Before I Dim the Lights

Ever heard the expression “the job before the job”? It applies to anything in my mind, especially when writing. It was the amazing Brene Brown that drew my attention to the SFD acronym, shitty first draft. This is a shitty first draft because my next piece of whatever-you-want-to-call-this is very different. So here I am not asking for, but graciously accepting your permission to write. I hope, in the name of sanity, providing some context for my next whatever-it’s-called.

My next whatever-it’s-called is understatedly emotional. I’ve teared up many times editing it. Unlike whatever-you-call-this. See I wrote the next thing something like five years ago with far too much time on my hands. I wrote it and immediately thought it was vexing. So I thought I’d let other people read it. But only if they would agree to give me honest feedback without repercussion. The feedback process was positive and useful, so here I am. I’m writing whatever-this-is in a last effort to get in my way of posting the whatever-it’s-called I wrote years ago. I’m scared, scared to let it see the light of day, allow me to elaborate.

When I was a young precarious teenage something-or-other I wrote a whatcha-call-it for an English class (one of my very few reasonable marks). Anyway, as is my custom, both the grammar and spelling were shit (see the previous statement). So my whatcha-call-it didn’t get the highest of grades. Yet, when our supply English teacher, a total hottie, called us up to collect our marks she paused at my name. She paused and looked me over, and then looked over my paper. I blushed and flushed as I understood at that moment she had read my soul and spotted my crush on her. Instead of acknowledging that, she offered a review of my assignment “This was really good!” she said, “ I can tell you wrote it hastily but overall your writing is very powerful, well done!” My stomach sank, though I reframed, I felt one of those sudden strong urges to have a puke.

At that time I somehow formed some sort of perspective that I was some sort of talented writer. Every time I picked up a pen again the pressure was on. I sought validity and contested the theory at every opportunity. Similar results came, often described something like “ this is powerful stuff! Wow, I had no idea that was in you!”

Let’s jump from high school and college to my mid-twenties and a torturous period of unemployment. The scene was so that the tech store I had been working at was now shut down, and upfront I felt like it was a good thing. I felt the need for some fresh air in my life. But, as that fresh air began to stale and my unemployment continued I began to struggle.

Before this, I had completed a fair amount of mental health training for my coaching practice. In one way or another, it suggested I should journal about my days and feelings every morning. So I did. Then came the book-reading-group-people who urged me to join their faction. So I did. The group was meeting weekly to discuss and do activities from the Artists Way. I have a feeling, you’ve heard a story like that before or have a general idea where this babble is heading (jump now).

Anyway, more writing happened at this point in my life fueled by the book-reading-group-people and their movement. I wrote based on my education in my field of study, Health and Performance, and finally, I’d come up with total shit. My ego had its first scars from writing. I’d received some well deserved ugly criticism, and better yet it came from a close friend. So I stopped all writing activities, my daily journal included as I’d deemed I’d failed at that too. I was optimistic about my writing in hopes to be useful online. Though I’m optimistic about most things. Ego be-damned the message was loud and clear. So-called “powerful writing” meant writing for me and going all in, full send. Or fuck-off, whichever.

I mulled over the decision and of course, I needed closure, I needed one last punch in the face for confirmation. I wrote, mixing my emotions with my experience of training (not coaching) and handed it to anyone who’d read it. Though I braced for it, the punch didn’t come. My positive vibes restored and magnified, I felt renewed in my self-confidence (ish). So of course, I locked the piece away, with others, into the darkness for all time. Until now.

There it is then, the back story, the shitty first draft. I say that because ultimately I don’t give a flying fiddlers fuck (good one eh?) about exposure or any kind of glory. I’m here preparing you for what happens next, that’s it. Reason being is that I’ve come to realise I would die regretting not doing this, and I’d be forfeiting my value of courage.

The first handful of entries that follow this come from the journal of a mad man, so don’t say I didn’t mention it.

felt cute, might delete later. Image Credit

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Colin Roberts

Colin Roberts

Dreamer.Believer.Creator.Destroyer.