Dissatisfaction is a difficult thing not to think about. It’s like an itch that’s in an awkward place that you can’t really get to alone, so you try to ignore it; convince yourself it’s not there. But the more you try to do that, the worse the itch becomes until it’s pretty much all you can think about, and now somehow, you’re itchy all over. People have always told me I’m an overthinker and I can’t think why…
OK, so being dissatisfied comes in all shapes, sizes and annoyances. This week for example, I wrote an article about online dating and the effect it can have on a person’s sense of self. Did this come from a dissatisfying experience I personally had with online dating? Abso-frigging-lutely. Did I use this to fuel an article that shone a wider light on the society we live in? Yes I did. Did that act satisfy my previous dissatisfaction with the process? Well, no not really, because it’s still terrible. If anything, research for the article showed me how ill-fitting online dating has become for a person like me.
A person like me, as I say, is an introvert, and not good with socialising or ‘putting themselves out there’, personally or professionally. Which is pretty unhelpful when we live in a time where exhibitionists are not only celebrated but imitated. Where wallflowers like myself are no longer the Never-Been-Kissed-Drew-Barrymore-character-to-come that we once were. Now we play the role of ‘best friend number 2’, destined to dole out advice to those living better lives than us, as we remain trapped in the background with no entry into the spotlight in sight.
Have I lost you? Well that makes two of us. And right now I’m lost in the dissatisfaction of it all. Lately I have found myself dissatisfied with people, with romantic relationships (non-existent ones especially, so you know, the only ones), and with work. The latter is the biggest one because it currently stands as the only one I have control over. And yet I have been trying to ignore the itch. The itch that tells me I am not made for a desk job with coffee filters, stale biscuits and chit chatter about what plans I didn’t have at the weekend. I am a writer.
I should say that again because it’s as if I don’t understand it. I am a writer.
One more time because I don’t think I’m getting it; I am a writer.
I’m supposed to be procrastinating effectively in the day so that I can write better at night. I’m supposed to be getting stories submitted, poems commissioned and an advance on a book deal. I’m supposed to be using my experience as a therapist and human to develop characters that leap off the page into people’s hearts, or something. I’m supposed to be something else and I’m fairly certain that anyone else not currently able to dedicate all their time to their passion, probably feels the same way.
I’ve been searching for solutions to my conundrum, trying not to let my old friend depression win this one. So a couple of weeks ago I wrote about being a Jack of All Trades, Master of Everything. It did make me feel better to think that all my work and life experience has culminated to make me the writer and creative I am today, but I later realised that I am still playing at being Jack. Focusing on one thing and one passion doesn’t make you singular or narrow minded, it just makes you…focussed. I regret nothing in terms of my life decisions thus far, but I know that that variety that informs the spice of life I keep hearing about, will still be there if I were able to be a writer full time.
But dreams are difficult to make come true at the best of times, especially if you feel like you’re late to the game, as I do sometimes. It doesn’t mean they’re impossible though.
So for now I’ll keep trying to keep the itch at bay, and maybe try to scratch what I can in the meantime. I see a pinhole of light that indicates that things won’t be this way forever. I just need to keep reminding myself that dissatisfaction is an itch that will eventually be scratched, or I’ll die trying to scratch it. Whichever comes first. Hmm, that didn’t end on the positive note that I was hoping for.
Image credit: Typewriter by Nada AlYafaei from the Noun Project