I Want

Look at that title. Doesn’t it sound whiny and entitled. Like a spoiled brat who doesn’t know the value of things: “I want this, I want that”

I remember that monstrous being people identify as my biological mother, to my great displeasure: she used to make fun of me for wanting things. She wanted to teach me that I couldn’t just want things; especially skills but also material things, which at that age meant toys and videogames, mostly. It wasn’t enough to want, I needed to work for them, that was her point.

I’ve always been very ambitious.

***

In a way, I should be thankful. I haven’t updated this blog much, but that’s not because I’ve been worse. I’ve got better. So much better I can hardly compare where I am now with where I was a year ago. Many small things improved, but most of all, I’m regularly writing about games, which is pretty extraordinary for me.

When I think about how and why I have improved, I imagine a mental block that I have managed to dissolve, a little like solving a puzzle in a game; and as a result, I’m able to access a new area of my personality. It already existed, I could describe it and “feel” it before, but I could not access it, or act on its impulses. I have not changed, in a way, but I can now do things I wasn’t able to do before, because the block, well, it did its job. I can realize what I already was in potential to a greater extent.

Mostly, I’ve gone back to where I was before my breakdown, almost 2 years ago, when I was a highly flawed, but mostly functioning human being. Perhaps I improved a little, but I’m roughly there.

And I can tell because there’s another block I’m dealing with, the same I was dealing with back then, the one that caused my breakdown. It’s huge, and heavy, and solid. It shows no signs of fragility, no cracks I might infiltrate, no weaknesses. I believe if I can dissolve it, everything else will fall into place, and the vast majority of my issues will solve themselves. I’m not saying I’d be completely fine and happy, I’m still very isolated for instance, but I think things would improve even more than they did when I overcame the other, smaller block

This bigger block manifests itself in a variety of ways. It’s in everything I do. Mostly, it’s limiting the ways I am able to express myself; it can be partially summed up in that expression, “I want”, or rather in my inability to act on what I want, but here language gets tricky, and I don’t have the proper terminology to explain how I understand this in a simple way.

On an abstract level, I know what I want, and, relatedly, what I like. I want to transition. I want to be creative. I like videogames, literature, philosophy, and I like engaging with those things. Just to mention a few examples. If I started my gaming blog, it’s because I enjoy reading about games that way, and I genuinely want to write about games myself.

But when it comes down to it, to doing things in practice, I don’t know how to approach anything as a “want”, but only as a “must”, as an obligation, as a chore, as homework, as an assignment. Which can be useful, occasionally, no doubt about it. But for me, for how I work, and for how this attitude pollutes my life, it has sucked the joy out of everything I do. (Except videogames, to an extent, and even they are affected by it, but that’s another story)

And then, there’s my guilt. Omnipresent, soul-crushing guilt. It’s everywhere. It’s the emotion I feel the most, together with frustration directed at myself.

It’s as if everything I do has to have a use, a purpose, an ‘objective justification’. Every minute has to be productive, which is why I tend to make mental timetables. Not that I would like to waste time, but I tend to think of my days in time blocks, all of which have to be filled with ‘meaningful’ activity, all of them of the utmost importance, all of them to be performed to the best of my abilities, and with the utmost concentration. Of course I regularly fail, because that’s not humanly possible, and then I feel guilty for “wasting time”

This abstract description is not even half of the picture, but let’s make some concrete examples.

Take writing, for instance. I know I want to write. Over the years I doubted myself, I decided to quit it, and I did a lot of soul-searching, but I always went back to it in the end, so I know writing is important to me. But it’s been years since I genuinely enjoyed writing anything. You’ll see me complaining about my writing style on my gaming blog: I hate it. It’s dry, arid, lifeless, excessively academic, it’s the opposite of what I’d like to achieve (one of my biggest inspirations is Cara Ellison, whose style is lively, personal, “aggressively vulnerable”), but it’s a necessity for now. If I try to write like that, I freeze up. I want to write articles for my gaming blog, I really do. But never for a second I approached writing an article with an attitude of wanting to write. Only ever with the attitude that I must write.

When I try to do creative writing, most of the time I’m just blocked, and when I’m not I almost have to beat the words out of myself. Again, they’re dry, they lack any kind of passion or liveliness. And the problem is that I never ‘want’ to write, but I always ‘must’, because it’s so important to me. And when I want to get serious about creative writing, well, it’s not just writing that is affected. Because if I want to be any good, then I must read a lot, right? So, if I really want to write, perhaps I should read a minimum of 2 hours a day, and write an hour a day. The keyword is ‘should’. I took another activity I enjoy doing, reading, and turned into a chore. I still enjoy reading, occasionally, but that’s almost an accident. I’m not reading because I want, I’m reading because I must.

