Make It Hurt So Good

I know you love me. Wanna play?

I know you love me. Wanna play?

It’s going to happen and I think I’m prepared for it, but it typically hits me like a five gallon water jug to the gut.

You know the feeling. Your best friend, your mother, a trusted work colleague, your dog or the milkman - those who you think want your creative success as much as you do - turn into the three headed hell hound, Cerberus.

One head passive aggressively tells you, “Only adults with real jobs will be successful in life, but I loved your latest work. You have such a creative hobby. Good for you.”

The second head offers false support. The kind that goes like this. “Join the club. No one likes their job. We can be miserable together.” Misery definitely loves company.

The third head is the deadliest. It’s the one that bites off the head of its young because...well just because it can. You don’t dare tell this head your true desires and dreams because obviously you don’t want to die. It looks so innocent with its big puppy dog eyes and floppy ears. “You can tell me anything,” it croons. CHOMP!

One Cerberus is one too many in my neighborhood. When my support structure becomes multiple hounds, I realize I’ve let myself travel to the imaginary hell I’ve been creating since birth. The one of childhood fears about not doing the right thing, of the belief that this is how I’m supposed to grow up. It’s the hell of responsibility and that adults are not allowed to have fun. They need to focus on finances and how many hours they can put in a week on “the important stuff”. 

As you can read, I have a very active and rich imagination. My biggest support is myself and being able to recognize when I’m the one making it hurt so good is difficult, but not impossible. 

Sometimes those closest to me, those in my support network will say hurtful things when it comes to my creative life. They aren’t turning into Cerberus (a.k.a. Cerbie). Here boy! (Honestly, he’s not a bad dog. He just has a bad rap as the guardian of hell and all.)

Perspective helps. People do and say stupid things all the time. I’m guilty. We can’t really know why they do it and can in the next breath shout to the world our dreams will come true with sweat and determination, give us the ultimate pep talk and all the hugs we can stand without commentary when we are crying in our critiques or creative rejections. 

Our support structure is so very important. They are human. We are human. Cerberus isn’t human and is totally unreasonable at times. (Especially, when there is only one treat left in the Milkbone box. 

Find where the human is. That’s the important part. 

Photos from