Eyes Shut


I’ve noticed a strange habit of mine lately.

At night, I have a tendency to read in bed before falling asleep.

I don’t have a bedside lamp, so instead I read either by the light of my Ipad, or using a small book light.  I am able to read until I literally fall asleep in the middle of the page, and need to do nothing more strenuous than roll over to put my book down.

This means I turn out my light and walk to my bed in the dark.

But instead of leaving my eyes open to use the little light still available in the room, I stumble to across the room with my eyes shut.

I didn’t realize I did this at first.  The room was already dark, so the fact that my eyes were shut, and therefore not letting any light in didn’t seem strange enough to stand out.  I must have known I was doing it on some level, but I didn’t think about it.

Until one random night, when I was reaching blindly across my bed, trying to find my Ipad in order to open it and allow some light into the room.  Somehow I suddenly became aware of the fact that I was not using the one sense that would likely solve all of my problems and allow me to have what I wanted.  If I had just opened my eyes, I would have seen what I was looking for right away.  Instead I refused the help I could have easily given myself and continued to reach into the darkness.

I began paying attention to my eyes after I turned the lights off after that.  Even realizing I was making things harder for myself, I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes open for that short walk.  It wasn’t until I had turned on a light that I would open my eyes again.

It was as if I had realized it was going to be hard to see, so I might as well not try.  I wouldn’t see much anyway, so why not leave my eyes shut.

Unfortunately this is something I have done in many areas of my life.

I’m currently out of shape and trying to get back into a running routine.  As much as I miss my easier miles (and better fitting jeans) I have several mornings a week when I start out and think, it’s going to hurt if I run, maybe I should just walk it today.  It doesn’t matter that it will hurt less the more often I run, today it’s going to be hard so maybe I should quit.

I’ve been considering the idea of the short story competition lately.  As far as a writing career goes, winning, or even becoming a finalist in a writing competition can do wonders.  It shows some people like my writing, which is good, but also that I am serious enough about my writing to go out on a limb.  I know this would be something that would be good for me to try

I have my story idea, and an outline.  But somehow I can’t get the first words on paper.

I know my chances.  It’s easier to not win because my story wasn’t ready than to not win because I wasn’t good enough.

It’s going to be dark, so I keep my eyes shut.

I know how unlikely it is to have my story picked out from the crowd.  Hundreds, maybe even thousands of writers enter these contests, each with their own ideas and talent.  Some of them actually have their degrees in something writing related.  English, literature, creative writing; all of these are infinitely more useful to a writing career than my BA in Child Development.  I mean, my competitors actually know what they are doing.  I’m just someone with a computer and an idea.  How can I expect to compete?

In truth, maybe I can’t.  But really, what is more useful in writing, technical knowledge or a good idea?  Not all successful writers have any official expertise in their field.  They were simply a person with an idea and a talent for story telling.  I might not have that natural talent.  I might just be a person who talks too much, a person who likes to make things up.

But I will never know what could be out there if I don’t open my eyes and take a look.

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