May 13th 2020
I keep myself from writing way more often than I should allow myself to. I promised my younger self to write a manuscript someday when I am all grown up, according to adults’ standards, and have endured a love life that would be worth writing about. But each time I start birthing words on paper, a form of the imposter syndrome gets a hold on me & makes me wanna obsessively press the ‘backspace’ button on my keyboard.
I am haunted by this belief that everything I could possibly write about, has been written about a million times already, by authors that were way more brilliant than I will ever be. These authors that came before my generation were fortunate. They had the capacity to be pioneers. But right now it’s the 21 century. Being original is hard in a post-modern world, where every single thing has been done before. The well that was once filled with new, wondrous ideas is slowly running dry. I need an oasis.
Most fields have been discovered & the world is definitely not in need of yet another self-help book. And to be honest, I wouldn’t even know how to write a book based on advice I would give to others. I barely know how to take care of myself. I’m a walking cloud filled with thunder & rain. It’s only a matter of time until I drown myself in tears again and make the people around me wonder what crime they did commit this time. I would say it again and I will continue saying it: it’s not you, it’s me.
Of course I could take a more bold direction & write about all the events in my life I wish I didn’t attend or all the men that I wish I’ve never met. I could write about some happy moments in my life too, but I’m better at dwelling in my sadness. It’s a nice trait artists have, we call it melancholia. In my book there would be some tragic chapters people would enjoyably read, because consuming my failures would make them feel better about themselves. Because that’s the way we humans are, isn’t it? We love to see misery. It could be a way of catharsis.
But writing about the trials and errors in my life would take much more courage than I could possibly store in a body this small. And there are moments that have passed that I’d rather forget. I’ve been an addict of the past and I tell you, it didn’t do me any good.
I could wear my rose-coloured glasses and paint my characters with more colours and attributes than they would ever posses in the real world, and present some old faded memories with a second, simulated, but better life. But some people don’t deserve to be written about. They have done enough damage already. To immortalise them on paper would be like gratefully rewarding a criminal for a serious crime he committed. Some people don’t deserve to be written about. They don’t deserve to be brought to the light again. I would rather keep the recollection of them in the dark, far behind in the back of my mind. I’ll let the memory of those humanless humans starve, and they will, because I don’t feed them with sadness and desperation anymore. I will let them become more emptier each day and fill myself up again with the wholeness that was intentionally and recklessly stolen from me.
These characters don’t deserve to be protagonists, they have had control over the cinematography of the machinery of my eyes and manipulated the script in my head for way too long. So, at this very moment I decide I will not write about the people that marked and scarred me and didn’t feel an inch of shame or regret. I’m still brutally and beautifully healing and I am not a fan of digging up dead bodies. Horror movies aren’t my thing.
And besides that, who would genuinely want to waste their sacred time reading about my ventures in life. It’s not that my experiences are any more special or rare than those of any other lost souls. I’m just another privileged girl with a silly dream to make a sober, minimalistic living out of writing. How innocent and pathetic I’ve become. I don’t blame others for seeing me as arrogant. I wouldn’t describe myself a selfish, self-absorbed, spoiled millennial, but I do admit I have a habit of keeping spare time that has been giving to me, to myself and I don’t like to get involved in matters and practices I don’t see as valuable. I isolate myself way too often and the worst thing about it is that I enjoy being isolated from the world around me. It gives me a sense of serenity, of solitude, and a feeling of control. I’m happier when I am alone. Reading this line back makes me rather feel as a socially distorted hermit. But, dear reader, I promise you I’m not. Or, I’m just not ready to admit it yet. Your choice.
I’m sorry, I’m falling astray. The whole point of this essay is to convince my own self to write more. And I still wonder why I don’t. Reevaluating words and spitting (non-)aesthetic lines on paper make me feel alive more than breathing does. I love to get into an argument with my rational mind, whenever I use a combination of words my high school’s linguistic teacher would disapprove of. I’m obsessed with using metaphors, but coming up with an original comparison, is an art in itself. They should make a profession out of it. I don’t have the appetite anymore to consume any more cliches. I think people should stop stealing words that aren’t theirs. Maybe those are the exact same people that keep stealing other people’s lovers.
I’m afraid of paper. Paper cuts, paper books, unwritten copy, blank pages, you name it. The terrifying feelings that rise up from my stomach all the way to my throat when I think of filling the blank space on an empty paper. My heart starts to race, the palpitations trick me into dying, and there’s a wild, impassable storm raging in my head. Ideas, concepts, words, lines, metaphors, tropes rave through the subconscious layers of my mind and I can’t seem to catch the abstraction. I stare at my notebook (or my screen, whatever fits your visualisation) not being able to express a single piece of my cluttered imagination. I freeze, due to analysis paralysis, and I tell myself that maybe writing just isn’t my thing. Maybe I should find another occupation. One that will be of more use when I’m older. An activity in which I will develop qualities of which mundane people tell me to be very valuable skills in the corporate world.
