What up, blog dogs? HELLOOOOOOO, WORLD!
….Hi, friends. I’m still alive. I’m still around. Just…busy. Being an Adult. *sigh*
We are nearing the halfway mark of the year (cue the Twilight Zone theme as we slow-zoom on the calendar), so I thought now might be a good time to look back on my New Year’s resolution. Or Anti-New-Year’s-resolution, I suppose–namely the decision to stop writing every day.
So how has that been going?
Prepare to be bombarded with song lyrics and anime references.
(Also, fair warning, this post ended up being a lot more serious and personal that most of my other posts. So…yeah. You have been warned.)
First of all, I would like to say I am very glad I stopped when I did. If I had gone on writing every day for, say, 10 years before deciding to take a break, it would have been a lot harder.
Because yes, it has been hard.
Hard? you ask. What’s hard about taking a break? You’re relaxing, right? Writing only when you want to? Sounds great!
It does sound great, doesn’t it? And it has been nice on busy days not to have the added pressure of knowing I still need to write something before I can go to sleep.
But I am also acutely aware of how little I have written this year so far, in comparison to other years. When I don’t have to write every day, I can go an entire week or more without writing anything, due to busyness and exhaustion. I keep trying to tell myself that this is okay, that I’m taking a necessary break, but…I have trouble believing myself. What if I’m just being lazy? Real writers work hard, right? Real writers make time for their work.
I keep thinking This time last year, I was nearly finished drafting a new book. And, by the end of the year, I had completed the first draft of another book. But instead of saying, “Well, hurrah for me! I did that last year and it was crazy cool!” My brain is working out the math–
June 2020 Me: 1 book.
June 2021 Me: 0 books.
Therefore, June 2021 Me = failure
2020 Me: 2 books total
Therefore, if I don’t finish a book in 2021, book total = 0 = FAILURE
HOLD YOUR HORSES THERE, SON.
I knew I put a lot of stock in my accomplishments. I did. But I didn’t realize how MUCH until this year. I can’t stop comparing present me to past me, calculating accomplishments and failures.
There’s a lot about myself I didn’t fully realize until these past couple months. Which is hilarious, because some of it was really obvious.
I was recently introduced to Sleeping at Last through Bell@RhymesWithParadeabelle (and HOLY COW WHAT EXCELLENT MUSIC THIS IS). I particularly love the Enneagram songs. I loved the song “Three” (the type named The Achiever) when I first heard it, but obviously that doesn’t mean I am a three, right? I relate to a bunch of the other songs too. Pshaw, I don’t put THAT much stock in being the best. It’s not like I attach my worth as a human being to my accomplishments!
Meanwhile, writing notes on one of my main characters (who, funnily enough, is literally nicknamed “The Achiever” by the media in the story):
Some mentor really impressed with his intelligence–pushed him and encouraged him. Connected to self-worth. Afraid of letting them down.
And various notes on dear Albert:
- He knows quite a bit about airships (more than R or M) but he feels like he should be the leading authority on the subject.
- At school, embarrased at how much he cares about his teachers’ praise.
- Basically being smart=getting affirmation.
- R dissapointed. “I expected more from you.” How does he react? He knows she has expectations and that he’s not meeting them–just like in every other area of his life
And the rap section of a freaking song I wrote last year:
Gotta find something else you can do that’s great
Show the pay-off of the promise that you showed at eight
Gotta find someone else to impress–how?
Everybody’s so much harder to impress now
Can you see why I’m stressed out?
I’m not saying I’m an Enneagram 3. I don’t really understand the whole Enneagram thing that well, but there are definitely aspects of this personality type (as I understand it) that I really relate to.
The Enneagram Institute has this to say about Threes:
Everyone needs attention, encouragement, and the affirmation of their value in order to thrive, and Threes are the type which most exemplifies this universal human need. Threes want success not so much for the things that success will buy (like Sevens), or for the power and feeling of independence that it will bring (like Eights). They want success because they are afraid of disappearing into a chasm of emptiness and worthlessness: without the increased attention and feeling of accomplishment which success usually brings, Threes fear that they are nobody and have no value.
*nervously edges away from the chasm*
I might relate to that…a bit.
But then Threes are also supposed to be “self-assured, attractive, and charming” and “well regarded and popular among their peers, the type of person who is frequently voted ‘class president’ or ‘home coming queen’ because people feel they want to be associated with this kind of person” which is SO NOT ME. So yeah, I have my doubts about being a Three.
