There aren’t a lot of things more terrifying than facing a blank page, whether electronic or paper. Lately I have been feeling like my life has turned into a blank page. One that I stare into, frozen from fear as I see all of my life’s achievements evaporating from it’s surface.
For a short time in my life, a year and a half ago, I have been an online journalist. The kind that gets published and commented on, and I loved the sense of purpose it has given to my life. It was as if a certain piece of my life fitted into place. Even though the environment I worked in was hostile, I had a sense of self worth connected to the thing I wanted to be most appreciate for – my writing.
Before I became a journalist I was an English major, a very frustrated English major with a lot of love for literature and history, and a lot of contempt towards the academic facility I went to, which can be easily confused for another kind of facility altogether.
I went to study literature because I had a dream of becoming a writer. For me, to write in English meant that I needed to, well, write in English every day. Not being a “native speaker,” I decided this was the best way to hone my skills.
So where did it go wrong? Because it certainly has for me. I suppose it happened in a not very exciting way, like most modern dramas do; Instead of moving on to study an MA, I lingered. Trying to be responsible, I waited, found a better paying job in a less monetary and socially thankless field than journalism. I decided to make a plan to find a degree abroad, looking ahead and out, but I was actually sinking into my own pool of depression and laziness.
I could blame my static condition on a lot of factors, and I did often. In fact, I spent a lot of time thinking of all the ways the universe has done my wrong. If only I had more money, if only my health was better, were I not prone to depressions, etc etc… These thoughts have taken a big space in my life, and still do. And the more I try to get away from them and plan my future the way I want it to be, the harder it gets to breath.
As I write this, though, it gets a little easier. It’s ridiculous now little can make me feel accomplished. There’s no one here, just me and a blank page. No one to read me but my own inside voice, or should I say voices. But it is better than nothing. For the past couple of years I’ve had plenty of nothing, so consider me an expert.
There is a sort of special pain that I associate with feeling nothingness and disorientation on a daily basis. It’s not a sharp pain and not exactly dull. It’s more of a slow fermentation of bad habits, bubbling right under your liver, hitting you in the gut. It’s a gut feeling that tells you something’s wrong, but makes you run away from making that wrong right. It’s a stalling mechanism that kills you way before your time, starting from the inside.
Every day that I write something new, whatever this will grow to be, is not a small victory, no. But it is a heartbeat. It might be weak, it might be almost nothing, but enough of those fragile distortions constitute a pulse. And that’s just what I need right now.