FOLLOWING THE TYPICAL CONVENTIONS afforded as a writer (thus the cheeky ALL CAPS at the start of this paragraph), I’ve found that I speak to myself in many ways besides the immediately obvious internalized-conversations-between-the-self. All writing, taken as a whole, is a time commitment. Everyone has different approaches to writing, and so everyone has different approaches to the kinds of stories they tell, and why.
We don’t write only for ourselves, we write to an audience (perceived or otherwise) that we want to have respond to us and our writing, and preferably in a positive way!
There’s a saying that goes something along the lines of, “Everyone is their own worst critic,” or something of the sort. I can’t be bothered to look it up. It’s probably close enough, anyways. It’s hard NOT being myself when I’m writing, or to imagine an audience for the text that is anyone besides myself (because I am always myself and I am always capable of improving upon what I’ve already created).
When I do write specifically for myself, it will be addressed to myself (and if I wanted someone else’s input, I would have addressed it to someone else, or nobody at all). So, maybe this piece of writing is meant for myself, but I also mean it to be forthcoming – I’ve not found all the answers, and to expect anybody to have any or all of them would be unrealistic.
It’s too easy to be cynical.
It takes much more out of somebody* to stay positive, especially as the world is now.
*of course, when I say “somebody,” you (dear reader) know that I am referring specifically to myself, don’t you?
This decade started with India telling me, “Staying positive implies the existence and acceptance of negativity but with the understanding that it won’t always be shitty”. If you’re struggling now, remember that nothing lasts forever, everything changes eventually, and you’re still able to make a difference in ways that can impact others.
That being said, it’s not your responsibility to be OR stay positive. It’s also not your responsibility to make others happy.
It is your responsibility, however, to take care of yourself.
Yes, I am talking to YOU, reader, if you are still with me, and not to myself when I refer to YOU (although that might not always be the case, and if so, I will take care to remind YOU, the reader, that when I refer to YOU in some instances, I am referring to myself).
When I write for myself, it is because I am holding up a mirror. These conversations between myself and I are externalized and put into words. Now, I can read myself clearly, fluently, and I am much more organized with how my thoughts are expressed.
I am no longer in the abstract. I am concrete. I am digestible.
Writing is therapeutic because it reveals us to ourselves. We tell stories to reveal ourselves to us, and to others.
You might have also heard the expression before, “The past is a story we tell ourselves,” (and, yes, I will fully admit that I just googled that quote, and I haven’t watched Her, so maybe I don’t grasp the full context of how it is used in that movie, but the sentiment rings true regardless) but have you considered the notion that all of the present, at this point in time, right now, is a story that we are writing, collectively?
I will also admit that this metaphor easily breaks down under a fair amount of scrutiny, but I believe it works as a framing device nonetheless.
It might be easier to say, then, that we are not writing our own stories, but we do a great deal of editing to fit each part of our lives into our own exclusive, larger narratives.
Where am I going with this.
Where am I going with this?
We do not control every aspect of our lives completely, but we do have agency over how we work within each of our own personal limitations, and how we react to those externalities outside of our control.
That’s a pretty good conclusion. I’m sure somebody has said something along those same lines before, but I’ve had that thought enough times to where it feels liberating to finally put it into words, making it official.
It’s a little victory. Every day can have some little victory if you try hard enough – but sometimes, your best isn’t enough. It won’t always be that way. Change comes sooner or later.
I’m waiting on that change to sweep me away now.
My good friend Collin Jones said to me once, and I don’t remember exactly when, that all he wanted was for life to consume him. I used to think about this a lot. I still do. I also remember him telling me that “people eating food” made him sad. When I asked him why, he said, “it’s so sad,” and then added, “especially when they chew it”.
I also think about that a lot. Putting those two non-sequiturs together, I’d like to pull some kind of significance from it, but deep down I know that it was probably just Collin Jones smoking an atrocious amount of marijuana and using some colorful language to get his thoughts out all at once.
© JD-Jurado all rights reserved 2020
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