The Thing with Teeth that Lives in the Dark

The thing with teeth that lives in the dark with that stupid little voice was after me yesterday—“What do you think you are doing? Who do you think you are? Do you really think anybody cares?”

Picture by Cubby

I was tired, but I was trying to push my way through it, and as a result, the posts I wrote were dull.  If it were just about me, I wouldn’t mind, but one was for Girl Effect.  And, when I went and looked at some of the other blog posts written for the event, I felt weak and worthless in comparison.  I want to help this cause, but I used up most of what I had and there was nothing left to give it, just a whisper.

Then I started obsessing about my blog stats, and started to tell myself, after only two and a half weeks, “well, it was a nice ride, but nobody is going to keep reading this thing if I keep writing sh*t like this, which knowing me, I probably will.”  And it started, “I’m so tired.”

I stopped myself.  I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.  I centered myself and asked: am I blocking some truth that is trying to be born, or am I laboring without limit to manifest something else? Am I being unkind to myself, either by getting in my own way or pushing too hard? 

Turns out I wasn’t honoring my limits.  I had spent the morning dealing with a difficult work situation, then worked out with my trainer (who I pay to push me) after already having walked the dogs for an hour, spent the morning baking cookies and putting together snacks for my students, who were doing a reading in class that day, and spent at least two hours writing–I had done a good day’s work.  I decided to give myself credit for that, and went to bed at 7 p.m.

Then today, I was gifted with so much loving support and encouragement.  First thing, there was an email from a dear friend from high school (25 years ago) who is one of my kind and gentle readers, thanking me for writing this blog. It brought tears to my eyes, the fact that someone I loved and admired was being encouraged by my struggle, my willingness to share it.

Then a new post from Jennifer Gresham at Everyday Bright reviewing Jonathan Fields‘ new book Uncertainty. The book trailer for it made me cry, so I was really interested to see what Jen had thought about it.

In her review, she said “Because what it tells us is that we’re so worried about what other people think, we’re all so caught up in our reflection through others, that it’s stifling the very trait (creativity) that helps us stand out and do amazing work…So if you want to be more creative, you don’t need an art class. Just work on dealing with your fear of judgement.”  Wow.  Yeah…

And then, a new post from the Positivity Blog, “7 Common Habits of Unhappy People.”  It’s a great post, because it gives the list and strategies for breaking those habits.  I found the list very interesting.  It goes like this:

  1. Aiming for perfection.
  2. Living in a sea of negative voices.
  3. Getting stuck in the past and future too much.
  4. Comparing yourself and your life to others and their lives.
  5. Focusing on the negative details in life.
  6. Limiting life because you believe the world revolves around you.
  7. Over-complicating life.

Yikes.  It’s like Henrik Edberg, the author of this blog, was following me around for the last 20 years and taking notes about how I was getting it all wrong.  This could spin me out into a pity party about how much time I’ve wasted, and how I still struggle with so many things on this list and I am never going to be able to figure it all out so why do I even bother, but instead I see it as a good sign–I am figuring this stuff out.  I see when I am doing these things, and even though I am not always able to stop myself from acting, I am getting better at forgiving myself, for realizing that the next time it happens, I’ll just try again.

And also, from Leo Babauta at, a new post called “Become a God of Learning Your Trade.”  In it, he says: “It’s not always easy to do what you love, because:

  • You aren’t sure you’re good at it.
  • You don’t know if it will work.
  • You don’t know if people will like it.
  • You don’t know how to get better.
  • You doubt your ability to succeed.
  • You might spend months working on something, only to have it fail.”

But there’s hope.  He says that “I have a method for beating them. And it’s a simple trick. Do it in public, and get immediate feedback” and “Blogging is one of the best ways to do something in public.” Well, okay!

And finally, from the lovely Jen Lemen, a poem by Charles Bukowski, “The Laughing Heart,” offered in her latest post. It begins with the lines:

“your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.”

There is a light somewhere.  I see it shining in every one of these loving people who offered me support and encouragement today, and the others who did before, and the rest who will do so later.  I am loved.  There are so many good things. I am doing some things right.  And I am getting support and encouragement to keep trying.  Right now, that’s enough.  I am enough.

  • If I forget the light, you remind me, and I’ll do the same for you. Deal?

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