Sunday, March 18, 2012

Initial

I may have once been pegged as a writer, but for the longest time now, I’ve been unable to conjure anything worthwhile to write. Perhaps my inner editor has evolved to the extent of being able to strangle my thoughts in their infancy, so that nothing’s left now. It is a thought that scares me, often to the extent of mental paralysis, but it is one worth noting nevertheless.

It is for this exact reason that I am writing now, to see if I am still capable of doing so. One might argue that I never had the capability, but people also say that they used to enjoy what I had to say in writing. I will not lie and say that it is for them that I am making these attempts. They are for me. Perhaps it is selfish, perhaps it is narcissistic, and perhaps it is none of these things. I do not know, and I couldn’t care less.

So, here I am; writing, ranting, observing, telling, hiding and - perhaps not in the literal sense - speaking.

I sometimes feel somewhat pretentious when I write, though my words are never intended as such. I constantly feel that people will look at what I’ve written and say “Well, someone’s got such a high opinion of himself that he writes so elaborately and expects us to swoon at the phrasing and structure. What an asshole.”  

Yes, I do have a not-so-flattering opinion of myself, and while this spills into so many aspects of my life, it is ever so apparent in my more creative undertakings. I am always too worried or afraid; sometimes of people’s own reactions, and sometimes of my own.

I am not afraid of failure. I am afraid of mediocrity.

Again, you might think this another pretentious statement, but I simply find mediocrity to be a far bigger threat than failure. At least, failure is a definitive end, a result that you can examine and use to learn. Mediocrity, on the other hand, is a far more insidious thing; it convinces you that it is a triumph, your work was perceived as something other than a failure, but then you realize that there was nothing entirely too special about it, and thus it fades into the back of the collective mind, a victim of obscurity.

And that is part of why I’m constantly paralyzed by the prospect of writing, or any other creative process.

I seem to be doing well so far, at least. This stream of consciousness that is easily finding its way down my fingers and into the ether, materializing as a bunch of pixels you’re witnessing on a page.

My fears are just an extension of who I am, of how I’ve lived and behaved for what is quickly approaching a quarter of a century (a venerable number, to be sure, until you think of the accomplishments you’ve made so far). For so long, I’ve believed myself to be of a significantly amorphous quality; I try to meld into my surroundings, to not find them too irritating. Do not mistake this for natural sociability, however. I am an intensely shy and reclusive person, and will often stand aside and say nothing when in a group. My previously mentioned nature caters more to my constant silence, my general...let’s call it agreeability.

Yes, I suppose that’s the most fitting description to the person I am. Agreeable.

There is nothing profound about agreeability, nothing special. An agreeable person is a person you can do with, but you can just as easily do without, and that is how I see myself. I know it to be a morbid (and rather childish) statement, but I’ve given plenty of thought to the concept of the world had I not existed, and I cannot see the difference. This is often compounded by the fact that I am able to witness the uniqueness of the people I’ve come to know; the rotund individual who’s not afraid to experience new things, the talented and sickly musician, the always-funny guy, the always-smiling girl. They all add this certain something to one’s life, and then when I look at my own existence, I find that there’s no added value, nothing that I present that isn’t provided by a million other people, I seem to always exist at the periphery of one’s consciousness; where you can detect one’s presence, but you’re not really partial to it.


I now find myself in constant search for a purpose, for a place in the world, not simply so that I would be recognized by others as a special person who’s not replaceable (and yes, that is low self-esteem that you’re sensing here), but more-so so that I can find a clear path, a direction towards which I’m working. I was asked before, what it is that makes me happy, and for the longest time, I could not answer that. Then, I tried to think back to times when I felt...not happy, but satisfied, content. I realized that this often took place when I knew what I was up to; studying, working towards some sort of scholarly goal. I thought at first that I could associate that with school and studies, but apparently it isn’t so particular; it is merely the sense of purpose, that my efforts are directed towards something in the long run. That was my ultimate driving force, and it seems that I currently lack it.


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It seems that pausing while writing this has the very detrimental effect of interrupting my train of thought, and now I find myself striving for words again. I am however, determined not to reread this, focusing only on the few red squiggles that indicate my lack of finger-ly prowess.


You might by now be thinking that this is entirely a whining session written out by yours truly, but then again, as I said earlier, this is not written with the reader in mind, but rather with my own peace of mind. I am a recluse, with nothing but my own thoughts for company. These thoughts often evolve and continuously consume me with worry and distress. My mind, as often is its wont, consistently tells me that everything is my fault. Yes, you defy that and you deny it, but after so many times, the attacks chip your armor, and the thoughts seep through. Soon enough, the armor you’ve built becomes a bloated container; one that ensconces you and your worries and self-blame, keeping the whole world outside.

I sometimes wonder if the shell would ever burst.
 

7 comments:

  1. If you talk that freely and with that heartfelt phrasing in real life, all of your problems will be solved. People aren't that hard to get through, and most of the time they're not that great themselves. They're just better at hiding it. And no, I don't go around talking like a self-help book, I commented because I can relate.

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    1. I do wish I had the fortitude to do so in real life, but perhaps this is a first step? Thank you. :)

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  2. In my opinion, the only true mediocrity/obscurity comes from completely conforming to trends to the point of losing whatever it is that makes you you. If you were truly mediocre, you would've never worded this.

    Write and maybe edit in a few months' time if you ever feel like it. It's what my teacher used to say.

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    1. That's what I intend to do; write without even looking at what I've written. It's quite the liberating feeling, I just don't know if it'll work with more fictional endeavors.

      Thank you, Thursday. :)

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  3. Being a worldclass procrastinator myself, I have found blogging to be a godsend. Like you said yourself, just write, let out, maybe some of it is better than (or as good as) you thought. The writing you never did is always infinitely worse than any writing you do.

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  4. Free writing (writing with no thought process) is one of the most highly recommended practices of creative writing. You're on the right track.

    I don't know why you perceive your thoughts as pretentious. If anything, they are purely raw. Real. And that is the utmost form of modesty, in my humble opinion.

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    1. Free writing is proving to be something of a godsend so far, as shown by the two posts I've managed to cobble together in my mind. There's more to come as well, I now think up topics and let the words come as they may. It's fun.

      I really appreciate the kind words. Thank you. :)

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