At the end of December I had grand plans for getting this blog into swing and now here we are, in April, with one post to show for all my good intentions. If only I could teach my intentions to write good poetry, or even type up the bad poems I’ve already written. Alas. It’s not that I don’t have a lot to say, it’s that whenever I sit down to do it I let my brain bully me out of putting any words down at all. No one cares, my brain will say. Your words are ugly, your ideas are ugly, they demean you and the people who read them.
This probably isn’t true, but knowing that doesn’t make it feel any less overwhelming. No one will ever please every reader, of course, but I do have a small clutch of people who believe in me and the things I want to do. This clutch of people gets annoyed when I do things like tag posts on the internet with ‘no one cares kl’.
We care! they type angrily. Stop being so rude and let us love you!
It’s not you baby, it’s me, is what I want to say in response to everyone all of the time.
The thing is, sometimes I want to write stories and poems that people might like, but mostly I want to write to purge these thoughts that run on a loop in my brain. Then I want to put both of these types of writing into the world, but somehow cloak the latter type under a lace of invisibility. When my attempts at literature are noticed I’m pleased and nervous. When my True Feelings are noticed I immediately feel like I’ve become a burden to anyone who’s ever talked to me.
Lara, you’re saying, what are you writing stories and poems for if your True Feelings aren’t in them?
And that’s fair. My True Feelings are in those things, but the focus is off. It’s softened, or it’s sharper, but it’s not on me as a human with a body I feel encumbered by and who doesn’t drink nearly enough water. There is a marked difference between things I tag for public consumption and things I tag so that I can sift through them later, and when someone comments on those sifting tags I feel somehow like I’ve also saddled them with all of the things I don’t like about myself.
This isn’t what I wanted for you! I yell at the notifications on my phone.
Too late! The notifications buzz back. I already care about you and can’t stop me!
I tried explaining this to my therapist once, about how pouring my heart out in a place that is both technically public but largely likely to be ignored makes me feel like I can let those thoughts and feelings go. It makes me feel lighter and more manageable. She told me that if I really wanted to get rid of those things I could just write them on a piece of paper and then throw that piece of paper away. Then I wouldn’t have to worry about anyone seeing them, problem solved.
My therapist did not grow up with the internet the way I did and very rarely uses it now. It was hard for me to explain to her that my trash can feels very close to home in mental space and that dumb blue site I can access all the time via a phone that never leaves my person feels very far away from home. It feels far enough away at least that if I post my myriad fears and anxieties there I don’t still feel like I’m living in my own muck. Whereas my trash can is just a collection of muck that sits next to my bed. Technology is not clean, but it can be cleansing.
I watch a lot of Youtube videos. My day job is often tedious and repetitive, so in order to trick my wayward ADD brain into staying focused on my computer I will play videos in the background. April is the month when I always have the hardest time keeping up with my subscription box because of a meme called Vlog Every Day in April, which is exactly what it says on the tin.
VEDA seems to function for vloggers a lot like NaNoWriMo functions for writers, as away of getting people out of their heads and creating. The one crucial difference is that instead of getting to go back at the end of the month and edit your work, you have to leave it be. It already exists in the world and is no longer yours. Move on, make something else, make it better, rinse, repeat.
This is a skill I need to cultivate if I’m ever going to get away from the feeling that my words are a burden on those who read them, if I’m ever going to stop shutting myself down before I even start. To that end, I’m making April the month of REDA here at the blog. Reflect Every Day in April. Have a thought, write it down, fix it up a bit, walk away.
I’m not sure yet what the success of this experiment is meant to look like. Maybe success is that silencing myself will become less of a defensive reflex. Or maybe it’s that I’ll learn not to beat myself up if I miss a day. Or maybe it’s just in the trying. Who knows. Ultimately I want to feel more comfortable coming here and leaving my thoughts or story ideas. I want to feel comfortable simply being myself: unvarnished, without flowers, rough of tongue and pen. It’s where every writer starts. One cannot write if they stop every eight words to beat themselves up over how it’s not perfect from the get go. I know, it’s what I’ve been doing this whole time.
I’m a little old for starting, perhaps, but nevertheless, let’s start here.