On Being Constantly Motivated: The Price I need to Pay Now
I thought I was just feeling down. I have my moments when I get depressive- reason why I know at some point, I’ll need to seek professional help.
I want to talk to a therapist.
Thanks to the multiple articles I read, as well as non-fiction( not self-help), I am able to redirect my thoughts. Even monitor them for the pattern that leads to events that require that I lock myself up and recharge.
I call it recharging.
In 2011, my father had to travel miles to find out what was wrong with me. I’d shut my phone down. No calls. No messages. I barely ate. I didn’t want to talk to anyone.
The look on his face felt more like the kind you have when you fear the worst for someone. To me, I was just recharging. I know it could have been worse if he hadn’t showed up when he did.
Now, I have a variation of this. I can’t stand anyone’s company for a certain amount of time. I’ve been monitoring. Testing how long till I start feeling this hole in my chest.
You’ll never know it’s happening. You’ll never know I just want you to leave me alone- physically alone. Whether you’re my mother, girlfriend, best friend or sibling. There is only so much physical presence I can stand for long periods.
And recently I’ve discovered that this recharge is very necessary for my commitment to the things I love - writing, storytelling, sharing ideas and building creative platforms for the future.
Now, do not misunderstand me. I get the importance of a team. I get the human need for a tribe. And the value of social contact. I get it.
I can’t stand it for long periods. I can’t stay in close ( or distant physical) proximity with anyone for long periods.
I love writing. No one in my family encouraged me to take on this hobby. No one bought me books or told me how awesome my writing was when I started scribbling in my small notebook in 2004.
Living in an environment whose ideal profession doesn’t rely on being able to cause emotional stir using a keyboard isn’t exactly the ideal locus for a budding content creator. It takes a great deal of personal motivation to continue in silence when no one tells you to keep up. It takes more than faith.
It takes unequivocal passion and self belief. Or maybe plain stubbornness and stupidity.
“They did not know it was impossible so they did it”― Mark Twain
Even when I started my blog in 2012 — the blog that has enabled me meet incredible people. People I never thought I’d meet in my lifetime- like the force of nature: Adeline Sede Kamga, publisher of FabAfriq Magazine. Or my friend Anne Marie. And even others I can’t wait to meet because of their love for crafting stories for Africa- people like Enstine Muki, Ace, Marcus , Fifa, Messy, Elodie and many others.
My passion- writing- has led me to fight battles (and win) that hitherto seemed implausible. And now, as I stand on the distant verge of my dreams- being able to live via the forms of my passion, I feel lost.
I feel tired. Drained. Discouraged. Lazy. Afraid. Physically trembling.
I know this is what Steven Pressfield meant when he talked of the universal force- Resistance.
“Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.
Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
But what I know I have, and that I have been monitoring, is this need to shut down. This need to leave humanity in the other room, settle on my computer, wear my headphones and just be- alone. For days.
A few days ago, a friend called. She was feeling down. She had to make a decision and wasn’t ready for it. She was time traveling — scared of the future. And she called the most optimistic person she knew-me.
Yes, you read that well. Many people consider me optimistic. Even I do sometimes. But you don’t know the cost of this optimism.
So, I go to her place, and we talk. And I’m on fire. Like the black Gary Vee. I dish nuggets, make even comical Bible references, she smiles, gains confidence, laughs.
She’s happy. I’m happy.
Aside comments on my posts, the only other thing that is priceless to me in this world, is being able to leave a smile on the faces of the people I care about.
When we’re done, I leave. Still upbeat. Happy I made an impact. Happy she feels better.
Then, just as I get downstairs, it hits me.
Despair. Fear. Internal Pain. A desire to just sit down and cry. For no reason. Like I just lost a best friend. Like the sound of “ this relationships isn’t working anymore”.
This was just downstairs. I’m still bouncing and hopping down. Going to meet friends for a social drink. One that I thought I deserved given the disaster I had prevented when I went home a few days earlier.
What I didn’t think at the time, was the cumulative effect of my constant positivity without recharging. I was being drained. By my family, my friends, and I hadn’t recharged in weeks.
After the drinks, I feel fuzzy. Happy even. I guess I still deserved it. Or so I thought…
I hadn’t factored in the conversations I was going to have with the real estate people for my siblings’ rooms. I hadn’t factored the physical effort needed to carry their stuff. The packing. The talking. The arguments. The conversations.
By the time we were done, I was feeling physically weak.
And I had more commitments. I was a jury for a Film Festival. I had to reply to an email for a job I was best suited for. I hadn’t written on Self-sih. I hadn’t even selected my school for the Chevening Scholarship. I hadn’t started my YALI Application, I hadn’t completed my the first draft of my poetry collection, nor the Syllabus proposal for the course I was going to teach, my M.A had been postponed indefinitely to 2017, Mercy had been out of town for two days…
And worse, I had stopped monitoring the cycle. I watched my shoulders droop. My sighs rates increase. I started rejecting important phone calls- a promise I’d made to myself never to. And I became more and more silent- especially in groups.
My mother noticed. But of course, being who I am, I gave a pretty decent explanation- I was tired.
What I didn’t consider was how much.
As I type this, I feel myself fall sick. I can feel the joints acting up and the headaches seeping in. I feel my writing suffer. My decision making is affected.
I stopped monitoring my intake of the world, I stopped paying attention to the flow of motivation. And I have to pay the price.
I need a refill. I’ll stay home. Eat. Read Jon. Read James. Watch Gary. Listen to Myleik. My phone will be off.
Because I know that my life depends on it.
Hi. I’m Tchassa Kamga. Journalism and Mass Communication graduate living in Buea, Cameroon. I host a podcast and I freeze stuff on Instagram. You can find me on Twitter,Snapchat and Facebook as well. Together my good friend C. Befoune, we started Self-ish where we share personal essays on self improvement, content creation and human relationships.