April 11, 2022

I want to be more

I want to be more than reality allows me to be, than my body and my health (which I for some reason still separate because the cognitive symptoms feel like they're not my "body" even if they're a physical illness impacting my mind) leave space for me to be.

I want my books to be read by thousands, and my stories to impact lives. But I also want to leave my bedroom more than I do. To bake, or paint, or pick up the violin again. To have the energy to devour a book a day rather than one book painstakingly in the last 14 weeks (yes, really).

Sometimes my life feels like this, but not at all in a fun way:

Whether with publishing or with life, I keep trying to be more, but I'm trapped by my reality that keeps me chained and swinging ever farther from my goals the harder I try to reach them. 

Part of it is a twisted desire to live up to the "potential" people used to see in me. To be the person I was "meant" to be before ME/CFS stole that self from me. 

Part of it is simply wanting to have the freedom of choice, for the smallest things not to take so much fight. For my contribution to life to be significant (and hopefully positive), and my silence/absence noticed, to be felt. In some sense, I suppose it's profoundly human to want to have an impact. 

But the funny thing is, before my illness, I never wanted to have some massive impact on the world at large. That was never my goal or priority for myself. 

I wanted to have a good impact on the people in my life, on the community I belonged to or would build for myself. To focus on the kind of small positive influence that actually affects our individual daily lives, rather than anything paradigm-shifting that would change the world. 

It's somewhat inevitable that I lost sight of that with my writing, or more specifically with publishing. The "success" of a story is measured by the number of people who read it, or the number who buy it (and yes, those numbers are always vastly different). And I think I will always want my books to find their audience, the people who will enjoy and appreciate and even possibly be transformed by my stories. After all, the stories are meaningful to me and take an extraordinary amount of time and work and energy. 

But I've also realized I need to accept being less. To focus on the individuals rather than the more abstract "audience." 

All I have to offer is what I am, and what my stories—if I manage to keep writing them—have to say. I don't know how to be more, especially in the context of our social media–centric world. And because reality is what it is, and my ill health dominates all, I am going to stop trying to be more

Instead I'm going to try to focus on being enough, on connecting with the individuals to whom my writing matters. 

Practically speaking, within the context of my writing, it means that the writing comes first. The Patreon comes second. And everything else, not at all (though public posts will continue to be shared on this blog to allow public commenting!). Even keeping up with those things sounds daunting enough. 

I have set a new goal in the Patreon, focused on the number of Patrons rather than a certain dollar amount. My aim is to get there by the end of 2022. I'll reevaluate then, but I don't want to be misleading. Right now, I think if I don't hit that number by the end of this year, I'll be calling it a day (or really, a decade) with my writing. 

As always, thank you to those of you who already support my writing and have become Patrons. No matter what happens over the rest of this year, I really appreciate your steadfast faith and encouragement. 💕