In all honesty, one of the main reasons that made me take this job and made me move away from home was to write. I had this silly, romantic notion that by being on my own, the literary gods would reveal unwritten stories or unknown characters and make me incessantly pour out word after word, night after night until my laptop crashed and I pull out weeds in the yard at three in the morning while yelling lyrics from “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing”. And guess what? Like all 20-somethings film/TV series ever made… I have found my voice! I discovered what I want to tell the world! I saw the world and people differently! I love myself more! I still eat meat but I care more about the environment! I have finally gotten over this guy I have been infatuated with since preschool!
Okay, the last sentence is completely untrue (it wasn’t preschool); but you get my drift. Being exposed in this less chaotic and demanding environment has made a lot of contribution for my ‘The Expendables’ fan fiction. I guess the simplicity of my new surrounding has not only allowed me to appreciate the (in my opinion) true necessities of life and living but also gave me a clearer picture of how I understand the world, its inhabitants and white rice. A good example would be this: August 2012, I would have written about how a mannequin offended me (interesting but vague); August 2013: I would probably write about how I realized I was not as strong as I thought (cliche but more profound than former).
So you might ask (my good friend Irene already did–a million times), how’s your writing? What have you been writing about lately? When are you going to write about me? or Us? Why aren’t you maintaining your blog? Why don’t you write about your feelings instead of eating them?
The answer, my friends, is that my writing has been in pretty bad shape for the past five months. In fact, I’d like to believe it’s deteriorating. I can barely finish a page in my journal, I don’t read as passionately as I used to and I have been putting off the office newsletter that I’m supposed to work on. Along with it comes going through every single day as if something is rotting inside of me. No kidding. I’m starting to feel the mediocrity getting its sustenance from my soul. I’m only 23 but this morning I asked myself if my life is going to be like this forever. I have never felt so uninspired and vulnerable. And no, it’s not PMS.
But please, don’t get me wrong… it’s not like I’m ungrateful or unmotivated. I’m thankful for this awesome job I have, the cool people at work, this rent-free apartment I am living in now, loving family, friends and pets waiting for me back home. Also, I am about to take a wanderlust-loan from my parents so that’s motivation enough for me.
So what’s wrong? I don’t know.
Or rather, I didn’t know then.
Because on the very same day I asked that question, I also got an answer.
I got the answer from my boss.
Like I said, part of my job is to maintain the company’s online internal newsletter. Lots of photography and writing, plus my boss lets me unleash my creativity–a corporate utopian privilege, I know. But to make the short story even shorter, there has not been much unleashing happening ever since I got hired. Oh yes it has been quite a crazy month with all the events and graphic designing happening, but about 15 articles delayed? #inexcusable #totes
“[It’s because] you’re intimidated…” she said.
But in a nice, sisterly Jodi Sta. Maria-to-Toni Gonzaga-in-You-Are-The-One kind of way.
To which I mindlessly followed with “Yes, I am insecure of Diego’s* work.” (*Diego is a screen name for my predecessor).
“Just do what makes you comfortable” she reassured.
And just like that, the truth came out. I mean, I am already aware of my insecurity with people who I perceive to be better writers than me. But what I discovered after that brief exchange was the countless ways I have been distracting myself because I was not confident with my own words. No wonder I feel so secretive, reclusive and selective with exposing my work! When I got published, I didn’t tell anyone I submitted an essay–it was my Aunt who found it during one of her Sunday afternoon siestas. No wonder I would pull all nighters on graphic assignments or accept more workload thereof in spite of the growing delay! No wonder I’m so carb-driven!
Thus I kept my words, hid them and coddled them with the initial thought that I was buying time and maybe one day, I will wake up the way Paul Dano did in Ruby Sparks after dreaming about Ruby. But… now I see that I was avoiding writing because I was already living with the notion that I was not going to be good enough. I was afraid that people would look past through my message and dwell on my dry humor or untimely. punctuation.
But why now and why here, of all places?
I think it’s because I actually like my job… or rather the non-writing aspects of it (i.e., graphic design, event planning, and lots and lots of road trips). I have become too comfortable with my distraction that it took me some time to associate my unfulfilled sentiments with my lack of writing. I chose to put off the damn newsletter because I felt that mine was never going to be as impressive as Diego’s! Because making fun of my misuse of cumin is okay but taking a jab at my writing may cause me my life… I mean, I will still go on living, but maybe not as alive. (I’m too engrossed with pop culture to be suicidal anyway).
And now I’m into my 10th paragraph and I have been writing and rewriting for the past three hours. Waking up from this ambition-comma has definitely taken a favorable toll. This new learning or whatnot will not immediately make me a better writer but at least, at least, I can say that I’m no longer that afraid to try and become one.
But for now, I’m just thankful to God that I got this understanding in all my currently plump glory and not on my Egyptian cotton-laden deathbed in Moscow.
And to anyone who gets to read this, maybe you can do a bit of life tune up. If you’re doing what you love, I am deeply happy for you and please continue to inspire people like me. If you’re not sure about how you feel with your current endeavors, maybe it’s time to do some dream-reviewing, because you might be getting too close to comfort. And I’m not referring to the good kind.