I’ll be the first to admit, I’m weird. And that’s totally okay! You may judge me…but it’s likely not going to change my weirdness. Every January, I have this tradition. I begin listening to Stephen King’s The Dark Tower Series. And I do mean EVERY Year. Why? Hell if I know. It’s my favorite series in the whole wide world. I first read the initial three books when I was in middle school. I would have read others, only King hadn’t written them yet. Roland’s journey, his growth, his change in his key soul (this is punny I think if you know the series), it speaks to me. He is so focused on that damned tower, never stopping, even though he loses everyone around him for the sake of his tower. And then he meets Jake. And there’s a small glimmer, a hesitation, that he may be losing out on something there by his desire to reach the tower. He turns his back on that glimmer though, and reaps the consequences. Actually feels it through his mind and body, emotionally and physically. And yet, he still is so adamant about that tower. He is willing to walk over and let even more people get hurt. Then there is a point where the consequences of his actions grow. While this is going on, he’s developing or relearning to love. Not Jake. Not yet. But Eddie and Susannah. It’s at this point, I feel like the Powers that be decide to give him another chance with Jake. And oh, how he embraces that chance. He’s finally learned how to love the right way. You would think that is where the story ends. Nope. Because just like Eddie was an addict, so too is Roland. As Eddie states, Roland is a Tower Junkie. Through the series, you see him battle his addiction. He makes great strides in his relationships and he suffers many relapses, causing once again, those around him to suffer. Every year I read this series.
Except 2022. I don’t know why this January is different. So I felt it important to figure out why this January is not the same as so many previous years. I felt I would process this ‘live’ through writing through my thoughts. Just in writing the first paragraph, instantly I saw what I feel is a huge problem. As a counselor, I love seeing my clients who struggle with addiction fight to overcome their urges and desires to use. I am one of their biggest cheerleaders. This is an essential character trait of mine. I want to see people succeed. Today, I realized, in King’s tale of Roland, Roland does not succeed. Well, he does find love. He does feel remorse for loss and when his friends/family are victims, he feels pain and anguish. But he doesn’t stop. He keeps walking towards that tower. He reaches that tower and guess who’s beside him when he does. Not Jake. Not Eddie. And not Susannah. Ugh. After all that, not a single one of them get to see the field of roses that lead up to the door of the dark tower.
And this year, that makes me sad. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s still the best damn story series I’ve ever read. It’s a sad tale when you allow yourself to dig under the surface and see beyond the glimmer of hope King adds in the end. Yes, King says, it’s still possible for Roland to pick up that horn and make different choices. And he does pick up that horn. But that is as far as King allows us to see. I suppose it is up to us to determine the final outcome. We, as hopeful beings, looking for the glimmers, see Roland opting for family and friends verses relapsing into his Tower Junkie status. But what happens if he does that? Do we allow ourselves to look even further? To see that if Roland denies himself the tower, that means the world around him crumbles because all the beams will be broken. And why does that resonate so hard for me? Because I feel it’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. And who wants that!!!
IN 2022, I don’t need any more damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I need glimmers. I need to cozy up to warm and fuzzies. I need to feel optimistic. I need to feel like there is a light at the end of this tunnel. That’s why I am embracing some hard choices to reach my personal goals. My writing and my career specifically. It’s very scary. Don’t think for a moment I don’t have that inner critic telling me it’s my own Tower tale. That inner critic telling me that I’ll fail, or if I succeed, it will be all a waste of time. That inner critic telling me, even right now, nobody, absolutely nobody cares that I’m writing this post.
My stories, the ones I write, all are about some personal growth experience, overcoming obstacles, overcoming our demons, not giving up, not letting the journey defeat us. Because it truly isn’t about reaching the Tower. It’s about what happens along the way. Wherever you are trying to go, whatever you are trying to do, what are the consequences along the way? Are they hurting you or hurting others? If so, is it really worth it? My Tower tale-getting my LPC and my MFA, it’s meant to allow myself to help grow, build me up, in order for me to continue to help build up others. Roland wasn’t building up himself. He wasn’t building up his friends. While he cared about them, it wasn’t enough to stop him in the end from hurting them; from leading them down a dangerous path.
2022-for me, is all about building up myself in order for me to serve others with the passion and skills that were placed upon my heart. And THAT is why I can’t travel in Roland’s shoes this year. We aren’t vibing this time around. That’s for sure.
What changes in 2022 have you seen in your own life? What changes do you want to see? What changes are you scared of but still desire because you know they will build you up?