I love that word, it says so much. Mediocre, average, ordinary, pedestrian, unexceptional, and the list goes on. My entire life I’ve feared being mundane, and loathed the thought that I was average, or just like everyone else. Middle of the pack, or normal seemed an insult to me. So, I strived and I worked hard and I pushed myself towards the areas I seemed to have aptitude. Keeping in mind that even as a child, my only dream was to find a person that I could make my entire life, and I in return would be theirs.
I’ve always been aware I wasn’t average, I was better than average, if I applied myself I was the curve by which the others were judged. However, and here is where it stings, I was never extraordinary or exceptional, I was just slightly above average. This applied to my intelligence, my ability to learn, my memory, my athletic prowess, even my looks and now, as I look back, even in my ability to love, I was just a hair above the rest.
Some of you might ask, “What’s so wrong with that?”
My answer? It sucks because I am fully aware of how close, and yet how far away I truly am from making any of my many endeavors a real success. Just like me, everything I’ve attempted to succeed at, has only partially prospered. Right down to my relationships, which seem nothing more than a total mirror of my life in general. Always near that place of greatness, close and within sight, but not reachable, not achievable, impossible.
I’ve worn myself out, my mind and body, and now I realize my heart is right there with the rest of me. What do I want? Two different, unrelated people asked me that very question this week. My mouth opens to offer an answer and nothing comes out. I shrug. I don’t want anymore. I want nothing, I crave nothing. I know that to want and crave and hope means to be denied, and if not denied, the work required is much too exhausting for the eventual outcome to be fully enjoyed.
So yeah, I’ve spent my life knowing I was close to special, but not quite. I’ve been near to the gold ring only to have it mercilessly snatched from my grasp. I’ve been attractive, but not enough, I’ve been passionate, and real and honest, but maybe too much? I’ve toiled with not a scrap to show for it. I’ve loved without reciprocation. I’ve applied myself physically and mentally, and still not found satisfaction or reward.
Yeah, yeah, I know the affirmationists are chanting, “It could be worse!”
I call bullshit on that whole logic. Worse than what? Worse than knowing you were close to a raging success, but never permitted to fulfill your potential? Always one obvious step behind? Close to brilliant, but oh sorry, not enough to be anything special. Close to talented enough to go to the Olympics, oh so sad, if only you’d been born to different parents and had the funding to follow your true capabilities?
And what about that whole relationship thing? Yeah, close to real love, close to that kind of mated for life, soul mates crap, but nope, sorry, you don’t get that. Instead you get friendship without passion, desire without fulfillment, and an appetite without a meal to sate. My lifelong ache to be in a relationship that can ascend past shelter and food, now seems a total fairy tale, a true impossibility. Who can be expected to have any passion left for life, let alone a partner, when the act of survival is all encompassing?
I often think it would have been easier to be less than average and totally unaware of my own lacks and stupidity. Much easier to swallow the pill I am now forced to take daily.
And no, to all of you chanting, “You’re not too old to still accomplish all that you ever wished for.”
Of course I’m not too old, but the sad truth is, I’m just too tired. Too tired to fully love, think, dream, hope or care. Don’t you dare give me the bwah? Look. Too tired to love? To dream? Yup, and if you’re honest with yourself, you know all that stuff takes work and energy as well. Maybe it’s just me? Maybe I was indeed born with a broken heart and my reserves were low to start with. I’ll give you that, might just be me. I know I can be hard to take and I know I’m a big personality, and you either love me or hate me. I shrug, very few love me, so on top of it all, I am thinking I might be the one at the audition that can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but thinks they are a wonderful singer.
I told a friend I thought I had dreams and hope as synonymous words, which made me really think on that for well over a week. To me, dreams intones a possibility that, me as the individual can accomplish them, maybe at some point, an outline for a future that I need to work at. Hopes on the other hand are a wish for intervention; be it fates, or a divine holy power, or even other humans that might help and deliver on said hopes.
So no, they are not the same word, although to me, I’ve lost both; dreams and hopes just don’t fly anymore. They appease and pacify a lonely heart, but they don’t really help in the end. They seem a futile way of calming my angst and my constant need to scream, “Is this it? Really!!! This can’t be it! There has to be more!”
Now, I once again find myself investing in one of my small talents. My ability to tell a story and author those tales into printable words. It is so much work! So hard to write twenty thousand words a week consistently. I’ve been working at this for about three solid years now, and although I’ve gotten much, much better, I still see my lack of the academic as a giant hole in my development; and sadly, I find I am mediocre in comparison to any authors that are a success. I read their works and I marvel at how good they are, and then I see where I am so obviously lacking, and it makes my soul ache. I know full well I can do better, given time and practice. How though? How does one afford time?
I often feel a fraud or a fake, and always the fool. What degree or certificate do I have that says I can produce, and then self-publish an entire novel? None, nothing, I really don’t have a clue what I’m doing. That hasn’t stopped me, but it also hasn’t shown me anything close to success. Definitely not enough to say this is what I can make as a career choice as I head into the second part of my life.
I’m still doing it, the writing. I write all day, every day, and of course I am getting better. My own inner template demands that of me. In everything I’ve ever done I don’t feel successful unless I grow and learn and change daily. If I do something, I do it with my whole heart and I give it everything I have. I don’t see the sense in being half assed about it, if it seems a possibility, and besides, what’s a better way to kill time?
Yeah, I fear that is where I am now days, killing time, counting down the days and months in my life. I can’t live forever, I have to die eventually. Right? Depressed yet? I chuckle through my tears, and then I write stories where I can disappear into a different world. Into a world where love is all that matters and finding each other, being with each other, surviving in each other’s arms is the only answer to any question posed. Love should always be the answer.
It isn’t in real life, but in my books it is, and I really like living in those worlds. So, even though I still feel the fool and I have no hope and fewer dreams, I seem magically capable of creating characters I wish I could be. I feel lucky that for now, I am permitted to inhabit these other souls for short spells and exchange my reality for theirs. I cringe though, because I think it might be mental illness, but then again, at least I am not aware of my lacks while I am there.