I started, 2 days ago. I am finally feeling introspective and self-destructive.
I wrote a lot when I was a wee girl, barely able to get my cursive penmanship up to the standards held by my primary school English teacher. In fact even in secondary school a teacher who was handing out the corrected quizzes was surprised to find out that the squiggly untidy submission belonged to a girl. I love gender stereotype-stories. Don’t you? It is comforting and revolting to find that people don’t change.
That digression aside, I wrote a lot back then– poems, stories, journal entries, essays – real opinion pieces too. I went from using an old tattered diary, which doubled as my poetry collection (‘Notes’ section at the back) during my pre-teens to a pretty notebook with a colourful hardbound cover during my teens to, well, nothing! I had to study; get better grades than that nerdy thick-rimmed-glasses-guy sitting across the aisle. I had to focus my efforts, focus my education and get a technical degree. There is no time for wishy-washy feelings and angst and God forbid someone reads your innermost thoughts and realises what you really want. God forbid you realise what you really want! The house of cards will then come crashing down with one strategically breathed whisper of doubt.
Years go by, and still, Words don’t come easily. I felt I would never be able to write again. I would read and revel in others’ intelligent turns of phrases and clever analogies. But that skill is lost in me, and I don’t even know if I ever had it to begin with. I was too self-conscious to ask. I collected quotes from books that affected me deeply or which, I felt, summarised the book, to come back to years later when I missed these books or authors. I thought I could use these to one-day write something of my own.
Eventually, I completed my Ph.D. Fifteen years of burning ambition seemingly calmly assuaged one hot afternoon in a seminar room. Now what? What was stopping me? I have made many excuses since that afternoon to not start writing again; some legitimate and others imagined. Soon, I ran out of either. I shamefully admit that I actually got the WordPress domain name registered 3 months ago and did nothing after! I was content, to an extent, that I had (at least) started the process. Procrastination: 1, Sam: 0
Finally, it was a book, a not-so-great book that helped me find my words. My head screamed throughout my reading of it to let someone know how I felt. And so, it came to pass. My Another Voice. My Reading to write. After all these years of painstakingly jotting down memorable, intelligent, hoity-toity quotes in my still squiggly untidy handwriting into my (now) very pretty colourful cloth-bound notebook – it took something exactly the opposite to get me to write. Irony: 1, Sam: 0.
I have gone about ten years not giving room to a part of me that I have loved. Life is too short to not love yourself. Life is too short to not let you be you. The final tally now is Life: 1, Sam: 1.5; because life is still short, but not by much.