That Voice In My Head
As much as I want to keep writing and reading every single day- telling myself that they’re cathartic activities- I’ve had days, even months where I let my eyes bore holes into the wall wishing for inspiration to write. These months at home haven’t been any different- it’s always the same. Before I can think about what I’m doing, I’m opening apps where I see that so much has happened in the time I was away that I’m almost guilty I wasn’t aware of them earlier. That invisible pressure that I sometimes feel, to know, to be aware of everything is overwhelming.
Before I can stop myself, I’m scrolling through said apps and reading, watching, reading some more, liking, commenting on something because seeing other people do things that they love doing makes me happy. I’m happy but, the next instant I’m closing the apps in defeat. Because you see, this voice in the back of my head is hard to please. It is, I assume, how an unhappy person must feel- finding joy in someone’s misery. This voice- one that gets really loud some days- tells me, “you could never.”
It’s the same voice that lets me take extended breaks from social media- some sort of social media detox if you may. And it’s the same voice that prompts me to shut people out for days, convincing myself that people who read what I write all laugh at my pathetic attempts to do so. People seem to be doing so much during this time and I cannot even write regularly, this voice tells me. Thoughts of failure and self-loathing? Check.
“This is no competition, there is no race to be productive 24/7, it’s okay, I’ll be okay” – I chant quietly, over and over, to calm myself down.
I confided in a friend about this, my insecurities, and my inability to write regularly, and they told me “you do realise you’re going to be doing this all your life, right? Write, that is. How do you plan on doing that if you cannot write 5 sentences when you put your head to it.” I told them I didn’t know how either. You see, my problem isn’t with writing 5 sentences, it’s with writing 5 sentences that make sense out of miles of thoughts knotted in complicated patterns inside my head. It’s especially difficult when it feels like my brain will explode every time I try to do so.
Another friend asked me why my poems and stories were very depressing. “Reading them gives me a headache. Please write about something happy for a change.” It took me a while to remind myself that I am not writing for others- it may seem like I am because they’re on my social media accounts or blogs, for people to read. But am I really writing for someone else? Must I? I think not. I’m just trying to weave stories from what’s inside my head, and if it’s not pretty in there, how can it show pretty on paper or, in this case, on the internet? The voice in my head tells me then that I need to cut this “friend” out of my life. Self-preservation is important, it tells me. I agree, happy that this voice is on my side for once.
But all I can think of now is how it’s exhausting to even think, much more so to pull out my journal and write about this. Maybe poetry and prose are my only salvation from misery, but even those are impossible to put my mind to now. I guess, for now, I’ll have to go back to wall-staring for inspiration.
Reported by Udbhavi Balakrishna