refreshing

I did not publish an essay for the last two weeks and somehow it feels like it has been two years. I originally started publishing daily like 7 years ago, and I did it straight for 4 years basically without missing a single day. Then I took off 3 years and compounded a bunch of debt in my brain. Debt that was waiting to get unleashed. So I restarted writing, and, well, I have not regretted it in the slightest.

And, well, fast forward a few months of consistent daily publishing and I took my first break. It was not that intentional. Like I did not plan for it. It just happened. And I am not mad about it necessarily – it was bound to happen, one day.

But now looking back, getting back on the screen, I was and am ready to write again.

It feels like forever since I once again navigated to this blank editor and started letting the words fly. I can say without clear explanation that this hiatus from hitting publish (not that I have not been writing, but as you can see by the lapse in posts, I have not been pressing the publish button), that it _feels_ wrong. Wrong to not have been here.

Weird, right?

It feels wrong!

It – what is it? Well I think what I meant to say is that something feels off. My brain feels like it wants an outlet. And this writing, at least in the way I have constructed it thus far, well it was designed to give it an outlet. This was really my only goal.

Now if I should use this sort of outlet — this unstructured rather lazy attempt at articulating thoughts because it is what is readily convenient for me — perhaps this is another question. A perhaps more important question but one that I wrestle with in silence – less outloud and more in the cavities of my brain.

Because a piece of me ties my identity to this practice of writing. I do not want to lose that. Like I am a writer if nothing else, someone who can articulate his thoughts. A piece of me tells myself this story. Even if this blog is basically anonymous. And even if no one really reads it besides me. And even if I barely read it after I publish it. A piece of me tells a story to me that I am the type of person who gets up and writes. A person who can process things. Why? I’m not sure. But I care about that, at least right now, for now, or at least I tell myself that.

I have been telling myself that story for many years — over thousands of essays — and even now I still feel a bit like a fraud saying it. Not because I am not this type of person. I am. I clearly am. I have done it over and over and over.

But rather because when I hear about a writer, I hear about someone who Writes. Writes with confidence. With clarity. With care. With a degree of quality they know is good.

That does not feel like me. At least not to me. Some may recognize this as me. But I do not feel like I deserve that.

I am not signing my name next to these essays as loudly or proudly because I am not there. I am not producing work I am unequivocally proud of. I am afraid of that. And that is my insecurity speaking. Beyond what’s speaking, it is the truth. Well it is my truth that I am projecting onto the world. The truth that these scatter-brained scribbles are not things that I am particularly proud of publishing.

Yet I feel this magnetic draw to doing it. In an almost obsessive, ritualistic way. I feel a need to do. And perhaps I have fooled my brain into thinking this is productive. No. This is a lot like watching TV the other voice in my head narrates back. And yet I return to this practice. I return craving the clarity that I think this writing thing gives me. Or at least a foundation to stand on.

Similar to running. Or at least when I get in that running mode. I think about running a lot. And I feel like I need the outlet in order to really function.

Every so often I just return to the ultimate question which is whether or not this foundation is full of shit.

These are strong words, but pretty representative of how I actually feel about the prompt.

I tend to use strong words externally – at least in this writing – because, well, I also tend to use strong words in my head. Especially to myself.

The world is a mirror I am reminded often.

I judge others so much. I judge others quickly and harshly and often wrongly. And I do that because, well at least one reason I imagine, is because this is what I do to myself. I am projecting. I am struggling to coordinate externally because I am struggling to coordinate internally.

It’s not that I think my judgements are wrong. They are just harsh. And rather clear. Perhaps what I really mean is they are rigid.

This is the puzzle of my life. And everyone has this puzzle. Or at least a version of the puzzle. Perhaps yours looks different but nonetheless you have pieces and you are finding ways to put it together.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I feel uncomfortable right now. Not in a fear for my physical safety sense. No. Moreso like I feel uncomfortable about what’s ahead. I have too many resources and too much freedom. No one feels bad for me. I took off hitting publish on this anon blog of my own and no one really noticed. No one really read it anyways that is not really the point. The point is that I am in many ways grasping for a foundation. And my default the thing I’m doing the thing that got me into this place good or bad is that I am externalizing. I am looking to the external world for that security and safety. I am looking for someone and/or some thing that I can convince myself is the arbiter of good and bad – I am looking for them to just say good.

What a joke. Seriously. That’s the dialogue I have with myself. I know this is all a game. I know the whole world is full of games. This is not a new revelation for me. It’s not a new lesson. I just know that all this externalization is all part of the game. Because the only way to win, or perhaps the only _real_ thing as part of this whole puzzle is actually stopping the external games and actually just looking into myself. Not that crazy of an idea. The answers are already there. I know what is good. I know what is not good. I know what success actually looks like.

And yet I am a coward (strong word!). Hiding behind an anonymous blog. Moving slowly along this line. Searching for my life’s purpose. What does that even mean? Why am I avoiding the present should be my question?

Why am I trying to game life?

Trying to replicate randomness – the randomness that is life – in some logical model of sorts. Some model of rationality. But that is not possible. I know that is not possible. And yet I try for that all of the time. I continue to try for that thinking that I am going to somehow overcome this ridiculous hurdle.

When again the answers are in front of me. Acceptance is in front of me. It’s not about being less ambitious. It’s just about being me. For reasons that I actually like and feel comfortable with. At the foundational level. All else will accrue as technical debt. As accumulating capital. If I am wrong sure I am wrong. But at least I will have that. All clarity. All truth. All honesty.

This is easier said than done. At least for me. And even writing this post I can see myself rolling my eyes. Is this actually clarity? It sure as hell does not read as such. It sure as hell reads like a lost man playing lost games that he has already lost.

That is how I often feel.

Like a dog. I feel like, or at least what I want is someone to just leash me in the right direction.

It’s balancing that feeling with the feeling of freedom. Of being off leash.

A battle between having been domesticated in life and being real and raw like I know I am.

How to walk this line…that is the question. What a line to walk in the first place. What a joke it is to walk a line in the first place. Why not just be. Why not just be present.

Sure you cannot quantify how present you are. At least I do not know how. Sure there is no leaderboard for such. But why is that bad? Why does it have to be mechanistic and measurable?

Why not just BE?

If only…

This is perhaps a difference between cognition and life. Cognition does not mean you have to compete in social games. But living things tend to do just that. Life wants social dynamics. At least I think.

Perhaps the smart cognitive thing to do is to not participate in those games and just be yourself.

But surely another path must exist. Surely there must be another option. Another way to be. One that does not involve walking the tightrope or instead living in isolation.

Or are those my options?

I spent the past few weeks not hitting publish. And I question whether or not I will continue to sit in silence. Or if instead I will return to the daily practice. My guess is the latter.

Writing is like breathing to me. Whether or not I am writing externally, it feels like my brain is constantly writing. Trying to connect dots. Formulate thoughts. It does not seem to turn off. Writing gives it an outlet. A place to go so that I can feel actually present with it. Otherwise it just sits in my brain. Sits is probably the wrong framing. It races. It runs. It causes a giant mess. I need to get it out. In the form of essays emails conversations.

That seems unhealthy surely. Why can’t I sit still with these thoughts?


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