life
Comments 10

stories we tell ourselves

I don’t know how to write anymore.

I’ve been trying to reboot this blog for over a year, and I find I just can’t because I don’t know how to write anymore. What even is writing? Everything I try is either too self-pitying or too self-aggrandizing. Opinions are too narrow and never informed enough. What is truth? What is self? I don’t want this to be my self. I don’t like this self, sometimes. Is changing myself the same is changing the truth? Maybe truth and the self is irrelevant. The self is always changeable. So, who do I want to be then?

10 years ago I left my homeland. A safe, affluent, boring haven. I moved to an island in the pacific. It’s beautiful, hot, disparate. Homeless natives on the streets, foreign millionaires in glass towers. I went back to school. It’s pretty much the only thing I know how to do. I gained a Masters in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development. Then my studies of the world really began. I started this blog on December 30, 2012. It was to house my ideas – to make sense of things.

I stopped writing in early 2017. I’m sure you all remember the state of the world back then. I felt confused. I felt useless. I wanted so much to be of use, but felt I had nothing to contribute that someone else didn’t say more eloquently then me, more informed than me. I’m sure I was depressed, again. I didn’t go to therapy, yet, but I did go back to school, again. This time at the local community college to do a certificate in counseling because, well, studying and learning is how I make sense of things. Now I’m coming to the end of this two year program. It was a good decision to go. It was a good decision to spend a year in therapy while becoming a counselor myself. It was good to be out in the world again, away from my keyboard, where my presence and personality are the key tools for impacting others.

Except now I don’t know how to write anymore.

It’s a burden to be so keenly aware of the self. To weigh every thought, knowing that it is incomplete. Just the sum of my past experiences and learnings, with huge gaps. Find thinking errors with every thought. I struggle with impermanence right now. I know, logically, that nothing is permanent. Change is the only constant thing about the human experience, yet I’m terrified of creating anything that is not perfect and eternal. I fully feel this way, while knowing it’s wholly illogical, even damaging, to feel this way.

So I don’t write. I don’t make decisions. I float through life; light and airy.

I’m comfortable that way. I think heavy thoughts all day long, but I feel light at the core of my being.

I don’t create. My creations will tie me to the earth.

I feel miserable because I don’t create.

2017 passed in a blur. I kept informed. Outrage simmering beneath a sunny, pleasant life. 2018 came and went. I spent the fall back in school. I started therapy in 2019. I learned to view myself from the outside; dislodging myself from absolute attachment to my worldview. It’s 2020 now. It seems impossible. Two decades into a new millennium. The sand draining from the hourglass that is my life is speeding up. I both care and don’t care. I’ve made peace with the low hum of suicidal ideation. The idea of one day becoming ash comforts me. It flared up in January. I would ride the bus and fantasizing about being ash. I didn’t tell anyone. My textbooks tell me to accept the thought – it’s just a thought. But if I tell anyone they would worry. They would be professionally obliged to do something.

I kept floating. I’m still able to feel stressed and anxious when I don’t meet professional obligations. I rage and cry over the unreasonable demands of my very low-stress jobs. I’m ok. It’s ok. I think, one day, maybe soon, I’ll write again. There’s time. So much time.

Hawaii went into lockdown over the corona virus during spring break in mid-March. My school work is now all remote, my counseling internship suspended. The world changed overnight. There will be no graduation, no parties. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my clients or classmates.

I had one overwhelming feeling during all this. It’s going to sound cheesy. For the last three years I’ve felt resigned to live in a world not of my choosing so I didn’t care to try and change it. But shutting down the economy, shutting down pollution, doing all the steps that myself and others in the sustainability field have been yelling into the wind about for over a decade, suddenly allowed me to feel energized again. The world that I desire to see didn’t only feel alive again; it is shimmering right under the surface. It is, finally, possible.

