If you asked me what I do, you’ll probably be shocked to see me hesitate. My heart wants to say I’m a writer but my brain wants to say otherwise. So sometimes I’ll say I work in social media, which is not a lie. Other times I’ll say I’m a content creator, which is also the truth. But why can’t I be the thing that my heart literally desires?
The answer is simple. Writers write. And I haven’t written anything worth my words in a very long time.
I’d like to say there’s no reason why I don’t write. I’d like to say there’s no one to blame. But the answers to both of those questions come to me so easily that I can’t be trying to trick myself into believing them: fear and myself.
Some people find it hard to admit things like that but I’ve always been the type of person who could easily decipher the root of my problems. The only difference between this and my anxiety and depression is that I can’t seem to move on. I know what makes me anxious. I know what makes me sad. I know what keeps me from writing. However, I can only muster up the courage to work through the former two.
And now I’m writing this.
It might seem strange because it is. I’ve rambled on for a couple hundred words about not writing but in doing so I have written. I am writing.
I’m the type of person who likes to put stuff out there so that the universe can hold me accountable. Stuff is such an ambiguous word but I mean it. For some reason, things don’t feel real to me until they’re said out loud. And sure, these words aren’t technically being spoken but they are hopefully being read by friends and strangers alike. So that’s got to count for something, right?
I’m hoping the question, “Well what are you afraid of?” has been on your mind since I mentioned the word fear. Because I know it’s all I’ve been thinking about for the last hundred and fifty words. But who’s counting? Obviously, that person is me. The real question is why am I stalling?
As a person of the internet I know I only have your attention for so long. If you’re reading this, you’ve made it further than I thought, or maybe hoped, anyone would. Because if fewer people make it to this point, the smaller the Universe of Accountability will be. I’m basically a scientist.
Okay, so what am I afraid of?
Where do I start? I’m afraid of failing, of sucking, of burning out, of succeeding.
Did you hear that record scratch too? Good. That means I’m not completely batshit crazy.
Yes, I said I’m afraid of succeeding. I’m afraid of succeeding because if I succeed in the way I want to succeed there is a lot of weight to bear. I want to be for others what my favorite authors are to me. They’ve unknowingly shouldered the weight of so much of my baggage over the years that it’s time to pay it forward. Trying to find the right words to explain what I want to get out of writing only makes my endgame seem selfish.
I want people to look up to me. I want to be an escape from the real world. I want to make people laugh, cry, feel. I want to tell stories they’ll never forget. I want to be quoted in metaphorical AIM profiles or actual Tumblr blogs.
But then it all comes back to fear. Because if none of that happens, I’m afraid I won’t be able to see the value in the process.
However, this reminds me of a trending hashtag from years ago. It was #6WordStories and I couldn’t believe how people could say so much in so few words. I gave it a shot myself but I didn’t so much write a story as I did a mantra that has stayed with me since.
Failed attempts? At least I tried.
So this is me trying. This is me possibly failing. But in the end, does it really matter?