I was talking to a friend the other day and he said that the best advice he ever got about heartbreaks went something like this: “Whenever you feel like crying over a girl, remember that others have lost empires. Half of Europe, stuff like that.”
Of course, there’s a problem of perspective here, because we’ll never know if those who did lose empires didn’t actually cry more over the lost of a woman, of a child, or something else, much more elusive in nature.
Actually, we all build our empires.
March was, probably, the most difficult month I have ever had the chance to experience so far. Money problems, health problems, my grandfather dying, and the loss of a woman I loved in a way I can’t even understand, analyze, or truly accept.
And I found myself thinking that I have lost everything but myself. It did feel that I had lost my empire. But then, a few days later, I realized that my empire was never built around people. It wasn’t even built around me, or around the trivial pursuit of pleasure or the mindless pursuit of undefined happiness.
I had built my empire in eleven or so years around writing. I have 73 folders in my computer or projects that are partly written, almost written, or they just have a title and an idea. Stories, novellas, scripts, novels, and a bunch of stuff that could turn up to be anything in between.
Of course, I didn’t realize this until writing was the only thing I had left, until I wanted to write, because no one can really take that away from me. No matter how much I write, how much writing gives me, I’ll still feel like it’s not enough. The empire expands with each story or novel, and it’s never enough.
The bitter truth is that people always leave. In one way or another. They die, they give up on you or you on them, they lose hope, they have to fight their own wars. Life happens, stuff happens, other people or events get in the way. And your empire will crumble and fall.
If you build your empire around things, you’ll never have enough. If you want a red sports car, you’ll work hard, save money, buy the damn thing, and after a while feel just as empty as before. Maybe even worse, until you find the next thing you absolutely need to have.
Build your empire around yourself, around your looks or intelligence or whatever virtue you think you have, you’ll always feel the opposite. You’ll always feel ugly, you’ll always search for a constant reminder of that in the way people look at you or talk to you. And, yes, those empires never last for too long.
But build your empire around an ideal. An impossible dream.
If I die tomorrow, I’m happy. My empire exists, my empire won’t crumble. Yes, it’s not huge, it’s not that great, maybe it won’t even last for as long as I’ve always hoped. But it will endure, in one form or another, for a long, long time.
It’s not about changing the world either. It’s about changing lives, it’s about keeping a resemblance of sanity in this crazy world, about doing something and knowing that it won’t go away, that people can’t take it away. Cut off my arms, and I’ll write with my damn feet if I have to.
If you put real value in that dream of yours, if you fight for it with all your strength, you’ll never lose hope. Yes, at times it might feel like standing still, and, yes, at times you’ll lose motivation, heart, and sometimes you’ll feel you’re not good enough.
But let me ask you a question. Good enough for what? Or whom?
Do we have to prove something to someone? Do we feel life’s just a competition?
I suppose you’ll have to answer that for yourself, because I realized that I am good enough. For myself. I write the words that I want to write, the way that I want to write them, and that makes me happy. I change something in people sometimes, and that makes me happy too. I feel less lonely when I write, and that rarely happens even when I’m around people.
Whenever you feel like you’ve got nothing, ask yourself what your empire is truly built around.