Life, Writing

In This Together.

There’s something that I’ve learned about bloggers over the years:

We’re all a little insecure.

We want to be authentic, but we’re afraid of opening ourselves up because we’re afraid that someone’s going to take a stake to our heart.

We stop writing because we’re afraid that our writing is not good enough and then come groveling back because we can’t stand not writing anymore.

We try to rationalize our feelings, swinging from one branch of feeling to another, as if we need to justify to others why we aren’t writing. Or painting. Or creating in some way or another.

We go from writing too much, to not writing at all. And yet we still write.

We still write because we want to be heard. We want someone to tell us that we’re alright.

And we are alright. We are still here, you and I.

We are here together.

If you need to take a break, I’ll still be there. I didn’t come this far with you just to come this far. I will still read your writing even if you need some time off to focus on yourself. Because God knows we all need to boost our morale.

It’s okay.

It’s okay to be uncertain. It’s okay to feel the way you’re feeling. I’ll waiting for you, for that next post. I followed you because you write quality, not quantity. You find the words to describe how I’m feeling in just a way.

I feel the insecurity. I’ll write and write and write. And then I’ll stop because I’m feeling insecure. I’ll then write and write and write about how insecure I’m feeling about my writing and obsess over why I’m not as good as any others. People actually have things to write about, I say, and then pull back. They travel, they cook, they get involved with their communities.

I just live an average life.

An ordinary life, you would say.

I wanted to show that living an ordinary life could be extraordinary. You didn’t need to travel extensively or cook fancy meals every day or be especially literary with fancy words. I wanted to show that a small, normal, ordinary life could be just as worthy as any other blogger, writer, x successful person.

And yet I got sucked into the belief that I need to be something in order to write about it. I needed to do things, be extraordinary. And yet–

And yet that was tiring.

It was boring. I’m not that sort of person to put myself out there underneath the spotlight all the time.

I am quiet. I can be weird around people that I most want to talk to. I get awkward. I’m by no means as confident as I make myself out to be.

And yet here I am…still writing. And people are still following.

Thank you.

Thank you for following me. And if you write a blog, thank you for writing. We’ll find our footing. We’ll get to the other side.

We’re in this together.

This is partially inspired by Chris Nicholas’ post “Epoch” which you can read here if you’re so inclined. Give him some love, he deserves it, I’ve never met a bad piece of writing from him.

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Writing

The Sound

I love the sound of water trickling down the river. It surges around the narrow bend, violently pushing against the boulders in its way. Then it widens into a deep pool, careless of the destination its heading towards. It is sluggish, tired of its sudden sprint.

The wind dances through the leaves, moving the branches back and forth. The sun shifts down in shafts, warming the ground in patches. The birds chirp in the distance, reminding me of their presence, as if they were afraid I would forget where they were. Chipmunks and squirrels scramble out from the underbrush, startling me from my reverie.

My shoes thump against the muddy ground, and the squirrels chatter at me in disapproval before disappearing again. I slow my steps down, and walk as quietly as I can. It’s a game that I’ve played since I was a teenager; the one where I am the Indian of my forefathers, stalking the woods in my moccasins, letting nature think I’m one of them. I will never be that quiet and I’ll never learn the ways of a tribe that I suspect I’m a part of but never know exactly. The fears and hate of history make a sound in its present history.

I emerge from the forest, the chatter of people as they make their way down flood my ears. The roar of cars pulling in and out of parking spaces jars me back into the present. My brief encounter of being alone has dissipated for another day.

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Writing

Collections.

Some people collect coins.
Others collect postage stamps.
Still others collect dolls and bears and antiques.

I collect postcards and journals.

I don’t know why I like postcards. I like to think of them as little snap shots of where you were and what you were doing. Every time we went somewhere on vacation, even if it was somewhere close, my parents would take me to the nearest dollar store and let me pick out a postcard from the rack so that I could remember where we were.

When I went to D.C., I bought a whole slew of them. I am just addicted to them.

They’re all probably around here somewhere. I just need to find them and put them together, just so I can say “I was here.” It’s probably not worth anything, but it’s worth something to me.

I also collect journals. If one looks pretty or specially aesthetic, I’ll get it. I now have a whole mass of them and I probably wouldn’t ever get through any of them in my lifetime. But I can’t stop. If I like it, and it’s a good deal, I buy it.

My mom’s made me stop. Because frankly I just need to. But if I find another one for a quarter and I can’t resist how it looks as a whole, I’ll probably just buy it. And anyway, it just feels good to write in a journal. It’s physically there. You can whole it and feel it and your thoughts seem tangible in your hands. It’s just not the same when you’re typing on the computer.

It’s just not.

Of course, I don’t like the idea of people reading my most inner of inner thoughts someday, but it makes me feel better in the moment, so I’ll continue writing in them. Plus I feel like I’m part of a centuries old hobby that people have been doing even in the 1700’s and earlier. Just thinking that Jane Austen, Anne Frank, Sylvia Plath and others have also written journal makes me feel a part of something bigger.

What say you?

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Writing

On 400 Followers.

I need to acknowledge that I’ve reached 400 followers.

I find it kind of amazing that I’ve actually reached that many people. Some of you actively read what I write on a regular basis even when my posts have been less than regular. Some of you are casual readers and others…I don’t know why you are still following if you’re not even reading what I’ve posted recently but thanks anyway?

When I first started blogging here 6 years ago, I was all gun-ho about posting and wanting to reach people. I tried creating a niche because that’s what all the advice blogs said. I got burnt out, switched to another topic and kept going until I got burnt out again.

Then I’d stop writing altogether. Because I wasn’t growing as much as I thought I should. I stopped because I got tired and a little nervous that nobody was reading my blog because I wasn’t being consistent in keeping a niche and sticking to it.

