The Creative’s Cage

To say that life after college has been difficult is insulting to word by the very definition. The stress of trying to figure out exactly what I want to be for the rest of my finite days has left me with 6 ulcers, literally. I often wonder if I am the only 24 year old who lies awake every night terrified that I will wake up in a career I hate living an unfulfilling meaningless life. I am shaken to my core that when it’s my time to meet my maker I’ll be begging for a second chance to go back and do all the things I was meant to do.

I’ll admit I have a paralyzing fear of judgment and ridicule. The very thought of being laughed at haunts me. I have daily conversations in my mind to remind myself that mockery can not kill me. When judgement day comes how can I stand before God and tell him I wasted the talents he gifted me out of fear that people would laugh at me if I tried. I have become so ashamed of myself for being such a coward that I entered a perpetual state of self-loathing.

Worthlessness is a plague inside of me. The cruelty of my own self judgment terrorizes me. How can I be wanted or loved? I am nobody. I am nothing. I am wasted smarts and talent. How can I be worthy when I bring nothing to the table? Would they all laugh at me if I showed them my real dream? I don’t know the answers, nor do I want to. My mind has circled these questions tirelessly. I’ve put off dating indefinitely until I get my life together. Hide from conversation, isolate myself from the world, stop answering phone calls — you’ll get back to the world when you are somebody, I tell myself. You’ll talk when you’re ready. You’ll call them back when you have some good news to share. My thoughts controls me. My insecurities paralyze me. The tragedy of feeling like a nobody is that it ensures that you have nobody.

The problem with honesty is that it demands you to be seen, and that is the worst possible outcome for a person who desperately wants to be remain hidden. I plead with them in my mind “Please don’t see me, please don’t know, please let me figure it out just a little longer. Let me crawl out of this hole and then we can talk. Please no questions. Please don’t quiz me about my life, my plan, my goals; I have them, it’s just not working out the way I dreamed. I don’t have the answers — just a broken map that leads to no where.”

I feel like I am trapped in a cage that I put myself it. The only way out is to hand over the key to those on the outside. I cannot give my best efforts and show my true talent if I am always hiding. I have guarded all of my favorite parts of me, the parts that are most unusual and worth-loving. Once I hand over that key, they will know. And if they know, they will judge, and if they recite my deepest fears I don’t know if I can recover. I am terrified of their disapproval, but even more of their laughter. Deep in my heart and soul, I know I am capable. My mind works overtime to remind myself — Their doubt of your ability does not mean you don’t have the ability. They have not seen what you are capable of, just show them. They will be suspicious of your talent until you prove them otherwise, but until you give them the key and open yourself up to criticism you will always be caged. Let yourself free. They can only hurt you with words

The loneliness of my worthlessness has become more gut wrenching than my fear of my inadequacy. The wall I had built to shield me from ridicule is beginning to crumble down. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I just admitted it. Just say it out loud, “I want to be a storyteller. I want to bring the the visions in my mind to life.” I will be ready for the statistical proof of my inevitable failure. They would tell me that I didn’t go to school for this, I don’t know what I am up against, be more practical. They will wait patiently for me to get my head out of the clouds and get back to reality. They will scoff at my dreams over cocktails in my absence. They will dismiss my talents and fail to recognize the validity of my passion. But this is not a whimsical adventure. This is my soul, the deep-corners of myself buried under my own uncertainty that I can no longer ignore. The hunger is getting stronger, my inner voice is getting louder, my insides are getting restless. I cannot wait one more day to let myself free. I have to turn over the key.

Breathe in. They can only hurt you with words.