One night last week, I was laying in bed when I was struck with a pang of anxiety.
It began when I started to relish the idea of my morning routine. Seven days a week, my alarm goes off at dawn and I sit down at the computer with a cup of coffee and start writing. “What if,” I thought with dread, “I wake up one morning and have nothing to say?”
It didn’t take too long for the voice of reason—who usually appears as the sarcastic Long Island boy I was at 14—to say, “As long as you stay as neurotic and horny as you’ve been your whole life, you’ll never run out of things to write about.”
Like many of the things that originate from that ever-present alter ego of mine, there was more than a kernel of truth to it.
Let’s take yesterday for instance. I woke up in the morning and just knew that I had to end it with the person I was dating. It just seemed to be one of those inexplicable things that came about as a culmination of what was percolating in my mind and the messages I was seeing everywhere—like when a friend of mine posted the article by Mark Manson from 2013 “F*ck Yes Or No.” I didn’t even have to click on the link.
The headline and the photo told me everything I needed to know. I knew that what I was involved in was not a “f*ck yes,” and if I’m not willing to accept less than the best from all other areas in my life, why was I hanging around in a relationship I was less than thrilled about?
It didn’t stop with that five-year-old blog post, either.
A few days later when I was feeling kind of overworked and blah, I threw on an old motivational CD to get pumped up while I drove from the city back up to the Hudson Valley. The speaker was going on about how you or anyone who happened to be listening could be up at 6 a.m. every morning with total passion for life. I thought, “I am!”
Then he said, “And you could be following a path that leads you to the realization of your greatest self…” Once again I thought, “I am!” “And you could be dating the woman of your dreams.” Enter cartoon trombone sound. Okay…I’m not.
I will be honest: as a person who has struggled with the erroneous habit of deriving a majority of my self-esteem from relationships for more years than I’d like to admit, this dilemma presented me with a bit of discomfort. Then there was the unenviable task of having to have that unpleasant conversation where you sound like every other dude on the planet who says, “I’m just not feeling it.”
It wasn’t a thrilling conversation.
Of course, because of the fact that I write quite a bit about the dynamics of male and female relationships, there was the obligatory comments about how I talk a good game but I don’t practice what I preach. I’m not totally sure what that meant because I felt like I was practicing exactly what I preach; I wasn’t ghosting her, I wasn’t feeding her some lame and dishonest excuse. I was simply saying I noticed our feelings were changing toward each other, it was making me uncomfortable, and we should end it before it became even more incongruent.
Besides, most of what I write about—and especially where it sounds like I know what I am talking about—is written from the clean house of retrospect. And just about anyone can look back once everything is said and done and see where they went wrong. The mess is when we are in the middle of it and, right then and there, I was in the middle of it.
If you are a writer, this is to be expected. It’s sort of like being a chef and serving your kids watery macaroni and cheese. They will look up at you confused and ask, “Isn’t this what you do for a living?”
I woke up to a text from a friend of mine this morning that reminded me that it was the first day of May and that springtime is a time for rebirth and renewal. It certainly is.
And as long as there is coffee, and silence, and a marble composition notebook for me to scribble in, I will be up at 6 a.m. with a total passion for life. I will also be following a path that will lead me to my greatest self.
Now where is that darn woman of my dreams?
Author: Billy Manas
Image: Gone Girl/YouTube
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman