I’ve never done this before. I’ve never written something solely for a public platform without being pushed towards it. While I’m grateful for every push that I’ve received over the course of my 17 years, almost 11 of which I’ve spent turning thoughts into words by pressing pen to paper, I am starting to realize that there’s a certain exhilaration in being your own motivator. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I’m so late to the blog world (?); or maybe that’s just an excuse. I’ll tell you all about it- let’s start from the start.
The first question, however, is this- why do I have to tell you my reasons? Maybe none of you even wondered why I suddenly chose to start this blog. I bet at least half of you (assuming enough people are reading this that halving is possible) think it’s a sham, a big fat lie that’ll make for a beautiful college application.
Regardless of your thoughts (or lack thereof), I have an inherent need to constantly give disclaimers for my thoughts and actions. I am so afraid of being judged that I thoroughly judge myself and figure out all the possible faults that others could find; then I turn my back on myself and proceed to shamelessly provide justifications to a group of strangers who probably couldn’t care less.
Tl; dr? It’s an unhealthy practice, and I’m working on it- but for now, allow me to tell you what made this blog finally come to life.
I’m good at writing! At least, that’s what I’ve been told all my life, ever since I was 6 and won a prize for my very inquisitive poetry questioning the reality of the universe, aptly titled “I Wonder Why”. Clearly, my genius shone through right from the start. Every poem I wrote was appreciated, so in turn I weaved poetry about everything. Mother’s Day and we forgot to buy a gift? No problem, mom loves my poems. Finished my exam early and can’t leave? Let’s wax poetic about a lion and its pride on the back of the question paper. Have a cold? Feel jittery? Every problem had a solution…and a couple of terribly framed stanzas to lighten the intensity of my emotions.
You might ask (yes, you! The friend/family member reading this out of the goodness of your heart) where all this talent went. Practice makes perfect, right? So where’s your recently published book of poetry, Svasti? What happened?
First of all, oh my god who just asks that kind of stuff, obviously this is a really sensitive subject, man. Secondly, the truth is, I don’t know. Of course, one part of it is that I truly lacked the poetic way of thinking that translates into beautiful, flowing free verse. Metaphors elude me; flowery language is of no use in my unskilled hands. So either I wasn’t meant for poetry, or poetry wasn’t meant for me- but as for when this realization struck, I genuinely have no clue. It’s funny how some of the most prominent turning points in our lives pass without much hue and cry. The Svasti who once dreamed of writing and creating magic was suddenly too afraid of her own words. The pen I once wielded with all the confidence in the world, now shook in the loose grip of my trembling fingers, as I struggled to form sentences that I could be proud of. Maybe it was the world that got to me; or maybe it was myself. Either way, I became conscious, too conscious, and lost the motivation to write, for I didn’t see the point of putting effort into something that gave such a disappointing end product.
Fast forward to MUNs, and trying my hand at writing in a new context. At the start of this post, I mentioned having been pushed to write, and while I received innumerable such pushes, the one that got me into writing at MUNs was among the most important. I went from writing for myself in my journal to suddenly seeing my words in print. I found that I’m not half-bad at writing articles, and good feedback gave me the motivation I needed to keep at it.
Around this time last year, I started writing a little bit for an online magazine called The ‘Zine. I started by writing short pieces for their Instagram, and also wrote two articles for their website. Needless to say, I was on top of the world. It felt like a reunion with an old friend, a reconciliation with words that no longer fled the second I tentatively beckoned them over. I was writing regularly, I was loving my own work, and I was receiving feedback and praise from people I looked up to. I genuinely thought I’d finally found my calling, that I’d figured out how to be one with my words.
