Live for The Hard Days because there will be plenty of them.
Mornings when your own words bully you, draw tears, make your cheeks red and hot.
Days when writing feels like civil war—the Artist and the Judge in you attacking each other, each thinking they are on the right side. You find a deep trench and cover your head, unsure that the fighting will ever end.
Nights when you think all is clear, but then you catch Fear and Doubt following you like shadowy figures on the street. You have to run, heart and feet pounding, nine desperate blocks home.
Nobody wants The Hard Days. They scare us. But you must seek them out anyway.
Live for The Hard Days because on these days you grow: push past your perceived limits ‘til your body aches, make tiny tears in your courage like a muscle.
Live for The Hard Days because they make you take risks. Yes, the hot blood flush of rejection makes you sick, but if you never ask you will never receive. One of these days, the answer will be yes.
Maybe live for The Hard Days because afterwards The Good Days feel that much more extraordinary. When getting paid for your first gig as an artist makes you leap around the living room like a black lab whose human just got home. Or when finally finishing a lyric feels like flying out of school after the summer bell rings.
If anything, live for The Hard Days because sometimes it just feels damn good to survive. Like paddling out to surf in Santa Cruz for the first time: pummeled by every set, abused by the locals, and held under water so long you think your eyes’ll pop. Flop back on to shore exhausted. Then, while salt water and snot pour out your nose, you can’t help but beat your chest and crow, “I’m alive! ALI-I-IVE!!”
Live for The Hard Days—there will be plenty of them. Face them when they taunt you in the schoolyard. Charge them when you spy their bayonets coming up over the rise. Take a deep breath, dive in, and tumble with them when they try to hold you down like heavy waves.
Make today a Hard Day and, I promise, it will make you stronger.
One day the bullies will stammer.
The armies will fall.
The waters will calm.
And you will float.