For a long time, I had no self trust. I ran away from the things that gave off the signs of actually being correct. As a writer, I’d always receive good feedback about my writing. People in my life would explicitly tell me that they thought I should try to write full time. I was happiest and most fulfilled when I wrote. This is not to say I did not receive negative feedback or face disappointments ( writing is about rejection, lol!), but let’s just say there were at least signs that I should commit myself to writing and pursue it with some level of vigor. And yet, for months, I just didn’t.
In real life, I’m not a very confessional person. I didn’t write all this while because I was scared by the idea “judgement.” I like to think through things myself and I make decisions with input from only one or two people.
Now, how do I feel comfortable showing people my writing when I don’t think it’s perfect? A lot of people are interested in sharing more, but they are horrified by the potential repercussions. At any time, you could get canceled for saying something controversial (fingers crossed for me, guys). Anyone who’s had a tweet or an essay go wildly viral knows how scary it feels: like inviting five friends to a party only to have 500 people lined up outside the door.
A friend once described writing as a way for me to gain control over how I’m seen. I agree with that. Instead of relying on someone else to narrativize my life or offer an observation about me. I use writing as a way to assert my own narrative. It’s how I remain more subject than object, how I maintain conviction in my own agency. Writing in public is a way to get constant feedback to prove to myself that what I’m writing is worth something to someone.
The other day a brother told me that he could see from my blogpost and my instagram story that I was trying very hard to get better. I can’t explain what a privilege it is that someone in the world pays attention to how hard I’m trying. I could live without telling anyone anything, but on some level that feels like a sad way to live. Because no one would know about a single beautiful thing that happened to me. An analogy that’s been stuck in my head forever: If you don’t expose yourself, no one’s ever gonna care.
Writing well is all that matters. It’s like running, or lifting, or anything else that requires time and consistency. You keep going because you believe you are getting better even though it feels like you aren’t, you keep going as a way to demonstrate your own devotion. But still, I keep writing because I have something to say.