And then a weird thing started happening.

I just kept writing. Whatever made me happy, I wrote it. I stopped trying to write blog posts on topics I wasn’t interested in just because it was trending or because I thought I’d get more likes, comments, and follows from it. I am a creative writer. Have always been a creative writer. So I just started writing creatively–memoir, nonfiction, poetry, fiction, snapshots of my life. You name it, I just wrote about it.

Because it made me happy to write about it.

It’s still hard for me to write this way because I still think about how I should write in order to reach my audience. I still fell guilty for not following a formula that would get me blog famous. I still feel guilty for not having a niche.

The other day I was thinking about how I’m a casual fan of certain things and not exactly a hardcore fan. I’m a casual fan of Irish music because a friend introduced me to it and I happened to enjoy it because it sounds like country music. I’m a casual fan of horror but I’m not an expert in it. I’m a casual fan of most genres and hobbies. I like the idea of games but I don’t actually play video games or even computer games anymore. I like photography and film editing but I rarely do either these days.

I’m not saying it’s not a good thing. Being casually interested in a variety of things allows me to have a conversation with a lot of people and pretend to know what I’m talking about. But I’m not intensely interested in any one thing and therefore I can’t give an expert opinion about it. And that’s how I feel about my blog. I want to have a niche. I want to be able to write well and talk about one thing with expertise.

But I can’t. I get bored if I write about the same things all the time.

So what does this all have to do with what I wrote about earlier? I’ll tell you why:

Because no matter how many times I’ve changed my mind on what to write about, no matter how long a time it is between posts, you all love my writing. You’re still following my posts. And you’re still interested what I have to say even if I’m not writing in a niche.

Thanks for sticking with me and here’s to another 6 years and 400 followers.

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Writing

All the Time.

I think about writing all the time, and yet I don’t always write. Sometimes I can go for weeks and months (even, dare I say–years) without writing. I think it bothers some people that I don’t actively write, that I’m more passive about writing and not making something more of it. But I don’t really care. I don’t always write because I don’t always want to. Nor do I want to share my thoughts or have a lot to say about whatever it is that I’m writing. That’s why my blog posts are so short sometimes–I’ve run out of things to say about it.

I was listening to an Irish vlogger tonight and her accent was real thick. I’ve listened to other Irish tubers and met Irish people in real life and I’ve never had a problem understanding what they were saying. But with this girl I had to sit there and listen to her real close. It made me feel real dumb because I thought I could understand the Irish. Clearly I’m losing touch. Or I’m just not as good as I thought I was, which bites real hard.

Just when you think you’re on top, life comes back thunks you on the head to remind you that you suck.

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Writing

A Broken Love Story.

“So, Ian — welcome to the graveyard of ambition!”
~David Nicholls, “One Day”

I like a good love story like the rest of them. But unlike the rest of them, I tend to fall in love with the stories that don’t end so happily. One of the main characters dies at the end, or another unavoidable circumstance irrevocably pushes them apart forever. It’s not that I don’t hope for a happily ever after, it’s because it seems to reflect real life so much more than an actual happily ever after.

When I was 19, I had hoped that college would be the defining moment for me in my life. It was, but not how I expected.

You see, I never dated in high school. I was never taken out on a date or asked out to prom or homecoming. I was one of those people in the middle: not quite popular but not quite at the bottom of the cesspool. I was just that average girl that everybody liked but nobody thought about. When it came time for college, I was excited at the prospect of meeting new people: new friends, new mix of guys who might like me enough to take me out on a date.

It didn’t happen.

Well. Kind of. There were a couple of guys interested enough to spend some time with me. Very brief, nothing lasting. Every time I hoped that this time would be different, it wasn’t. They just wanted a couple dates or someone to flirt with.

I decided that the effort was too much and decided to focus on studying instead. It was hard, I don’t think I succeeded in forgetting about dating.

Time passes and feelings change. I’ve come to realize that you don’t always get what you want. What you set out to do changes into a series of disappointments.

I’m not writing this because I want people to feel sorry for me. Nor do I want people to comment with consolation, trying to lift my hopes for a love that’s everlasting. Because sometimes that sort of thing never happens.

I still ache, but I am happy. I am alone; it has become entwined with me. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if that ever change. I’d probably have a panic attack. I’m too used to having the bed to myself, falling asleep listening to YouTube, and spending the day in my jamis if I want to. Having a boyfriend would mean I’d have go out and do stuff and that’s just…not me anymore, somehow. At least, that’s what I like to tell myself. I’ll still roll with it.

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Apathetic Patriotism.

I’ve been feeling out of sorts with the whole 4th of July thing this year. Color me apathetic.

Last week someone mentioned that Independence Day was coming up and that it didn’t feel like it should be that time of year just yet. And I agree. It doesn’t exactly feel like it should be a day to celebrate patriotism and America and the whole thing.

Regardless of which side you choose to align yourself with, I’ve found myself weary of the whole argument. People pointing fingers, people shouting and throwing others under the bus for disagreeing and who is responsible for what. It’s just tiring. There are issues that matter but how do you keep going when no matter what you say both sides will find fault in you for saying what you said, construing your words into something you didn’t mean in the first place.

America has always had its problems, I will always acknowledge this. In spite of all its shortcomings, I was proud to be American and I didn’t mind telling you that. But I feel like we’ve reached a new level of insanity. I can’t see what we stand for in black clouds of hate and anger from both sides.

I’m still glad to be an American. There are still good things about the country that I’m glad we have that others don’t have as much of. But right now I don’t have the energy to be loud about it. One can only hope it’ll get better.

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