Melting An Iceberg With A Hair Dryer
Sometimes the big fat iceberg that sits between where you are and where you want to be takes a long ass time to melt.
It feels like I have been standing on the edge of my small ship holding up a hotel hair dryer to a frozen block of ice, willing it to melt the fuck away so I can sail off into the horizon. Yes, things feel like they are moving slow. But hey, better to move slowly in the right direction than fast in the wrong one, right?
It often appears that things come together quickly: Businesses' launch overnight, true love manifests in an instant, or works of art appear out of thin air in a mad burst of inspiration.
Even though a part of us knows that shit doesn't come together in a blink and that social media is a big fat liar, we somehow convince ourselves that we are slow tiny turtles. Why can't you train for a marathon in two months or write three hundred words in five minutes without editing every sentence? Gawd, save me from my failure as a human being.
The time, preparation, struggle, and fun (hey, there are secret fun times in the process) are often hidden at the end of the journey. Instead, works of art, careers, and relationships appear in an instant, perfect and sparkling on our Instagram and Facebook feeds.
The struggle is hidden. The process is nowhere to be found.
Right now, I am writing for a design website that highlights amazing products. But I often wonder as I'm writing how long it took the designer to come up with the idea and how many scraps of paper are sitting in their trash bins. Did they have to overcome any resistance, fears, or doubts? All I see is the finished product and all I write about is the finished product. The middle is always missing from the story, which is kind of a shame because the middle is the best part. The process connects people to the creator.
I don't want to sit at the end of the assembly line waiting for the sparkly, finished version of myself to manifest so I can finally start writing (as I probably won't be able to put my pen to paper until I'm 120). I want to write about where I am right now (aka the glorious and messy in-between).
I have a drawer full of rejection letters, a billion ideas, lots of finished projects, and even more projects I am itching to start. I am still figuring out my career and just got out of a relationship I adored. Most of the time my feelings are a mix of excitement, desire, frustration, and disappointment.
But every day I show up at the iceberg with a hair dryer in my right hand, a chisel in my left and a playlist of pump-up songs bursting through my headphones. Melt baby, melt.
“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he'd had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him put his arm around my brother's shoulder, and said, "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life