Since my graduation three and half months ago, I have been experiencing a mild crisis of identity and function. Questions swirl inside my mind, reaching tornado speeds threatening my grip on sanity.
The past fourteen weeks have not been bad by any stretch, in fact, there have been some unexpected pleasantries: a dream-like graduation celebration, an old relationship beginning anew, a three-week stay with my dad. And I maintained my propensity to binge with twenty-six episodes of House of Cards, thirteen episodes of Orange is the New Black, a twenty-five-hour congressional sit-in, a fortnight at Wimbledon, ten hours of OJ: Made in America, and sixteen days of Olympic competition.
Each of those events had an emotional effect on me…but were they worth documenting?
I have replaced the word “student” with “writer” on my social media profiles and my blog can always use some updating. How much life experience do I keep for myself and how much do I share? And how do I find the time to keep up on my reading?
I’m struggling to balance the mighty trifecta of reading, watching and writing. When I’m invested in one, I feel as though I am neglecting the other two. I want to be a writer first, but I need the other two for content and inspiration.
Amid the chaos of my recent crisis, a journal entry morphed into an 18,000-word timeline of truth and consequence. I had no agenda or vision when I began, but the piece quickly consumed my existence. I was a woman obsessed—examining my girlhood and re-living the emotions of my past. I was pumping out pages at warp speed for three months; I had never been fueled with such inspiration. However, I started to feel conflicted for wasting valuable writing time on a piece too personal to ever share.
I then remembered Lena Dunham’s latest book, Is it Evil Not to be Sure? It is a compilation of her journal entries written ten years ago. All the anxieties and wonder of her 19-year-old self have now been released into the world. In all likelihood, the girl at Oberlin College purging her deepest thoughts in 2005 could never have imagined publishing such content, but here she stands—cool, confident and free.
And so, I am hereby taking my cues from Ms. Dunham because creativity has a ripple effect and I want to ride her waves.
I must expose my vulnerabilities and absorb my experiences. I cannot question which passion holds my attention at any given time—they are all necessary appetites and require plenty of fuel. The smallest kernel of information can blossom into an exquisite story. If I second-guess myself, thoughts will consume my mind and I will become my own worst enemy. As long as I’m writing something—a journal entry, a letter, a blog post—I’m progressing.
Since completing my colossal journal entry, I have shared its contents with one person, and I cannot fathom it going any further. But maybe I’ll check back with myself in ten years…perhaps my forty-six-year-old self will have a different outlook on the matter.