The gap between words. A place I have been inhabiting for way too long – too scared to write; too miserable not to – yet still there, in between, crushed by my own aspirations and what I have always believed to be the reality of my nature. That I’m not good enough. That I’m not creative enough. That I’m not smart enough or confident enough.
Surprise: I now (ok, in a couple of weeks) have a degree in English Literature; I will be graduating with a first – something I never ever thought was something I could do – and I will continue onto a Masters degree in the fall; I have written over 50 poems throughout the past four years, which spread out might not be that much (especially considering I have not published them anywhere and only ever have showed them to one person other than myself) but that, every time I read through, surprises me with their vivid descriptions and emotional infusions – I can still feel them, four years on, and that is not the work of someone who is not creative.
It took me long to learn this. Honestly, I am still learning this, barely allowing myself that one word after another in fear that I will write something that does not make sense or that is not acceptable by the standards of what I think people will judge me by. I am terrified of judgement. I have lived a life of isolation, (social) anxiety, and depression because I am scared of people and what they think. Of how they think. Because, in truth, I have never been able to completely identify with people and the way they talk and act around each other, always believing (like I now believe almost everyone at some point believes) that everyone else have some sort of secret book that tells them all they need to know about socialising, living, thinking, breathing, being. Of course there is no such thing. But nobody really told me that, and as a result I saw myself as different, an outsider, because I didn’t understand what I thought was those secrets, those rules that everybody else lived by and refused to tell me. But that is not the point of this blog.
The point of this blog is, in a word, to challenge myself. I believe most people do things that makes them uncomfortable in order to grow, and putting myself out there – my thoughts, my words – is uncomfortable. And it is a way for me to grow.
A lot of people who know me but don’t know me (and even some that I do consider friends/family) see me as someone who rarely speaks, keeps to herself/a few, selected friends, and doesn’t really have opinions. While this is true, somewhat, what they don’t know about me is that I am full of everything. So full that most of the times when I don’t speak it’s because I have too much to say but don’t trust myself – my own voice – to say them. It’s sad, really, and it’s depressing. But I have gotten better. A lot better, in just the three years I’ve been in university. I think that is the point of this blog. To continue getting better because by sharing my voice I will become more confident using it. I might even do the thing I have been dreaming about my whole life, the one true thing that I have always wanted. That is, to find myself; to work out who I am and what my purpose is in the world; to cultivate my passions, whatever they might be, and live happily and confidently and without regrets.
It sounds stereotypical and idealistic, I know; it’s what everyone wants – to be happy. It’s what we are here for, right? But why is it that I feel like nobody really prioritises these aspects of life. It’s all about producing and consuming – about getting a job to pay the bills and then settle for comfort when you could always strive for something better. It’s about things rather than experiences, and the face you show rather than the way you feel. I don’t mean to be a cynic, or to view the world negatively, or to judge others – I’m trying very hard to do the opposite, really. But I also think that is why I find using my voice, speaking or writing my true opinions, my true thoughts, beliefs and perspectives, so uncomfortable.
I’m a 22 year old woman with social anxiety and depression who has been repressing her own talents for writing and communicating with others since childhood. What do I even have to say? Maybe nothing. To be honest, I’m not sure about much of anything but what I do know is that I want to try and that if I don’t – I have already lost.
So it’s uncomfortable but it’s important all the same. And while I could do all of this privately, in a secret journal, I feel like, in a way, it would defeat its purpose. I haven’t grown 100% comfortable writing even for my own eyes only (despite the collection of poetry that shows I am able to) but continuing writing only for me would not lead me anywhere. And I don’t believe it would be as motivating as writing publicly, or even semi-publicly, would. I want to be able to talk with people. To communicate. But I also want people to understand who I am. Writing, therefore, is a way of doing this – to show people who I am and allowing them (or you) to respond.
So this is me, and this is why I have started this blog: to make the gap between words smaller and to free myself from my own insecurities and unintentional isolation from the world and people around me.
Wish me luck!