I don’t do rants very often; they’re counter productive and unattractive and downright whingeing. I’m all for meticulous counting of blessings and as far as is reasonable, looking on the bright side of everything.
But I can only stay positive for so long in the face of overwhelming patterns of negativity. And I have noticed once more a pattern in my life that is bugging the hell out of me.
Let me backtrack to the trigger. This recent brush with a possible new job has reminded me how often I have been on the very brink of something exciting and life changing, only to have it inexplicably withdrawn at the very last moment. I was on the train, on my way to an interview where I was considered the strongest of three candidates, when I get told the interview is cancelled. Nothing I can do, nothing I have done; it’s a fait accompli, someone else’s decision.
Over and over, the same thing has happened. Something comes up, it seems to be the very auspicious start of something important and then, flop, it dies. I confess I had a horrible fear of standing at the altar, and finding my groom had developed second thoughts and had gone to Marrakesh to ‘find himself’, but getting(and staying married) has been the one thing that has not turned into dust before it reached fruition. Going through the various stages of submissions to publishers and agents has had the same frustrating and maddening processes crop up again and again. A publisher contacts me, excited about the MS I have sent, telling me how much they like it and so on. Then, they change their mind: the slot they thought they had is no longer available, or some other reason. Or they like the initial sample chapters but find they don’t ‘love’ the whole thing. Or the agent who took me on who tried a few of his tame publishers(whom he’d obviously thought of to start with) and when they were unable to take the novel, dropped me without ever bothering to actually tell me why. That one still hurts a LOT.
It’s been the same with a fairly large number of other things, where it has seemed that something big was about to start, only to have it fizzle out before it came to anything. I am not talking about times where I have built castles in the air and been busy choosing the curtains when the dream ended, but all manner of projects and ideas, where someone else has contacted me to work on it.
Can someone please tell me just what am I doing wrong? I follow up as far as is possible with things, I work hard and yet, things just wither in the bud before they bloom. It’s happened often enough now to be a very obvious pattern in my life and I’m sick of it. It’s like living at a perpetual stutter, always in preparation for some elusive something that never really lives. Imagine constantly getting pregnant, and within weeks or months, having the baby die inside you and never finding out why or what you can do to prevent it happening again. That’s what it feels like.
In the end it’s not about this stupid job that never came to anything but about this pattern that repeats at regular intervals. I ask again: what am I doing wrong?
Rant over, thank you for listening.
I do not think you are doing anything wrong, in fact I greatly admire your tenacity, but it is difficult when one has all of these separate disasters and the only thing they seem to have in common is … oneself. The only way I know to cushion oneself from the effects of this is to forever have several things on the go at once. That way I find I get very slightly less invested in all of them and the inevitable disappointment is ameliorated by just turning the page and working on something else, instead.
yes, that’s good advice. I always have a lot of things on the go, but there is always something compelling and numinous about these projects that wither(usually because someone else withdraws interest) and its getting to be a really bummer. It makes me think, why bother?
I’m also inclined to blame myself for pretty much anything and everything that goes wrong in the world.
I’d just like something to go well, and lead to something concrete; you know, the kind of thing that is easy to sum up for an epitaph rather than hundreds of smaller things, the minor triumphs. It’s probably just the OCD bitch in me, wanting something to be tidy and neat.
I’m glad you got that out. But you’ll start worrying it again, won’t you? I could go through and give you reasonable responses, but you will have thought of them all yourself. The only one you need to believe is: It’s not me; it’s them. It must feel wretchedly disheartening.
Will listen anytime. Rant away – it’s healthier than bottling.
The thing I gnaw at all the time is how flipping close I got to a publishing contract, and had it taken away several times at the last moment. Final straw was the agent; last time I went to see him, he appeared to be under the impression I was someone else….I have yet to find an adequate explanation for his behaviour~ how he went from being extremely keen on my work to forgetting who I was in a matter of months. Alzheimers has crossed my mind.
Of course, having self published now, I have probably burned all bridges in that respect.
I just worry that somehow I have failed somewhere to follow through, be pushy enough or brave and daring enough to get through on the back of some small triumph(winning poetry contests, or getting stuff published in journals or whatever). I don’t expect the world to move for me, but maybe I don’t do enough to ensure that things don’t just stop.
*sigh* thanks Margo. It’s been one of those days. Husband is on his way back from a business trip to Luxembourg, and daughter and I are having a chinese takeaway for dinner to celebrate her latest succesful assignment/essay for her degree. Small things but worthy ones.
