The Rules Of The Game

Self Reliance

My daughter looks at me and asks what is wrong. I don’t tell her what I really think or what I really feel. I just say that I had a bad day because I did. She smiles and she throws her arms around me.

This girl of mine, she wants to rescue daddy. That is what she says. I smile and I tell her that she doesn’t need to feel that way because I don’t need rescuing.

That is not entirely true. I do. I need to find a ship that will take me aboard. I need to stop treading water. My body is tired but that is not the hardest part. The hardest part is that my spirit feels weak. I feel battered and bruised.

And Now A Word From Our Sponsors

Tonight I am writing for Just Write and Yeah Write. They are two different writing programs that I have come to love. Every week I look forward to being a part of them. Every week I find new blogs to read through them and every week new readers find me.

This post you are reading is hard for me to write. It is hard because there are a million things going on and I am guarded. I share much but I don’t share everything. This post you are reading is hard because I am trying to connect with you and I keep telling myself to stop.

Instead of just writing and letting the words flow I am thinking carefully about what I say. That is because I want you to become so enamored you can’t help but become a fan of my Facebook Page. I want you to read these words and want to be a part of this community. I want you to read these words and want to read everything I have ever written.

Part of me is digusted by that. Part of me wants to say that it is terrible to beg and debase myself. Part of me says that I need to stop thinking and just write because that is where my best writing comes from.

There is truth to that. When I ignore self doubt and turn off the editor inside my head good things happen. But there is another voice inside that says that I have to change the rules of the game.

That voice says that I have spent too much time doing things one way and it can’t hurt to change it up. So I wonder if my hesitation is fear. I wonder if I fear being successful as much as I fear failure.

Fear And Blogging

Fear is a big part of blogging or should I say my blogging. I try to write about my fear. I do it because I hope that by doing so I will understand it better and because it is easier to control. I don’t walk around in fear, but I am normal. There are things that scare me.

Somewhere there is a list of them. I usually share it around Halloween.

At the moment my two biggest fears are simple. I fear failing my children and I fear not having the courage to try. I really prefer to try and fail than fail to try. Most of the time I think I do a good job of not succumbing to that, but sometimes I fall short.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see my biggest enemy. Sometimes I think of the person that used to be my biggest cheerleader and wonder if I really need them to succeed.

I probably don’t. Not sure why I qualified that. It is times like now that I miss my grandparents. They definitely were among my biggest cheerleaders. I have blogged about them many times. I probably should link to those posts or at least some of them. You can read about my paternal grandfather here. You can read a post called Echoes Of The Pople We Miss and learn a bit more about my grandparents.

It touches upon how one of my grandfathers died of a broken heart. Sure he was 97 and sooner or later age would have caught up to him, but it was grandma’s death that killed him. He loved my grandma so very much.

A while back I had a dream about them. I was standing in front of my house and I saw grandma driving down the street. I couldn’t figure out how she was driving because in my dream I knew that she was dead, but dreams are funny that way.

So I ran next door to the neighbor’s house to get grandpa. I watched him run to her. They hugged each other and waved to me. They were about 2o feet away but I couldn’t get to them.

They smiled at me and I wondered why I couldn’t just walk over and say hi. It was surreal. I knew that I was an adult. I knew that I was a father, but I felt like a kid. Why couldn’t I just go hug my grandparents.

You Can’t Go Back- You Can Only Go Through

I wonder how many people will read this post. I wonder who will be interested in checking out the other links. There is one called Life is A Tale Told By An Idiot that has been calling out to me.

Several sections of it keep popping up. I keep hearing/seeing these words

“If I could read your mind, love,
What a tale your thoughts could tell.
Just like a paperback novel,
The kind the drugstores sell.
Then you reached the part where the heartaches come,
The hero would be me.
But heroes often fail,
And you won’t read that book again
Because the ending’s just too hard to take!”
If You Could Read My Mind- Gordon Lightfoot

There are others that call out to me, other posts that is. I can’t provide excerpts to all of them but I can provide links and hope that some will follow:

  • New Year’s Eve– Sometimes they are magical and sometimes they aren’t.
  • The Final Goodbye– The Big Lug was more than just a pet, he was my best friend. Don’t know why the comments repeat there, but..
  • I Hear Music– There is no explanation. This simply is.
  • The Flying Clown– A drunk clown at a child’s birthday part is a recipe for…something.

