was both BLOWN away by your sound philosophical advice AND lead to out-loud laughter.

      I have not used meditation, but I think I might when I start writing again next week. I have a wonderfully free schedule now that the Spring semester is over, so I plan on getting to work with my next book while sending out my completed ms to agents.

      You may have sounded like a bag lady trying to sell me her underwear…or a Jehovah’s Witness trying to convert me to your ways.

  2. Hey so I totally feel you about the weirdness of being a completely different person yet somehow the same. my gram just passed away and for some reason I’m having the worst time trying to combine who i am and who i was into one person. i feel SO different from the little girl my gram remembered and yet somehow i’m still that girl (or i at least have a loyalty to the time period that girl represents) despite being wayyy too old for hanson and backstreet boys 😉 jk i still love them! hanson maybe not so much…

    anyways what i’m trying to say is your not alone. our lives at this age are so confusing and changing so fast. no matter how far we make it, we all still feel like we’re struggling just as hard as we were in college..or highschool for that matter. and something about that transition between remembering who we were & being sad things change so quickly/knowing who want to be and respecting that we’re actually all those people combined makes this point in life really hard. it’s exhausting trying to become an adult and figure that part of your life out. it’s exhausting working ourselves to death. it’s exhausting commuting to all those things and checking our calendars to make sure we’re on time to the 5000 appointments we somehow need to schedule in between.

    inspiration is really hard to come by anymore, i feel your struggle myself, I used to love to be crafty in my spare time but i just can’t find the inspiration to do it anymore. honestly working ourselves to death and the depression of this horrendous economy/job market doesn’t help that situation. i feel like exhaustion is killing the creativity out of us.

    Well anywaysss i’m not sure where i was going with this, but i wanted to say how much you inspire me, and how i wish i could see you more often! your posts make me think maybe it’s not so bad out there, or if it is at least we’re all in it together? i’ve read a lot of your posts and you’re a fantastic writer, so whatever you choose to write about, i’m sure it’ll be amazing. plus i am secretly obsesssseddd with young adult books so hopefully that previous post about liking to write in that area is true, bc i’m excited! so keep up the good work steven, because we all love you and support you no matter what you decided to do, and no matter what you decide to write about. and when you need legal advice bc some tv producer is trying to make your future book into a movie, i’m always here! 😉

    • SARA! I love your name, by the way. CLASSIC LINE.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your grandmother. You know if you ever need anything, please don’t hesitate to call!

      It’s a very weird concept to realize that you’ve changed. It’s not as simple as saying, “I’m not the same person,” but rather feeling it in your bones, in your soul, in everything that you do. It’s the constant comparison to a former life, or to where you were yesterday, even. I get into these periods where I feel like life is so stagnant, that nothing has ever changed, but it HAS, and when I realize how far I’ve come and how radically different everything is, even from three or four years ago, it literally blows my mind.

      I still feel like the little boy who just wants to be left alone so that he can play with his toys, because my own imagination is 100% better than any other option. I have to remember that kid in order to survive daily.

      I just want to say thank you for your support and kind words, Sara. You were my first real friends in college, and I’m so happy that we still are. Love ya!

  3. love you too homie! hahaha figured you’d enjoy the name. Thanks 🙂 i’m doing ok just having trouble figuring out how everything is supposed to fit inside you know?

    i definitely feel you on all the above. i always feel like it’s the same crap different day, but then if you really look back you’re not the same at all. ughhh ME too. i get that way with my young adult books and tv shows. i remember a time when i could just read all day and my life allowed time for that.

    you were MY first real friend in college too! i’m so grateful we’re still friends too, you’re one of the few people who knows who i was before the nightmare of law school made me grow up hahaha :(. love you too! hope all is well 🙂

  4. also thanks for not judging for the “your” that’s supposed to be a “you’re” in my first comment hahaha. unintentional i swear

  5. Pingback: THIS is Life. | beautiful chaos

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