How to Get Your Life Together

Submitted into Contest #50 in response to: Write a story about a person experiencing pre-performance jitters.... view prompt



How do you get your life together? Society’s answer would be to go to school, get good grades, not do drugs, hang with the right people, go to college, and a million more instructions. No one ever enters life without someone telling them that they’ll need to earn money someday. However, not every person leads a life that builds up the strength and confidence needed to get their life together.

Some people have a childhood that tears them down and has them scared to face life. Of those, some grow addictions and are unable to pick themselves up when the time comes for them to make money. If you were addicted to something and knew you’d have to fix yourself up to live up to people’s expectations, would you? No, seriously, think about it. How can someone get their life together, if they can’t let go of their addiction?

Some time ago, I came up with a list of instructions for doing something to avoid thinking of growing up:

The first step is to get off your lazy butt and walk to the fridge.

You won’t find what you’re looking for by opening the fridge so the next step would be to open the freezer.

Third, grab the ice cream.

Fourth, learn to eat like a decent human being. Don’t forget the spoon.

I’d say the last step is to put the ice cream in the microwave and watch it melt like your mom does at the sight of a cute baby but that would be a waste of cream, milk, vanilla, sugar, and whatever else it says when you search up the ingredients in ice cream.

The truth is, that list of steps won’t help anyone get anywhere, especially people who can’t eat ice cream… or people who don’t have a fridge.

It’s crazy how much a person can change in just a few years. Considering I eat ice cream and watch shows that streamed on disney channel in 2008 to forget about my problems - like the fact that I’m getting older - it’s hard to believe I used to be confident.

There would be a concert starting and I'd talk to my next seat neighbor about how excited I was to play music in front of an audience bigger than my mom for the first time. There was a time when notes flowed out of my instrument as easily as a spoon carrying mango and raspberry flavored frozen yogurt would fly to my mouth.

Then, another year came, followed by another, and one more...until I found myself sitting in between two friends talking to each other and laughing, all while I died inside due to the butterflies that chomped on my stomach whenever I thought of the time there was left until my teacher called the concert band to go down and play.

It’s easy to say, “I know this song and I’ve practiced it 9 billion times,” until you also say, “I might still mess up. When I do, the whole band will mess up. Then, everyone will look at me and my white cheeks will burn bright red and my life will be over.”

The thing is, I'm scared.

There’s twisted people out there who hate art and trash it when given the chance. What they don't realize is, we’re all performers. Our life is our stage and we all play the star. Like all plays, there’s a script and we follow it, hoping to please everyone with our expensive cars and fancy degrees saying we graduated from harvard. It shouldn’t be too hard, right? I mean, we have the script and we know our lines. How could that ever be hard?

Well, your self confidence goes down when you think, “I might say the wrong lines or enter from stage left instead of stage right. When I do, the scene will be ruined. Then, everyone will boo and my white cheeks will burn bright red and my play will be over.”

You see, I haven't fireproofed my cheeks yet. I'd rather slurp on ice cream and feed my addiction than burst into flames in front of people who hate art and trash it.

So… why is there another side of me that says it wants to be marionetted in front of a backdrop that says, “stick to the script?” I mean, I don’t want to be some loser who sits on the couch and does nothing except ignore their mom and eat ice cream. Not to mention the addiction they can’t get over no matter how much they know they should.

I'm scared because I'm so close to the opening night of my play. I'm scared because it’s almost time for the concert to start and I can't turn off my distractions to write that story nor can I get up and learn to make pancakes. I’m scared because I can't live with myself knowing I’ll end up living in garbage if I don't get ready to play.

It's like a battle of thoughts has started in my mind and it’s eating away my brain. I feel an extreme tug-o-war challenge breaking out and don’t know who to root for without having one side angered enough to kick the sides of my head and take control of my mind.

Even then, I believe it’s okay to feel this way. Maybe we were designed to be both performers and free spirits...designed to live as to not be an inconvenience to others while also having enough time to enjoy ourselves.

So how do you get your life together?

Let's see: assuming you didn’t put the ice cream in the microwave, you’re still on the 5th step. Head to the table and set your ice cream down somewhere. Pretend it is sand and start building a castle with it. Then, take your spoon and rip off one of the castle’s towers. Use more ice cream to rebuild the tower. Use the spoon to rip off the castle’s tower again. Rebuild and destroy until you run out of ice cream.

I know my opening night will not be perfect. I know the stomach-chomping butterflies will awaken with the energy of the performance. I know there will always be a spoon to take down my ice cream tower. However, there’s no reason to not put it up again. Besides, why should we judge the spoon if its contents taste so good?

July 17, 2020 22:02

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