Empires

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.

No.

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.

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52 thoughts on “Empires

  1. The loss of an empire ius only the loss of a thing. A lost love is always a piece of your heart you never get back. You survive to love again, but that piece never comes back. But because of that you lear to appreciate new joys found more. >KB

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    • Indeed. You can love again, once you regain hope and trust. You know, during hard times, when we feel we’ve lost everything, we can still hear a voice telling us that life goes on, that everything is going to be okay… eventually.

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  2. awesome post!! And what a great reminder. how often we all base our self-worth and happiness on others or things, when we have the ability to be worthy and happy immediately with what we have already established in the foundation of our empire. Really good post!

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    • But it’s incredibly difficult to do this: to appreciate what you already have. We want more and more, and sometimes more doesn’t even feel enough. Actually, we don’t even know what “more” means.

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      • Oh, agreed! We’re bombarded daily, hourly, with images and messages of things we should have, people we should be, etc. so it’s tough to be happy simply with what you have and where you are at any given point in time. I’m not self-actualized yet. Working on it, but not even close yet! :)

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  3. Then i asked myself, “what is my empire?”

    …..made me feel like i’m living a zombie life coz it’s been a while since i’ve thought of what was referred as my empire. Was wandering aimlessly and now this article had me thinking! Nice!

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    • We all lose our way. But being lost doesn’t mean you’re headed nowhere, but rather anywhere. It’s a chance to discover who you really are, to reinvent yourself, to find something that’s really worth fighting for.

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  4. Thank you for sharing! I think your points are great, even though I still believe that the people who love you and you love are the greatest treasure one can ever have. I’m sorry for your loss, I hope things will get better soon :) Keep your hope up! ;)

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  5. Great post, I think there is room for love and compassion and all too, but definitely agree that staking your own well-being on the actions of, or trust in, others is a good way to get hurt. Maintaining your own dreams is a must…:))

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  6. Thanks for sharing this. I’m so sorry it’s been a very hard time for you in terms of all your losses. You couldn’t have said it better about losing people. It is so good you have held on to your writing, and that you continue to do so. It’s great that we can call come here to write – which gives us a form of happiness that can connect us all to each other. That’s just awesome in itself. Keep writing.

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  7. A timely reminder of the dangers of validating ourselves by that over which we have no power. Writing, of course, is entirely another matter; and the will, desire and spirit to write cannot be taken away from us, for it is a calling.

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  8. This is beautiful. It’ll be hard for a long time, but it makes those glimmers of happiness, the good times, a fragile and precious moment that you can cherish so much more for knowing what it is like to never think you’ll be happy again. It’ll take time, you’ll backtrack now and again, but just hang in there, because it gets so good after this.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this. I love your writing style, it is so engaging, so true… As if you spoke the words from inside my head. Nevertheless, I did not think about an ideal dream when reading your post. I actually thought about God. That is what my empire is about. And nobody can take that away from me. Because even writing is temporal. But only God stays:)

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  10. That phrase “We all build our empires” gave me chills. This was wonderful. I am sorry you are going through such a hard time right now.

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  11. I have been seeing this same message in different words, from different folks for the last two days. Do you think somebody is trying to tell me something??? So many directions to go, so many different ways to do it, so I have to just quit reading everybody else and do as the sneaker company says and JUST DO IT!!! Thanks for your post. May Christ lead you and guide you to His Peace†††

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  12. It works for me if not for others since I started to believe February 1, 1975 .

    Any pain I feel, emotionally or physically, I bring to Christ on the Cross, knowing the pain he endured for me, is much greater than anything I have had to experience so far in my 70 years. Believing, and giving him the benefit of my doubts, and sharing his pains with mine, I get benefits in return.

    Then Jesus said to his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
    For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

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  13. I just read a tweet that said, “Before something great happens, everything falls apart.” I didn’t feel it applied to me but it stuck. Then I read your post. Maybe it was for you. :)

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  14. I felt like you wrote that for me! Mirror images of my life, sans losing out on a woman. I resorted to writing too. Writing to myself. There were times when I felt strangled with worries and pressures and the pen and paper eases it all out. And slowly life starts picking pace again. I can feel it in and around me. You will too. :)

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  15. Powerful! Sorry you had to go through so much to get to this point, but at least you are learning about life and not just attempting to live it. Great job!

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  16. I think the problem lies in the fact that we seek to possess a person, our lives, ourselves. This empire is a mirage. In reality everything is always in process, never accomplished and never destroyed. We often don’t realize that changes are happiness; comfort stops us from growing.

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  17. Excellent! I enjoyed your post very much. I am always telling my family that I am building a publishing empire. It is nice to see that others feel the same way about their writing.

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  18. Since we build our own empire (around any thing/person) – no matter how hard it gets or even you lose it, you know at the end, you can build it again! :) Maybe a bigger empire than before!

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  19. Empire. We don’t build empires, we carve masks, and I would rather wear my masks and live in a shell where it is only me. I cannot hide from myself then. I don’t want to dream anymore, just do. Thanks for the follow… though I am not sure why. I feel my perspective is incongruous with yours.

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  20. I went through something very similar back in May and I think that was the time I started writing the most and some of my best pieces of work. It’s true that I didn’t really know the extent of my passion for writing until it was all that I had left.
    Hope everything gets better and you keep writing :)

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  21. Those were some beautiful, thought-provoking words. You’re an amazing blogger, honestly, everytime you publish a new post I’m stuck with your posts in my head, because they’re just so well written and they always make me stop and think. Thank you.

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  22. I feel like you write what I think. Broken up with my boyfriend recently and I honestly believe my whole world is crumbling around me. I’m falling apart and it’s so heartbreaking I don’t even want to write about it cause it hurts too much. Your post totally relates to me in the strangest of ways and I thank you for putting into words the sad reality I’m learning to accept.

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