The hardest thing for me about writing is accepting the fact that I will never get it exactly right. I am very good at arguing a point from multiple points of view. I am very good at judging an idea or situation through the eyes of people who are not me. These skills are helpful when it comes to understanding the beliefs of others, discussing politics and literature, choosing an appropriate affect in social situations and writing both academic essays and marketing copy. These skills are less helpful when attempting to actually solve a problem. They also make it stupidly difficult to write frequent, short blog posts.
In high school, I had a boyfriend who frequently told me that I “think too much”. At the time, I found this observation idiotic and mildly offensive. From my teenage perspective, there was no such thing as thinking too much. If anything, the world would be a better place if everyone thought a little more. My problem, as I considered it then, was not that I thought too much, but that the thinking I was doing wasn’t getting me to the answers I wanted so desperately to find.
Recently, I’ve started to reassess that response. I do think too much. And more than thinking too much, I use thinking as a way of avoiding action. Instead of writing, or making something, or finishing the myriad projects I’ve started and abandoned over the years, I think and rethink and argue against myself until I am exhausted. I’m already tired of this blog post.
(What are you talking about? Get to the point.)
Right now, my husband Jonathan is on a plane to Baghdad. He will be gone until September. I am sad and I already miss him. At the same time, news from around the world (and within my own country) of bombings and murders and racism and human cruelty seems to be increasing with every passing day. There is darkness everywhere I look and despair is spreading like a plague, threatening to destroy every good thing on this earth. So I’m sad, and I’m scared and I’m also aware of how privileged and comfortable my life is compared to 99% of the world.
I don’t have a solution to any of this. I can’t cure my sadness (or the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder which I have experienced since adolescence) and I can’t cure the brokenness and suffering of so many people around the world. What I can do is make a small promise, to whoever you are reading this, that I will get through this summer. I will not check out mentally or physically. I will not give in to hopelessness. I will not talk myself into a state of paranoia or paralysis. I will not talk myself out of doing the things I know I need to do in order to stay mentally and physically healthy. I will not close my eyes or my heart to my own pain or the pain of others.
(Um, ok. Great. Still, what’s your point?)
There are so many things I want to do and so many things I need to do. But right now, as far as this dumb blog is concerned, I am only making one promise. I pledge to post something on here every day between now and September. Some days it may only be a sentence or two. Hopefully some days it will be more. There are so many reasons I can already think of why this is a silly idea and meaningless and potentially embarrassing. The whole idea seems narcissistic and navel-gazey and destined fail. Fine. Let’s just stipulate that all of those things are true. Let’s also stipulate that no one is reading this and when I use the second person “you” as though addressing some audience, I understand that fact. Let’s pretend that I don’t care. (I do care, but that’s beside the point.)
So, gentle reader, I promise to survive this summer and you promise not to point out that I’m only talking to myself. And if by some chance you are out there and you have read these long rambling thoughts, I’m inviting you to survive the summer with me.