I used to have a blog, different from this one, that I loved because most of the words weren’t mine. The titles of all my posts were derived from the lyrics of songs. The content dealt with ideas that had spent so much time inside boxes, inside my brain, that I couldn’t remember life without them–but they weren’t my words. I found myself feeling uncomfortable in class today because people were discussing their lives. Their words. I hastily redirected the conversation to the text at hand.
I have always had trust issues.
Today, I received feedback on a paper I wrote. I got an A. I panic when instructors hand back papers. I consciously slow my breathing as I read through the comments and see the grade I have…have earned? Have been assigned? I am surprised each time I get an A. I am vastly disappointed each time I don’t.
Jennifer told me that I need to write. I told Mom. She told me, “Duh.”
But it doesn’t feel that way, you know? I spend hours agonizing over the terrible quality of papers I have yet to compose. Each piece I write is the worst thing I have ever written. And I’m no writer. Other people are writers. I am simply…a person who writes. Writing is something I do. It is not who I am.
But it is.
But it isn’t.
I don’t know how. How does one write? How does one go about becoming a writer?
I thought, momentarily, about choosing a Creative Writing emphasis instead of a Literary Studies one. I abandoned the former because, in the latter, the words are not mine.
It is not me who is lying there on the desk, being poked and prodded and dissected and reconstituted. I am the one poking and prodding and dissecting and reconstituting. I am the reactionary.
Maybe someday I will be one of those healthy, anxiety-free people who can take being pared down with a grain of salt. I hear those people exist, but I think it’s a myth. In the meantime, I’ll stay trapped inside my skull, paralyzed with fear at the prospect of spending my life doing this thing I love–and perhaps one day being good at it.