My day-to-day life is filled with chores that are supposed to be my hobbies and my passions, only emptied of that quality that made them so in the first place. And working pretty much every waking moment is exhausting. Well, not working, exactly, but being in the working mindset, in that “must” attitude. Incidentally, that’s why I waste a lot of time: it’s the only way I have to escape all this mental construction. And even then, it’s not like I won’t feel guilt afterwards, but at least my mind has got a moment of respite.

Aside from stress, frustration and guilt, I’m apathetic all the time, which is in my opinion another effect of that same block. Just like I can’t do something simply because I want to do it, my emotions have been suppressed too. I cannot express myself in any genuine way. In the case of my emotions, they are replaced by constant conceptualization and rationalization. If my writing style is what it is, it’s because those things are all I have to work with.

It’s as if what I want and what I feel don’t matter. They have been suppressed, removed, replaced. I don’t want to say that those two things are the most important, relevant or “true” expressions of one’s personality, but in a way they’re the most spontaneous and un-mediated. In my day-to-day, I’m missing an entire area of my personality, I lack two important motivations to act, two fundamental sources of energy.

And I think that if they aren’t coming out to play, it’s because they are scared of being hurt, and maybe someone didn’t teach them to believe in themselves and stand up for themselves.

It’s clear to me that if I manage to open the lock, to overcome this block, everything will be affected. I wouldn’t solve all my problems, but I would solve so many.

Most importantly, I’d recover an important part of who I am, and I’d be able to realize much more of my potential.

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Failed Attempt at a Post

It’s weird to write this so many months after that last post, but I haven’t forgotten. Not completely, at least.

I say this despite feeling awful, and exhausted, and empty right about now, and I’ve been wanting to cry for the best part of today. Both literally and metaphorically, not-being-able-to-let-myself-go will haunt me for a very long time. I hate this coldness, this rigidity in my words, in my syntax, but I don’t know how to break it, how to make myself more “aggressively vulnerable”.

But these thoughts are for another day.

Since the last time I posted, I moved to a different house, I applied for two (very different) journalistic positions, I have been accepted for one and I haven’t heard back from the other yet, despite the latter being my favourite one by far. At first, I didn’t even want to apply for the one I liked the most, I just didn’t feel like I could be good enough for it in a million years. In the meantime, I started writing as a freelancer for the one that did get me, and one of my first article got huge, with more than 85.000 views.

My phobia got so, so much better now. I’m having some weird side effects that make it hard to sleep sometimes, but I can’t even compare how I deal with insects now and how I dealt with them 3 months ago, let alone last year. The anxiety comes back to a certain extent, when I’m under a lot of stress, but it looks like I can deal with it.

In a week I will have to decide whether I go back to university or not, and I still don’t know. I want to go like I want few other things, but at the same time I don’t think I’m ready, at all, and I’m afraid going would only mean having the phobia come back, and another emergency return trip before the end of the school year.

This was not what I wanted to write about. And this was not how I wanted to write about it. Dammit.

On the theme of self-expression, I’ve identified with my psychologist that there are several things I tend to hide to others, and to an extent even to myself, things that I find it hard to say or show or communicate, or even simply think and put into words in my own head. Things that I tend to forget regularly, not as an act of carelessness or distraction, but aggressively, almost, I’d say, intentionally, if it wasn’t that I’m not doing it willingly, it’s all automatic, and unconscious.

My task for the next session is to make a list of these things that I hide from others, and from myself, out of fear, out of shame, out of self-hate. The list includes a variety of things, going from my gender and sexuality, my intimacy, my love for other people, my desires and aspirations all the way to things like plushies and clothes and other aesthetic preferences.

And right now I’m incredibly frustrated, because there’s this weight on my chest that I wanted to address and express by writing this post, and instead I ended up writing a report because I don’t know how to put it into words, and where to start.

This is the very process that doesn’t let me write fiction. It’s happening, right now. I have these things that I want to say, things that I hold dear and feel strongly about but I can’t unlock them, I cannot get to them anymore, I’m too clumsy and detached and apathetic and stressed and tense and scared and lonely and I don’t love and respect myself enough to let myself feel them and live them.

