on not being able to write

October 5th, 2019

i havent been able to write for a long time now. i havent felt free, or safe, to write for a long time. i used to feel freer, and safer, when i was younger, more unknown.

i wonder if im cut out to “be a writer”. self doubt. but i know i can write. or i have done so in the past. moments, rare. but i know i feel deeply, intensely. i know i have things to say.

but im scared. i doubt myself. its not even that i consciously do that. at least, not most of the time. because, sometimes, i just sit here, i have made my cup of tea, i have cleaned up my desk, even my room. it’s all quiet, except for the sound of the fan, the rumbling of the washing machine. i sit there, and i just don’t write. i have even blocked my social media. i think to myself … “come on, lok. no excuses.”

the longer i freeze, the more i can feel the pressure build up inside of me. i start to feel shit. i give myself shit. “productivity shaming”.

there are of course good days, and bad days. but i give myself so much shit for having a bad day, while i take a good day for granted. what am i thinking? that i will actually start enjoying writing, start writing, if only i give myself enough shit? is there a more stupid idea? except that this is what i have been doing to myself for ages.

mum, you would be so proud of me. i have internalized all your lessons. that im never good enough. that i need to give myself even more shit. shame myself. make myself feel bad. or even hurt myself. discipline myself. so i will listen. listen, listen, listen.

“you don’t want to write? i’ll beat you until you do.” or “look at how all these other people are writing. look at how much more productive they are. why can’t you be more like them?”

all this time, i haven’t moved. i am still sitting at my desk. and i still haven’t written a word.

there’s of course all this external stuff. “if only i didn’t have to do this, and that, _then_ i would finally be able to write.” and while that might play a role, so much of our ability to write is simply inside our hearts.

can i sit down, for the next five minutes, can i sit down quietly. listen to my heart. and “just” write?

i sometimes can. sometimes i just listen and don’t write. and sometimes i get distracted by all the noise around me. but sometimes, i can. like just now. and because of this, i write. i have written. i am a writer.

let’s say those words again. i am a writer.

Posted in freedom, thinking

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book and sword : gratitude and revenge

is the first novel written by Jin Yong. The protagonist is Chan Ka Lok, who is the leader of the Red Flower Society. The book title refers to Ka Lok being famous for being well-versed in culture and martial arts, but also for having to make a difficult ethical decision. My father named me and my brother after him.

The subtitle is from a poem Desiderata