I am in the process of deleting Facebook friends.
I’m deleting people I kind of know, people I used to know, people I used to work with; all people in various stages of “past.” I’m simply deleting “friends” because I’m tired of knowing about everyone’s lives and comparing their lives to my own.
As I’ve scrolled down my list of friends and readily deleted folks, my monologue has sounded something like this:oh, you’re at Yale? That’s great. [delete] Oh, you’re a stay at home mom because your husband’s a doctor and makes a shit ton of money? Oh, that’s great. [delete] Oh, you work for the Justice Department in DC? That’s great. [delete]
I was just speaking with my father today about my own trajectory of life, or rather, he was speaking to me. He asked me how my job was going and I gave my traditional sigh of lament and told him it was fine, but I was bored and constantly (if not consistently) in search of that “something more” I feel will be the key to my everlasting happiness and peace of mind.
At that traditional sigh that my father has heard me give my entire life (once, always about being chastised for not getting enough sleep; then, always about my love life; now, always about my work life), he asked me if I remembered the conversation we’d had before about my life’s trajectory. Essentially, the idea that everything that is due for me will work out in its own due time; that things are on a schedule, and that I am operating on said schedule. Of course, I’d never forgotten that conversation and that idea. I’d sighed then when he introduced the idea to me.
Everything in life happens in its own season, and on its own course. My life is on its particular path for a certain reason. In short: my successes as well as my failures happen on God’s time, not my own. I’ve always known that my time here is borrowed, and thusly, I don’t have complete control over it. This idea was much easier to deal with before the advent of Facebook 8.0. (AKA the Facebook of today.)
Prior to Facebook’s current omnipresence, it was helpful in learning who went to what university/college and what they did in their spare time via their photo albums and their “About Me” sections. Now, I am open to all of my friends’ life trajectories, from knowing when they moved across the country, to where they work now, to damn near when they conceived their first children. I don’t need all of this information. If for no other reason than the fact that it naturally guides me to compare their trajectories to my own.
It’s easy to say yes I know everything will happen for me in due time, but it’s not as easy to live it daily. Having been blessed with my significant other and our growing relationship, my
focus random Facebook check is no longer on everyone’s anniversary getaway pictures and photo uploads of engagement rings mere seconds after SOs become fiance/ees. Thankfully, I have found peace of mind and no longer is my heart rushing that portion of my trajectory along. I have many associates and some close friends whom have jumped that broom, and I know many people whom have experienced the joys of having children. (At year’s end, I will have participated in 6 weddings, and there have been too many births this year to count. I know many people who are currently pregnant.) I am in no rush to marry, nor have children, and I don’t feel a sliver of the jealousy—yes, jealousy, no matter how slight—I used to feel at those milestones in other people’s lives. However, when we get to those lovely job descriptions located near Facebook names, I unfortunately cannot say the same.
It’s a troubling sensation, because the jealousy felt isn’t even jealousy in its own right, but a strange twinge of disappointment and anxiety with my own trajectory. The feeling of why hasn’t that happened to me yet, we’re the same age? Of what did they do right that I did wrong? Of how can I get there and why haven’t I figured out how to get there yet? Of am I not smart enough? When constantly faced with comparing your life with the perceived lives of others who seem to be doing better than you are, especially with respect to status or finances, many questions abound.
I have hit twenty-five years old. This is not the place I imagined I’d be, for good reasons and for some not-so-hot ones. There are many things in my life that I am proud of, but I am not satisfied. And there’s nothing wrong with being unsatisfied. Many times a day, I find myself faced with people trying to convince me that my dissatisfaction is a sign of ungratefulness, of not knowing what I have—even if they don’t outright say these things, they are implied. What this has taught me is to remain strong in my dissatisfaction, meaning: when people cannot understand nor see what my vision is for myself, they will try to impart their own vision upon me, and convince me that such is the way to go. That I have a good job and I should be thankful, even if I am consistently unstimulated and unhappy. That I need to sit still and stay where I’m at, even if my heart longs for other lands. That I am making good money and should relish that, even if I know I can make the best money by following my heart.
That I should be that manager/teacher/insert-title-professional that I could be good at, even if I know that I can be exquisite pursuing other things.
I am not satisfied. And I’m tired of comparing my life and myself with others. My trajectory is its own. My successes and failures are my own, to be compared with nothing and no one else.
I have many more productive things I should be doing than looking at lives of people I’m not really friends with at all.
Today, writing well is more important than ever. Far from being the province of a select few as it was in Hemingway’s day, writing is a daily occupation for all of us — in email, on blogs, and through social media. It is also a primary means for documenting, communicating, and refining our ideas. As essayist, programmer, and investor Paul Graham has written, “Writing doesn’t just communicate ideas; it generates them. If you’re bad at writing and don’t like to do it, you’ll miss out on most of the ideas writing would have generated.”
So what can we do to improve our writing short of hanging ourselves? Below, find 25 snippets of insight from some exceptional authors. While they are all focused on the craft of writing, most of these tips pertain to pushing forward creative projects of any kind.
I need to write. All the time.
I make so many excuses. I’m at work
I don’t have internet right now
I don’t have the time
I have nothing to write about (never nothing to say)
I’d rather lay down
when in reality, there is no excuse.
How did I, a person who doesn’t believe in making excuses, start making excuses for writing?
Did I seriously think a couple of months ago that this wasn’t for me anymore?
The everlasting truth is that I’m no longer heartbroken. (To the point that writing the prior sentence made my stomach turn, thinking of how it used to be.) No longer searching so hard. And now, that writing that was once essentially stream-of-consciousness is now stopped.
Now, it’s time to really write.Write when it’s not easy
because I’m not depressed and writing to keep myself alive.