I am chasing my dreams. Change is in the air. It is a bit exciting and disconcerting. We’re going to be moving again. Not quite sure when, but some time this year. Don’t know where we’ll move to yet. Might stay in the city or might leave the state.

Lots of possibilities.

I am chasing my dreams. If I can’t figure out the rules of the game then I might as well make them up as I go along.

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  1. Julia May 17, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Writing is so hard because it requires time, energy, and emotion. Keep it up; it’s a wonderful thing you’re doing here. 

    • TheJackB May 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      @juliahembree Thank you. I think a big part of success in blogging is sustaining our effort. Consistency goes a long way. So many bloggers quit before they find their voice and are able to really get started.

  2. Vanessa May 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Occasionally, I will promote heavy but mostly I try to keep my goals modest.

  3. kdwald May 16, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    There’s so much going on in this post – I like feeling like I’m listening in on a conversation you’re having with your mirror.  
    I keep self-promotion to a minimum.  In fact, I rarely do it – but my goals are less defined than it seems yours are.  My dreams of publication are still buried under too recent memories of dirty diapers.  And I have no ads to get clicked as some people do – so I let people find me. And, much as I do in real life, you can take it or leave it.  
    That said, I do appreciate other people’s self-promotion because it brings me to them.  So, thanks for that!

    • TheJackB May 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      Yeah, I did sort of pack this chock full of stuff.
      I definitely know what my goals are and have an objective tied up in all this. So I am pushing to reach that place. The main question to me is always tied into happiness and are we doing the things that make us happy. That is very important.

  4. SusannaBartee May 16, 2012 at 9:55 am

     “The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried.”  Such a great quote. I think so many of us can relate exactly to how you feel. Love your description.

    • TheJackB May 16, 2012 at 11:55 am

       susannabartee I wish that was mine. That comes from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on Self Reliance. I first read it in junior high and hated it. Learned many years later that he was a very sharp man.

  5. kiddiepoolmommy May 16, 2012 at 9:09 am

    I agree.  Love the writing but hate the shilling but part of loving the writing is wanting it to be read.  Vicious cycle.

  6. Louise Ducote May 16, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Interesting post with a lot going on, all of it anchored by that little girl throwing her arms around her daddy’s neck.  I love writing my blog but absolutely despise asking people to “like’ my FB page or to follow me on twitter or to vote for me on yeahwrite. . .it just feels so greasy and awful.  It feels like the opposite of writing.  Yet It seems to be a big part of the price of admission into the blogging world. . .and I haven’t yet paid up.  

    • TheJackB May 16, 2012 at 9:42 am

      Hi Louise,
      Self promotion can feel awkward and uncomfortable. I think that sometimes we need to think about what our goals are and go from there.
      If you are interested in growing your blog and doing something more with it than sometimes  it is important to become your own advocate and ask people to become a part of your community.
      I am confident that I offer value and that what is here is worth something so it makes it easier to ask people to join the community. But there are more than a few moments where I am not real fond of doing so.
      But my goal is to publish some books and I think it is useful to have a community that is familiar with my work and hopefully interested in reading something more substantial. At least that is my theory.

  7. Michelle Longo May 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm

    I really enjoy your writing.  I will go back and check out your links.  Keep writing.  It’s not begging to want people to read it.  I think many of us can relate to the doubt.  

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 9:26 pm

       michellelongo Thank you. Writing is such a big part of me I don’t think that I could stop without feeling like I was crippled. I just try to be like the next guy and push through all the crap.

  8. Katie May 15, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I really struggle with self-doubt and fear when it comes to writing. I have this nasty habit of comparing myself to others and that never ends well. 
    Glad you feel change in the air. Change is good. Moving forward is good. Keep chasing those dreams. You have the talent. 

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      @katie I understand that. Sometimes I fall into the same trap, but most of the time I manage to avoid that. If anything I get irritated with myself because I don’t feel like the quality is where I want it to be.
      Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate it.

