I haven’t written in a while, but it hasn’t been for lack of trying. I keep pulling out my pen and journal or opening up blank pages on my computer, and after I manage to write a few sentences, something happens…the tap runs dry. I don’t think I’ve experienced this kind of writing block before. Every word I write forms a question in my mind. Is this the right time, the right step, the right thing to share – or should I keep it all to myself?
Writing is usually the one place where I allow myself to be vulnerable and unapologetic. But lately, I’ve been questioning the point of writing this blog. I agree with Joan Didion’s statement: “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.”
Writing, for me, is an investigative process. When I’m confused, sad or conflicted, writing is the only method that helps me find an inner resolution. I need writing as an emotional processor. But I’m also someone who likes to share my creativity. Sharing is part of the process for me. Yet, I’ve been stuck over whether or not the things I’ve needed to process through writing are also things I need to share, especially when my experience of the past 18 months of being in my 40s has been a blurry mess of emotions, experiences and half understandings.
I imagined this blog as a place to process the questions that have emerged in my 40s. But live-blogging one’s growth sounds like a better plot idea for a movie than an actual life plan. Do I need to present my most vulnerable self for the critique and judgment of the rest of the world? The world doesn’t feel safe for truth-telling these days, especially the type of personal narrative writing I envisioned with this blog. The pandemic, racialized violence and vitriolic public discourse have created an environment of insecurity many of us can feel well beyond physical boundaries. The world feels emotionally untenable and not an ideal place to place one’s heart – and art – up for public consumption. How do I write with reckless abandon in 2022, when so much of the world feels unsafe?
These are the questions that have kept me stuck since I last wrote. I’m trying to figure out how to move past them or at least make peace with the idea that, while it may always be scary, not writing – not trying to find my voice and expressing it – will cause more damage to my heart than anyone else’s judgment will.