Dear Diary, I Wish I Could Talk To You
If I knew no one were going to read this, what would I write?
Would I write about how badly I need to shower? Or how severely my chest breaks out in acne when I'm not able to do so? God, being accessed sucks.
I'd probably write about my relationship, I imagine. And I'd doodle. And I'd make tons and tons of lists. Lists of what I need to do, what I refuse to change about myself, and what musical games I plan on teaching my kids at summer camp on Tuesday. (I would probably also scribble about how and why someone thinks I am qualified enough to teach at said summer camp.)
Procrastination would be no issue. There'd be no deadline for me to dread - dreadline, HA! Love that. - over and over as it nears. There'd be no pressure to make it good, whatever "it" is. I wouldn't plan out weekly themes with a blog calendar, later outlining each post with a Google Doc before attacking the drafts in Squarespace. I wouldn't edit and re-edit as I went, which I shamefully just did with that last sentence, and this one, the next.
If I knew that no one would read this, I'd have no reason to paint Coffee Shop Writer® image of myself, for no audience would be there to see it. No one would be waiting for me to perform.
*Let the jury know that I literally just smiled to myself with this thought, feeling free, though I did immediately have to Google "how to spell jourey" in order to type this footnote because I'm so sleep-deprived, and then I had to Google "is sleepdeprived one word," and GOD this is all just so very thrilling! O, muses, to write again!**
**I can't feel my feet.
Any outing is an opportunity: to write something in pretty handwriting, order a matcha latte, and spread my belongings nicely on the table for a Boomerang on Instagram. To the modern writer, every piece need not belong to them, but to the world. We're simultaneously denied the private luxury of writing garbage, yet compelled to produce daily aesthetic dumps for our followers, narratively and otherwise. And I hate that. And I want to stop subscribing to that.
I think I do disservice to myself when I buy into the belief that the things that I create are only good when tons of people see and like them. The cycle of producing trash and then waiting to be praised for it is nauseating, unfulfilling, and I refuse to make career out of that.
It's always a bit annoying when people say "I work best when I hustle in silence," but I think that's because in my gut I know those people are right. It's moving to see others breathe deep and take a dive, waiting until they've found a worthy shell from the seafloor before returning for air. It's cool to do good work that takes a long time. Seeing it makes us jealous. I want that shell! I don't wanna swim down there to get it, though.
What I'm getting at is that if I knew no one would read this, I would write something. I don't know what, but I know it would exist. I'd write, which is something I've been too scared to do here on the blog, in my schooling, and with my book, because (major key moment) if I don't write anything at all, then there's still a chance that whenever I do write something, it could be perfect...I could still be perfect...eventually...
Gotta take a second and give credit where it's due. My therapist this past year was the first one to try the word "perfectionist" on me when all I could hear was the word "lazy." And I hadn't realized how negatively my expectations for myself had been affecting my work until my incredible teammate-parter-boy helped me see the light. And he encourages me to write pretty much every day, and I love that! Thank you, Egg.
But - yes. The fact that I give a damn about the quality of my writing is a great thing. I think (read: hope) it means that I actually have a chance at making it, which is all I've ever wanted. It's when the caring about the writing gets to be so intense that the writing never happens, though, that the caring becomes a problem.
It is 4:50 AM and I just wrote this, which is more than I have written in days, and is more honest than I have been with myself in months. And it's because I just don't care. Or because I'm in the hospital and unable to sleep, and my sweet, visiting, angel mother is dreaming next to me, so I can't watch YouTube videos, and I guess sometimes that's what it takes to get out of my own way.