So recently I’ve had quite a few people come and talk to me/text me (since we’re in the internet generation and cannot not Whatsapp/Telegram) that they’ve been reading my blog posts especially those that involve a good deal of reflection (cue ‘reflection’ tag) and they’ve been really affected by what I wrote. They told me that I was speaking to their heart. So here’s some thoughts on blogging and writing and words and all related stuff.
As to what those people told me, well, I was shocked, because partly I didn’t expect people to bother to read. But more so, that words, words that come out of one’s experiences, more often than not, not-so-fantastic ones, could make such an impact. I forget sometimes that I am a Literature student and I read texts. Having been thrown into FASS for a semester and now starting sem 2, I was exposed to a vast deal of material of many genres. From Literature to History, Political Science to Social Work and Theatre Studies, whether I actually studied them in depth was another thing, but I sure was exposed to all those material. Furthermore, I met people who were exposed to that, who lived and breathed those other aspects of Arts that I personally was not involved with. So in a way I had to make choices of what specifically I wanted to do. Of course I declared a Lit major, well truthfully because I’d been doing that all my academic life and there wasn’t any other thing in sight for me. Semester 1 was the exposure semester, you’d do everything because you wanted to try everything. Well some people just did it to clear their baskets and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But as I was saying, I tried quite a few things that I sort of forgot why I chose Lit in the past. And in the present.
Walking into A/P Tania Roy’s class, she said one thing that stuck with me, (possibly the only thing because half the time I couldn’t really understand her oops) she said something along the lines of – sociologists deal with society, historians deal with facts, anthropologists deal with humans, but we, Lit students, we deal with texts, we relate to them, we discuss them. I realized as I thought about it how much I forgot what dealing with texts felt like. I think in JC my idea of texts were very micro, I never got out of the well. Sure, the well was comfortable to hide myself in, but it was a period where I grew little in terms of understanding and maturity. Fast forward into University and I was put in a position where I had to engage different people on different issues at separate contexts and to appreciate matters from varied frameworks and perspectives. These shook me out of my small and for the want of a better word, parochial sort of thinking. These shaped the way I felt too.
I learnt to rationalize my emotions however, in no way discounting them. Rationalizing them meant that I was able to understand why I felt the way I felt and if there was a step to take after feeling how I felt and if I could have done ‘damage control’ to prevent myself from feeling this way. It helped me move on from things that mattered little quickly, and reduced my bouts of petty and stubborn sulking.
I deleted Twitter for that same reason, if you may, because I felt it only served to fuel my impulsive behavior. For those who know me, I can make stupid decisions quickly. As in I can do stupid things really fast and on the spot simply because I felt like it. One of the things I wanted to improve and change on was exactly that. Thus I felt that Twitter gave me an opening to release these 140-charactered rants… and regret them later when sorry meant nothing, both to myself because of guilt and to the person I was ranting at (whether they saw it or not made no difference). So I moved to Blogging to talk about why I felt the way I felt, and as I wrote more, it became more clear to me that many of the times where I was annoyed or frustrated, it was simply because my ego was hurt and I would not back down from being called a coward. I came to see that was quite silly.
And so. I have found writing to be a drug. Just as I found photography to be somewhat of a drug, I’ve come to accept too, that writing does keep me sane. It maintains my sanity when all else goes mad outside and even inside me, when my thoughts wage war (hillsong reference ahem), writing helps me organize them, and flush out the unnecessary. When I come back and read what I wrote in the past, even in the recent past, sometimes it amazes me of how deeply I felt in those moments. They are like old memories you keep and you see now and you wonder why you felt that way. Some posts were written from an elated me and I smile once again when I think of the prompts that caused me to write them. Writing is like that spot on your arm that you try and scratch every damn time it itches but it will still be there. It’s a little monster in me that begs to be fed, and every time I write, I sense it being fed, it’s satisfied. Looking at my own writing, I know it heals me because I can see, with my eyes, on paper (or screen for that matter) everything that is in my head. It helps me get out of my head. People who know me know that when something is on my mind, it needs to be written down or I can’t sleep or concentrate on other things. It’s one of the rare things that can make me drop everything I’m doing to pay attention to it because it begs to be listened to.
Tania Roy said that words only meant something because they didn’t mean something else. I suppose being someone who writes means that you get the power to make words mean something. That means something to me (pun intended).
To end of this stream of consciousness, I’d like to quote this:
“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath