Written Thoughts: How Writing Allows Me to Speak

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Well it is the first Wednesday of the month, so that must mean that it is officially the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day. For those of you not in the know, Alex J. Cavanaugh created this wonderful community of writers in order “To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” It really is a wonderful community of writers, and I highly recommend you go Alex’s site and check out some of the links. Writers more often than not welcome new readership. It serves to boost our little egos.

There are moments throughout my day, particularly when I’m tired, when my mind wonders every which way but here. I will be on my phone going back and forth surfing through the same five or six sites obsessively, knowing full well that I had visited the site just 20 minutes earlier and that the likelihood of the site being updated with any new content where probably slim to none. Yet I will repeatedly check back in hope that something, anything new, might be found that will spark my interest. That my mind will find something that it can home in on and stay fixated on for longer than a few minutes. My thoughts jump from subject to subject. Worry to worry. From one day dream to the next. This fragmented state of mind is amplified even more so when I’m at work, due to the repetitive and tedious nature of the job.

There isn’t a whole lot of opportunity to think outside the box doing my job. There is little to no chance of using whatever ounce of creativity that one possesses and apply it any meaningful way to any of the menial tasks that I’m stuck doing for ten hours a day. I try to focus. I try to concentrate at the mundane task at hand, but as much as I try, as much as I try to ignore all the constant chatter of my inner voice, I fail. I don’t have the energy to keep my thoughts at bay. The only time I can quiet my inner monologue, the only time I can keep out all the outside distraction, is when I’m at home by myself, with the dogs laying on our bed angry that I’m ignoring them, while I’m sitting in front of the computer, listening to some soft tunes, writing down what are little fragments of myself for the blog.

When I’m writing something pretty amazing happens to my mind. All that persistent chatter that under any other circumstances would be continuous, just cease to be. My train of thought becomes focused. The voice that I’ve always wanted to speak with, but never could because it’s been stuck hidden away by a mind that moves much faster than the tongue I was born with, is finally given full reign to articulate in a way that does not make me feel half-witted. So many folks like me are so hard pressed to find the courage to open their mouths to speak their mind if they had not have had a chance to rehearse exactly what they wanted to say, or risk stumbling through their words awkwardly. This fear kills off any chance of being able to enjoy a moment of spontaneity. Which is where some of life’s greatest moments are born.

Writing liberates me. It makes me feel whole. Time slows down and it allows things that were hidden behind a fuzzy haze of doubt, became clear and focused. It puts me in touch with feelings that I did not know where there. It makes me realize how much I love being alive.

Writing is a solitary endeavor. When I write, I become detached from the world. As if I no longer belong to it. I become almost a ghost, someone living outside this plane of existence. Observing a world that hardly notices me anyway. I like to open the shades in our computer room, and let some light come through through. I’ll take a few moments to become a casual observer. I will see a couples walking by, sometimes with grocery bags, other times walking their dogs, and I will wonder to myself what is their story. How did they meet? Have they been together long? What stormy patches have their relationship survived through? Is there still love in their hearts for each other? Or are they simply together only because they are trying to uphold some standard that society had forced upon them long before they were ever born?

From my window I spot kids walking to and from school. Sometimes they are being accompanied by their parents. Other times they are alone alone. I ponder what kind of lives do their parents and guardians give them? I ask myself which one of those kids find themselves dealing with the kinds of issues I grew with? How will they cope with trying to survive their ordeal?  Which of these kids are growing up in a stable loving home, where their parents go to bed thanking God that their kids where brought into their lives? Which parents don’t take their children for granted, and vice versa? I wonder to myself what course will their lives take them? What sort of impact with their decisions will have on the world, not only in the near future, but centuries down the line, when they are nothing more than particles floating in the air.

When I sit down to write my mind expands and all possibilities become endless. It is truly a magical feeling. I only wish it was something I could do more often. It’s hard to fit in the time while working long hours, and trying to live the life of a responsible adult. But right now I will take what I can get. Because when I sit down to write these little rants, it feels like I’m finally learning how to speak.

Why I Write

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Friday will mark 3 months since I started Lost Around the Block. 60 post and god knows how many thousands of words later I’m finally starting to get a feel of what I am doing. The blog has evolved in a way that makes it different then what I had originally intended. When I  first got the inspiration to start this blog I had hoped that it would primarily catered to folks with ADHD and Anxiety. I was going to use this as a platform to voice my frustration with the disorder. I also wanted to perhaps re-blog articles that I thought were interesting and that brought other insights about these disorders. Yet from the very moment I sat down to write my first post “I lost track of time…” I realized that this site would probably be going in a different direction.

I found myself writing about personal subject matters. About experiences that I had mostly kept to myself. It was liberating to write some of these stories down for everyone to read. I know some folks would think that it must have felt empowering. But I wouldn’t exactly put it that way. I think empowering is the wrong choice of word. For me it’s more like exhaling after holding my breath for a ridiculously long amount of time. It feels more like relief.

The main reason behind the change was rather simple. I wanted to write about something that was a bit more relatable. I found that I was way more interested in writing about universal themes. Who amongst us doesn’t have unfulfilled dreams? Who has never experienced regret? Have you ever met a person that didn’t feel like they left something unresolved? Who doesn’t know about the erational elation of being in love? I found myself wanting to tell those kinds of stories. I wanted to demonstrate that no matter how different our life experiences might be, we can still relate to each other in some very basic ways. Look I don’t care, who you are, what part of the planet you come from, what god, if any, that you believe in, we are all bound by the love and pain that we feel from just being alive. And that is what Lost Around the Block has come to symbolize for me.

Each time I write one of my long winded post I feel like the knot of chains that kept my brain shackled for so long are being loosed. It’s as if I am discovering a whole new aspect of myself that I did not know was even there. And you know what? It feels pretty fucking great. I still struggle with my confidence. I still find myself going over stuff that I had posted previously and cringing at the way I structured a sentence or by some awkward analogy that I may had made. I’m not totally confident in my writing ability because I find that I still write in the same fashion that I think, which is fragmented. This in turn makes my writing a little choppy. A little stiff. It doesn’t always flow smoothly like a stream. I want my writing to glide. I’m just not there yet.

I also find myself struggling with the length of my post. Everyone is too busy just trying to get through their day. Who the hell has time to sit down to read through 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 words written by someone that they have never even heard off. And I don’t blame them. Time is a valuable commodity and you don’t ever want to waste your time reading something that in the end may not have the desired payoff. But I try not to censor myself too much. I allow myself some breathing room. I don’t feel like I’m a competent writer yet, so I try give myself the space to allow my ideas to flesh themselves out in the most natural way possible. Which in turn leads to some very long post. But it’s all part of the learning experience. Finding one’s true voice is not the easiest the easiest thing for me.

Writing gives me a sense of accomplishment that I had not felt in a long time. I like sharing my life experiences with you all. It is a delicate balance of course. I constantly struggle with what aspects of my life I want to keep to myself and what things I want to share with perfect strangers. Thankfully I haven’t felt ashamed about anything I have written so far. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my 35 years. Mistakes that for years made me feel like an incompetent jackass that had no hope of ever feeling content with his life. But it is my past. They did happen and I am not doing myself any favors by pretending that I haven’t made them. Besides I truly believe that you can’t really move on with your life and accomplish something worth your while until you have come to terms with your past. I hope my writing will help me succeed in that regard.

By the way, if you are a struggling writer, or just like to discover some great writing, go check out this great blog that I found called The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. It’s a great little community of writers that have come together to express some of the joys and struggles of writing. I hope you get a chance to check the site out. It will be well worth your time.