My main thesis for the last 10 years have been climate change is a failure of imagination. Yes, it’s greed and big business, too, but most citizens don’t have the luxury of spending their days imagining a better and more just world. Now we’re forced to. Right now we witness situations, unthinkable 30 days ago, happening almost every single day. Ground air traffic. No hour long commutes by car. Cook almost every meal at home. Universal basic income, money in your bank account, courtesy of a central government, because as a fellow citizen your well-being impacts ours. For-profit healthcare is an actual crime. Essential workers are underpaid and under-appreciated. Everybody, start an urban garden. Food waste is grotesque. Acknowledgment that, as social creatures, isolation is deadly and we need to care about our family, friends, and neighbors.

I named this blog honeythatsok: stories we tell ourselves as a way to analyze my own stories, and share new stories with my readers. I wish it hadn’t taken this long to return to the digital page, and I don’t really know where to go from here. I do know I feel better when and after I write so, for now, I’m here. I hope you are, too.

10 Comments

  1. I just saw your words set you free. How will you keep going? By using your voice, writing your truths, and allowing your words to flow like water over the digital falls.

    You have power. You have strength. Your words give you both. Keep writing, the world needs your voice, your truth, now more than ever.

  2. It’s great to see you back online. I can so relate to what you’ve been feeling. My own blog has been idle for a year, and every attempt to reboot it has led me down some other path to frustration and over-analysis. I too have been feeling the spark of creation from this surreal situation we find ourselves in — kind of everything I want and everything I fear all boiled into an existence that I could not have imagined just a few short months ago. Hopefully a lot more people use this time to ponder big questions and find the imagination that has been so lacking during the zombie invasion we’d all been living under.

  3. carlenaltman says

    Yours is the only blog I signed up to get alerts about. I relate so much to you !! Xoxo
    Carlenaltman.com

  4. I find writing helps me to get things out. I don’t have a large following but if I touch just one person then I have done something. I am sure that there are people who don’t want to listen to another environmentalist, but I try to get the lecturing tone out of my views. I am glad you are back and I look forward to hearing from you.

  5. For someone who thinks they don’t know how to write I’d say you’re doing a pretty good job! Welcome back – I hope you don’t leave it as long next time, as your words are good to read.

  6. Boudeshi says

    Welcome back! I’m so happy you started writing again. Love to hear/read your stories, it just feels so honest. They help me accept my own thoughts, put things in a different perspective. Much love!

  7. Hello,
    Welcome back. I’ve always kept WordPress connection with your blog, wondering when I would get that ‘new post’ ping from you. It’s been a while, but I could say “honey, that’s OK” but that would be too cheesy for me to use; well, maybe not.

    Anyway, I’ve continued to write all those years, and years before you started. But they’ve mostly been very short, around 200 words as most are letters to the editor; also a few longer ‘submissions’ and a few reviews. My reviews are rare because it takes some kind of inspiration to do one and are definitely longer; I must write it down for my own memory of that inspiration.

    Ever since I’ve retired from paid employment I’ve been able be aware of many more ‘inspirations’ than when I was dedicated to doing my job; just didn’t have enough time or energy to experience many. How long I have on this earth I don’t know but I just keep going on. Part of it is curiosity.

    A good bit of my inspiration for writing letters is that I see a serious shortcoming on the Letters pages; there’s very seldom attempts to put things in the ‘larger picture’, though how writers say things will often give a clue. This is a serious problem today because it is impossible to understand our time of fundamental change, and fast change without seeing the larger picture. We need to see that insights about our future (and our past) that are popping up into our consciousness and surprizing us are from the cultural, the subconscious part of our being, rather than our intellect, our ego. That kind of thing is hard to capture in 200 words but I try.

    Enough for now.
    Cheers,
    Richard

  8. It’s so wonderful to hear from you again!
    You’ve always written wonderfully, but I especially like this post – it’s raw and honest.
    Whenever I write (fiction or non-fiction) I’ve found that it’s always worth it if I learn something along the way – something about the world or about myself.
    If I write by rote (“dial it in”) then I won’t learn anything – it’s only by going the extra mile.
    It sounds like you’ve had journey of exploration and growth over the last few years.
    I’m glad you’re back and will always want to hear what you have to say.
    Even if it doesn’t spark something in yourself, it can spark something in others. Just one person counts – forget about numbers.
    Aloha and mahalo :)
    James

  9. It’s the writing that will save you. Just show up everyday to the page, and even though it might be brain slop it at first. It will show you the way.

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