I’m avoiding adulthood. But at the same I’m denying my childhood. I’m floating in this peculiar space where anything has potential, but nothing is possible (yet). Sometimes I have a hard time distinguishing the voices in my head from the vocal chords of the relatives and acquaintances who obviously only want what’s best for me, but have no idea about my (meta)physical limitations. I admit, I can be stubborn at times. I could give birth to a certain stubbornness that would make your head hurt, as strong pulses multiply the pressure. But I will not waste too many words on how my headiness has been toxic on myself and others.
I’ve drifted away from my point, again. God, please have mercy on messy minds like mine. I promise, we are trying our best to keep it all together, to come across as coherent as possible. But it can be hard to focus on a single point in a polka dotted pattern.
So, I admit I’m afraid of blank pages. Filling them up with figures that would actually make sense doesn’t feel like an easy, endurable task. I’m too much of a perfectionist. I want to turn everything that I touch into gold. No, not a fading, matte kind of gold, I want sparkles and glitter and rainbow reflections EVERYWHERE. But even my growing collection of alter-egos know that I am not rumpelstiltskin. I don’t weave golden yarn. I couldn’t, even if I tried. And it frustrates me, I’ll tell you. Seeing beautiful things decay makes my heart scatter into a million sharp, deadly segments. That’s why I don’t like having flowers on my bedside. I hate seeing their stems bend deeper and deeper, until their – once so bright and vivid – colourful floral crowns kiss the surface. Witnessing the suffering is unbearable. So I make people believe I don’t like flowers and don’t accept any presents on my birthday.
I don’t write at times that I should because I’m horrified. I’m terrified I won’t accurately accumulate my complex inner state. I’m anxious I won’t use the right words, which would result in a false expression of my inner world, which leads to misinterpretations, thus misconceptions, whilst being read by eyes that are not my own. The literate world is infinite. There isn’t one right way to practice the art of writing. What a responsibility it is to have all the accountability. The thought of it makes me nervously gasp for air. Even now, in this very moment that I’m writing this, I feel my body temperature rising and I can smell a panic attack from around the corner. But why? The realisation that the possibilities are endless and there are no limitations to writing makes me feel nauseous. What words do I choose? In what way shall I structure the text? Should I write in a manner that the majority of the population will be able grasp or should I write with more substance and curiosity, for people that share a soul like mine? Prioritise aesthetics over logic or expression over form? Be more abstract or explicit? Use metaphors or details? Cut my lines or extend my sentences?
There are so many options. I understand myself getting paralysed. It keeps me from writing way too often than I should allow myself to.
Don’t get me wrong though. I do write, at times when my head’s too heavy for my neck to carry and words come easily and I feel like I have no other choice but to write. But these states of flow are rare and usually don’t last long. My purpose/aim/intention/life-goal is to be able to gently force myself to start practice the art of writing at times I’m not feeling it. In those weary moments when my restless hands would rather pull out weeds from my parents’ garden than to let my slim, tiny fingers attend this dangerous dance of linguistics on a contrast coloured QWERTY keyboard. I want to break the vicious cycle, that’s been keeping me hostage for way too long, defeat this heavy, motionless writers’ block and make my 14 year old self a proud little nugget.
I’m still wondering what kind of writer I should be. I write short poetry when I don’t really feel like writing, but I want to feel proud of myself for taking the effort to sit down with the aim to write a few abstract lines about some narcissistic lover I adored in last year’s spring. Real, complex poetry I could never write due to my non-English mother tongue. I’ve tried to unravel the poems of many great writers of the Romantic era. Mostly I succeed in receiving the message they have hidden between the lines and behind the words, but I don’t think I would use their vocabulary. But only because these words sounds so beautiful, but appear so foreign to me.
I could become an academic writer. Do biased research and write essays, using jargon, about controversial, unknowable subjects I will never fully understand, that will probably be rejected by the academic world, because they saw through me and exposed my lack of passion. Or, I could become an author that writes novels. I could allow myself to get deeply lost in my own vivid imagination. I could write out of longing and craving and a desire to change the status quo. I could paint a false sketch of the harsh reality, utilise and exploit the fantasy of bittersweet romance. Sure, I could romanticise this world we’re living in. I could pretend men are still gentle and chivalry and women still own their self respect. I can act as if the oceans are still clean and the trees aren’t burning, as if the sky is still free of toxins and our food isn’t manipulated. But, we all know the truth. And it ain’t pretty.
Or I could start writing personal essays. In which I make the personal universal. But what a responsibility that would be. How egocentric it would be to make assumptions about other humans in the outer world. I mean, everyone has unique, subjective experiences, right? Is it possible that we can relate to one another on such a deep level, where there is no way of miscommunication or misinterpretation? Well, I don’t think people have similar perspectives, because each one of us has a different frame of reference. But there must be interfaces and junctions. How beautiful it would be to meet in the middle.
I think I found my calling. I think, I know, that I should be a writer of personal essays.