November 19, 2013
Life Lately: Digging Deep
Life has been busy, and my reasons for not blogging these last couple of weeks don't necessarily only relate to it being it that time of year again; the remaining weeks before the semester's end, where everything starts to pile up and suddenly you can't see beyond the multiple essays and projects that are due by the time winter break rolls around. A lot of it has been for emotional reasons as well; I'm starting to realize that whenever I allow myself to be genuinely honest and vulnerable in any work that I do, I start feeling somewhat depressed, drained, and even angry. I kind of seeing it as being similar to when an actor gets really deep into the character role that they're playing, and when the cameras are off it can be difficult to separate the fictional world from real life.
But what I'm writing isn't fiction, it is real life. My life, and a big part of my personal history. I always imagined that one day I would write my whole story down, but in bits and pieces. I think this is the beginning of it. For now I will write essays, but I can definitely imagine one day writing and sharing a memoir with the world. I just don't feel that twenty one years is enough of experience to write a full autobiographical book.
In any case, that has been the main reason that blogging has been sparse for a lot of this month; I have so much to write about and discuss, but it's all very deep and in combination with the essays, I'm nervous about it spilling out of my brain like a pile of goop.
When I do get those feelings, it's mostly because I get stuck thinking about the past. I'm currently writing an essay (one that as of right now is at twenty pages) about how going to college and living in Iowa City has provided me a way to heal, mostly through the people that I've met, the relationships that I've had, and how I've grown through all of it. For my other final project, I'm writing about a few monumental experiences that I've had in the downtown area, specifically as a woman and a college student. For that particular class we have often discussed the whole virgin/whore binary, and how there is no language to discuss the in-between. I'm basically going to write about what it's like to be smack dab in the middle. Don't get me wrong, I have talked about it before, but never in terms of how I've honestly felt about it. It will be good and hopefully lift a lot of the shame off of my shoulders, but it's still daunting.
I'm finding that the hardest part about writing, specifically personal essays, is doing so without hurting anybody. However, it seems that the whole concept of "airing dirty laundry" tends to be simultaneous with malicious intent. I think as long as you make it clear that you're not holding some of grudge against them and that you're taking steps to move forward, the reaction shouldn't be that negative. In my case, I am not out to purposefully harm anyone, but simply give my perspective on the situation. Above all, I'm learning that you can only do so much when it comes to talking about something in a way that everyone can understand it. I've spent years tip-toeing around stuff because I've been terrified of the general reaction, but I'm starting to realize that perhaps that is my biggest problem. I focus so much on how to say it that it never actually happens.
Tell me, dear writers, how do you deal with this sort of thing? How do you let your brain decompress, particularly when you have a deadline to meet? How do you tell the truth without hurting those involved?
In lighter news, I'm changing my career path a little bit; initially I wanted to work for a publishing company and still write on the side, which in a way is still true. But after doing some networking and talking with people who've been in the business, I see now that doing something social media related may be the better way to go. There aren't any solid prospects just yet, but I'm getting there.
The main thing right now is just to gain experience, which I do have and continue to get. I am both a writer and copy-editor for a new lifestyle and culture magazine, which will mostly likely launch at the start of next semester.
This week will be a busy one, and I'm all too excited to be able to go home and spend some time with my family for Thanksgiving. Granted, I'll still have work to do, but at least I won't have meetings and other stuff to deal with.
Life is busy, but also incredibly wonderful!
photo credit: Ronan_C via photopin cc