I’ve spent a lot of time thinking. Thinking and not doing. Fretting over the particulars of when I should come back to this space and create the way I used to. I started this blog four years ago with the intention of growing in my craft, learning from other writers and being part of the creative community. But once I hit a creative block it became difficult to keep track of those things. I never stopped writing, truly. Whatever stray ideas or thought fragments, I penned them in several books or on scraps of paper. I still bought journals with the purpose to keep my mind active, but everything I wrote felt very…wrong. It didn’t sound like me.
There was something very empty in my words – almost disingenuous. Like hands searching aimlessly in the dark. I looked into myself and saw nothing. Almost as if I’d become separate from the intrinsic, more vulnerable parts of myself. That happened because I didn’t want to be alone with my thoughts anymore. A shift had taken place, and while I was aware of when it began, I did nothing really to stop it. I thought I was fine.
Living alone was voluntary solitude; I’ve always loved being in my own space unencumbered by others. The loneliness that came with it though, was a different experience than what I was used to. Loneliness had been the inspiration for all my writing in the beginning. It had been my lifeline, extended in a digital space to connect with others like me. But when you live in a country far away from family and friends, where it isn’t easy to socialize because of language and cultural barriers…that loneliness becomes miserable.
I secluded myself, even from my own thoughts. I preferred using podcasts or music to fill that silence and flood all the deep trenches in my head. I wish I had known that doing such things – as innocuous as it seemed – would only make me less aware of myself and my needs. And by the time I wanted to use writing as my last salvation, my words came out feeble and frayed. I couldn’t pull myself out of that place. Each attempt to write only left erased traces – frustration stabbed through every line…
I couldn’t explain these feelings to my close friends or even my boyfriend, because I couldn’t understand why this was happening to me. And if I didn’t understand, there was no way they would. I was always anxious, running circles in my own head, trying to make sense of all the ambiguities colliding there. And then I realized self-neglect is one of the most harmful things a person can do to themselves.
You can take care of your physiological needs, but ignoring the more intimate details of who you are and what you need creates misery and melancholy. I had always been self-aware, so I never considered there would come a time when I lose touch with who I am. But it happened.
What I’m glad for is that I realized before it became too hard to truly fix. I made a vision board last year, of things I hope to accomplish between then and now. I’m happy to say I’ve checked some things off and seeing that did soothe part of me that became hopelessly despondent. Now, I want to focus on the other part of that vision board: writing and re-developing myself and creating a community once more.
I spent too long doing nothing, waiting for the perfect time to come back. I realize now that there’s no such thing as a perfect time. You have to begin where you are.