Sometimes, I don’t know how am I still doing it. All the writing. I wonder what it will lead to. I am actually uncertain. I don’t know if my writing possesses any value, as in, any integral value. All I know is to write. There is nothing else I know or truly possess. Is it an auto-generative inheritance? Or, something I have inherited without the clause to the roots to the DNA of the heritage? Or, maybe it has been both both. A multifarious of items. All I know is how to write. Nothing more. Nothing less. Maybe, more. Maybe less. Yet, in which capacity? I am not sure of.
When I started writing here so many years ago, I was quite the optimist. I guess we all begin with some sense of optimism if not necessarily obligation. I don’t think I have been a success here as I have wanted? Or, has it been that how I was thinking was not necessarily curated to my own needs? No. That is not entirely true. I had written so much back then. My whole heart was an outpouring of writing and I felt very happy knowing that I could do it. This writing. Even if not masterful (sometimes so subjective) was definitely my own little place in the woods. A clearing. A forest. An ocean. Things I could do with my writing that seemed impossible with everything else.
Everything else was a whole category that still remains unsorted. I don’t really know what I want from life even now. It seems archaically silly, clichéd, stereotyped — those forms of crises you read about all the time and wonder why people feel that way. Then begin to feel yourself. In one way, you are not a freak. You are still human. Even if it seems some days your humanity is as tethered as a cloud by your window. That ancient balloon that you think of with thoughts and imagine shapes and still can’t understand why you can’t fill it up with the helium with your own desires. Hear that squeakiness of the whole thing and even if it seems super funny to others — you wish to keep it for yourself.
I understand writing for yourself is important. You cannot really feed yourself entirely on the validation of others. In a way, that is surrogate cannibalism — surrogate cannibalistic modes of engagement; fleshed up with someone else, them eating you and you eating them. Wanting validation. Craving it. I understand. It’s important. Yet, it’s not a subsistent crop. Not the meat you want on top. It doesn’t always work out the way you want. I keep on reminding myself because when you are starved it feels any dish would do; though, there is a reason you have a palate and a tongue, the muscles, the cheeks, the kinds of teeth you are meant to have. Not every dish can do. It just won’t suffice.
The world online is much crowded and murkier than it was at least 20 years ago. Online interactions do not verbatim copy the verbal, the non-verbal, the etiquette you were once used to even in the last 5-10 years. And, etiquette is not universal. Netiquette, as it has been called, can vary in spaces. And, in online social media spaces, it varies tenfold than in actual geographical spaces. One of the main reasons? We don’t really to have deal with people do we? Not in the same way we have to deal with people even in the workplace. You can’t just block an annoying colleague on the go nor can you suddenly give an expletive and run off. There are more immediate consequences to what you are doing. So, you are more apt and careful. Even if being impulsive is your default, you know, you can’t do that always on the face-on-face level. Street-on-street level. Desk-by-desk level. Bullying exists but you will notice in the world of bodies it is more aptly felt, recognised and alerted.
It is hard to write online too. Your audience may be larger, more global than local, but how do we know how much global it is? How much local it is? The cheerier days of the global village have been put on hiatus: or in oldspeak net — revamping/reconstruction for a few days. Before Web 2.0, it was harder to even imagine doing short term word changes without unplugging something. When I first came upon WordPress, it was still relatively less advertised and unknown (LiveJournal still holding some cards), with a minimum set of themes. It’s .org program may have been used countlessly on many independent websites but it was not the hosting giant we know of today. Now, I am introduced to a new Block Editor (hoping it allows me to write in the fonts I chose for my website and not some default it chose for me. Ironically, 3 months ago this was possible).
Signalling back, I am stating that because of the many choices we have, because of how many different changes to mediums of expression, life, lifestyles, growth in certain sectors and the rise of many social media fandoms, writing online has become both easier and harder. You can feel pressurised to conform, be bullied, be critiqued without apology, have a person spam you with less consequences and you may still persist, with a chip on your shoulder. Albeit, the optimism have somewhat dimmed though it may brighten again soon. I should be writing more now. I have more free time now. Yet, there are things that do not come to me as easily as they did before? Is it a writer’s block? Partly. Partly, perhaps I am curating and censoring myself. There may a need in me now to choose more quality over quantity though for me I would like to think I always managed a good enough if not the best balance of it.
I want to still keep on writing many things. I know I can. I know I will. This is not arrogance or mere wilfully, nonchalant confidence. It is a blessing. And, experience. I have been doing this for so long. I been doing doing for most of my childhood, teenage and adult life. Yes, there may be milestones I am missing. I am not going to say that there has been no struggle; that the reason of doing it and the weight of giving up haven’t loomed over me. It has. More than once. That I haven’t achieved what I wanted so what was the point? The use? Is it because I did for so long that giving up would mean I wasted so much? So, I am stubborn because I don’t want it to be a waste?
Well, that kind of stubbornness is useful in writing even if there is so much waste. I mean, I don’t think it is polluting the environment much. Nor, has it polluted my own life. However, it has most certainly NOT been a waste. Whatever I have written. Whatever I have continued to write. It has shaped a lot of me. Shaped a lot of who I am and who I will be. Things have changed. Things have not changed. My writing has stayed the same but also grown. It has made new branches and nodes of engagement and involvement. I like what I write even if it is not the best subjects out there. It is not merely only I can write this, from my point of view, but because I know this need and want in me to write is unique to me and won’t come again and it is me and no one else.
I still don’t know if it is important. If it has any integral value. I am sure this uncertainness is part of a process. Gradually, I might be reaching a destination I am not fully aware of and if it’s great then I cannot be happier. It is easier to have a meteoric rise and then fall and decimate the dinosaurs of your expectations. The evolution and extinction, the unchanged and the stellar qualities of my writing may still be going on. I can feel that strength in me.
Perhaps, right now, here and now, I am where I need and wish to be. Even if the stars seem unfamiliar and the course a bit rougher, it is where I am destined and worked to be. You can’t tether clouds to your window because you are not meant to see only through one window.