I liken the process of writing to speaking in a crowded party. The timid are unheard and ignored. Especially if they don’t share their voice. The loud and boisterous are listened to more often and they gain popularity and attention. But the more you speak and the more you write, the less you have to say. So it forces you to grow, forces you to learn, forces you to improve, forces you to question. All of this just to have something to say.
I’m an introvert. I was a timid kid, afraid of the impact my words might have on people. I did not want to bring net harm into this world. But that timidity, that self-bondage, it warps understanding. It warps perspective. It’s a feedback loop, if all you see is the worst or best in yourself, that behavior feeds into itself. That’s why depression is such a shitter. Once the spiral begins, it takes some strong tough love to get out of it. And I do mean STRONG. My father is the strong silent type. He only really pays attention to me when I’m spiraling or when I make an active effort to talk with him and spend time with him. He’s saved me from the worst of my depressions by refusing to even acknowledge it exists.
But like all problems, eventually I had to realize for myself that the root of the depression wasn’t being solved by ignoring it. So my self-destructive reflections gave way to more honest and helpful and therapeutic self-reflection. It was no longer “I’m a failure because I didn’t do X” but rather, “I have much to learn because I’m not able to do X.” Therapy also helped.
I made this blog to promote my stories and here I am talking about depression. Maybe by talking about it without passing self-judgment, I might help someone down the line. That they’re not alone in this mad world.
But eventually I’m going to have to get back to the thing I value the most right now. Stories. And to make stories –especially the kind that when someone reads it they say “This is my story, I love it”– I have to write. I have to write everyday. I have to forgive myself when I make horrendous stories that no one will want to read. I have to let the words flow freely. I have to let draft 0 and 1 be only for myself. Let myself build the world. Let myself enjoy writing once more.
Without judgment. Without self-criticism. That can come when I start Draft 2.