Riding The Waves: Adventures of Post Publication
Last week, I took a much needed vacation to Miami. I’ve been working around the clock on the promotion of Shattered Illusions, and while I absolutely love what I do, sometimes, you just need to get away. I booked the vacation right after Shattered Illusion was released, knowing very well that I would need a little bit of time to clear my head in the middle of the madness. After putting Shattered Illusions first for over a year, it was time to take control and put myself first. It was much harder than I expected it to be. For the past three years, Shattered Illusions has been my life. I have eaten, slept, and breathed everything Shattered Illusions. Though I learned very quickly that it was not healthy to make my life about Shattered Illusions (and not to make Shattered Illusions about me either), it takes a lot of strength to remove the artist from their art. Regardless of how unattached I can make myself, it is still one of the most important things in my life, which makes it harder to let go of. It has become more than just the book itself: It has become about the promotion, keeping people interested, keeping myself from falling off my face of exhaustion. What can I say? Bringing a book to life is a full time job.
So, I took a vacation. I took a vacation and tried not to think about Facebook, Twitter, YouTube. I went to the beach without my cell on the first day we arrived, and I left both liberated and naked, which just goes to show how insanely addicted I am to social media. I’ve been breaking the number #1 rule that I tell everyone else to follow: Checking your social media every thirty seconds will make you sick. Example A. I went with the sole purpose to disconnect from everything and everyone. I wanted to focus on being present and at ease. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but I’ve brought that idea back with me to New York, and I intend to continue implemting it into my daily activites.
I spent a lot of time under water during this trip. Although New York has beaches, I’ve never found myself on one with the need to actually get into the water (or onto the sand if we’re talking about Coney Island). But, I simply couldn’t resist in gorgeous Miami. The water was so blue it almost felt as though it would dye my skin while I was in the water. The sun beat down on me with all of its intensity, but I embraced the humidity instead of hiding from it like I do in New York. Until last week, I hadn’t swam in an ocean in at least two years. I forgot how quickly the current could pick up. One minute I was riding the tide with ease, and the next, I was being swirled around under the water. There would be moments of peace and moments of turbulence. At the end of the first day on the beach, during which I only spent a half hour in the water, my entire body was sore from being rocked around by the water. I was exhausted, but felt oddly liberated.
The next morning, I was eager to get back on the beach and back into the water. I left everything behind and dove in without a care in the world. Again, there were moments of peace in the tides and moments where the current would rip through and leave me breathless. There was one wave in particular that day that left me winded to the point that I had to get out of the water for a few moments to recover. I was just minding my own business, and out of nowhere, WOOSH, came this huge wave that took me way, way under. I don’t think I was under the water for more than five seconds, but it felt like a lifetime. It left me so disoriented and out of balance, that I felt as though I would never recover. I turned to my friends to see if they had experienced the same thing, but they had managed to jump and avoid the wave at the same moment that it caught me off guard. So, I swam to shore, panted my way to my beach chair and collapsed, wheezing ever so dramatically. I gave myself a few minutes, caught my breath, and then got right back in.
I’ve been thinking about all of this quite a lot since I got back to New York and jumped right back into my (slightly obsessive) routine. Let me spell it out for you: 9-5 + Book Promotion + Dating Scene + Social Scene = Exhausted and Winded Writer Who Needs Another Vacation ASAP (!). I go through life, thinking that things are peaceful, until I get whacked in the face by an unexpected low, which sends me spiraling. Instead of removing myself for a moment in order to regroup, I find myself swimming against the current with more furry but less energy. I have a grievance against an inanimate object, that is Time. Somehow, the process of not getting winded by the unexpected turns seemed easier in the water. I’ve found that when applying it to my every day life, this lesson feels harder to place.
Why is that? Why isn’t that easy? I see something that I can apply to my own life, and apply it. It’s really that simple!…Wait, no it’s not. It was easier for me to learn the lesson, obviously, because I was on vacation and I turned off other things. It’s much easier to get winded when things just keep coming. I’m sure the waves didn’t stop crashing down once I got out of the water, but I was no longer experiencing that feeling of being caught in the middle of something that I couldn’t control. And that’s just it: The waves don’t stop. The waves never stop. Sometimes their calmer and sometimes they are harsher, but the natural way of the world is that the water will always end up crashing up against the shore. We just have the illusion that if it’s not happening to us, it must not be happening at all.
And such is life: The waves never stop. Sometimes days are more pleasant, and sometimes they’re more difficult. Sometimes, it may feel easier to remove yourself from these situations all together. It really depends on how you see yourself, how you view the world, and your plan of ‘attack’ to get past those difficult moments.
I am in the middle of tweaking my mode of survival. I don’t think that life should feel like just a matter of survival. I think it’s about so much more than that, but it takes a very steady surfer to see the beauty of the wave, not just the danger of it. Lately, I’ve been in the thick of things, without a steady mode of getting through it. I’ve allowed every wave to crash over me and take me under, leaving me breathless, winded and ill prepared for the next one which is not far behind. It is hard to see the bigger picture when you’re in the smaller picture. It’s difficult to see a way out when all you know is the now. I’m not exactly sure what my next step is, because every time I think I’ve figured it out, life throws me another curve ball.
Life isn’t meant to be steady and static. If that we’re the case, we’d all might as well be dead. Life will go through ups and downs, and it’s tough. But, it’s also spectacular. It’s beautiful and lovely. The ups and downs are part of the game, and they’ll take you to the right place. They’ll take you to where you need to be.