Write when it hurts. Then write till it doesn’t.
I don’t know if I write because things hurt, or if I write just because it helps me make sense of things. Most of the time I think it can’t possibly makes sense to other people. I also don’t know whether it’s better to write about anything when it’s still raw, or if it’s better to wait until I’ve had time to put things into perspective a little bit. It seems to be the pattern that the things that hurt tend to spill out quicker, and the things that feel more like achievements, or that are significant, come slower, more deliberately. For whatever reason, it seems to be easier to write about the things that are painful. Maybe that’s just because it feels real.
Which is better to read? The pain? Or the perspective? Maybe it depends who’s answering.
Maybe we all need the pain to find the perspective. Most things I write, most things I feel – that anyone feels – they change with time. The immediate emotion of a situation or an outcome is a wall impossible for rationality to push through, but a bit of time forces the issue. And the more experiences we have, the quicker the rationality comes. We understand the bigger picture a bit more. And I think the rationality breeds good things: it gives us a focus; a plan of action. Pain breeds change. So don’t ever let anyone tell you pain is weakness. Caring causes pain. But caring is also what can make you great.
While more experiences might bring greater rationality, I think the emotional residue lasts longer too. The thing I think I find the hardest is feeling like you’ve lived this scene before. You’ve felt this emotion before, you’ve seen these patterns. You felt some pain, you made your rational plan and tried to address it, and yet… here you are again. Seeing the same patterns. You probably feel like you’ve read this blog before. Sorry.
If you’ve cared enough to read this, you probably know that I’ve just finished second stage of LPGA Q School. From which I haven’t advanced to the next stage… so well short of getting actual LPGA status for next year. That in itself feels like a failure. Last year I attempted the same thing, and failed too. But I came 3rd at second stage… this year I came 67th. So in my immediate non-rational-but-emotional-residue-making-it-feel-like-kind-of-rational state, that doesn’t just feel like a failure, that feels like a step back. In a year where all I’ve done is tried to get better.
If the only things you know about me are from my blogs, you might be surprised to know I think I’m right a lot of the time. And yet, uncertainty has been the running theme throughout 2018. Analysing things to death might well be a character flaw, because it makes it very difficult to trust a decision in which there are no guarantees. In some ways, it feels like every plan I made has backfired or been rendered useless. I haven’t gained an LPGA card through either the Symetra Tour or through Q School, I haven’t really challenged for the LET Order of Merit. My stoke average has probably gone up. (I have won though. Actual rationality coming through). I wanted all those things at varying points in the year and I thought in meticulous detail about the best way to make them possible. But to be honest, I was never certain that I was following the most effective path. Was I unlucky or lucky to have different paths available? More uncertainty.
One thing I am certain of though is that I want to be honest. I won’t go on about it because I’ve already done that bit enough, but most of us use social media in a way that makes us think it’s hard to show the bad stuff. Whatever the social media version of “putting on a brave face” is… for golfers it’s either total disappearance or “not the result I wanted but the game feels close!”. Does it though? If I’m going to be there, I want to be real about it. And it hurts.
Here’s the thing about golf though. (Pain part done, perspective part incoming). Lots of patterns look very very similar without actually being the same. My results might have had patterns during the year, but the way I have had them is changing every day. A 75 that shows you the potential of a 64 may well be a better indicator for your future than a 70 that could have never been in the 60s. It made me think of that stupid dress that did the rounds on social media a few years ago that some people saw as blue and some people saw as brown. It was exactly the same image. Yet different people saw it as being completely different. And if you looked at it long enough, you might have seen it as both colours yourself. (Don’t google it. It isn’t worth it). Certainty, by its nature, shouldn’t be changeable. And yet it is. The way things look is not always as they are. So maybe really, the only thing that’s actually certain… is uncertainty. Being aware enough to remember that – whether it’s through emotion or analysis or writing blogs as you cross the Atlantic or by simply not giving a fuck – that’s what will make the difference.