I’ve had so many attempts at blogs over the years, its seems sad to look back on. I happened on one such blog that is surprisingly still live and came across a post from 2011 that shockingly revealed a moment when I “died”. The space in time when my creativity died, though I continued to drivel things out for a few months after that.
It’s emotionally difficult to discuss life changing moments. In any sort of emotional way, for me any way. I wrote the first paragraph of this on April 11 of this year. But I never added on to it afterward because I didn’t want to go through the emotional labor of examining the gory details of why I stopped creating.
Shortly before my creative “death” in 2011, I had been doing a lot more than just my job as a worship leader and youth pastor. In 2006-7 I went back to school, enrolling in an online school to get my bachelors degree. I basically did all of my homework and schooling from about 5 am to 7 am every day at a coffee shop before going to work for the day. In 2008, I ended up taking a pay cut for that job because of the economic downturn and my “faith” that “my” God would provide for me and my little family. Shortly after that decision I picked up my first paper route to help make up the slack. A bit after that we found out my wife was pregnant with our second daughter (SURPRISE!). I picked up two more paper routes after that, routinely waking up at 3 am and running my routes until 6 and then doing my school work, followed by my day job.
I ran those paper routes through my daughter’s birth while also picking up a new job for the holiday season with Costco. I remember being woken up by the night nurse because I couldn’t stay awake. She was angry with me – my wife understood. A few weeks after that I dropped the paper routes, even under threat from the newspaper that I couldn’t just quit [I mean, I gave them two weeks notice]. My Costco job ran through New Years but I didn’t get picked up for a full time position. I went without a second job for a few months before getting hired at City Brew, working 20 hours a week there while still trying to do my day job and then getting hired with the roasting side of the company to do packaging and learn the trade. Finally, later that year, I landed a job with an IT company working with some flexibility around my pastor job.
Here’s where it gets hard. At the very end of that year (2010), I confessed to my pastor [again] that I was struggling with pornography and masturbation. I was exhausted. More so, I was tired of this struggle and was ready to bring it to the light and looking for help. His response was that he thought my time with the church was over. I was devastated and begged otherwise. He in turn placed me on a three month sabbatical [unpaid] while we would meet once a week to discuss it. Frantic, I met up with my newly acquired IT job boss and asked him if I could go full time. Fortunately for my family, that shift changed everything for us. But it was the end of this season that killed my creativity.
Before all of that happened, I had been brim with ideas and working to create – I was in a band [shout out to Sky Collide], working on my own music [Triumph!], wrote and “self-published” a book [Porn and Cigarettes – email me if you want it], and had two or three other ideas in the works that I was just starting to get off the ground. [Sorry that suddenly turned into a Jake advertisement!]
But April of 2011 was when my creativity left me and my desire to produce dissipated until nothing was left. I’ve been tired ever since, even though my workload has changed. The beginning of 2018 was supposed to be my new lease and then I reverted without awareness. At first I put off finishing this post because it was too hard – I’d finish it tomorrow. Then I was going to do it the next tomorrow. Then next week. Then I stopped logging in to my site. A month went by and I logged in and stared at it. Then three months went by and I logged in a didn’t remember what it was supposed to be about. Then another month and another and all the sudden, here I am, in December.
I’ve heard it said that you should never stop working/creating/pushing/growing. It seemed tiring; but now I know it’s more exhausting to do nothing at all because it’s harder to start back up after all these years.