The Splash

Posted on Friday, April 06, 2012 by Alex R. Cronk-Young

Growing up I would always play this little game in the shower. I'd cross my arms and clutch them together around my chest as tightly as possible, and let the water spray into the makeshift basin I'd made formed. The goal was to make sure it didn't leak out, and once it was as full as possible I'd open my arms and let the water splash down onto the shower floor. The louder the splash the better.

The inside of my brain is sort of similar, in that my feelings and emotions are the water. Every once in a while they all start flooding up, and spilling out. I try my hardest to keep them in, but they just keep spilling out. I need that big splash to reset things, but it never comes.

I stretch myself out as thin as possible. That's just how I am. Sometimes it all comes to a head, and I'm left with an overflowing basin. And I live with all of those thoughts. I desperately want to say them out loud. I wanna shove those feelings in everybody else's face, but I don't.

Working at a factory is like being in high school a second time. I really just want to act normal. I want to have normal interactions and genuine conversations that don't have the pretense of trying to be cool, but it is impossible. Everything is a game. Sometimes I throw someone under the bus to get a laugh, because those are the rules of the game it seems. I always tell myself to not play, but it usually just ends up being easier to join in than become the target.

After I get home from the factory, I dive into the non-stop stress of pursuing a writing career. I always feel guilty when I don't have some sort of content to post on the site I've spent over three years trying to create. I feel like a failure when I don't contribute any articles to the site that I feel completely honored to even be a part of. And I feel like a complete piece of trash when I half-ass my daily moderation duties because I've got too many other things on my mind to concentrate. It's a never-ending wheel of guilt that just keeps on spinning.

As a result, I don't pay enough attention to my kid. I really just want to relax and spend time with her, but I always feel like there should be something else I'm doing to be more productive. I can't say no to overtime at work, because after half a decade of living paycheck to paycheck I'm always worried we won't have enough money. There's always something else that I should be writing, because I promised it and because sticking to schedules will make me a successful writer some day. It's all for her. I don't want us to be poor, and I don't want her to be ashamed of my career, but neither of those things matter to a four-year-old. All she knows is she isn't getting attention so she acts up. She makes messes and acts like a brat because she wants me to get off the computer and pay attention to her.

That makes me feel like the shittiest parent in the world. The constant mocking at the factory magnifies every tiny insecurity I've ever had about myself. Trying to trudge my way through the thick swamp of The Internet to actually reach the other side and make something of myself as a writer becomes a task which I could never force myself to achieve emotionally.

Why do I keep writing when it can sometimes feel like I'm throwing my hard work and dedication down a giant hole? Why do I keep working overtime when it can sometimes feel like the factory is the worst environment emotionally for me to be in at the moment? Why do I keep doing anything I'm doing when I can barely work up the courage to put myself out there most of the time? Because that's life, at least how I know it. I'm fighting my way through as best I can. I feel like an awful parent sometimes, but it just helps me realize I need to take some breaks and spend some time playing. I feel like shit when I'm too emotionally drained to put forth the effort at work and some coworker inevitably takes their own frustrations out on me, but they are the every day hurdles that I need to overcome. I feel pretty crummy when an article I spent weeks on gets written off in mere seconds and I'm told I'm a garbage writer, but I'll keep on doing it anyway.

The splash comes, you just don't see it. It's not the kind of splash I imagine in my head during my darkest hours. It won't get people talking or make the local news. The splash is when I dump all those emotions and feelings in my head, and climb out of my slump. I might be a little mopey for a bit, but I carry on and make it through. The splash is not giving up, and it always comes.

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