Perhaps it’s the warm summer evenings. Or the fact that I moved homes, and am still trying to find my footings, re-gain the familiarity that comes from living in the same place for an extended period of time. Or it could be just hormones. Anyway, what I’m trying to get at is, recently, I’ve found myself growing more and more melancholy about, well, myself. And, well, life, and stuff.
It started with a seed of inadequacy, sprouting from a book I was reading filled with illustrations by the author. The illustrations were exquisite. Not only was the man talented with the pen, he was also a dab hand with a paintbrush. And I just thought to myself, sitting there in the room I now share with both my mother and sister, removed from them in my own little bubble, I just thought to myself, over and over, “I can’t draw to save my life.”
Which was true. I can’t. Only pens answer to my hand. The few times I’ve tried have been a complete and utter failure; it’s simply an inability to create size, detail, three-dimension, to translate what you see in your mind onto paper. Words are thousand times more easier to construct than pictures, at least for me. This then led onto a score of inadequacies: perhaps my imagination was not powerful enough, seeing as I couldn’t draw anything I saw through its lens, perhaps I was a writer deluding herself in regards to her talent, perhaps I was wasting my time, and would continue to waste my time, for years to come, penning stories no-one would ever read…
Down the whirlpool of thoughts continued to spiral, until I felt sick to my stomach. Literally sick. My own thoughts had somehow transformed into a physical reaction. I wanted to throw up. Nothing of the sort had ever happened me to before. I went to the bathroom, bent over the sink, and dry-heaved, but nothing came out. And then I went back to my room and sat down. Here I was, all alone in my room, scribbling away as the days fluttered away too quick for me sometimes to even examine them, writing terrible story after terrible story, unable to inject any life into any character, trying to make plots fit together like a blind man trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle—who was I? What was I doing?
You see, the awful thing is, it feels as though everyone else has their “place” in their world. They have found their little niche, within which to secrete themselves, safe and happy as a chick bundled into its nest. Either they have a job, or they’ve found success in their calling, or they have their own spouse, their own children, their own family, their own successful, beautiful, little lives. And every time I read about them, about this artist or this writer or this somebody, who is married and established, showered with literary accolades, my insides turn grey. I feel acutely alone, actually lost and adrift. Everyone has something, everyone has somebody, everyone has some place to call home, somewhere where they can lay their head and smile, while I sit here, writing and thinking in the dark, with only the voices in my own head for company.
In a world so filled with talent, how can you not doubt yourself? In a world where everyone seems to have their own little lives, all packaged and tied-up, even if they’re a little lopsided, what do you do with the junk scattered across your own desk? To keep on going, when you are lonely, wracked with self-doubt, destitute, unloved by people who actually understand you, and, frankly, a little depressed, takes a mammoth leap of faith, a mountainful of grit and determination. I always thought the idea of the starving artist slaving away in her little garett and every now and then traipsing out onto the roof to look over the city and watch the sun set and feed the pigeons was a lovely, romantic notion. But now I realise that to chase your dreams, and believe in yourself even when every part of you screams to do otherwise, is a path riddled with potholes, covered in shadows. It’s not fun. It’s dark, and it’s scary, and it’s hard.
What if this gamble doesn’t pay off, in the long run? As much as I adore writing, adore the imagination, what if it’s a case of loving-something-but-it-doesn’t-necessarily-mean-you’re-good-at-it-or-will-succeed-at-it? Plenty of people enjoy books without feeling any urge to pen one themselves. Maybe I am one of them, caught in a cloud of self-delusion.
Nevertheless, I can’t give it up, not even when the overwhelming sense of inadequacy gives me the urge to bash my head open with a rock, or at least crawl under the bed for several centuries in a dreamless sleep. Writing is all I have, all I am; it is as much a part of me as my own physical body, my veins words knitted into sentences, my blood flowing dark with ink. When I cry, letters trickle down my cheeks, and each time I wake up in the morning, the world inside and outside is splotched with stories, stories for me to read, to remember. To write down.
I’ll just write, I guess. I’ll just write.