i miss writing.
i miss writing on loose leaf notebook paper. i miss writing in journals with pound puppies on the cover. i miss writing on my dad’s apple IIe. i miss writing in wordperfect for DOS. i miss writing during class, after class, after school, alone in near darkness, to pass time, for fun, for catharsis, writing for the sake of writing. i miss writing before the internet. i miss writing before diarist.net and pitas and diaryland and livejournal and blogger. i miss writing being my solace & my comfort, my journal being the person i ran to when i was hurting, my zine being the project i worked on when i needed to scream because nothing else mattered and i wanted to die. you would think my life falling apart would drive me to write, but it has driven me away. it’s become a chore, something i do because i need to write a post since it’s been months since i wrote one, or something i feel guilty about not doing. i am not me here. i care so much about how what i write affects other people that i have forgotten how writing affects me, how i need to write because that’s really all i have left. all i’ve ever had. that was me. & i have lost myself completely.
i don’t know who i am anymore. i know that i am not a relationship expert. i know that i am not a social media personality, or a blogger, or an authority on fatness or blackness or being sexy or being anything but confused and fucked up and broken. i want to delete everything i have ever written off the face of the internet because on days like today it’s all false. i am not well-adjusted. i am a girl who has been in denial, or a girl who has tried to ignore herself falling apart, or a girl who thought she was doing a good thing and helping people but who could not ever help herself. all the advice i’ve written, i’ve never taken. i am wracked with grief and tormented by self doubt almost every hour of every day. & i so deeply want to write but i stop myself because i don’t have any great things to say about sex or fat or whatever and i have locked myself in a box that only holds certain topics, certain acceptable subjects that i can write about. i run from creativity because it is vulnerable and i know i said vulnerability is strength at some point, and i know it is but my heart stays curled up, protecting itself like a roly-poly. i need writing again. i need to take it back.
i used to spill my guts out onto the screen. before commenting and social media and “likes” on facebook and +1s on google, i was brave. & now all i think is THEY’RE GOING TO LAUGH AT ME.
maybe it’s good for me if they laugh. maybe if i destroy the images of myself i’ve worked so hard to curate, i can rebuild into something authentic. at least i could try to figure out who i am now, after these years of drifting, burying the pain of loss, pursuing pleasure and ignoring the needs of my spirit. because i need my best friend back. i need to be wide-eyed and believe in creativity and expression and all that sappy shit i used to believe that i hid away in favor of snark and callouts. maybe i need to expose my underbelly and let the dregs of the internet poke at it until my guts spill out onto the screen again.
i use the excuse “well, my hand hurts” to avoid writing on paper and when i finally sit at the computer and begin to type the delete button beckons over and over. i could probably cobble together several novels with all the words I’ve written that were eaten by backspacing. oops, i did it again.
before i figured out that you were supposed to be something in life, i was a writer. after i figured out that you were supposed to be something in life, i took it back. i still ask myself daily, “am i really a writer?” if i say i am, i say it with qualifiers, or with sarcasm, or air quotes or eye rolls. does it matter if i am or not? does it matter if all i write one day is a paragraph in a cheap notebook? do i need high quality acid-free paper to write on or my words are worthless?
i have seriously not written things because the notebook wasn’t good enough.
i am a perfectionist with a self-sabotaging commitment to not writing things unless they are going to be good. & if i do write something good, i spend months agonizing, telling myself i can’t live up to the last thing i wrote, so why bother. these are not pulitzer prize winning novels. they are semi-popular articles. they are not the pinnacle of everything i’ve ever written. but this logic escapes my lizard brain.
funny enough, in the past 12 years i’ve written more about not being able to write than i’ve written about anything else.