    • penneyfox May 16, 2012 at 5:45 am

      @katie – I can completely relate to this! I wrote a post where I shared something personal, thought about it, wrote it and then re-wrote it until I finally hit the publish button. And then there was silence and I was crushed.
      Sometimes I think the comparisons I do have more to do with my ego then whether others have more followers or get more comments. It is a nasty habit that I have as well and I do my best to remind myself that we are all on different paths. When I look at it like this, it makes it easier for me to stop comparing myself to others as they’re doing their thing and I’m doing mine.

  9. penneyfox May 15, 2012 at 12:33 pm

    Always good stuff that I can connect to when I click over here. I get it, I totally get it and surprisingly, had this same conversation with myself this weekend.
    Something I wanted to share with you that I have posted up on my office wall:
    I must not fear
    Fear is the mind killer …
    Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration ….
    I will face my fear
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me ….
    And when it has gone past me I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.
    If you don’t know this, its from Dune. (Yes, I admit it, I’m a Dune freak and have read most of the books. And the SyFy 3-part series is WAY better then the movie with Sing!) Anyway, take from it what you will but I hope you find meaning it in like I have.

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm

       @penneyfox You may call me Paul Muad-Dib. I liked the first three books more than the ones that followed. Or at least those that I read. I think that I got to Heretics of Dune and that was it.

      • penneyfox May 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm

         @TheJackB Ah … so you know this one already! Your post took me to this place and those lines from the story. Those books were good but if you can make it to the ones at the end then you’ll learn who the true kwisatz haderach is — and its totally not who you think.
        NOW that’s a deep story with messages woven in them. Frank Herbert rocks 🙂

  10. AdrienneSmith May 15, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Ah Jack, I can relate to what you shared about your daughter.  I use to do the same thing with my Dad and oh how I miss him.  I also miss my grandparents too.  They’ve been gone so long but I’ll never forget them, that’s just not possible.  They were wonderful people and my grandmother also died of a broken heart.  Three months after my granddad passed away.  I guess we can’t live forever.
    I can’t imagine someone not enjoying your posts Jack.  You write so wonderfully so continue to go with your gut and to hell with what others think.  They’ll all grow to love you just like we do.  So rock on my friend, rock on!

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Hi Adrienne. I know from our conversations that your dad meant a lot to you. I am very sorry he is not around. Your descriptions make me think of a quiet, hard working man who had plenty of stories to tell.
      I’d love to say that no one dislikes my writing and my stories but there are plenty who do. I am ok with that. We can’t please everyone and when we try we upset everyone.

  11. CrossBetsy May 15, 2012 at 8:31 am

    There are days when I get so down…don’t know if there’s a pattern or not…but those are the days I talk talk to my mom until I’ve said it all. Do we ever have it all figured out? I don’t.I love watching people’s apparent confidence as they tweet out “please read share or tweet”, and wonder why I don’t do that if that’s the result I want? As wonderful as the relationships in social media are, though, I still need and crave that one-on-one relationship with a trusted comrade who supports me…like my mom. Someone who’s always there loving who I am and what I do just because!

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm

       @CrossBetsy I think we all need to have more than words on a screen. There is a difference when you get support face-to-face. That doesn’t mean that a letter is unimportant, but it is different. There is value in both.
      We just have to figure out what works best for us and how to make it happen.

  12. CarrieSieffert May 15, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I thought this post was heartfelt and beautiful and I understand the fear that comes with change but often change turns out to be the biggest teacher! I hope your change is, and I hope you stop doubting and fearing that man in the mirror!

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm

       @CarrieSieffert Hi Carrie. I don’t totally doubt that guy, I do wonder about him sometimes. I usually find that the best way to deal with that discomfort is to name it during daylight and see what happens.

  13. mamamash May 15, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Our biggest enemies are in the mirror, you got that right. I get conflict and change right now. Boy do I ever. Good on you for putting it into words and blasting it out there.