As somebody has already said, you may have invested too much. But why, you will still ask? Perhaps you are living in a world which died in the 70’s? Just a thought; it seems that everybody in the world is now treating each other like s**t. On the larger scale it’s your politicians, your bankers, your media moguls. It is my experience that everybody with any say, influence or power is out to crap on everybody else to make a fast buck. Grab it now and don’t worry about the future, I’ll have moved on and won’t be here when the excrement hits the fan. It’s the same in local government. I don’t know how many times some flash git has arrived in our local council and had a “brilliant idea” (and hasn’t checked whether it’s been done before) spends the dough, puts it on her/his CV and goes somewhere else at a greater salary and leaves us to put it back where it was. I don’t reckon anybody cares about others any more. So? I just wonder whether you haven’t been getting around enough to realise that it’s not your fault, it’s just how things are. Sorry for ranting on your rant! X
Hmm back atcha Ian.
In essence you are saying I am naive, are you not? That I have not been about enough to notice?
You couldn’t be more wrong, and if I am naive, I am proud to have kept some vestige of idealism alive. I teeter on the brink of becoming a cynic and turn back.
Just because “that’s how things are” is no reason to accept it. I am far from convinced there has ever been a time where people cared any more than they do now; I’ve read enough Roman and Greek literature to know that what you say here mirrors what was said several thousand years ago.
I spent some time wondering if it were my fault and I agree it is not my fault and it is how things are. But what to do, what to do in response? That’s the really big question. become one of them and seek my own fortune and devi take the hindmost? or carry on trying to treat each person as I would wish to be treated EVEN if this means my own demise?
I don’t know.
I believe that people do care, but the moment many get their hands on money, power, or influence, the sheer fear of losing them change how people view both themselves and the world.
In terms of this job, I invested very little beyond daydreams but in other things, believing them to be a part of the reason I am alive, then yes, I probably invested too much. But it is who and what I am and so I guess I can expect to get hurt. Doesn’t stop it hurting though.
Don’t think you’re naive, at least I don’t think so. But my rant wasn’t meant to be balanced, it was a rant.
” ….. carry on trying to treat each person as I would wish to be treated ….”
I think that is the answer. Or at least what one has to do if that is the task in life one takes on by seeking the ideal. But in what way does it mean your demise? That is what I am unsure about in your reply.
Yesterday, while in London, I bumped into someone who was a dear friend, twenty years ago. We lost touch when he moved and we had a young families. He told me a story of how his life had taken a turn for the worse and so on ….. could I lend him some money? So was he so far down the tubes that he was conning me, or was he genuinely in trouble?
I’d always go for the latter. If he was someone I once knew, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.
As for demise, Ian, well, one of these days it’s going to get me into fatal trouble of one sort or another, because I do my level best to treat each person not merely as they are now but as they have the potential to be(a paraphrase of something Goethe said) and while the chances are most times that means people will move towards being better than they are as a result of being consistently treated as such, the opposite can be true too. Remember, I had a relationship with a psychopath when I was very young and almost got myself deaded then!(thank you Eccles!). It also comes down to the whole thing of putting others needs before my own, and how sometimes that means I may put off seeking help for myself until it is too late.
But that is a whole load of weary words on a Friday evening and I have dinner in the oven and a nice bottle of red to open…
we have This in common.
It is better to get the married part right.
I am so thankful for my wife.
Sometimes I have to say This to myself again and again:
Only one life
Soon to pass
only what’s done for Christ
My dad taught me something similar: this(whatever this is) will pass.
I’m remembering your post about popular blogs and those not so popular — and while not exactly similar lines of thought to the disappointments and near misses described in your current post, they both seem to me unsolvable mysteries. There’s no “Who done it?” to point a finger at.
So I instead say how much I admire you for being a risk-taker and for pursuing your dreams. And for speaking your truth. And most of all, for not playing life safe to avoid being sorry.
You’re an inspiration on all counts.
Thanks Janell. That means a lot to me.
You have the answer, Viv – you do know it. Hopefully you have someone who can listen deeply and ask you the questions you need to dig it out of yourself.
I can tell you what I do when things don’t seem to be falling into place. I crawl into God’s lap with total abandon and surrender. “I can’t do this; You can. Please help.” Then I just let God hold me. Sometimes I hear the comfort. Sometimes the solution. Sometimes nothing. I just have to trust.
