It’s been a strange time–for a few weeks I had nothing but ideas. Now I am struggling to put together enough paragraphs to update this blog. I hate it when blogs start out with, “I’m sorry I haven’t been around…blablabla,” but here it is.
I started writing a post about imposter syndrome. I thought of writing a post about meeting other artists and the scarcity complex, but in general I am like the dregs at the bottom of a burnt cup of coffee. I don’t want to self-express in public. I want to lock myself up in a cabin somewhere and spend every day hiking until my legs give out.
I’m in Portland for a few days, home of the creative person, doing a freelance assignment for a music trade magazine, taking pictures of street art and trying to find a cup of coffee that’s not burnt. I was in Seattle a couple of days ago and could not find a bad cup of coffee if I tried. Every single cup, black, was perfect. Smooth dark heaven. Here? Not so much. In fact, not at all. Expletives have been plentiful in my brain. I need good coffee. Like my friend Bucky said, “Dude, it’s all we have left. We have to obsess over it.” I don’t have cigarettes, pills, alcohol or bad behavior anymore. What I have is a need for good coffee.
Anyhow, lately I’m thinking about writing–what it is I’m going to work on next, the Beast Crawl coming up, the two music gigs I’m playing in June, the side project I’m trying to get off the ground–and I’m also just trying to be a human being. I’m thinking about other writers who are more successful than me and me trying to find my balance and my voice amidst the cacophony of noise about where, when, how and what to publish. I’m trying to listen to the silence in nature and find my path in the empty spaces, cultivating what I need to cultivate before I send it out, without the pressure of trying to fit in and be awesome and accepted and part of the group dynamic. Most things take time, especially art.
Speaking of not fitting in–I snuck in a kettlebell competition while I was in Washington. I expected to do as good as I did in Hawaii, and was aiming for master of sport. First off, I was in flight 20 of 20 flights, which means I didn’t compete until around 3pm when the competition started at 9:30am. I watched the people from my gym and the Orange Kettlebell Club do amazing sets, pushing through until the very end.
I don’t know what happened when I finally went up. I used a bell that was differently shaped than my normal bell. I didn’t feel strong. I struggled through the first few minutes, hitting my goal reps per minute and then I lost all my steam. I knew I should switch hands, but I decided to push out one more rep because it was a minute before I was supposed to switch. I lost the bell. My legs had been weak, shaky, and I was tired. I’d had little sleep and hadn’t eaten enough that day or the day before, but had trained super hard for weeks. Three days previous, I had eked out 103 reps with that same bell. I needed 106 to get master of sport. I got 42 on one arm before it all went to shit.
Everyone else kicked ass. I mean kicked ass! Whatever. The worst part was that after I dropped the bell, some guy tried to give me advice on how to do a ten minute set. I just looked at him like, “Wtf.” It really irritated me. I do kettlebell because it’s a sport women can kick ass at too. Dude bros who lift don’t usually give me shit at competitions, they say, “Good lifting,” and pat me on the back. To be given advice (and none of the guys who dropped their bells were being given advice after their sets) as if I hadn’t been training and didn’t know how to breath right was obnoxious. But I bombed so hard and looked like a girl who couldn’t lift and my ego got bruised something fierce. Which is probably a good thing for me.
It’s very good to fail sometimes. I can’t tell you why yet, only that John, Juliet’s coach walked over to me and gave me a hug after my set and told me that everyone drops the bell at some point. Also, towards the end, when they were giving out medals, he came over and got me from the corner of the gym and brought me over to where everyone was sitting. And I got a medal, third place out of five people in my weight class, for doing the worst set I’ve ever done with the 16kg yellow bell.
I don’t understand what happened, probably never will. All I know is I felt invisible, again. I couldn’t prove myself with my muscles. Just like sometimes I can’t prove myself with my writing or music–I can’t tell you how many tryouts I’ve had with music or playing my songs in front of people where it just fell flat.
The worst part is knowing you can do better and watching yourself fail and having to accept it. There’s a place for failure. I just am not sure where exactly. The only thing I know is failure can only lead to success if you don’t let it get you down.