I was wrong. In my excitement, I had forgotten to take into account my own lack of dedication that surfaces in the absence of passion. That’s the truth- writing has never been a passion, merely a hobby, something I’m good at but not driven by. So with a short lull in writing for The ‘Zine because of exams, I lost my momentum, and without the usual push, I wasn’t able to regain it. Writing these words now is devastating, because there are tiny voices in my head constantly berating my stupidity. The truth is, I’ve always had it easy! Not everybody’s lucky enough to get these pushes, this encouragement, the kinds of opportunities that I’ve been showered with, right from day one. I grew too accustomed to doing what was easy, to giving up when I was too afraid to follow through on my promises. I told myself, ‘I can and will do this. I’ll text her today and ask for a chance to write something. Then I’ll write it and she’ll give me another prompt. I’ll make it a daily thing, I’ll get used to it and then I won’t feel like I lack passion.’
Yet, when the time came, I backed away from the challenge, head hung in shame. I procrastinated for hours on end, weaving dreams of the following day from the threads of hope that glistened in the light of the day. In the night, I slept. Rinse and repeat.
My expectations from myself have always been sky-high, and my opinion far too low. Their inability to be congruent leaves me torn between wanting to be the best version of myself and being unwilling to do anything. Call me lazy- because I do. I don’t shy away from the truth; I just wish self-awareness always translated into self-improvement.
All these are stories of the past. I continued my MUNing, but whenever I served as an Editor, I felt like a farce, a sham. I kept waiting for somebody to see through my facade, to question me- “You’re a writer? What have you written?”
I was swirling in a spiral of shame and disappointment, 24/7, and didn’t have the motivation to pull myself out. My friends would ask me- “Hey, do you still write? What happened to that ‘Zine thing?” and I’d slink away to take refuge in the shadows of my ego, swiftly triggering all my defence mechanisms. Every application I filled, I mentioned my achievements in the fields of ‘creative writing’ and let my tears silently berate me for my half-truths. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t.
I wrote tiny poems for birthday letters and reveled in the appreciation that it fetched me. I told myself that it was okay, and that perhaps I was never meant to write more than enough to put smiles on my friends’ faces. I told myself that I lacked passion, and what use is talent in the absence of passion? So I resigned myself to a life wherein my words would be limited to my journal, letters, and the occasional attempt at an article.
What of this, then, you must be wondering? Why this sudden blog post? Well, my reasons are two-fold (which means this post isn’t quite done yet, but please stay, I’ll give you chocolates if you read till the end).
First- I always wanted to start a blog. When I initially learned what a blog was, I figured it was the best place to store my words. Why didn’t I, then? Maybe it was because I wanted to arrive at that conclusion on my own, and not because a well-wisher suggested it. Or perhaps because I’m (as previously established) quite lazy. Or, maybe (and probably) it’s both of these reasons, combined with the fact that suddenly, everybody around me was coming out with blogs of their own and their words were at a level that I could only dream of. I know, I know, practice makes perfect; but I was too scared to even try. So I didn’t. I convinced myself that blogging had become a fad, anyway, so it wasn’t something I was interested in. That didn’t change my inner desire to create a blog of my own- reason number one as to why you’re reading this today.
What’s most important, though, and perhaps truly motivational for you if your thoughts match mine in any way at all, is reason number two, which was also an epiphany- passion isn’t for everybody. In fact, passion is overrated. You can’t just sit around staring at your hands, waiting for something to show up that you’re truly passionate about. If you’re good at something and it interests you even a little, don’t use a lack of passion as an excuse to avoid hard work. I know this seems like a simple fact of life, and not something that should’ve taken me years to realize, but it’s easier said than done. I’m finally trying to stop talking and start doing something, anything.
This blog was not created on a whim. It’s the product of years of over thinking, tear-stained pillowcases and trembling fingers. This is me trying to overcome the parts of me that pull me down. Of course, they’re not entirely gone. Even now, the thought of actually putting this out there for the world (or at least a miniscule fraction of it) to see, is one that literally makes a shiver travel down my spine. As much as I desire strength and confidence, it’s difficult to procure from thin air. The irony of the situation is that the more I write, the more confident I get. All I need is that one push to get me started. This is it. I’m pushing myself- let’s hope my words will catch my fall.