Lost In The Wrong Passion

Joelle Cleveland Flickr.com

Looking over my last post, I can see myself lost inside my own wrong passion.

Protection of self.

If life played by my rules, there would be no distractions, no getting stuck because someone else is stuck and that’s unbearable in my world view.  Nobody would get hurt or lost in the noise of getting and spending and ambition, and none of us would get lost within our own biology and history.  Everything would flow effortlessly towards the most important thing.  Self.  Creation.  Writing.  Painting. Thinking.

Life does not bend to my wants, I panicked, and I was obscured by my own fallout.

It happens to all of us.

Stating that the most important thing is self sounds selfish, egotistical, narcissistic, and…oh, let’s see.  What other negative tags can we hang on it?


When we know who we are, we can manage who we are.  When we can manage who we are, we come closer to being complete.  When we are complete, fully integrated with our core, we can forget ourselves and get about the business of being of value to others.

I’m a long way from being there.

I’ve been trying to drive home the point of discipline in writing and creative ambitions being turned around and misunderstood.  Driving home the point that if we’re told something is true long enough and from as many sources as possible, we will believe it.

Most of us believe we have to discipline our writing habits or we’ll never get anything done.  I’m going to question everything, turn it upside down, and take a different view of it.

I believe we are who we are, and some of us are so wildly devoted to our art, our craft, our business, our creation of any kind, we have to discipline ourselves to stop being who we are and step back into the world where others live.  Other people we love and care about.  Other causes and responsibilities that keep us grounded.

I’d just as soon write around the clock without ever taking a breath or eating or playing or holding someone I love and getting lost in their smell.

That’s where the hard stuff of discipline comes in.  And as I’ve said before, I believe it’s easier to think writing is the beast that needs discipline than it is facing up to our willingness to abandon all other people and things for the sake of our own raging needs.  Our own drive to create.

We pretend everything can be managed.

It can’t.

There are times when we go a little bit crazy, and my last post was one of them.

But, hey, I’ve already said this is my home. It’s where I can bust loose.  I’m not selling anything (never will on this blog), and this is where I’m safe to be the fool.

I was foolish in thinking I could deny the pressures that have been on me lately and their consequences.

There are old family ghosts I thought were long put to rest.  Foolish me.  They’ve popped up out of the grave.  Isn’t that just lovely.

One ghost in my family that will never vaporize, will never surprise me with its return, is a genetic hypersensitivity of the limbic brain system and it’s feed to the amygdala.  OCD runs like a slit vein through my family, and anxiety disorders covering the entire alphabet–PTSD, GAD, FFA, PA, etc.–decorate all of us.  Some more so than others.

As Martin Seligman said in his blook Flourish, we can’t change every last thing about our selves, but we can learn to manage them.  That’s great, but first you have to know they’re in the building before you can put them in a cage, soothe it, and keep it calm.

The family issue, along with my frustrations with my writing, blinded me to the firestorm starting in my mind.  I lost control.  Got a little manic.

It’s what I do.

Which is better than what I used to do.

I’ve struggled with anxiety all my life.  OCD mostly.  But in my late 30s that erupted into Panic Disorder.  From there I graduated into full-blown agoraphobia, spending three years trapped in my home and another 10 years confined to a small safety zone.  At one point it got so bad I couldn’t talk on the telephone.  And if I didn’t jump out of bed in the morning and shower while my husband was still upstairs, I couldn’t get dressed or washed that day.

It only took about 8 years, but I finally restructured my brain through daily practice of a system I developed.  I reached a tipping point.  One day I was a scared little animal curled up in a corner (metaphorically), and the next I was on an airplane and loving every second of it.  The following year I flew 150,000 miles around the globe.

We’re so much more powerful than we realize.

We can be so powerless when we’re unaware or in denial.

Nothing has a more accurate aim at our weakest point than that which we run from.  I’ve been running.  A brother I though was deceased showed up out of the blue.  There’s no telling what’s wrong with this man, and I don’t care.  I’m just grateful he’s a half-brother and like his father, not mine.  He’s big, he’s violent, and he has an I.Q. of 163.  That’s dangerous, and he’d turned his danger towards a piece of property in the family with more complexities than the brambles surrounding the most forgotten creeks in the Ozarks.  I threw myself into my writing with arrogance that whispered lies in my ears, telling me it was no big deal.  Just walk away.

