June 8, 2012
If there’s one surefire way to get me utterly mad at you, it’s to tell me “Everything happens for a reason” right after something bad happens.
Of course everything happens for a reason. It’s cause and effect. Things don’t happen without a reason. If they did, it would mean physics themselves had broken down and we were two seconds away from reality coming apart like a cheap sweater.
“Everything happens for a reason” is a nice way of trying to comfort someone by saying that something bad had a greater purpose. This supposes a universe that runs on a set plan that cannot be altered and is eventually going to come to a happy ending for someone. For example, major disasters “happen for a reason” to maybe teach the rest of us about humility and what is really important. Good for us, bad for the victims. 9/11 “happened for a reason” to bring us together as a country. Great, except we started two wars, destroyed our image abroad, and have a few hundred thousands dead people overseas that would disagree.
depression by ~deathswife666 on deviantART
Me? I’m currently trying to pitch a book no one seems to want to buy and am eating nothing but vegetables because meat is too costly. Oh, and I haven’t filled up my gas tank with more than ten bucks at a time because I never have that much available at any one time.
“Elves With Shotguns” is selling… not well. People who’ve read it like it and have left wonderful reviews, but it’s not getting the exposure it needs. This mostly has to do with not having any money for a budget. My bank account is pretty much shot. A month of no work will do that to you. I wish we had the time to do everything that’s asked for us, as well as pay comparable to other institutions around the country, but that’s never going to happen. I’d be happy to be able to work just 30 hours a week.
A long time ago, I learned something about being frustrated and angry and down. I learned from both being in that position and being the teacher that gave a bad grade. Yes, you can be down. Yes, go get a drink. Get a lot of drinks. Vent. Punch a pillow, not a wall. I learned that last one the hard way. Play a video game and blow stuff up. Let it all out.
Then move on.
Everything happens for a reason, I know. Politics, favoritism, the economy, whatever. I can’t control those things. I can, however, control how much harder I look for freelance work. I can control how I decide to just power through the depression and get going with my life. I’m the one who decides I will look for a second, third, even fourth job. And if that fails, I’ll go out and drink, I’ll vent, I’ll punch a pillow…
And then I’ll take a deep breath, gather myself, and start over. Again. As many times as necessary.
This isn’t the first time I’ve had to scrape by. It’s not the first time a plan to bring in extra income blew up in my face. It’s not the first time I felt the world was coming down on me.
I can’t afford to get some drinks, so here’s what I’ll do…
I’m going to have a minor freak out, calm myself, and remember the people around me. I’m going to get back to work and finish Charcoal Streets. I will spend time with my friends and family. I will keep my mind busy on the goal.
Frankly, I don’t have time to fail. No one should. Everyone should have something they aspire to do. Write, draw, read, cook, whatever. It’s not enough to just work, eat, and watch TV. We have to keep creating, doing something productive. Yes, watch cartoons, go out with friends, but creation is what keeps us sane, what keeps us going. Passivity is the death of the soul.
“Everything happens for a reason”?
Yeah, it does. I’m choosing to keep going. I would never ask anything of my students I wouldn’t do myself, so if they get upset they didn’t pass a practice test, I’ll just smile and tell them to keep going. I expect nothing less from them. The reason I’m still going is because to choose to do so.
That’s the reason. And I made it. You should, too.
And now, to help lighten the mood, let’s enjoy a mini-pig going down the stairs and nailing the dive.