For the longest time, I always felt misunderstood. When I shared my opinions, it seemed like no one cared to know. In terms of how I was raised, my opinion often times were ignored and never asked for. In terms of friendships, I was often on the sidelines and thrown away. It was this lack of affirmation during my childhood that encouraged me to simply not have an opinion- it didn’t matter anyway.
It wasn’t until recently, at the beginning of my writing journey, that I realized I was holding on to how I was treated in the past. Because of these past experiences, every rejection, every criticism, every judgement that I experienced in the present threw me into the past and altered the way I saw myself in that moment.
When I allowed the past to sabotage my present enough times, it became my personal belief, my personal story, and in that way, I unknowingly let the past continue to define me.
Naturally, this negative, self-fulfilling prophecy carried over to hinder other parts of my life. I didn’t know how to use my own voice, let alone know what to say. I always relegated my opinion into the shadow of indifference to protect it. As my story was waist deep in a victim mentality, my writing also stagnated with feelings of helplessness and emptiness.
It felt like a physiological battle every time I sat down to write. I would work myself up to do it and by the time I’m sitting in my chair, poised fingers on the keyboard, I felt forced and didn’t want to be there. The emotions would be high and volatile and while it made me feel alive and courageous, I also felt distracted, incredibly drained and lost. I couldn’t finish putting pen to paper.
Even as I write now, I stop midway. I am tempted to break my flow and go back to reread the previous parts to validate for perfection before I am able to craft out a solution, a forward to finish this piece. When I lose the flow, I can’t finish writing. So when I write, I make it hard to stop midway by typing in a font I cannot read so that I cannot take a swim in the doubt and self-pity pool of my past.
I dictate the words to myself out loud so that I can keep the words flowing at a descent pace for retrospection, and bond with the voice inside my head clearly without getting distracted. This allows my conscious prefrontal cortex to reign in my amygdala from running away with its emotions and my body is calm to the deep breaths I take between phrases. In this way, I am focused on the act of creating and not in the act of stressing, preventing the old cycle from getting the best of me before reaching a valuable proposition. Don’t let the fear dictate your chaos- they cannot be substantiated.
Writing is a practice that allows you to walk past the floodgates of fear and illuminates the chaos beyond- the chaos of curious thoughts left unexplored.
And before I know it, I’ve reached the end of this article and I feel anew.