Thank You, Lena Dunham

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 14 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 26 episodes of “House of Cards,” 13 episodes of “Orange is the New Black,” a 25-hour congressional sit-in, a fortnight at Wimbledon, 10 hours of “OJ: Made in America” and 16 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 needs to be updated… How much life experience do I keep for myself and how much do I share? And when do I find the time to read books and catch up on my magazines?

I’m struggling to balance the mighty trifecta of reading, watching and writing. And 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 girlhood and re-living the emotions of my past. I was pumping out pages at warp speed for two months; I had never been fueled with such inspiration. However, after four weeks, I started to feel conflicted for wasting valuable writing time on a piece too personal to ever share.

Then, I remembered Lena Dunham’s latest book, “Is it Evil Not to be Sure?” It is a compilation of her journal entries written 10 years ago. All the anxieties and wonder of her 19-year-old self have now been released into the universe. 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 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 10 years… Perhaps my 46-year-old self will have a different outlook on the matter.


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