For me—in both writing and teaching—confidence and self-doubt cycle like the moon. The dark side is always there, even on a full moon. It’s just hidden behind the bright white pearl. Even though headspace isn’t as simple as lunar proportionality, like 33% waxing dark and 67% waning light, the visual is still useful. And pretty damn accurate. Consider my mania during the last 48 hours.
Two nights ago, at 5:50pm, right before my sister came over for masala carrot squash soup, I was phone talking with a mixed media artist friend about the future of reading, or lack thereof. He said video is the future. And I was amped amped amped. Truth discovered, time to crank out video. Let’s do it! Ooh rah! (This is the classic manic-depressive cycle. Sky high. Then dust dirt low.)
Yesterday morning I woke up, sore throat from a nation-wide cold, sore legs from first time gym squats in a while, and sore ego from the recognition of a low-reach Alt Dad Diary enterprise. High to low. Overnight.
After teaching my 8am English class, where we discussed the curricular overlap between pick-up artistry and communication 101, I went outside, took some deep breaths, walked behind the building where the grass turns to gravel and the water meters and electrical boxes hum, held my phone out in front of me and pressed Record. Posted a short live video about failure. And how failure is always there, but it’s okay. The message was mostly self-directed. But I posted it on Facebook. And was feeling okay. Like I’d done something good.
Then I sent the video to the mixed media artist, asked him to take a look. He said it should be shorter, spliced like an essay. Open with a hook. End with a hook. Weave the main points in the middle. My mind immediately recast my recent video as a failure. In a hurry, while my second and then third English classes were free-writing, I opened iMovie and trimmed the video into sizzling piece of bacon—hot to the touch. (My lower lip still hasn’t healed from the griddle fresh bacon burn last week. I keep curiously pressing my tongue against it, which is making matters worse. The sore on lip has re-piqued my interest in a lip ring. But Google says they’re so abusive to tooth enamel….ugh. I already have receding gum lines.)
Mid-afternoon two unknown prophet people message me. One on Instagram. One on Facebook. They say keep writing dude!!!!!! Don’t dilute the diary to fit a click-bait consumption culture. Fuck that, they said. Do you and be patient and everything will come. And I was like oh jesus. The universe hears my brain. I don’t subscribe to organized religion. Nor do I subscribe to vague spiritualistic notions of the universe providing. But damn. The two people who messaged are purely online acquaintances. Never met in real life. And yet their words of encouragement were like being eyes blinded by the search spotlight of a Coast Guard rescue vessel after hours spent clinging to the barely floating wreckage of a storm-ravaged boat, slowly sinking. Actually their words were more than the search light. Their words of encouragement were the orange buoy, the pull aboard, and the warm wool blanket. That good.
This is a rough sketch of 48 hours of my manic lunar cycle of confidence and self-doubt.
P.S. This is the video posted yesterday, spliced-up and ripe for click-bait. You can see my on-screen confidence. Interesting, I think, given the above headspace confessions. It’s not that the confidence was an act. I mean I do have to hit my own helmet. I need to courage coach, superman self-talk, and hype myself up. But after the pep talk, the confidence is coming from an authentic place. That said, the confidence is momentary. It’s like looking up at a full moon, and admiring the glow. For every bright eyes lunar moment like that, there’s a matching moment when the sky is infinite blackness.
>>> Hey yo. If you’re reading this, thank you! That means you in some way support what I’m up to. Which is rad. Since I’ve launched The Alt Dad Diary, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into making this the most honest and raw writing I can squeeze out. It's been super fun to do, and hopefully it's been fun to read. Eventually though, if I’m going to keep cranking, I’ll have to make a little money. So, if you enjoy the daily read, I’d really, really appreciate you throwing The Diary a couple bucks every month. It'll help me keep the 5am coffee with coconut oil brewing. Head to patreon.com/altdaddiary. In exchange for a little scratch each month, I’m going to give all supporters exclusive access to an upcoming series of weekly Alt Dad Diary vlogs. Links and a private RSS feed will be provided on the Patreon page. Thanks thanks thanks. Not the expected kind like on Thanksgiving. But really. When you’re caught with your shorts down and you honestly feel the wind in your sails. Peace and wait for the bacon to cool!
The Alt Dad Diary