Wandering the savage garden…

Sometimes persistence is measured by your belief

As I’ve already written, I’m in a rut right now (originally wrote “trough,” and man does that sound pretentious). I’m struggling to do a lot of the things I’ve made a commitment to myself to do, including my daily writing.

I’m having to force myself to keep going, to cross over this valley I’m in.

The day before yesterday, for example, I didn’t shave; one of my commitments to myself was to shave every day. (I hate beards; I just also hate shaving.) That was the first day of the year on which I’d not shaved; even when I was on a business trip, I made sure to lug along my razor. But hey, let me just pick a regular old day of the week – no special circumstances, nothing really going on that’s unusual – and lapse then.

Yesterday, I got back on the wagon, so to speak; I’m clean-shaven again. Hopefully it was a one-day lapse and nothing more.

But then I was thinking about it: Why? Why is it a big deal to me? Why is something so trivial seeming to loom so large?

What if I have another day like that, like yesterday, where I struggle so much to write? Do I just shrug my shoulders and … not do it?

To me, I think it comes down to persistence and the reason for it.

I don’t think shaving is that big of a deal, really. It’s just a personal thing; it’s not even especially a hygiene thing. (I just dislike being scruffy.) Lapsing with shaving causes a focus on my ability to commit, not my willingness to shave my face. That’s what upset me about it (if “upset” is the right word) – it’s the failure of commitment, not the act itself. I don’t believe in the cult of the clean face.

Writing is a little different. With writing, I’m trying to form a habit and I’m trying to fulfill a commitment. I believe in what I’m trying to do here. A failure to write is, actually, a bigger failure than a failure to scrape off my nascent beard.

That’s not to say that the overall impact is necessarily greater – in the end, if I don’t write on a given day, all I’ve done is taken a day off. I’d be disappointed (just as I am with my shaving) but the world wouldn’t end.

But because I believe in the result I’m trying to create by writing, the shadow is larger.

Is that contradictory? “It matters, but it doesn’t really matter, even though it matters,” is what I feel like I’ve said. And I actually think it matters… even though it doesn’t really matter… but it kinda does matter, even so.

This is why, even though I’m trying to avoid editing myself, I have to edit myself; if I don’t, what I write tends to be a mess of contradictory gibberish that only I could read and understand and agree with. Be happy I’m not transcribing my actual word associations (yet)!

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