There’s something about sitting at the kitchen table on a Sunday morning; the drying imprints of a coffee cup’s base settling on the polished wood, seemingly concentric as if mimicking the inside of the tree this table might have used to be; the sunlight as it bends its knees and ducks its head under the semi-pulled-down shades to enter the room, the way I always picture my father passing through doorways into spaces with low ceilings. Here, though, the ceilings are high and they emanate echoes, whether they be my footsteps creeping in good night or dragging good morning, or the clicking noise these keys make as I press them. Good morning.
There is something about this that makes me feel like I need to write.
Perhaps it is because I am wearing my glasses and I have grown up being told that intelligence is most clear when captured by magnifying lenses, framed, and balanced across the bridge of a nose. Or, these drying coffee cup rings have hypnotized me: I am now inspired by the concentrated history and colonialism before me — potable — with steam of seeds being extracted by dark, exploited hands from red coffee berries under a heavy Haitian sun, then roasted and pulverized only to be mixed with hot water in a kitchen appliance centuries later, and finally finding peace in a patterned ceramic mug on this kitchen table.
Or, maybe, it is because writing is one of the few productive things I can do while still shamelessly comfortable in my pajamas. That is likely.
Regardless of the reason, however, I feel the need to write. I feel the need to be smart, to say something important, to be productive; to feel good about myself. These reasons tug at the edge of my sleeves and propel my wrists forward over the keyboard, back and forth with each word, like a saw that is unsure as to the thickness of the piece of lumber it is cutting. I must keep checking to see how far I’ve come and how far I have to go. This seems like just the beginning but who knows.
How strange is it that I can press a number of keys on some square piece of technology, spin out a few sentences of random mishagosh, and somehow feel… accomplished? What am I achieving by writing this piece?
I am achieving nothing by writing this piece.
Time is passing, even if I don’t listen for the tick of each second or the dong of each hour.
I wonder how many people will read this. I wonder how many people will skim this. I wonder how many people will pause at each comma, how many will give each word its own sound, how many will give my run-on sentences and thought fragments enough care to develop an understanding of where they’re heading.
I am achieving nothing by writing this piece.
With this realization, my sense of accomplishment begins to fade. The edges disappear first with a dark vignette, then the blackness creeps toward the center and envelopes it all. My sense of intelligence, my sense of importance and productivity, my motivation — it all loses its color and fades into nothing. There are no sparkles left.
I normally start my pieces with a clear objective. I know what I want to talk about. I know what I want to say. I use a tone of self-righteousness because I know that I am right and here are all the reasons why. That is how writing has been for me lately.
But today is different.
I woke up and the first thing I ate was something other than envelope glue. My feet are firmly planted on the floor. The only thing I have to do today is take my birth control pill at 9:00pm and I think I can manage that.
Today, I didn’t begin writing with a clear objective. Instead, the words flowed on their own and now that they are slipping I am realizing that soon this will end. This story has no climax. It began and it has been descending ever since the first word.
Writing was not always like this for me.
Before I adopted my alter-ego of pretentious blogger, before I began routinely sacrificing my Sunday nights and early Monday mornings to academic papers with approaching deadlines, and before I understood that printed words were my best weapon to take on the world with… writing was easy. It was organic, it was lovely, it was accomplished.
My vocabulary and my prose have improved since I was in grade school, but my attitude has not. I have long since lost my ability to feel things and mean them. I have instead begun to conjure up emotions and opinions that follow x trend and make me a quality being so I can feel like a quality being. I have plucked them and embraced them and intertwined their stems to make a large bouquet of bologna. How poetic.
For the first time in a long time, I am writing and I don’t have a goal. Does this mean this is for me? If the answer is yes, does that mean my previous writings have been for other people?
Am I so condescending as to think I have been educating people with my opinions and oh-so-ambitious topic undertakings? Or have I been documenting my own educational process with the false-pretense of “Look how smart I am (now)!”? I quite literally hate each post I have made on this blog thus far.
It’s unsettling to think I don’t know my own motives. There are parts of me that I cannot pinpoint. My identity has not been fully identified.
Perhaps what I am most fascinated by when it comes to words is how closely connected they can make things appear. “Me” and “my,” “identity” and “identified.” My own rhetoric seems committed to perplexing my brain. These words make me feel underaccomplished, like a failure. I have created dots, but I cannot connect them. And, of course, I refuse to believe that they simply cannot be connected.
At this point, I am lost. This is just my stream of consciousness and it somehow feels like both groggy-Tuesday-morning-unconsciousness and electric I’m-on-the-third-hour-of-my-Five-Hour-Energy consciousness at the same time. There is no objective and that is sickly anxiety-inducing. What am I writing? I can only think about how I wish I were wearing socks. The blue ones with the polka dots.
If I were to end this piece right now, I would feel like a failure. I have achieved nothing. I knew that, though. I came to terms with that somewhere in the middle of this. Yet, I am entirely dissatisfied.
One of my assignments from when I used to be in therapy was to put myself in an uncomfortable situation at least once a day. As someone who faces a daily battle with self-criticism, control, and their many dimensions, this can be very difficult. I often found myself sitting in an under-padded chair, in a room that buzzed with the cicada-esque sound of an exhaust fan, across from a wonderful woman who I felt terrible about disappointing from week to week. However, disappointing her was much easier than disappointing myself.
Letting go feels like losing. It feels like I’m giving in.
I will do it, though.
So, here is my discomfort. Here is my white flag. Here is where my stream of consciousness flatlines. Here is where I forgive myself for being such a terrible writer all these years. Here is where I ignore my insecurities about posting this piece. Here is my vulnerability. Here is where I stop.
Thanks for sticking it out with me.
Until next time,