The best writing I ever did was in the three months before I made my blog public. I wrote stories, and I wrote them everyday. Those stories fed and healed me at the same time. They more than gave me purpose. They saved my life.
Having moved to a new country where everyone around me looked, spoke, dressed, laughed, ate, and even thought differently, where finding a job that matched my qualifications and work experience back home seemed nigh impossible, where the sun never rose or set at the same time everyday, and where summer days felt freezing cold, I was bound to go mad. But writing saved me.
I had no computer back then. I don't know why I didn't travel to this new-new land with my old, very old, computer. Maybe because I was marrying a computer scientist and thought that this would give me unlimited access to computers somehow. No, that makes no sense. Looking back, most of it doesn't. The lack of forethought that went into this terrifying leap of faith in my early twenties...is hilarious. Anyway, new country, no computer, and an itch to write to save my life.
A week into moving into our cold basement flat, my husband promptly ensured that we had the best internet connection money could buy. The only other things "we" spent money on were:
a 50-inch TV
a custom-built PC
a PlayStation 4
- a cheap wireless keyboard that could be connected to the PC.
Hard to guess from the list above, I know, but these were all so that he could play games. I could watch Netflix via the PC or PlayStation, though, so there was that.
But Netflix could only save my life so much and no one told me that I could independently step out of the confines of our very cold (have I mentioned how cold?) apartment to explore this new and exciting city, nae COUNTRY, outside, so I stayed put for the most part. Until one day, seconds before ripping every single one of my eyelashes out with a tiny little tweezer, I opened up a browser on the internet and started typing on that shitty little wireless keyboard that was connected to my husband's gaming PC which was in turn connected to our 50-inch flat-screen TV. The TV screen was my monitor, our cold faux leather couch that literally froze my ass was my writing chair, and one of the only four rooms in our COLD basement flat - the biggest one, the living-cum-dining room - became my office. For those curious, the other three rooms were the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen, in order of descending square footage.
If you go back and read everything I wrote back then, perhaps you will disagree with the sentiment that that was some of my best writing ever. And perhaps you'll be right. I'm not brave enough to go back and read any of that. I would never do that to myself. I used to lack foresight some eight years ago but I'm a changed woman in my thirties now. My mental health is arguably way more fragile at this age so I'd rather avoid all forms of cringe, lest I reach for the tweezers again. But I just know that everything I wrote in those initial three months was pure gold simply because no one was reading. More importantly, I knew that no one was reading. And that, my friends, is the secret to truly good, or in my case at least, honest, writing. I don't think those stories were good because someone, least of all me, probably enjoyed reading them. I think they were good because someone, some small woman who was unable to unclench her tiny fist that was holding on to a pair of tweezers, enjoyed writing them.
Without fear of judgement or any pressure to impress, I had fun. I had so much fun. And I have missed that feeling in the years since. I made my blog public three months after collecting all the stories I wanted to tell at that time and continued writing for over five years since, but I can attest to the fact that the magic of the first three months diminished with every single post I pressed 'publish' on, knowing that it was going to stop being just mine from that moment on. A tiny little window into my heart, brain, mind, whatever organ moderates my insanity...would be cracked wide open for well-wishers, and most devastatingly, for haters, to peep in.
It's why I stopped.
I stopped for three whole years, almost to the date. I stopped, and I contemplated deleting this website, making it so that no one would ever stumble upon it. I stopped, and at some point, I even stopped remembering that this little universe on the internet even existed. I stopped remembering how to log back on to be able to continue expanding this universe. I stopped until I lost some of the magic from nearly everything in my daily life. I stopped until I finally remembered. And then, the craving hit again.
So here's the deal. This is my secret, no pressure zone. Unlike in the past when every blog post would promptly be shared on social media seconds after it was published, I'm now going to publish, log off, and go on with my (rather busy) life offline. My secret (and possibly naive?) belief (or just hope?) is that no one will read what I'm writing after a gap of three years, especially as I don't intend to shout about it from the rooftops. It's still out there, but it feels like a secret, you know? Or maybe you don't know. Maybe you don't care. But if you're still here and reading, I'll say this: this is the most excited I have been in a while and this feels GLORIOUS. You'll have to be me to understand exactly how glorious because I truly do not have the energy to explain or find examples from pop culture to draw parallels here. I have already rambled on for over a thousand words so it's going to be goodbye from me for now.
But unlike my last goodbye three years ago, this one might not be for too long :)