Walk away and disappear into your work.

Hyper-organize every thought and action, get everything you can under control, map out a plan, then crack the whip of discipline.  Just make sure it hurts enough to be distracting.

Running is a lot more work and hurt than standing still and facing our fears.  I never do it willingly because I’m scared, but when I see fear in my work, that’s what holds me in place.

Yeah.  It’s that important.  Writing is that important to me.

What’s so important to you that you’re willing to stop running and face down a demon?  What’s so important to the completion of your unique self that you’re ready to look at old thoughts, old habits, old skin, and question everything you’ve been taught to believe?

Are you at the point of being so raw from digging down to find that self of yours you lost, you covered up to be safe, that you’re ready to start rebuilding from the bone?  Are you ready to step out of your own fallout coming from a long and exhausting run?  If so…

Can you give me some skin?

The old stuff that’s wearing thin.


6 thoughts on “Lost In The Wrong Passion

  1. Running from Hell with El

    Wow. Hey–this is really good. I have a migraine so my words are limited and I intend to come back and write more, but if that distracted mind of mine takes me running to sundry points scattered hither and yon (i.e. if I forget), I wanted to tell you that I thought this was provocative, deep and well-written. Oh, and I felt like I was drinking a cup of coffee with you while I read it.


    More Excedrin stat!

    1. cydmadsen

      Thank you very much. I’m so glad you stopped by but sorry about the migraine. What a lovely comment. Take good care of that misbehaving head. Perhaps we can have a blog bounce with Roz and some others (coffee in hand, of course).

  2. bubblesandcherries

    hi cyd, thanks for the note on twitter. i really enjoyed this post. i can relate on two levels. one – i also need discipline make sure I don’t let writing take over, rather than needing discipline to write. also, i can really only write well when the muse is there. if i force myself to write when i’m not inspired, its usually not worth the time. when i’m inspired, it’s hard to do anything else!

    also, your words about OCD are comforting to me. I don’t have it. Not even a stitch of it, really. But my daughter does, along with a slew of anxieties. she is young and has had symptoms since she was a toddler (i don’t think that is very common). Reading about your victory, in getting out of your house and onto a plane is so inspiring. you are right about how powerful we can be–she amazes me with her strength and courage every day.

    thanks for follow back on twitter too!

    1. cydmadsen

      Howdy! Thanks for stopping by. The tides seem to be changing and the advice to write every day, no matter what, is not being preached. Probably because it doesn’t work for most:-)

      Your daughter is an amazingly courageous and brave girl, and it’s really good to hear that you understand that. My husband teaches high school and I sometimes substitute. There are a lot of kids “underachieving” but they sure look like they’re dealing with anxiety disorders to me! Guess it takes one to know one. It can present in infants. It did in my daughter and one of my brothers. At any time, if she wants to chat or exchange emails, just let me know. When I first made progress using a book I found on Amazon and wrote a review, people from all over the world wrote to me. I love writing, but keeping in touch with those people as they pulled up and out of the anxiety was the most gratifying thing in my life. She is who she is and that anxiety usually comes with a whole bunch of creativity (is she blond? does she have a creative mother?–both very common in kids with anxiety). The brain can be changed to behave differently, and we can learn how to cope with who and what we are.

      Thanks again for stopping by and see you on twitter!

  3. Luke Redd

    I love that you are willing to share so much. For me, I’ve found that I’m at my most creative when experiencing anxiety, especially over the uncertainties caused by the troubles of family. But I also often have to force myself to do what I love when I’m feeling that way. I have to push through and harness all those niggling feelings for my creative work. When I’m feeling content or even joyous, my muse seems to go into hiding. Not sure if this is normal or healthy, but it is what it is. I really enjoy your voice.

    1. cydmadsen

      Hi, Luke. Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting. I love your blog so much and your intentions that I’m genuinely touched that you’re here. And thank you for the kind words. I also find that the muse disappears when I’m overly happy or stimulated. I lose focus and don’t know where to start or what to say. It’s an old habit of mine to stop writing, even journaling, when the going gets rough, and I think I’m cheating myself by doing that. I also don’t know why I stop writing? Denial? Don’t write about it and then pretend it never happened? I don’t know but would like to change it. Thanks again for stopping by. What a treat.

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