What am I doing?
If I wanted to be a blogger, there are a whole lot of other ways I could be going about it that would be better than this. But I don’t, especially. I want to be a writer.
And I think I only mean that in the most basic of senses. Just that I am a person who writes. Ideally, a person who writes well.
I have always, when allowed to exist unfettered, been a writer. But the bleakest times of my life coincide with the most pages left blank, because I let myself be easily stifled. Part of this endeavour has been to consciously resist my tendency to fall silent in appeasement.
When I started this originally, while pregnant, my aim was just to write something every day. I failed fairly quickly. This time around, my aim was to write something worth writing every day. I confess I’ve actually missed one day, and a few of my posts were maybe scraping the barrel, but, even if I have failed, I’ve failed less.
The thing that is irking me now is this: I’m not trying to get people to look at this. And so not many people are looking at this. And so, I may be writing something worth writing, but am I writing something worth reading?
To find that out, I need more feedback. And that’s going to require me to do work that isn’t just writing. And I don’t fucking want to. But that’s where we are. And that’s my choice if I want to level up. And that’s very inconvenient for me.
So what’s it gonna be?
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to make a decision and not waver.
There is part of me that knows how to be unshakeable. At my core I am fixed in love, and if I drop down into that, I am certain.
It’s my mind that wanders – looking for a new approach, exploring different avenues, finding all the angles. Everchanging curiosity and insatiable questing prevent me from keeping my feet in one place for very long at all. The only way for me to stick to a path is for me to dance all over it. And then, if a fork comes up, all bets are off.
I scare people when I’m fixed on something. Maybe that’s why I often lean so heavily on my tendency to flitter. I am intense. Not many can withstand my gaze for more than a few seconds. I burn through things. I’ve never really learned to own that.
It’s easy to imagine that life would be simpler if I could just pick a reality and stick to it. But, ultimately, I think I still believe that I’d be losing something if I did that.
I also think there’s a way to acknowledge the multifacted nature of truth while still mapping out a defined path for yourself. But I’ve been failing at that for the past few weeks. I’ve been feeling directionless, and lamenting all the decisions I haven’t made.
Life can be a lot sometimes. It’s okay to get blown off course when you’re trying to do difficult things. Just gotta keep The Star in sight.
At the beginning of lockdown, I started finally ‘bedding in’ to my flat. I started putting things on the wall, and growing plants in the garden. I started assuming I would be here for a while, and acting accordingly.
I’ve rarely lived in a place for longer than a year. Often shorter. I have a habit of not ‘fully unpacking’, whether that be physically or just mentally. But, with a two year old and no reason to go anywhere – no better prospects – I figured it’d be nice to fully exhale into the space I found myself in.
Now, it looks like it’s time to move on. Which is kind of a pain. But also exciting. I was exhausted by the idea of moving again a few months ago but, as I scan through property listings now, I feel that familiar sense of new possibility piquing my interest.
So this wasn’t the plan. But my restless heart won’t mind.
I’d always instinctly felt that my relentless movement was a symptom of my restlessness. But I do wonder, now, whether my restlessness was in fact an adaptation to necessity. Because I didn’t want to move, but, now that I need to, I want to.
I have all kinds of good ideas for things I could do to progress my life, improve myself, and create what I desire. It should be noted that they come from the extensive amount of time I spend studying and exploring such topics, rather than some innate wellspring of inspiration, but that’s beside the point.
I act on maybe a handful from every pile. Because most of them require more courage than I care to exert. They would require me to step far enough outside of expectations that I’d feel very exposed. And often I just don’t feel like I have the energy to process that additional discomfort. Because, from experience, it takes a lot of bandwidth. So I watch myself, in real-time, making sub-par but safe decisions. And I have a conversation with myself about how I should choose the braver option, and yes I know I should, but I’m not going to, no, I’m not going to, and that’s going to mean I still don’t step more fully into who I should be, and I know that, but I’m still not going to do it, I’m afraid not, but one day I’m going to have to do it, yes, and I could just choose to do it today, I could, but I won’t, no, oh well, oh well.
Virtuous qualities cannot be installed overnight. And courage is probably the weightiest of all virtues. I get that this is a long term investment. But I do wonder how much use it is observing this disparity. I know growth often comes in fits and spurts – long periods battling immoveable objects that suddenly dematerialise – and I guess that’s what I’m hoping for, and in some sense putting my trust in. There’s usually a key to unlocking such a miracle, though. So am I hunting hard enough?
I have often tangled myself up in my own words trying to make them palatable for other people.
I have also often gotten lost in pleasing only myself with them.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m being responsible with what I’m writing. I have the luxury of being able to be irresponsible, because less than ten people are likely to land here today. But, like many things, the effect is cumulative. And, hopefully, this blog will lead me, along whichever winding path it so demands I follow, to some kind of success. And by that point I will need to be responsible. So getting the balance right between speaking with clarity and authenticity, and avoiding harm to others with whatever I say, is something I need to be ever mindful of.
Many things I am engaging with now – this blog, anti-racism, awkward conversations, educating my child – I am engaging with, first and foremost, to get better at. I am grateful for that, because it allows me to bypass all the bullshit that my own brain, and the brains of others, have thrown my way about them. And it allows me to forgive myself, and maybe even to celebrate myself, for falling short in my pursuit of mastery. Because the whole point is to fall short in my pursuit of mastery.
I encourage you to engage with growth, and fall short in your pursuit of mastery. If nothing else, it is liberating. But it is also incrementally transformative.