It’s a shame, I think, that we teach so many students that nothing is worth pursuing unless it is to achieve perfection. I used to write seemingly every minute of my day – on long car rides, during lunch, after school, and even during class, when I was supposed to be paying attention. I would write about everything under the sun, too, and no topic felt off limits. It was a wonderful feeling. So often, in our daily lives, we feel the need to censor ourselves – and for good reason. It isn’t very conducive to polite society when one voices all the thoughts that float around in their heads.
But my journals and my blog – those were always two places where I felt free enough to express whatever I wanted however I wanted. Whether I had decided to write a two-page rant about the drama I had with my friends at school, or a fanfiction between my two favorite characters in a TV show, I never felt ashamed or blocked or hesitant. The writing was cathartic – almost a form of escapism. If I wrote a story, it almost always included themes, somewhere, that were prevalent in my own life – I used fictional situations to work through my real life teenage angst.
Somewhere along the way – somewhere between the angsty, emotion-driven, high stakes world of high school, and the dull monotony of a normal adult life – that all was lost. I sat down to write a story twenty minutes ago. I had crafted parts of it in my mind throughout the day. In my mind, I had thought up characters, a setting, backstories, a whole romance…and when I sat down to write it, nothing came out.
So now, I’m writing this. Because I’m tired of it all – I’m tired of choosing trite plots and characters because of trends in popular literature. I’m tired of writing for others and writing about things I don’t care about. I’m tired of comparing myself to people – not only in writing but in every other aspect of my life. So often I find myself looking over another author’s articles and stories and cringing at my own.
I hate that I’ve become a shell of the writer I once was. Sure, I may have improved in technicalities. My grammar has probably improved, my word choice more dynamic, my syntax and structure more mellifluous. All these are great things. But they aren’t enough. Somewhere between editing and revising and comparing, I lost the reason I wanted to go on this journey in the first place: a passion to express my deepest thoughts.
Even as I write this, I’m scared to log back into my blog and look at my old posts. I’m scared to see all the mistakes in my writing, to gaze over all that could be corrected, and forget the real reason I wrote those pieces in the first place. The anxiety that is mounting in me right now is something that was nonexistent two years ago.
But this is a step in the right direction. Part of me doesn’t even want to publish this post, and instead hide it away in some old file on my computer, where it will never see the light of day again. But that fear of judgment – not even others, but my own – is the reason I know this is the right choice. The only way to conquer a fear is to face it head-on.
Maybe I should apologize for the rambling nature of this post. Maybe I should apologize for the sudden stops and weird run-on sentences. Maybe I should apologize because, frankly, I’m just not that great of a writer.
Honestly, though, I don’t give a shit.