Enneagrams aside, I’ve come to realize I put quite a lot of stock in my accomplishments.
And, regardless of whether or not I’m a Three, the Sleeping at Last song hits me really hard. (Like…sobbing-on-the-floor-of-my-room hard.)
Maybe I’ve done enough,
And your golden child grew up.
Maybe this trophy isn’t real love
And with or without it, I’m good enough.
Just…go listen to it, guys. It’s really good.
Also “Home” by Livingston is my newest jam.
Days passed as I would start to scream
I’d hear the words around my head like they were circling
You’ll never be who they all want you to become
…Ok, where was I going with this?
I’m currently re-watching March Comes in Like a Lion (because my Sponge sister and I discovered it a few months ago, and it’s high time we showed it to our other sisters) and WHAT A SHOW IT IS.
It is beautiful and excellent and you should all watch it.
The main character, Rei Kiriyama, is a seventeen-year-old professional Shogi player (it’s like chess), who lives alone and clearly needs a hug and some therapy. (And the Kawamotos basically adopt him and FEED HIM and it is BEAUTIFUL–my Sponge sister mentioned it in this post about families feeding lonely children in fiction and you should all go read it right now, because it’s one of the best tropes ever and her post is WONDERFUL.)
I love Rei dearly.
I have loved Rei ever since I first started watching the show, but it wasn’t until I started re-watching it that I began to realize how much I relate to Rei.
He is only the fifth player ever to have become a pro while still in middle school. So there are EXPECTATIONS. And even when people say things that sound nice and encouraging–telling him they’re impressed and that they look forward to seeing where he goes next–the way he TAKES IT–
*takes a deep breath to control unintelligible shrieking*
There’s this scene where he has an encounter with two men who provide some encouragement. The conversation is super short, but it shows it twice–the first time showing what they’re actually saying, and the second time showing what Rei hears. They say they’re sure he’ll do great things? Rei hears “You better do great things, or you’re letting us all down”. (Yes, I’m paraphrasing. I can’t remember the exact lines.)
As you may have guessed, writing is to me what Shogi is to Rei.
When I graduated college last year, I got an award from the English department. Which was fantastic and a huge honor. My friends and family all congratulated me, but a phrase that kept coming up was I’m not surprised.
“That’s so cool! Not that I’m surprised :)”
“Congratulations! That doesn’t surprise me!”
Lack of surprise=this is what is expected. I have not gone above and beyond–I have done what is expected of me. Therefore, if I do anything less, I am a FAILURE.
At times, Rei can be arrogant, looking down on his opponents, driven by the need to win. But, simultaneously, his self-worth can be smaller than a grain of rice.
He’s also a people-pleaser who tends to take on other people’s problems and think everything is his fault, and–
He has been taking on everyone else’s problems for so long and he just breaks down. He has so much anger and resentment and desperation and just feeeeeelings.
(Heading home after a really rough day at work last week, I had such a strong desire to re-enact this scene)
(Instead of re-enacting the scene, I went home and explained the whole frustrating work situation to my Sponge sister. To which she replied, “You sound just like Rei.”)
I could go on and on about March Comes in Like a Lion, but I’ll spare you. (Just watch it. Get to episode 10 so you can fully appreciate the scene where he breaks down because it’s so good.)
To wrap it up, not writing every day has been hard. It has made me realize how much of my worth as a person I was pinning to my productivity. It has made it clear to me that I am Rei Kiriyama.
But it’s going to be okay. Because my worth as a person doesn’t depend on how much I write.
To end things on a happier note, I have still been writing this year. I haven’t completed any novels, but I have been writing short stories!
So meet my darling sad spaceman.
(Seriously, this story has a name, but every time I talk about it to my sisters I just call it “my sad spaceman story”)
Because space stations don’t come with basements? Rude.
MY BOY JUST WANTS TO SEE SOME RAIN.
That’s it for today, folks!
Seeing as my blog schedule became legend, and legend became myth, I’m not sure when exactly I’ll be back again, but hopefully soon-ish 🙂
Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions this year? If so, how are they going? Do you tend to attach your self-worth to your accomplishments? Do you know anything about Enneagrams? Are you at all tempted to watch March Comes in Like a Lion now (because you SHOULD)? What have you been writing? Should space stations have basements? Do tell!