When I was younger, I lied a lot. I don’t know why, really. I’d make up stories for no reason at all. I’d tell lies so often that sometimes I’d get confused between what was real and what wasn’t. To this day there are some parts of my childhood which I’m not entirely sure about. Was my third grade teacher a witch? Probably not. Could I move things with my eyes like Matilda? Doubtful. Did I have a guardian angel named Chris? Unlikely. Did Santa write me a letter when I was eight? YES and I have the letter to prove it! [Apparently I wasn’t the only one making things up]. I grew out of the unnecessary lying, of course, but I’d like to believe that maybe it was an early indicator that when I grew up, I’d be a writer. That one day I would make things up for a living.
We all lie sometimes. Anyone who says they don’t is, quite frankly, lying to themselves. There’s nothing wrong with a little white lie here and there. In fact I’m quite sure society would crumble if everyone was forced to tell the truth one hundred percent of the time. No more telling your friend that you only just saw their text about hanging out that day when in reality you were binge-watching The Vampire Diaries in your pyjamas and didn’t want to go anywhere*. No more telling your grandmother that the meal she made was delicious when in reality not even your dog would eat the bits you were dropping under the table. No more acting like you care when someone is telling you a really long, really boring story and all you can think about is getting away as quickly as possible so you can go home and binge watch The Vampire Diaries in your pyjamas**. Yep, there’s nothing wrong with a little lie here and there. But lately…Lately I’ve been lying a lot. Not about having super powers or a guardian angel, but about something just as fantastical. It’s getting out of control. It’s just one lie, really. One that I tell myself. One that comes in the form of a single word.
I’ll do it tomorrow.
Tomorrow will be better.
I’ll work so hard tomorrow.
I still have tomorrow.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.
You may have noticed that this blog has had a metaphorical tumbleweed blowing through it for over a month now. I kept promising myself that the ever elusive tomorrow will be better, that I will chain myself to my laptop and finish Blame and write a million short stories to enter in a million competitions and become the person I want to be. Tomorrow. But the thing is, once ‘tomorrow’ became ‘today’, I had a fresh set of lies to tell myself about how life will be brighter and the words will be easier tomorrow.
I write a lot about being motivated and yay dreams, but the reality of the situation is that there are going to be more hard times than you anticipate. It’s going to be hard more often than it’s going to be easy. You are going to fail more than you are going to succeed. I feel like I’m failing right now. I’m 7 months into my “reduced-work so I can write more” year and I keep thinking, what the hell have been doing all year? What have I achieved? Although I know it’s not true, my overwhelming urge is to say NOTHING. I have achieved NOTHING. Honestly I don’t know what I expected to have achieved by this point. I don’t think I really had any expectations. Maybe just that there wouldn’t be days when I’d rather binge-watch The Vampire Diaries in my pyjamas than write***. That even when it got hard, I wouldn’t stumble and wallow around in self-doubt anymore because yay dreams fight for what you believe in work hard sparkly rainbows and unicorns. Although some days I am all yay dreams fight for what you believe in work hard sparkly rainbows and unicorns, most days it’s an uphill battle. It’s a cliché I know, but some days you feel so strong, and then other days you’re like…What the f#%k am I doing? I can’t really believe in this dream…Can I?
And this is a big BUT.
Someone once said that dreams are worthless. And when you think about, dreams ARE worthless…On their own. It’s the steps you take to achieve that dream that count. Without the work behind it, a dream is nothing more than a meaningless word, much like tomorrow is just a lie you tell yourself to justify what you’re doing now. “I’ll start my diet tomorrow,” you say as you reach for a second piece of cake. “I’ll work out tomorrow,” you think as you eye the cobwebs forming along the bottom of your treadmill. “I’ll write more tomorrow,” I think as I turn off my laptop and read a book instead. We’ve all been there. I’m sure some of us do start our diets tomorrow or work out tomorrow or magically become the person we picture in our heads tomorrow, but for most of us, tomorrow never comes. It’s a myth, just like my teacher being a witch in the third grade, my telekinesis in the fifth grade or my guardian angel in the seventh grade. It is a promise that is stretched so much that it curves into the shape of a lie.
So. What is to be done about this? This part we know: Suck it up. Allow yourself to have off days or days when you’d rather binge-watch The Vampire Diaries in your pyjamas than be productive, but don’t let it become a habit. Do one thing every day that brings you closer to your dreams, even if it’s just something small like writing 100 words, eating a piece of fruit instead of a piece of cake or doing 20 sit ups. I think the main reason people give up is because there are about a billion steps between this is my dream and this dream is now my reality. And they aren’t straight forward steps either; they are steep and twisty and they go through a totally creepy forest with spiders and monsters and it’s dark and most of the time you don’t even know where you are going or how far you still have to go to reach the end. A lot of people get lost along the way and decide to turn back the way they came. Even more people take the tomorrow detour, not realising that if they follow that path for too long, it quickly becomes the never-gonna-happen express. I’ve been on the tomorrow detour for a few weeks now, but it’s time to get back on the right track. The steps I need to take may be through a totally creepy forest with bears that eat faces and fog that causes you to break out in painful boils like in Catching Fire, but it’s the only path for me. I know this because I’ve been having recurring dreams about writing (like actually just sitting at my desk and writing), about the story I (was) am working on, and about a story that I haven’t started writing but I think I need to write it if only to get it out of my dreams and out of my brain. My brain is telling me to quit expecting things to be magically better tomorrow and get to work TODAY. After all, you know what they say...Yesterday is history and tomorrow hasn’t happened yet, so the only chance we have is today. Today, today, today. Ooo-woah-oh-oh.
Title Lyrics: ‘Attack’ by Thirty Seconds To Mars
*I’ve never done that…
***Okay I’ve totally done that. Often. Whoospie. Xo
UPDATE: You know I often use song lyrics to name my blog posts, and now that I think about it, it’s interesting that I chose lyrics from Attack to name this one because the first verse goes:
I won’t suffer
Surrender to nothing
Or give up what I started
If that’s not a giant neon sign from The Universe telling me to get myself together, then I don’t know what is.