Crippling self-doubt, fatigue, and other things that throw your sense of calm out the window

What is the point, really?

I find myself asking this question fairly often. I wonder about the significance of anything I’m doing. I wonder if anybody cares. I wonder if anything I do makes anybody’s life better, if I’m contributing somehow to the betterment of… Something.

It was easy, over the last ten or so years, to feel like my work had value, that I was making life better, perhaps in tiny ways, through the work I was doing. For five years, I helped small groups of young people learn media skills, so they could tell the stories that mattered to them and their communities. For eleven years, I put on a costume and raised money for children in need. For the last three years, I put my storytelling and project management skills to use, so that Persons with Disability could find work, so that children could play again, so that young people could build a better nation, a better world.

It was so easy to feel like I was making the world a better place. I could put numbers on the things I did, and I could say that, in some tiny way, something I did made somebody’s life better.

I don’t have any of that now.

I find myself wondering, then, what it is I’m doing now and who I’m helping, and what is the significance of anything I’m doing.

I see friends with their grants and scholarships, their fellowships and awards, and I wonder what I’m writing that’s worth anything. I see people fighting the patriarchy and toxicity and stigma, and I wonder what I’m fighting aside from bad grammar and crippling self doubt. I see the work my friends are doing, around the country, around the world, to help the underprivileged, the oppressed, and I wonder why I’m not doing the same groundbreaking, life-changing things. I see the novels and poems and stories that people are publishing, and I wonder when I’m going to add to that little trove of stories I have hidden away, and when I’m going to find the courage to say, I’m ready, I’m going to send these out into the world.

I tire and toil, and I feel so drained, and I don’t know if there’s a point. Where is the purpose to all of this? Whose life am I making better? Whose story am I telling, and how is that making the world a better place? It’s so hard to see where I’m going, so hard to feel like anything I do makes any difference at all, to anyone.

I tire and toil, and still I feel like it isn’t enough, it’s never enough. I tire and toil and feel like an insignificant thing, drowning instead of making a splash, a drop in the ocean instead of the Great Wave.

I tire and toil, and live with the daily fear that I’m not doing anything worthwhile, that I’m ordinary and that there is no point to anything I do.

And one day my son will look at me and ask what I’ve done with my life, and I won’t have anything to say to him.

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