Right now, I'm in the midst of a writer's block. A nasty one, too. It's not the kind that completely kills my writing but rather the kind that lets me write other things, but not the thing I want to write. It's frustrating. It's annoying. But it's given me time to think.
The story I'm stuck on is a bit of a parallel to my life currently. Often times writer's write about their lives but I tend to write a story that then affects my life. It's backwards with me. I write and the fiction becomes reality. My first ever fanfic had the main character lose 50 pounds over the years, looking thinner than he had when he was younger. I did something similar.
That's the most prominent example, really. But little things have added up over the years to show me that my fiction has a decent chance at becoming reality for me. Right now, the story I'm working on reminds me a lot of my reality.
In the background of the story major work is being done. I'm setting up the story to merge more seamless into another story that, previously, had been unrelated. It was never supposed to be related but life is strange and now it is. And I'm so excited by it but it's a lot of work, merging two previously unrelated universes. Sure, they had some things in common, but nothing explicit.
Now, they're going to be one universe and I find that very much reminds me of my life.
Let me explain:
My life is fractured into two versions of me. Fat Me (in the past) and Thin Me (currently). They existed in, essentially, two different universes. Some rules are the same but a lot of the rules are different. The dynamics are different and it confuses me.
My old self, Fat Me, operated by a set of rules that no longer works, really. A few things carryover but a lot of it is outdated. Thin Me has few rules to operate by. The limits don't really exist for what I currently can do.
Fat Me was a baptist. A lifer. Born and raised, a black sheep but someone who tried to do right by what was before him. He went to church with his family on Sundays. He volunteered for VBS every year. He helped out in Sunday School classes, nursery and catering. He was an AV geek who operated all the equipment at some point. He had church friends but rarely saw them outside of church. For as surrounded by people as he was, he was very lonely. He eventually gave into that loneliness, drifted far away from the church and questioned the very existence of God. He did everything he could to piss the almighty off. At least if God was angry, that would show him something. Angry was better than being indifferent. He reached a point of no return. He became depressed. He did dark things. He hung on by a thread.
And then he was granted an olive branch out of left field.
And then he took it. He followed the example set forth. He set a goal, he lost weight and he achieved an impossibility. He found a family he didn't deserve. He found a friend that he wouldn't live without.
Now, here I sit. As Thin Me, I still questioned God. I reached a point where losing weight wasn't really necessary or practical anymore. I was still spiritually dead. I couldn't just sit here and exist physically because I didn't know how. I talked to a priest for hours on end. I ruminated for months and tried to second guess myself out of a life-altering decision. I took the plunge into Catholicism. My church has a regular attendance of eight to ten people every week. I do as much as I can with the people there. I talk to them there, outside of there and though we are few in number, I feel like I'm in the best company, numbers be damned. I'm learning, slowly, about what it means to be Catholic. I'm taking a slow and steady approach. I'm trying to find things in the word and some days I do. Some days I don't. I pray more now than I have in years. I wonder if my prayers actually are heard. If they actually do anything. I know a good bit of the Rosary. I pray with other people, aloud, together. I'm part of a social committee and am generally know as random/zany.
Those are two pretty distinct universes and I don't know how to merge them. I don't know how anyone merges past selves into new ones. I don't think I've ever quite had a new self, not like this and I can't imagine how Doctor Who does it.
I'm worried it can't be done. More than anything, I wonder if I'm stuck existing in this in-between. Always aware of what a past version of me would do and aware of what the current version of me might be able to do, but too scared to try. Honestly, I don't know my limits now. Before they were set in stone. Now they seem to not exist.
I have limits. I have things I can't possibly do. I know this. But I don't know exactly what they are and that scares me. What if one of those limits is found at a critical moment? What if I fail when it counts the most because I didn't know I was unable to do something?
In the room I'm in now, I can see where the past version of me was. I can see how the room looked in the past, nearly three year ago. Things have changed. The carpeting, the mantle, the walls, the corner chair, the lamp and the order of the books. It's changed. It's accepted that change gracefully, with no reservations and no fight.
I don't accept change gracefully. Never have, likely never will. I feel like part of me is fighting this merging. Not all of me but part of me ... a part that fears that it'll get lost in the new dynamics. The new rules. The new limits. The new things in general.
New is scary and part of me sits there and refuses to talk. It won't listen. It's a fear that's not based on any fact because the new, the Thin Me, is an undefined mess. It's functioning on incomplete, half-baked routines, ideas and assumptions.
With my story, this might be the problem with my current writer's block. It's afraid of the new. The characters are aware of what's happening, at least in the background of the story and maybe they just don't want to get to the point where it's absolutely official. Maybe they want to keep what they had before.
But what they had before was worse. I can see that now. They can see that now, too. They acknowledged the new to a point, about 50k worth of a point but they're not giving me the rest. Not yet.
The Fat Me isn't giving me the rest either. It's hanging on. It's telling me this is all just a temporary victory, that it'll fall apart. That what made me Fat Me is still there, still waiting to pounce. It'll fail. All this will fail and I'll be back where I was when this started. Fat. Miserable. Tired of living and too chicken to die.
I won't let that happen. Rationally, I know that. I've built in safeguards. I have small clothes now that leave little room for error. I have people in my life who'll call me out if I slip back like that. I have accountability now.
Another thought has occurred to me about this. An alternate theory. What if this isn't merging universes but marrying them? In both respects, albeit the theory has more merit in the writing sense than my personal one.
