Things I Have Learned

I’m almost done with this manuscript.

Last minute changes, editing commas and the like, it’s tedious, but not overtly taxing.

It’s allowed me some time to reflect on things I’ve learned in the process of writing this puppy, and not just that I have a tendency to use unnecessary commas (see last comma).

I started what’s now been renamed (about 4 days ago) Requiem For A Doormat (previously Dead Talker) as an attempt to write a worthwhile novel while exorcising my depression through its creation.

RFaD (as I’m sure all of the cool kids will call it when it blows up the underground) is dark. It’s bleak. It’s at times intentionally bathed in a hopelessness that makes it seem as though the author’s philosophy (my philosophy) is one of utter fatalism. Nihilism without the freeing aspects.

About six drafts in, while writing essays on each chapter to both clarify the approach, the intent and intended meaning behind each one, I realized something.

I didn’t have to end this in tragedy.

I mean, it could and maybe might, but at the end of the day, if I wanted to truly learn something from this, something that would help me exorcise the black dog demon out of my life, I had to refute my thesis.

No matter how bleak, how isolated, how filled with guilt and shame the main character gets, no matter how noir, it was up to me to show something at the end that pushed back at all of that.

That conquered it, even if it doesn’t necessarily save the day (hey, I’m trying to be cryptic here – tragedy or triumph? *insert spooky noise* No one knows).

I’d like to save that revelation for the release, but it definitely ended up in the absolute truths section of my world.

These are the things I know:

We are all free, always.
Everything is practice for something.
Every step is a step forward.

Of course, in my quest to play devil’s advocate on any question, situation or belief, up to and including the shit that goes on in my head, I would like to point out that while outwardly positive, these are intentionally neutral.

Total freedom means total personal responsibility for our reactions and behaviour.

Sounds awesome but that can be terrifying. Immobilizing. In our pursuit of our denial of this truth and the avoidance of that responsibility, we can end up with serious psychological and behavioural defects. See Donald Trump. He thinks he’s free, but do you think he accepts any responsibility for that fact?

We could be practicing bad behaviour.

Every step forward leads us closer to the end.

See? Neutral. It’s all about focus.

What we focus on becomes our reality. Not literally, like a lot of New Agers will tell you, but in how whatever does happen plays out.

Focus on how pointless everything is and everything will seem pointless.

Focus on how difficult taking responsibility for yourself is and you won’t want to.

Focus on how meaningful certain relationships are to you and you’ll likely see those relationships improve, because they are meaningful to you and you don’t want to lose them.

Focus on how taking responsibility for yourself allows you a myriad more options, and you’ll find yourself more self-sufficient and more empowered.

Take that focus too far and you’ll find yourself overworked, if you insist on doing everything yourself.

Part of being responsible for your own behaviour is understanding that you can help others and that you can let others help you.

The end goal is happiness, maximized for everyone, as much as possible.

Focus on that, and maybe, unlike me, you won’t need to write an allegorical novel with probably way too little subtext on depression for the purposes of exorcism and understanding.

Or maybe you will. In the end, we’re all free to do as we will. The trick is whether we understand that and then, what we do with that understanding.

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