In essence though, I am writing to keep myself alive. Because I’m pretty sure that it’s one of the only things that’s going to bring me that elation that I would like to have while working.
*looks up* Everything I just wrote feels like trash. But it’s written. And that’s what matters.
I am ripping the pages out of my own journals, and ripping them to shreds. With my own hands. I am purposely demolishing my own words and past emotions. Just in time for my 25th birthday.
Extremely sentimental, and a big believer in energies and auras and the like, I’m not particularly sure why I held onto some of the writings so long. They have been reposing in my closets, under my beds, following me from house to dorm to townhouse to condo to apartment, secreting energies into my life. Aiding in nightmares and unwanted thoughts, and, I’m sure, lending to the haunted feeling I’ve experienced as of late. Old pretend lovers, old hurts, old anger, old confusion, haunting the positive trails I’ve hiked lately.
The poetry I will keep. Poetry is allowed to contain the ups and downs of past life and transgressions. But the free writings and journal entries? As I sit and rip page after page, I come back to the question of why I have it at all. What kind of reference can it serve as for me? The person I was—broken, fragile, hurt, scared, damaged, searching for love in all the wrong ways always—and the person I am—woman, healing, strong, outspoken, confidently me—live in two separate galaxies. My old journals are full of the enormity of pain: the crushes who never liked me back; the relative who violated my body and spirit; the friends who fucked me over as I them; the first love who broke my everything after I forced my virginity’s “gift” onto him (literally); the men I fucked and fucked with, pretending not to care while not-so-secretly dying for real, true compassion and care; the self-hatred; the want and wish to die and start all over again; the search, above all, for something and someone to call my own. The crushing weight of lines upon lines of “why me?”
And the conversations I still have. Niceties from the first love I haven’t had a conversation with in damn near 7 years. (Who are we to each other now, but mere strangers in the night?) Recorded text messages of sticky sweet summer lust from a guy who’s no longer a sexy conquest but rather one of my best friends. Sweet nothings from the ex who disappeared to another country and never looked back to see if things were straight with me. If I even moved to California like I was going to.
Why do I exalt (you, and you, and you, and you) your memories by keeping these pages? Why do I keep my own secrets in dusty darkness as though they are vile? Will you turn your head from knowing that I have made mistakes? That I am a survivor of incest and the dense forest of depression and self-hatred/self-shame/self-blame that comes with it? Would you turn your head in disgust if I told you I lied to friends, used people, had sex when I didn’t want to because I didn’t want him to leave? Because it was all I thought I had to offer?
I am haunted by the thoughts, emotions, people whom are long gone, but whom I have yet to set free. Their silhouettes hide in the dark corners of my room while I sleep. My guilt over past decisions fights for present space in my life. My anger that I allowed to build up—against others, but more so, against myself—tries to claw its way into my beating heart.
It’s time to let go, page by page, word by word.
When I first encountered the idea of burning my journals, my reaction was mixed. Part of me felt that eliminating the journals would be the absolute freedom. The other part of me thought it would be like eliminating part of me; that it would be best to take the pieces of old words and make something new with them. I struggle with this even now, as half the pages are ripped and waiting for their fate. As I began to read through old journals, I immediately regretted it, as the content was so lamentable, so juvenile, so full of sorrow it threw itself off the page. As I stared at old conversations (mostly from my first love), I didn’t even read through them before the rip. (Quite frankly, I read them so often after I was dumped by him that I probably could recite portions of them from memory.) I long to rip the journals in the same way I ripped the conversations sans review. Yet, part of me resists the rip without the read. Maybe out of respect for the old me. Maybe out of guilt.
Regardless, as twenty-five looms closer with each passing day, all I know is that before I go on my birthday vacation, the pages will be ripped and they will go up in flame, whether read first or not. There is no need to retain the tortured experience of the girl I once was. I own all those memories; have hopefully kept all those lessons. I lived the experience.
Instead, I’d rather the words go up in flame. A testament to the girl who once wished she could die and come back anew.
His resting body is salve for the ghosts that flutter about my mind like curtains in a breeze.
He is real, he is solid, he is God’s promise of the future, and God’s deliverance of past prayers.
He, above all ghost and rampant thought, is love.
Jarringly mismatched: a room sans cobwebs, thick layers of dust, or overturned, old furniture, yet besotted with ghosts.
Full of streaming yellow light and fresh air from a large, open window, the room is silently occupied by ghosts, moving ethereally about the space, consumed in their own preoccupation.
My head, to date, is a room full of bright air and laden with the heaviness of ghosts. Its new ideas, new desires, they all continually crowd the space already populated with the ghosts of old memories, old ideas, old places. My head retains ghosts like a bed retains a lifetime of shed skin.
The ghosts are in motion; swirling about, trapped in the bright space. Old hurts have become persistent haunts. Long-ago anger still churns. I find myself missing things that no longer exist. Seeking justice from people who never cared. Wondering, eternally. Wishing, for them, the fleeting glimpse of my life now, the chance to see that I made it, without them.
The ghosts continue to dance, pushed against desires of new sights, a new existence, to be living each day, in every minute, as though it was inexpressibly important. Against the desire to be free of haunting.
So, in my quest to live a life worth living (aka not spending so much time doing shit I don’t want to do), I’m trying to get this side hustle going. If you’ve never had your paper edited/proofread by me, you may not know what I’m talking about, but when I say I’m serious about what I do… I’m serious. I’ll edit the hell out of a paper, and now, I’m trying to generate a little cash with it.
Please check out the site: www.thewritehelp.tumblr.com. If you or anyone you know needs a little editing/proofreading help, spread the word!!! Many appreciations to you and yours.