The marrying idea has merit. The universes are being combined, yes, but the plots of both (the major events as it were) are being made co-dependent on one another. They're being made to rely on each other rather than overrule one another. That might be the problem here. I've never had to rely so heavily on another main set of characters in a story. There's always one set to rely on. But in this story there are two sets; the story necessitates that but I've never done it.
This might be the problem with my personal stuff, too. In the nearly three years since I began my weight loss and reshaping of my life, I've had to learn to rely on others here and there. But it's hard, so hard, because before I was so sure I could do it myself.
I still want to, badly. Not because I'm sure I can because I know I can't now. It's been proven that going it alone leads to disaster for me. I want to do it myself because whatever I'm in the process of -- finding myself, going through a phase, growing as a person or whatever you want to call it -- it's messy. It's very messy.
I'd love to sit here and tell the world everything. One day I may. The internet is a wonderful place to tell things to. But I don't want that. I want to tell a person. I want to tell someone I can rely on to save me. To pull me out of the fire when it threatens to consume me. To jump into the ocean after me as I try not to drown.
"You want a knight in shining armor?" you ask incredulously. I'm a guy so, by all accounts, I should be the knight coming to rescue someone else. And you know what? I can be that. I can be that knight and I can rescue someone from being consumed by fire or drowned by water. I can pull them to safety. I can do that.
But is it wrong to want someone to do that for me? Maybe. It certainly breaks the stereotype.
"But why not rely on your friends and family? They can do that," you say. Yes, they can but not in the way I feel that's right. Almost all my friends and my family have a significant other/spouse/children they have to be there for. People that rely on them. People that, in my mind, have the right to rely on them.
What right do I have? I'm just Zach. I'm one of many children and I'm the oldest. I'm the only one out of the home. I had my time and it's time for my siblings to get theirs.
I'm one of many family members. I don't have any medical issues. My health is fine. I don't have any issues with my spouse or my children. I have neither. I don't have issues with my finances. I don't have much and live very basically.
I'm one of many friends and most of my friends have SOs/spouses/children. I'm not a priority and I'm never going to advocate to be one. They're better served thinking about the people who are a priority in their lives and better served helping them. They can help them.
I'm not sure anyone can help me ... except my knight in shining armor. She's out there, somewhere. Sword bloodied from battle, armor dented and smeared, her eyes tired. She's wandering a cursed land, looking. Looking for someone to save her just as I'm looking for her to save me.
Marriage is the ultimate form of reliance. It's the ultimate form of merging universes.
In my time being heavily involved in Catholicism, preparing myself for the conversation and preparing to fully be one with the church, the sacrament of marriage has stood out to me. It's stood out to me since I was ten, when I knew I wanted to be married. But it's especially stood out to me through all this.
I look at the marriages around me and think to myself "Can I do better?" It's not about meeting an expectation, I realize that. There's not some sort of magical number you have to hit in order to make a good marriage. But I wonder if I can do better.
I've seen marriages between my friends and my family. I've seen divorces. I've seen separations. I've seen borderline negligence. I've seen one person in the marriage suffer while the other doesn't ... and I've seen that in every marriage.
Marriage is one part suffering, one part jubilation. At least from what I can see (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). I know people have to suffer. I have, in small and insignificant ways. Not as much as others. Not as much as others will suffer in the future.
Am I wrong in relying on my wife (non-existent as she is) to help relieve pain? To help me cope with stress? To help me as a person? It doesn't seem like I am but I can't be sure. I'm operating on observation and not experience. I have virtually none in the realm of relationships and my ventures these past few months have been mostly unsuccessful.
I can accept not having her to help pick me up. I can understand it, honestly. I don't want to deal with me any day but I'm forced to. And as I look at marriage and look at the marriages around me, I wonder if others are as uncomfortable with asking for help being picked up as I am? Everyone's a mess in their own way. Do they voluntarily choose to suffer so their spouse doesn't?
That makes sense to me in some ways. In others, I can't condone that course of action. I find the justification, in large part, to be be invalid.
If you're married, you've physically and emotionally bonded to your wife/husband through sex (based on my limited understanding of it). It's the most vulnerable position any human being can be in as people have told me. How can you give yourself to a person like that and not ask them to help pick you up? How can you not ask them to save you?
I don't know. But I do know I would ask and I would want her to ask. My own issues be damned, she's got to be the priority when weighed against anything else. "Till death do us part" is something I take very seriously. I can save her. I know I can. If she gets sick or stressed or worried or guilty or anything else, I can be there. I know that.
And I want that for myself.
Maybe that's an unreal expectation. It might not exist. Marriage is two individuals, two people ... maybe that kind of reliance is an impossibility. Maybe that's my limit ... that I can't be there for her like that. Would she even tell me?
Ultimately, it's all hypothetical. That's all it exists as right now. It may never exist as anything else.
I have a little more than seven months before I turn 26. The clock ticks for me to get my life together and I'm trying, I'm trying hard. It's an uphill battle and since the new year arrived, I've been losing it. Things are beginning to unravel, slowly but surely and the threads could reach a level of disaster I didn't predict back in December.
This was supposed to be a year of progress. Nearly two months in and I'm just keeping my head above water. There's only one common variable in it all and that's me ... perhaps things will go so disastrously wrong I'll finally have the right to rely on someone.
Or I'll be stuck in-between. Writing the wrong story.
Thanks for reading, folks. God Bless.