A Momentary Lapse of Reason

Alexander Jansson "Leave"

It’s been a while since I’ve sat down to write in this journal.  Forgive me if I ramble a little, though if you’ve read anything I’ve ever written here you’ll know I’m likely to do just that.  Ramble.  But hey, it’s my party…

So where was I?  Oh yeah, it’s been a while.

There are a lot of different reasons for that, actually.  Busyness, focusing on other writings.  Laziness.  Truth is I’ve sat down a number of times to write something but then I either can’t come up with anything or better yet, I hate what I write and delete it all before moving on to something else.  The biggest reason has been self-confidence or rather, a lack of it.  Insecurity.  Doubt is a word that has plagued me these past few weeks.

And so I was thinking about all of this.  I’ve been thinking about a number of little failures or setbacks I’ve encountered over the past few weeks.  Months, really.  Little things that in themselves aren’t anything significant but combined have kind of bummed me out.  I’ve been thinking about them and struggling to understand them individually and understand them collectively, and most importantly I’ve struggled to understand this creeping self doubt.

So there it was.  I was sitting at lunch yesterday and I was struck with a notion of why.  Not a revelation like a blinding flash of light but more like a slow, cool breeze that touches your skin and then passes almost imperceptibly.  I’ve been on a journey to change my life and seek balance and along the way I’ve shared nearly every step.

Until recently.

And let’s be honest.  Though I have been working on other writing projects, I haven’t been writing every single day.  Which is like, breaking the one rule for writers – Write Every Day.  When I began this journey, I was writing every day.  When I wasn’t adding to a book or a poem I was journaling.  Journaling here, for you.  My three readers.  I was stepping out of my comfort zone and sharing thoughts and feelings with you that were often scary just to think about, let alone put to paper.  Let alone publish for all of the world to read.

But that was the point.  That still is the point.  To write every day, to share those feelings.  To exorcise those demons.  Maybe even to exercise them.  And then life got in the way, and well, I stopped.  I’m not exercising those demons anymore.  They’re digging their way into my self-confidence and some days it feels like a full on spiral.

Those are the days when I look in the mirror and think “When did THIS happen?”

Like it jumped up and bit me, that snake of insecurity.  Of course, adding the holidays in there didn’t help matters.  No – I’m not one to get down during the holidays.  Just the opposite, actually.  I love them.  It’s a great time to get together with loved ones and do what I love most.  Eat, drink and talk.

But that darn insecurity.  That self-doubt.  It started making its way before the holidays.  It started just elbowing its way in.  Like that cousin who visits that nobody really likes, but he manages to visit when everyone else does so what can you do?  You can’t NOT let him sleep on the couch, right?  But it would have been a great visit with the other family if it weren’t for him.

Okay, so I’m rambling.  I warned you.

But that was my own self-doubt.  He came to visit right before the holidays and never left.  And what made it worse was the fact that I DO love to eat and drink and talk during the holidays.  Who doesn’t? But like many others, that means packing on an extra layer of Greg before it’s all said and done.  A five pound layer.  Not much, maybe, but when self-doubt is hanging around and making snide remarks at me every time I look in the mirror…well, five pounds is enough.

Oh, yeah.  And then I turned 40 in January.  But let’s get something straight before I continue.  I wasn’t dreading turning 40 in the traditional sense.  I don’t in any way feel like I’m getting old or over the hill or anything like that.  I don’t subscribe to that.  I was dreading it because I didn’t want (nor do I still want) people to make a big deal out of me being 40 – and yet I wanted people to make a big deal out of me being 40.  Confused yet?  Me too.  My wife and I had a nice, quiet day together.  A day like any other.  It was perfect in the sense that nobody was making a big deal.  And it sucked because nobody was making a big deal.  Because of my internal struggle with all of that I didn’t really tell anyone I wanted them to make a big deal over me and so they didn’t.  It was still an awesome day, but I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

Hi, nice to meet you.  My name is Self-Doubt and I’ll be driving your tour bus today…

Today we’ll be seeing a number of little failures that in themselves don’t really mean a whole lot but add up as the tour progresses.  Over here we have some professional leads not panning out.  Across the street is a little higher number on the scale.  Coming up next, a milestone birthday!

