Earlier this week, I was sitting at work, feeling stressed (what else is new). I felt overwhelmed by various things: workload, social obligations, financial security (or lack thereof), and I also really missed my dog.
In the past, whenever I felt this way, I liked to take to my journal and write out my thoughts. Writing nonstop for at least 15 minutes used to be a helpful exercise that would calm me down. I would let all my thoughts and troubles flow freely out of my system, articulating how I felt the best way that I could. And then I would talk to myself. I would comfort myself with some kind words, and then give myself direction on what next steps I should take to feel better. Writing was a way for me to to recollect my scattered thoughts and feelings and set them in order again. It made me feel at peace with myself.
But for some reason, this past week, I didn’t feel like consulting my writing. It’s been months since I last wrote in my journal, and the act of writing in it again felt foreign. Instead, I turned to different methods to make myself feel better. I treated myself to an iced chai latte. I ranted to a group chat about things unrelated to my actual problems. I distracted myself by playing games on my phone. I didn’t feel like tackling the issues at hand. Rather, I felt like distancing myself from them.
Of course, we all seek out different outlets during different times of need, but I guess I was surprised that I didn’t want to take to writing immediately. It made me realize that I was changing. Things I used to do while I was in school were no longer a part of my everyday activities.
When I had a more flexible schedule, I used to try to do noob-yoga and breathing exercises in the morning to calm down. I used to write in my journal at least once a week, to talk to myself, keep my emotions in check. I used to write more in general, because I had to, for school. I used to obsess over papers, assignments, grades. I used to obsess over my stories and I would set aside time to figure out the best way to tell them.
Now that I work 9-5 at a job where my creative writing skills are irrelevant, all I do when I get home is play phone games all day everyday. If I ever feel down, I either numb myself by playing more games or joke around with a friend. I don’t really write much anymore. I use my spare time to play and hang out with groups of people whenever I can. And the only thing I obsess over now is anything related to my looks–makeup, clothing, jewelry, nails. Things that I used to think didn’t really matter.
I feel like I’m becoming a different person. On one hand, I’m more social than I used to be, and I feel more confident in how I present myself to other people. On the other, I’m losing my alone time. I’m losing a sense of insight on who I am. I’m getting out of touch with my writing self.
I know these days, all I do is write about how much I’ve been changing since I’ve started working. I seem to reminisce a lot about how I used to be in different stages of life. But I guess that’s all I can notice when I bring myself to write in this blog. It’s like as soon as I write, I’m tapping into an old self, someone who is rearing her head at me and is saying, “Where the hell you been?”
Change is evident as people grow older. But I think as much as I tried to frame this change in a neutral way, in that there are gains and losses to my new lifestyle, it mostly feels like a bad change. I guess I’m disappointed that I don’t write as much anymore, that I don’t try to, and sometimes, seemingly don’t want to. I even made a goal for myself a few entries ago to write 30 minutes per day. Guess who’s been keeping that up!
I do think I am repelled by writing these days for a few different reasons. The work schedule does tire me out. My brain is fried at the end of the day. I don’t feel like doing any more thinking than I need to. And as I mentioned in a previous entry before, I feel uncomfortable investing what spare time I have into a skill that I fear might amount to nothing.
And another reason: I think the work life has somehow slowly started turning me into someone who doesn’t like delving into her own feelings anymore. I don’t really value emotional time as much as I used to. And when I write, I have a tendency to complain. Writing is where I let my emotions loose, it’s where I’m the most honest. But it makes me cringe to see my complaints out there. And it makes me cringe in the process of even writing them out. I think to myself that I’m wasting my time and I’m embarrassing myself. And I don’t want to bother honing that complaint, polishing it until it becomes something better, something that has a point. That’s just too much time spent on what probably sounds like an annoying, first-world problem. I convince myself that no one actually wants to read about it. My stories don’t need to exist.
I don’t value my time alone with myself in my writing now, because I value my time socializing instead. I like myself more when I’m in social settings. I’m fun and I have fun. But when I write, when I see myself in my writing, I sound like such a downer. I don’t want to acknowledge that this is who I am or how I feel.
Anyways, I would like to come to a nice resolution about all this. I would like to believe that deep down, I’m still a writer and I’m just going through a slump. But to be honest, I just feel disappointed in myself. I do believe that writing is an important thing to me. But I don’t feel motivated to prioritize it. And I just can’t bring myself to make fake promises with myself, saying that I’ll keep trying to work on this.