Catharsis vs. the Naysayers

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

September 8, 2013


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It feels like this: there’s a pit in my stomach. But, it doesn’t feel bad. Feels kind of good. Like a bunch of thoughts welled up in one coherent thought, in one moment. At the same time, my eyes well up with tears. It’s a physical and mental state, as if the world stopped.

That’s what catharsis feels like to me. All of those emotions and physical sensations at once. You become the moment. The moment of particular clarity when everything just makes sense.

The question begs, how do you hang on to that moment and make something out of it?

Sometimes I share the clear thoughts with others, and the naysayers are quick to show themselves. They don’t bolster you up, the bring you down. They point out all the flaws, all the disappointments, all the reasons why not. Never, never, do they utter why. Later, they might acquiesce and say, no really, I just want to support you. But, that moment is affected.

It doesn’t seem to matter how logical their reasons are, they all go towards bringing the dream down. You have to be a very strong person to hang on to that clarity. To keep it clear, your eyes set on it, to be able to carry out what is now a goal.

This is where I falter. As soon as the naysayers say their peace, and boy do they ever, without an activator in my life, I become weak, and I acquiesce to their so-called pragmatic reasons why not.

A friend chided another some time ago. She was tired of someone close to her always having the next new thing and begging for support. This person, always searching, certainly seemed fickle in their endeavors, not really finishing anything, jumping to the next thing as if to feel the new feeling. But, maybe they, like me, are just trying to find their place in this world.

My mother always told me that everyone beats to the march of a different drummer. It’s so hard finding that drummer, and if catharsis comes in the form of a drummer, all you want is to start marching. And you want your band mates there to march along with you, holding you, bolstering you up as you face your dream.

And the naysayers come. And the band disappears. And you are left, alone, wondering – was it really a Eureka moment after all? Maybe it wasn’t meant to be because the stars didn’t seem to align. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be because you couldn’t prioritize it along side all the busy-ness of life. Maybe we are just too weak to make our dreams come true. Maybe it’s just easier to side with the naysayers, who are also in your inner circle, because it’s too hard to argue, and you have to pick your battles, and sometimes fixing dinner is easier than making dreams.

Let’s revisit Langston Hughes.


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