When I wrote “Absolute Certainty and Infinite Confidence“, I was sitting in front of my computer at the office, typing fervently yet sadly. I had stayed behind after my work day because I forced myself to keep working, even though all I wanted to do was write. As soon as the clock struck 5, I opened my wordpress account and began typing.
This blog was always meant to be an escape pod. I tinkered with it and made it colourful, and it helped me get through my worst days. I find it hard to admit to people close to me when I am sad, especially when I have to formulate it into spoken words. I am never the one to say upfront, “Please stop doing this to me, because it hurts me”. Instead, I turn to my computer and write a poem or a short story to alleviate the pain, and transform it into something beautiful that I can read, and unashamed to share.
My friends have told me in the past that they had lost faith in blogging because it offers a venue for criticism: it allows you to be vulnerable and open to interpretation. This is all I think about when I write, and it proved to be incredibly limiting. I tried to find ways in which I can present my words to be selfless: to have it seamlessly combine with other people’s emotions and have it malleable to their experience. I wanted some good to come out of my words, instead of a monologue about pain that was selfish and internal.
When I wrote “Absolute Certainty”, I was fully aware of my urge to write, and an adult voice telling me to “wait”, to “keep it inside until work was over”. And I suddenly had a longing for those days when I stopped at nothing just to write.
And halfway through the article, I began to discover the person I had grown into, whose behaviour crippled my writing. Controlling that urge to write so that I can be productive while I’m at work made me so lonely because it brought me closer to the realization that I had transformed writing into a past time – a hobby, along with video games and watching TV, when it used to be the one and only purpose that motivated me, the one true weapon I had against the world.
And it made me so sad after I finished writing it, that I cringed when I hit “Publish”. I thought I was alone in feeling this way, that nobody else could understand that sense of loss we feel when we realize that we have lost control of meaning in our lives, that the purpose that once shaped our identity has become an illusion, and has left you disenchanted.
When I received the email about being Freshly Pressed, these were the words that stood out:
“We enjoyed this nostalgic post about your childhood love for reading and writing, and growing up and having less time for books. We think the rest of the community will agree.”
The first emotion I felt was sheer and complete terror. My old fears came back to haunt me: This was a terrible mistake. They read the article wrong. It can’t be this good. I’m going to have a lot of comments bringing me down and making fun of me — and to be honest, I was this close to deleting the post and shutting my blog down.
Because who could’ve thought that something beautiful could come out of fears and insecurities? And yet it did, because I had forgotten why it’s so essential to document the narratives of our lives: so that we can all take part in the human struggle, so that we can build a community of support and encourage others to keep going despite obstacles, despite our own fears.
Reading your comments has revived that idea within me:
Writing is important because it is an extension of our souls – it is the process of creating something tangible and shareable so that we don’t have to internalize pain, so that we don’t have to be alone with our conflicts. It is the human mind solidified – and it can be a truly beautiful thing that evolves and manifests with each new reader gained, with each new meaning spun from the words we create.
A young writer from my university once told me that writing is a solitary activity, and to this I disagree. Because from now, every time I write, I take you all with me.