I really, really hate the stupid blinking cursor that appears on the screen when I try to write. It reminds me that there’s empty space to fill, thoughts to amalgamate, words to put on a page. Things to do. The cursor is waiting. Blinking. Watching. Judging.
Something friends keep
repeatedly and patiently reminding me is that I am in college.
I am in college, and that is my big thing.
Writing will still be there when I leave.
Writing will still exist for me when I finish my degree.
Something I can’t quite wrap my head around are those very correct, very reassuring sentences I have outlined above. I don’t know what it is. I’m frozen by the terror of maybe never being able to write again, despite knowing I can and that I will, because I’ve always done it and will always continue to do so, too.
That fear leaks into other aspects of life. Like this blog. I have started a review of about 6
try 14 unpublished, half finished or not even really started post drafts different books in the last week or so, gotten a sentence in, and nothing has come out. I can’t put sentences together. I’ve lost the ability to make words flow into paragraphs that read as if I’m speaking, or that read as if I am able to make any sort of coherent point. I took a necessary hiatus when I started sliding into exam season because I simply couldn’t do anything other than sleep, eat, study and finish assignments.
I feel like a failure on a regular basis. I feel like I’m an imposter, like writers around me deserve to write and I don’t, because I am an imposter. I’ve a year left in my degree and I feel like I’m going nowhere and doing nothing and like a Masters is a million light years away and life is just an existential crap-heap when its just not that far away at all and I’m being ridiculous. I guess we all suffer from imposter syndrome from time to time, but even my imposter feels like an imposter. Meta-imposterdom, with a sprinkling of existential dread-hysteria.
Most of this comes from a place of extreme tiredness. For the last few weeks, months
years? decades? A lifetime? I have been perpetually exhausted. I haven’t been able to string sentences together, I have been sleeping a lot and I’ve been able to do approximately zero on a day to day basis. A trip to the cinema will see me confined to bed for two days. I’m currently trying to find out what’s going on. Could be something, could be nothing, but I’ll get to the bottom of it (eventually). A whole heap of personal stuff has all come down on me at once and it’ll be okay, eventually. It’s just more painful for me to handle things that are externally caused – I don’t have training for that. Years of therapeutic tools have taught me how to deal with the irrational. I have no idea what to do with the rational. I have no concept of what ‘normal’ emotions are, what ‘normal’ anxieties feel like, so I tend to ignore things when they’re legitimate because I just don’t know how to process things that would floor a neurotypical person.
When my grandad died last year I compartmentalised it. I was in a place where I couldn’t really handle missing a bus. The concept of death was just too much for my head to cope with, and I had no idea how to deal with it. My figurative anxiety toolbox was filled with tools for dealing with mental illness-y things that had no basis. Of identifying rogue emotions and coping. It doesn’t have a section labelled ‘what to do when someone close to you dies’. It doesn’t have a section labelled ‘how to cope when someone breaks into your home twice in a week and you’re home for the second attempt’. It doesn’t have a section labelled ‘actual life shit that the whole world is effectively ill equipped to deal with and so are you and that’s okay’.
No one tells you it’s okay before it happens. I’m surviving, though, and that’s the main thing. I’m surviving and reading and constantly learning how to live. Maybe I’m not writing, but I’m achieving other things behind the scenes. When the time comes, I’ll be able to write again.