I always dread being asked my major. Until I made a choice, it was easy enough to just say I didn’t know, or to shake my head to physically indicate my unsureness, the way the majority of my college classmates did and still do. But once I committed to creative writing, I always had to have an answer ready, and the answer always inevitably led to more questions. Questions about what I preferred to write, questions about who my favorite writers were. Questions that always inevitably led to judgment, or at least my own irrational fear that I was being judged. Questions that would force me to open up, to honestly say, “Well, I haven’t been writing much lately, I haven’t had much inspiration”. But that’s rare. Opening up honestly is rare for me.
When I think of writers and writing, I never think of people who are extremely well-adjusted, or even well-adjusted at all. Maybe that’s an unfair assessment, but it seems that the majority who are the most readable have an innumerable number of demons. How funny, an innumerable number. If I were a better writer, I could probably base an entire story on just that one thought. As it is, I can’t even figure out how to write anything other than my rambling thoughts, and half of the time I can’t even do that.
Thoughts are so vague, said Estelle in No Exit, and I tend to agree. Existentialism always reminds me of my brain on psychedelic mushrooms, I can barely imagine thinking those thoughts without that stimulus. Maybe that’s my problem; I don’t know how to live without drugs. Not that I’m a drug addict, or at least I’m still in denial if I am. But some things, the act of creating, the art of conversation, self –discovery, it all seems so much easier with drugs. Which I realize is an incredible cop-out, and the lazy man’s answer, but I’m eighteen, of course all I think about is how to do things more easily. Even now, I’m writing so lazily, and maybe stream of consciousness is the writing of the future, but it seems to already have been done so well by so many, how can I bring any new insights, and here it comes again, the cyclical fear of failure. The only constant in my life. Fear. Fear of failure, fear of heights, fear of dying alone with sixteen cats, fear of everything. Fear that I’ll never find myself, fear that I’ll never “create” myself, whatever that means. Fear because I’m only eighteen and I haven’t figured anything out, not that I should have by now, but also fear because there are seventeen year olds curing cancer and I’m sitting at my computer listening to the middle two hours of a six hour song and rambling to Microsoft Word 2007 that I don’t know who I am and don’t think I ever will.
So here, whether or not this is good, I’m accepting my fear, accepting the fear that I’ll be judged, accepting the fear that this will fail and no one will read this. Accepting at the same time my fear that it will be read and loved and I’ll have to keep doing this, that I’ll have to keep trying to find inspiration. Accepting my fear, which I never even really admitted to having or realized I had, of success, of acceptance, of doing something-anything!-more than this.
People always seem to be attempting to overcome their fears, but I think that’s too simple. I think what we have to do is accept that our fears exist and make a choice. Do we choose-as I so often have-to let our fears cripple us and close ourselves off from the world, or do we choose to accept that our fears exist and to tell them to fuck themselves and do what we want anyway? For too long I’ve let my fears cripple me, so this is me, choosing to open myself up, to show off my fear, to wear it as a badge, to say fuck it and to just do what I want, say what I want, live how I want, write what I want, and not worry about rejection or judgment or anything else. This is me, choosing to wake up.