This morning, for the first time in perhaps eight months, if not longer, I went for a run. It felt good to have the wind on my face, sun on my arms, and fire in my chest – for all of ten minutes until my breathing gave out and my legs began to cramp. I stopped just short of reaching the quarry in town – one of my favorite landmarks to run past – hands on knees, sweat visibly dripping from underneath the brim of my cap onto the pavement below.
Half-a-mile. I had run only half of a mile.
And I felt like death, my legs numbing, my breath ragged, but it felt good. It felt good getting back out there, even if realistically I hadn’t accomplished much. It was a step (or several) in the right direction.
This is obviously a metaphor for other things in my life, most obviously my writing. I’m not really sure what exactly has been holding me back from finishing any piece of meaningful work, but I’m sure fear of failure is among the multitude of reasons. In fact, that fear has probably been the number one contributing factor to the formation of The Block.
It has gotten to the point where I can barely write a single passage, a single page, a single paragraph without self-critiquing it to the point of hatred for the piece and, ultimately, the shelving or outright deleting of it. It’s like, I’m trying so hard to mold my writing to fit into a place it hasn’t even reached yet – like I’m killing myself to get in shape for a marathon when I can’t even do a 5k yet.
So…let’s start from the bottom again. Let’s pretend I don’t really know what I’m doing – because honestly I don’t. Even if at some point I did, it’s clear I’ve let my abilities deteriorate and fester. So now it’s time to be humble, allow myself to fall flat on my face, and get a good look at the world from the bottom up – and see just how far and high I have yet to climb.