Tragically Ordinary Thoughts, Reflecting on Failure

Monday, June 12, 2017
Ariel Reverie
I’ve been a little distracted lately. It’s not that I’m not doing anything or creating anything. It’s not that I haven’t been writing and submitting scripts to contests, or posting my resume to various job boards. It’s not that I haven’t planned almost every detail of my web series and my proposed funding campaign. 

It’s not inactivity that is making me feel as if I am being propelled away from where I want to be, it’s just this persistent static feeling that no matter what project I complete or plan that I make, there is no forward motion. I feel no amount of acceleration. I want my dreams to be palpable, I want to be able to feel their weight in my palms. There is something deafening about not being able to quantify your worth. 

            Each writing submission that I’ve done in the past month has requested a short biography, where I always take the opportunity to rewrite the various ways in which I am a wanderer. I get engrossed in my surroundings, almost absorbed by their perceived complexity. I imagine this feeling of my mind drifting from my body to be something like growing up in a backyard forest that is always, always stretching. And you’re just standing there, aging slowly, observing through the glass. I draft versions of this feeling, ones that don’t make me sound like a crazy lady, to give an accurate portrayal of me, like a self-portrait that nobody understands but compliments anyway because they don’t want to offend you, and then I hit “send” in hopes that I don’t sound too panicked. Good thing writing doesn’t show the desperate claw marks of me trying to escape my impending insignificance.

            It’s not that I lack confidence, really. I have the same invisible and terribly fragile force inside of me called faith, just like everybody else. I believe I am talented; it’s not my innate skepticism that is getting me down. Maybe I am fixated on ruin. 

I have an awful habit of collecting my alleged faults, like one might gather silver dollars to arrange in a coin book. I save all the rejection letters, take screenshots of every no thank you, please try again next year’s and various other thinly veiled insults. And in an immediate stroke of plunged self-assurance, all I see is rows of “declined” or “status: closed” like patterned wallpaper, if wallpaper had the ability to mock your failures in herringbone. I don’t know what it is about obsessively recounting my unsuccessful attempts at gaining recognition for my writing, but I can hardly recover its initial charm with every “no.” On the other hand, maybe I am endlessly impatient.

            I was halfway through my first screenplay when I was galvanized by the impact of the dialogue. The female protagonist is tormenting herself with the memory of her dead boyfriend that she recreates in her present relationships, resulting in self-sabotage. A stranger jokes with her about the world ending in the literal sense and she replies with, “You would be surprised in which the ways a world could end.” I began to wonder if my life was filled with little explosions that I ignited myself.

             Before I reflect more, I have to admit that 1) my brain is basically a labyrinth filled with false doors and staircases that don’t lead anywhere and the map was intentionally mislabeled by a disturbed and psychotic person who is definitely getting a rise out of it now from their grave, and 2) am not overdramatic. I just can’t skip over any words and I’ve never been one to skim through a book. If something allows itself pause, I will entertain it until I’ve cemented it as a part of who I am. Like how I’ve listened to “From Gold” by Novo Amor on repeat for hours stuck on the two background notes that gradually start to rumble as if I’m measured in 100 bpm. Like how I was drawn into the electricity of the word galvanize and elected it as a part of my speech. Like how a character says something so authentic and chaotic as if she was an extension of my own hurt and I couldn’t let her go unnoticed.

            I’ve haunted myself with these persistent thoughts the past couple of months after feeling tragically ordinary. Though skeptical, I am not cynical. I would consider myself a fatal optimist, in that my positivity and enthusiasm will probably be the thing that kills me, if it’s not first from ending up as a suburban housewife who trades pie recipes with the other neighborhood moms. I can visualize success, but I seem to spend most of my time now deterred by uncertainty. But, I am more than the trepidation that consumes me. I am something to be valued. Despite all of the losses, time has to allocate some victories, right? Here’s to looking up again, for now.
Ariel Reverie
Ariel ReverieAriel Reverie

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