I’d been trying to rely on my “Morning Motivation” to pull me through.  I’ve been hoping that the words of others could punch through the haze and I’d get that extra dose of OOMPH I needed to persevere.  Instead, I’ve seen myself slowly slipping the other direction toward being unproductive.  I’ve seen myself heading toward disillusionment and the worst possible thing ever = Quitting.

But yesterday I had that revelation I mentioned.  That slow, cool breeze washed over me.  I realized that through my journey last year, minor successes had been made.  Progress had been made.  I’m not close to my goal, but I’m closer.  But the thing that changed late last year was that I quit journaling.  I stopped sharing myself with you.  I stopped getting those leg warmers on and exercising those demons.

Because it’s not enough to hear the motivating words of others in order to persevere through hardship.  You have to join the game.  You have to participate.  I have to participate.  I have to share myself.  I have to reflect on where I’ve been and be honest with where I want to go.  And I have to seek help in getting there.  I have to communicate my fears, my hopes, my dreams.  I have to step out of my comfort zone and let others know that I’m as fallible as anyone.  That little failures ARE a part of my life.  But instead of internalizing the grief and despair of those little failures I need to get them out.  Root out the negative and make room for the positive.  Flood these pages with rhymes and the reasons so that my cup is empty and ready to be filled.

It’s a WE thing.  No, not the television channel.  You.  And me.  We.  Because success is a team effort.  And if you’re reading this, you’re part of my team.  And I’m part of your team.  We may trade a player or two and we’ll always accept new teammates, but this is it.  This is the team.  I share myself with you and you help me persevere.  And you share yourself with me, and I’ll help you through.  Because nobody scales the summits alone.  Ever.

And besides, what’s the point of achieving success if there isn’t someone there to help share that with?  Or help celebrate?  Seriously, when I hit it big (and that WILL be happening) I want you to be able to say “I helped him with that.”  Honestly.  I want scores and scores of people to honestly take credit for my success.  When I hit it big, I’ll even make shirts.  You can have one.

Because I’m taking some credit for your success.  Honestly.  I didn’t see it before, but I did this weekend.  I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough to have met some AMAZING people the past fourteen months.  This weekend I made it clear I’ve been struggling, and those amazing people have communicated to me their support.  They have told me stories of how I’ve helped them.

I needed that inspiration.  And heck yeah, I’m taking credit for helping!  They were strong and smart and persevered themselves.  I didn’t do anything for them, but I did help.  And I will continue to help in any way I can.  I’m asking the same of you.

I need you.  I need you to help me succeed.  And I know I haven’t been here lately.  I haven’t been sharing myself.  I know you can’t help me if I don’t share myself with you.  So I promise I’ll write more.  I’ll go back to journaling, so we can go down this road together.  This rocky road, full of adventure.

Thank you for all you’ve done already.  The thoughts, the kind words.  The inspiration.  I’ll need them.  That self-doubt has left my couch and gone somewhere else for now, but I think some day he might return.  Those little failures, you know?  And let me know if he visits you.  Together we can keep him on the move.


11 thoughts on “A Momentary Lapse of Reason”

  1. Ah, self-doubt – the boogey-man that must be exorcised regularly or he takes up residence. Sometimes it’s just nice to know that he bugs others, too. He’s been to visit me recently, too, but this time I didn’t let him stay long. I find upbeat music and Dr. Seuss to be good for chasing him away. And humor – laughing at myself as much as anything, remembering silly moments with friends and family.

    1. THANK YOU for taking the time to read my posts and even more, to comment!! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it! And your message about upbeat music is right on! I’ve discovered the past few weeks especially that I haven’t been listening to much music at all. And it wasn’t until your comments that I realized that it was affecting me.

      And laughter IS the best medicine. Though, I was never really that much of a Dr. Seuss reader. My biggest hero is Shel Silverstein. I can read “Where the Sidewalk Ends” over and over, and each time is like the first time. It is such a great pick me up!!

