“Can I puff cigars & drink Cristal? If this is heaven to me, is this considered heavenly?” – Jay-Z
We all have different thoughts on what heaven and hell are. I believe that heaven is every great moment, thought, feeling and people you want happening over and over again, like you live out your exact fantasy. Hell on the other hand is your worst thoughts, days, and feelings happening over and over again, like you live out your exact nightmare. So heaven and hell are different for everybody but I believe purgatory is quite the same.
We’re all living in purgatory; our life is the audition for our fantasies or our nightmares. As a creative purgatory is the worst possible place to be because we are not “normal” (I don’t think anyone is), we’re the people who make the sounds, sights and emotion that others admire, draw inspiration from or vilify. Yet, we’re not auditioning for anything because we live in our heaven or hell every time we create. Regardless of how anyone else judges our creation, it’s us as creatives who ultimately need to be elated or disappointed with what we’ve done. I’ve been writing about 4 articles a week, every week of May and I haven’t fell to hell yet and don’t plan to anytime soon. That’s just it, who plans to go to hell? We all create with euphoric fantasies as the goal, to hit our stride and touch heaven, and we’re the only ones that can give ourselves that feeling; as I always say, writing/creating is a selfish thing. But shit, when we create and we’re disappointed in what we’ve done? It feels like hell and we start looking around for answers as to how/why are we here? Hell is such a place that, we become it and start pointing fingers to blame any and everyone but ourselves as to why what we created sunk us to hell. When we finally stop all of our hellacious self-loathing, we realize that we can just create and find our way to heaven that much quicker. So the trips to hell get shorter and shorter with every other “failure”.
Which is why purgatory starts to become hell because we know we have the ability and creative force to not be stuck in hell but somehow we not pushing our elevator to heaven. It’s like a maze to amazing how we find ourselves stuck in a funk but the best thing to do is create out of a funk and into a zone. If you’re good at something, people will seek your advice but if you’re great at something, your advice will be a catalyst of change; whether they sought you out or you found them & volunteered help. Writers, creatives and others alike seek me out and I could easily tell them to go fuck themselves but I tell them to write out everything that’s bothering them on a piece of paper and be completely honest with themselves. The worst possible thoughts, feelings or whatever; get it out of your system and then on the other side write down how you would prefer to fix them. The old adage goes, “you’re only as sick as your secrets”, so why not cure yourself? Does it work for everybody? Absolutely not but it’s a start because now you’re in a rhythm of expressing yourself again and your thoughts/ideas become part of your “routine”.
Purgatory is every frustration and false start you’ve ever had in your life; creative or otherwise (should be one in the same). I don’t force shit anymore, that’s creating something for the sake of creating it and saying “I did something.” I’ve done too many hellacious things while in purgatory because I simply needed something to do. I kid you not; I was DONE after my 2nd book because of the circumstances that surrounded that release. I had a party thrown for me and it felt like people were just there because the book was a thing and not for me. I decided during the party that I’m finished with writing because this shit is not me. A bunch pretentious, snappychatty types taking pictures with my product just to say they have it cuz it was a thing; fuck that. I don’t create an image, I create a substance and my content means that much to me. Obviously I’ve come out of my 3 day retirement but it was because I realized something and that’s my gift isn’t in how people receive me, but in the nerve to be who I am in spite of it.
Yes, it feels like pure hell being yourself and others telling you who and what you are. It’s super insulting when people who claim to love your work ask you things that you’ve explained in your work. Something as simple as, “Yo I’m feeling your writing lately, how have you been?” while my writing lately has been all about how I am. But that’s not the end all be all of why you create. If the reaction from the crowd is your driving force, all you’re creating is reactions and not anything with substance for yourself. That’s the gravest injustice you can serve in purgatory and it’s worse than a hell sentence. Creating isn’t about credit or fanfare, it’s about the execution of an idea so small in your mind that explodes and becomes who you are to you. I’m married to being creative, not any 1 idea; surely some mean more than others but the reactions to it don’t divorce me from my love. As stubborn as you are and have to be with an idea, you have to be more in love with the idea of freedom to create another one.
It all stems back to where and why you started; your idea of who and what you wanted to be was never controlled by how and why people perceive you to be. Getting out of creative purgatory is about taking everything life has given you, fair or not and turning it back around and showing people your perception of what you’ve been dealt.
Heaven and hell don’t belong to anyone to give to you; purgatory is where you create your destination.