What I do know is that I’m sad right now. And disappointed. And frustrated, like a missed opportunity. My language is like this because my heart isn’t here. My heart won’t come out.

I won’t stop trying, but I’m not hopeful right now…

Solanin

Dear —-,

I know all too well you never liked goodbyes. Of course, I don’t like them either. But at some point, they become necessary, and slowly delaying them indefinitely will only keep hurting both of us. We have had time, a lot more time than we needed, a lot more than we should have had. By now you too know that we cannot keep going like this. We cannot be together anymore. If there was some way, we would have found it by now. But neither of us can find a good life with the other: we cannot stay together while we keep pulling in different directions. There can be no balance: for years we have tried, and all that came of it is that we are still in that same place where we started. I know it’s comfortable, there’s no one that makes me feel safe and protected quite like you do.

But we, we both, have to learn to let go. We owe it to ourselves, or rather I to me and you to you. We are sacrificing our own lives for this “us” that has known only unrest, indecision, longing and failure. This is not working. I know it. You know it. We only have to turn to each other and hug each other and say goodbye.

You already know all this is true. I know you know it, because I know it too. But it’s important that you hear it from me, and it’s important that you stop ignoring it. I need you to acknowledge that this is the way it has to be. I cannot let go of you, if you keep holding on to me. You have to help me, and you have to help yourself. I’m doing the same, but I cannot do it alone. This one last thing needs both of us. Stop finding excuses. Stop delaying, stop saying “just this one last time”. This is the last time, right now, and there will not be another one. And if you don’t let go, I will have to do things, and they will hurt both me and you. They will hurt a lot; a lot more, and a lot more deeply than this already does.

Cry, if you wish. I am crying too. That’s the proper reaction, so I will not stop you. You know how much I care for you. But it’s time we start using these verbs in the past. It’s time that we split this “we” into a me and a you, two different individuals who cared a lot about each other, but realized their ways lead in different directions. I will keep your photographs and diaries, and years from now I will read them and cherish the memories. You will not be forgotten. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll meet again, and we’ll be happy and awkward around each other like people who were very close and then grew apart.

With all that you’ve gone through, I know you will be alright, eventually, even without me. And I, I will be fine too, some day.

Thank you for all the times we have spent together.

Goodbye

Sayonara nanda…

I’m Scared of Writing

I’m terrified.
Every time I think I could write, my mind tries to find excuses. “I’m tired, I should do this first, why don’t I play the guitar instead?” And I’m scared of writing because it’s the thing I want to do the most. I’m not scared of playing videogames, I don’t really care if I’m good or bad at it.

But I do care about how good a writer I am. And my fear of writing serves the purpose of not making me try to become a better writer. I know that to be an at least decent writer, it takes a lot of hard work. And I’m not scared of the hard work in itself, I have proved it every year, at school and university, for the last 5 years at least. I’m scared that I may fail. That even with all the hard work I may find there’s no way for me to become the kind of person I want to be.

But this is stupid. For fear of finding myself empty, after all, I let myself be empty without even trying. I’m not. I’m not empty. That was my past, not me. If I was, I wouldn’t be here by now. I wouldn’t be thinking about how terrible it would be if I was empty. Because empty people just can’t feel it. Like most fears, this is totally irrational. But fear has quite an effect on me. It acts on the inside, before me. I can’t simply keep it away, I have to find it and fight it. And it’s tiring, and stressing.

I’ve had a block for almost an entire year. I haven’t written a single word for months and months and months, for the only reason that I was scared that I had nothing to write about, that I wasn’t good enough. And I stressed over it, which made it harder to write, and so on. It was a vicious circle, and I was only able to break it because a very special person kept believing in me and reminding me that I had more in me.

The way things are now, writing is still very stressful and tiring for me. It’s like studying a subject I don’t really like, in order to get to the part I actually like. Writing could be enjoyable (at least a part of it), and it could be liberating, and I know I have this desperate need to express myself, or I just end up being locked inside myself. But right now, all I see is the effort and the fear that I have to overcome. It’s a lot better than when I couldn’t write at all, but I still have to “make myself write”. And I know I want to. And I need to, to a certain extent. Feeling the need to write is still rare, but I do feel bad when I don’t. I’d just… want to want it. But, how do you defeat your fear? All I’m doing right now is facing it. Holding on to my motivation and keeping facing it in the hope that it will slowly disappear, every time I prove it is a fear that has no reason to exist.