Rain on my face and music beating steady into my ears. Gigi's in front of me, her body moving tightly, evenly, her paws out in front of her. She's giddy. It's afternoon on a Friday and it's just me and her, the afternoon open and the sky a cape of clouds. I'm happy. Content. Something feels right, though I'm not sure exactly what it is. Perhaps it's endorphins? I just worked out, ran just a few miles, but I ran long enough to sweat and hard enough to feel looser, warmer, and free. I've been trying to push myself lately, as far as exercise goes. Amazing, how your outlook on life changes when you begin to tell yourself you're strong enough to do what you didn't think you could do before. Exercise propels me into productiveness, optimism and positive self-esteem. It fuels creativity, fuels brain connectivity, fuels--at least for me--writing words.
The perfect me is strong, lithe, capable of running long distances over rocks and streams and up mountains, all in solitude to the sound of my favorite songs--the strongest ones, the most invincible. Do I have a fantasy self? Maybe I do. Do you? What interests me is the gap between who we see ourselves as, and who we really are. Is there a difference? If we visualize ourselves doing something great--in our own estimation--does that bring us closer to being that person?
I'm an athlete. Truth. I am an athlete.
I'm a writer. Well, I try to be.
So wherein lies the difference? For me, the difference is in the proof. What do I have to show for my athleticism? My body, I suppose--the way I walk, the way I run, my thought processes, and how I think about my days. I frame my days around ways I can beat previous goals, or simply beat lies I tell myself about not being good enough. But what about writing? What do I have to show?
But here's the thing: To publish a book is to be submitted to a forum of editors, proofreaders and a myriad of onlookers who all have opinions that likely are not yours. Your original thought might be morphed into semi-original, or perhaps just "somewhat yours." The editorial slaughterhouse might just be enough to dissuade me from writing at all. Maybe the fear of being rejected is what has kept me from sending out more work--more essays, more short fiction, more prose. It's a common fear, rejection. But isn't the attempt what counts?
The perfect me is. . . perfect. But "perfect" is just a word. And there are thousands of goals before "perfect" that are just as important to reach for, such as "good," and "worth writing," and "necessary for emotional growth." I must--we all must--choose my own reasons for writing, and stick to those reasons, believing who I am deep down is more than enough and that what I have to say is worth saying if it tells a story that helps me--or anyone else--see fellow humans and this world more deeply and fully than before.