      Thanks again for stopping in. Hope to chat again soon…

  2. Oh yeah – I can relate. In a different area of course, but every day I have to remind myself that I CAN DO IT ! I have been blaming my “busy” life for me not being able to have time to take care of myself. But that’s just the thing, if you don’t make time for yourself and focus on yourself…. that’s when it strikes right? So I understand it and send you a dose of love with a few sprinkles of hugs & kisses :-)))

    1. EXACTLY. It’s all about balance. And like today I mentioned on the FB page, a positive attitude is all the difference.

      Your love and support is the best, and means SO MUCH TO ME. All the love, hugs and kisses rightbackatcha…

      Oh – And I’m glad you picked up on the PF reference. Sandra and I were sitting at lunch on Sunday when “On the Turning Away” came on in the restaurant. It was playing through a music channel on the television they had, and the screen was displaying the artist, album and song title. When I read “A Momentary Lapse of Reason” it hit me. Inspiration can sometimes come from the unlikeliest of places!!

  3. Lately, I feel like glass and if dropped one more time, I will shatter into a million different pieces. I can so relate. Laughter is the best medicine. Glad you kicked self-doubt to the curb. Hang in there, Greg.

  4. Aaaah Gregeth …. how I understand the ‘house of self doubt!!! It the kinda place that we are all drawn to, and at those hopefully infrequent times, there are lessons for us.Sometimes hiding behind the door, sometimes in the hall, sometimes you have to root around the cupboard and under beds to find rhyme or reason for the visit … but Thats just it … theres always reason for you being there, that when you leave you have learnt just a little more about yourself and how to overcome those ‘Tinkerbells in King Kong suits’. Self Doubt house can be a blessing disguise when you think about it …. from the next shore! The real trick is to remember that we’re just passing through.
    SO …… who, like me, is ready to pick up the gifts of self-awareness and walk away from the baggage of self-incrimination today? I reason we do it in style ….. Im jumping off the cliff despair into the Sea of Hope and take Doreys. advice …… “just keep swimming .. just keep swimming .. just keep swimming ..”
    Love ya matey and all my best to you and yours,
    Narelle C0=`~

  5. Hey Greg, I sure do empathize with you. It’s just hard sometimes, no matter how positive we are to always feel like we’re moving forward. I am the Queen of self doubt and inertia sometimes. One close friend once told me that our difficult periods are the most valuable because during this time you learn important lessons. So I now try to treat these times of setback as dormant learning periods so that I again may come out my funk feeling renewed and more knowledgeable of my self and the business I am conducting – if that also applies. Hang in there friend – you’re one of the good guys! VIRTUAL HUGS – Tami

  6. I caught this because somehow you’re following me on Twitter (I think it was the SMK mention) and I’m so glad I did. I’m a struggling writer trying to recapture that spark I had when I was younger and find it challenging, to say the least. Reading your comments about self-doubt was like having scales removed from my eyes. I, too, have fallen out of the habit of writing every day. It’s something I need to get back to doing, even if it’s only for five minutes. So, I guess the point of this rambling message is to say thank you for the inspiration! And I look forward to your sharing my success in the future.

    1. I’m glad I found you, and I’m glad you found me.

      You’re welcome for the inspiration. It’s amazing that, as writers, when we feel the least like doing any writing is when we need to most sit down and write. I think it is so difficult because writing itself is so difficult. It’s a solitary game where we spend most of our time having conversations in our head. The littlest doubt changes those conversations. I’ve met countless writers, and it’s all the same.

      Even if the writing you do everyday isn’t necessarily productive toward a goal (book, screenplay, etc) the process itself is productive. I encourage you to get back in to that habit, even if it IS only for that five minutes you mentioned.

      We recently had a “Positive Vibe” thread over on the Facebook page. I asked anyone that needed a little positivity thrown their way to give us a shout and let us know what what going on in their lives. The support is amazing. I invite you at anytime to come on over and join in.

      Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to comment. I appreciate it!! Please keep me updated on your progress, I’m looking forward to celebrating your successes with you!!!

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