It’s not easy to accept this when the hurt is fresh, but there is purpose to all things. Even though the flames are gone, I trust the ember sits beneath the ash. The embers always spark a new log.
As I wait, I strive to honestly see where I have self-sabotaged through negative self-talk. I can think negatives about myself that I would never lay on a friend. The negativity blocks the goodness that is waiting for our claim.
Hope that’s not preachy – or a bunch of meringue! 🙂
Not preachy but peachy!!
I had a long conversation with an old friend(old in the sense of having known each other more than half our lives; met first when she was 17 and I 18)this morning and the same thing exactly came up: trusting God.
I chose not to list the many many things that have died in the womb, in the last few years, partly because to count them would be to invite bitterness, but there have been many. People who have promised things and then walked away without even saying sorry, I can’t do it. Thing is, that I accept readily: life happens, and we can’t always do what we said we’d do. But I prefer to be told. I don’t judge someone as failing if they tell me they can’t do it, that’s cool with me. We’re human. Things don’t go right, never mind, just tell me. I think the fact that my agent has failed to answer letters or emails or phone calls annoys me more than if he’d just said, “I made a mistake now please just bugger off and leave me alone!”
ah I am ranting again. Sorry!!!
Like someone said before me – you are obviously someone who pursues her dreams and that is always going to make you vulnerable to disappointment. I really understand how you feel – just when you think something is going well, something happens at the last minute to take you from the path you were set on.
I am not very good at dealing with those situations as it does begin to feel as if nothing is ever going to go smoothly but hang on in there. I have always been told I expect too much of other people, but I cling to the hope that people will do the right thing in the end and that is better than bitter, if you see what I mean…
I thought you’d know what I mean. I expect the best of people and as I have said to Ian below, this is something that Goethe said would bring people to better things.
I guess also it’s not about the destination but the journey and in all honesty, it’s been an extraordinary one so far. better that than being bitter, as you so wisely say.
Sometimes, though, you do just wish something important would go right, but Bill Bailey(the comedian) said, “It only took me 20 years to become an overnight success.” The stories of instant success for artists and writers and so on rarely report the sheer hard slog that usually preceded the “instant” bestsellers.
Wish I knew the answer to your question, Viv. I’m having similar issues in my own life. My theory is that this is part of something bigger than us and because we only see our tiny fraction of the picture, we don’t understand the reasons behind the happenings of our lives. My own issue is with a holding pattern that seems to be keeping me stuck. A whole lot of hurry up and wait. I’m sooooooooooo tired of it!
Hope you find some resolution soon, maybe it’ll be contagious 😉
I sincerely hope so too. It would be nice to see a cascade effect of lots of creative folks all coming unstuck at the same time, wouldn’t it??
It’s not you, Viv, it’s the other people. They don’t know what they want and keep changing their mind. I’ve had that problem with artists, and friends. A pattern like yours emerged with men, I started wondering if it was me doing something wrong.
In the end you give up trying to find/create that perfect team you dream of and do the things yourself. I’ve found it’s the only way that works for me – but then, I’m a sociopath and happily single (because I never met The One or because I did something wrong? I don’t know and I don’t care anymore)!
not convinced but glad you are!!
I know how you feel, I’m stuck in the same rut myself. Although the urge to just curl in on myself and give up is nearly overwhelming, I keep reminding myself if I don’t take chances and put myself out there I can be guaranteed nothing will happen. It isn’t easy, the self-loathing threatens to derail me with every rejection (whether perceived or actual) and it’s virtually impossible not to come to the conclusion that there’s something intrinsically wrong with me that makes it happen so often. Then I take a look around at all the other talented, intelligent, perfectly wonderful people I know and admire . . . who are going through exactly the same thing. That’s when I remind myself that bad shit happens to good people for no reason and struggle on. Whatever you do, don’t give up and don’t abandon who you are to try and conform to the vagaries of the universe, it may not be any better . . . and even if it is, would it mean as much? Rant, then breathe deep, drink a cup of tea and be content in yourself and go on.
I give up like some people give up smoking, for a week or less and then I start again!
I sometimes wonder if it is to do with the fact that the things I see as worthwhile and valuable are actually so far beyond me that I am probably making the gods laugh by trying for them, like a child trying to scoop the moon from the pond.
There is something cosmic(for want of a better word) going on right now; not automatically malignant but certainly challenging and harsh at times.
Knowing you are not alone is a great comfort, so a big thank you for being here and commenting.