The only thing harder than giving up is trying to explain to those who support you why you feel the need to let go of that which makes you so seemingly happy.
I began blogging twenty months ago today. That marked the first time I had ever written anything outside of school. Blogging has been one of the greatest challenges and greatest rewards of my life. It has taught me persistence and patience; it’s significantly bolstered my writing skills and it has helped me to continually expand my mind and perspective; it’s allowed me to connect with others and exchange ideas and ideologies with all kinds of people. It has been an absolutely incredible experience.
But I can’t do it anymore.
I readily opened up the doors and windows of my life and invited everyone who passed by to come in for a tour, or stay for awhile longer. I love learning about people and applying their personal perspectives to my own way of thinking. My hope was that as I opened up more and more (which I certainly have over time), others would see a reflection of themselves in me, and perhaps realize something they had been missing, or offer their own insight or guidance on a particular topic. I have seen that, and find it to be both beautiful and mind-blowing.
However, I’ve reached a point where I don’t feel comfortable sharing my story anymore. My readership has doubled over the course of the past month. That should excite me, but instead I’m cowering behind a bush, cautiously tossing out bread crumbs and hand grenades. I’m not sure how I feel about so many people freely exploring my thoughts, or about my willingness to lay everything out on display.
I tend to figure out situations logically and set aside emotional involvement until I feel comfortable with my critical understanding. Jumping from idea to idea without tending to some of the strong associated feelings leads to backlog, and eventually overwhelm. When you have a huge stack of fear, doubt, failure, and rejection piling up the corner of the room, eventually you’re going to notice and have to take care of it, if it doesn’t cascade down and bury your alive first. That’s where I am right now. Buried alive. My adequately stocked bunker of optimism and hope has been temporarily blocked off.
I feel like when Skype doesn’t work… eager anticipation, followed by crushing disappointment.
You didn’t come here for the subjective perspective of a cynical twenty-something who can’t get her shit together. And I fear that’s exactly what this is becoming – a series of bitter rants, heavy diluted with poetic prose and silver linings. I can’t be anything but honest. Reality is weighing heavily on me, and it’s painful to continually detail all the areas of my life in which I’m falling short. Yes, I read a lot, take interesting classes, write prolifically, travel a bit, learn all that I can, and introspect like it’s nobody’s business. But it’s hard to relish life’s little pleasures when you’re barely making enough to pay the bills, let alone save up for graduate school, foreign travel, and other special dreams. Life drags on a bit when everyone seems disappointed in you, especially when you are your own biggest critic. It’s difficult when you put a full effort into everything that you do for an extended period of time and work to maintain a positive attitude, only to end up in a worse place than you began.
When I refer to the little community we’ve built here, I call you my imaginary friends. I never had an imaginary friend as a child, but I adore the concept of an invisible companion standing at one’s side to support them and cheer them on, regardless of current circumstances. That’s exactly what I’ve felt here over the past two years, and I could not be more grateful for the kindness each of you has shown, both to me and to one another.
About a week ago, I spent a nice chunk of change on self-hosting, hoping it would give me a new project and something to be excited about. The plan backfired. My desire to completely dissociate from blogging, all of my aimless projects, and everything else in my life multiplied by ten-fold. So, I won’t be blogging anymore.
I do have 184 drafts in varying degrees of completion that I would still like to share (as well as a dozen new ideas a day), and I did invest in self-hosting, so I’m hoping that I’ll choose to come back in due time. That may be a week, a month, or a year. I honestly don’t know.
The hardest part of walking away is that I feel obligated to show up here; I feel as if giving up is equivalent to abandoning a child. I can’t help but wonder if I’m providing something here that may actually be benefiting someone, and if this cessation could be somehow detrimental. According to chaos theory, the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil could set off a tornado in Texas. That idea has fascinated and terrified me for fifteen years. There is no way of knowing the consequence of any action until you’ve taken it.
Recently, I had someone form an analysis of me based on my astrological sign. Though I don’t buy into horoscopes, one particular statement stuck with me. As a Sagittarius, you are 49% genius and 51% insecure. I don’t consider myself a genius by any means, but I do feel that fear and insecurity outweigh my potential for success by the smallest of margins.
One of the highlights of Uncertainty was that being overwhelmed by fear is a signal that you are on the verge of something big, but you must keep moving forward. So, I suppose the next step for me is taking some small risks, in hopes of tipping that scale in my favor. But I’m not ready for that step yet. Instead, I want to sulk until I can’t stand myself anymore, and then burn and rise up from the ashes.
People I’ve already talked to keep asking what the plan is now. I don’t have an answer. I’ve always been a huge over-achiever, and at any given time I’m pursuing several novel ideas and projects. I’ve never given myself permission to quit. Until now.
Quit blogging. Quit applying to graduate school. Quit applying for jobs. Quit editing my novel. Quit outlining my second, third, and fourth. Quit trying to devise business plans. Quit writing a manifesto. Quit talking to people who aren’t enhancing my life. Quit reading books that leave my head in the clouds. Quit caring so much – too much – about other people. The options are limitless.
I’m giving myself permission to trash everything that I’m currently working on, everything that I care about, and start over. No pressure. No expectations. Just a clean slate or, in my case, an oversized poster board, colorful Sharpies, and a box full of childish stickers.
I wish I had a courageous and righteous reason for quitting, some magnificent plan for something better, but I don’t. This is just my submission to something bigger and stronger than me.
I want to thank you all so much for being here and joining me on this brief, yet wonderful, journey. I appreciate it more than you could ever know. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors, and I look forward to one day reading of all of your successes.
Aimless driving, dead ends, construction, and impending storms.
In the case that you do, in fact, want to read the subjective perspective of a cynical twenty-something who can’t get her shit together, I may be open to discussion.