  14. Michael May 15, 2012 at 6:23 am

    At the risk of sounding poetically mystical, the rules didn’t change Jack. You merely interpret them differently now.
    I think of it as another rung on the growth ladder when faced with change. Perspectives become skewed during times of uncertainty, so our fears exploit the soul. The uncertainty is dark and abysmal. You can either step into it and follow the man holding the flashlight to guide you through or wait. Right now you’re hesitant because change is upcoming and it’s scary. 
    Follow the guide and you’ll discover a new set of rules which are waiting for you to break and conquer. 
    Keep on, keepin’ on my friend.

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 10:14 am

      That is a good way of looking at it. I do see the rules quite differently than I once did. Well we are in agreement about the need to go through. Can’t turn back the clock or stop it, we can only keep pushing through.
      Should be interesting to see where it all leads. I appreciate the comments, thank you.

  15. Sandi Amorim May 15, 2012 at 6:20 am

    There is a longing here that tugs at my heart strings and a sadness that reminds me of my own grandma who I miss. It is at once compelling and uncomfortable. 
    And I like the idea of just writing. I like it, but I’m not very good at it. Always seem to have an intention when I sit down to write. The few times I have though, have always surprised me. 

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 10:06 am

       @Sandi Amorim We are taught to write with intention. In school they teach us to use form and structure, so when you remove that it is sometimes a bit harder.
      I like taking that out to see what happens. I bet you are better at it than you think.

  16. rdopping May 15, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Conflicted is a tough way to live…;-)
    Nicely done. Pull on those heartstrings and lead us into temptation….oops.

    Anyway, it appears you share the same love of writing that you did for your grandparents. The vehicle you chose is your challenge and I would agree that you should write for the sake of writing. That’s it!

    Or am I an unlikely sucker for Jack’s clever ways?

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

      Hi Ralph,
      In my school days I was quite adept at getting people into trouble by convincing them to do “stuff” but who can remember what that stuff was anyway. 😉
      Yep, loved my grandparents. They were fun and we spent lots of time with them. They would have liked to have read these posts, although teaching them how to surf the net might have been interesting. 😉

  17. Julie May 15, 2012 at 2:21 am

    That sounds like a Visitation dream.  
    All you have to do to connect with your grandparents is to think of them and feel what it was like to be with them.  Ask them for an answer to a question, even – and watch out for the answer.
    Remember, it’s always darkest before the dawn?  When you get really close to the end, when frustration is high, when all your fears show up, when roadblocks appear – that’s exactly when you MUST remember that fears are just your ego showing up to tell you that you can’t do something.  Listen to your intuition instead and, even if you must force yourself, CHOOSE to simply believe that all will work out well – if you act, if you just keep going, it will turn out as well as (or better than, perhaps differently) you imagine.  There are no rules, J. 

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 9:35 am

       @Julie | A Clear Sign 
      If it is not, then I don’t know what is. It was surreal, but pretty cool. 
      I don’t think that I have ever been a complete rule follower, but I probably haven’t done as much as I could to just go with my gut either.
      Too much time has been spent playing it safe. It is time to do more than that. Now we see what intuition brings.

  18. Harleena Singh May 15, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Wonderful Jack!
    I think you remember your grandparents so fondly so the dream looks surreal and that’s what matters most- that they remain forever in our heart – isn’t it?
    I guess all of us have hidden fears with ourselves, and it’s very normal to feel the way you do about things. But when we try to overcome those fears by facing them and taking things a step at a time, it does work wonders. And I don’t think there’s any harm in asking if need be, though I guess those who love writing really don’t bother about asking people for things and they automatically get fans without asking for it. Just liked your Fanpage 🙂
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • TheJackB May 15, 2012 at 9:33 am

       @Harleena Singh 
      Hi Harleena,
      It makes me feel good to carry my grandparents there. It is important.
      I can’t imagine going through life and constantly being afraid. I agree that it is natural to have some fear and insecurity. I hate the idea of never confronting it and never pushing to get beyond it. I don’t want to miss out on life because of that.
      Thank you for your support and being a part of things here.

  19. The Elevation Group May 15, 2012 at 12:42 am

    “I am chasing my dreams. If I can’t figure out the rules of the game then I might as well make them up as I go along.” I truly believe in this saying because it fits perfectly on how people make things happen. They just have to make them happen and we don’t have to follow the norms all the time. Sometimes doing things our way is way better than just following rules.

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