My decision to turn down my acceptance to law school was complicated and fraught with indecision. For a long time I comforted myself with the knowledge that I would never be the kind of person capable of falling in love with a job. Even as a dedicated student who would rather study than party, I hoarded my spare time with extreme jealousy. While I dedicated all-nighters to perfecting research papers, it wasn’t out of passion. So often my reward for finishing 1,000 words was joining my sister in video game session. For me, work is the thing I do to justify and afford all of the things I actually enjoy. I do it because as much as I dislike the slogging, I hate failing even much more.
As an obliger, motivation is a hard thing to rally. On energetic days, I make goals and believe I will achieve them. Plans seem so simple, so probable. “I will do this,” I tell myself with a fist in the air. “Tomorrow. After I finish this novel.” On passive days, I tell myself the goals don’t really matter. It isn’t as if anyone is keeping track. Without something to earn or something to prove, it is easier to pretend I never expected anything in the first place.
Today is a passive day. I am not very motivated to write or to blog at all, ever again. What difference would it make? I’d only be letting down myself, and myself is accustomed to being let down. I am tired. Work is long. It is cold outside and I don’t want to get up in the morning to freeze with the dog for half an hour. Only to freeze again when I return home. I live for the weekends but they are too short. And I never accomplish as much as I desire. What is wrong with placating myself with television and cookies? Why work harder than necessary?
In a logical sense I know even the most comfortable luxuries must be leavened with industry in order to be gratifying. It could be the weather or the lack of activity. It could be the lure of the comparison game, always dangerous ground for someone who can write an ordered list of all the things she is not but finds it impossible to say what she is.
I am not an athlete or a dancer or an artist. I am not a dog trainer or a skier or a scientist. I am not a lawyer or a teacher or a singer. I am not a woman who can apply eyeliner or decorate a house or cook a meal without a recipe. I am not crafty. I am not good at math. I am not patient. I am not magic.
I am an almost-wife. I am a sister and I am a daughter, though I don’t think I am a very good version of the latter. I try to be a friend. Other than that?
I don’t know.
I am reading a book filled with assignments meant to teach me how to write better. When I opened the book, I meant to read one chapter, complete the task, and then move on to the next. The tasks aren’t difficult and should be entertaining. I am eight chapters in and I haven’t started my homework from the first. The exercise in front of me involves writing 750 words about the kind of writing I like to read in order to set the standard for my own endeavours. Although I know what I wish to say, I cannot force myself to get the words down.
I wonder if I have become intimidated by the rules. Perhaps by desiring to learn how to write well, I have lost the little confidence I had that enabled me to write at all. A bit of knowledge in the wrong hands can be disastrous. The words don’t flow any more, if they ever did. I am obsessed with concept nouns. I question every tense. This constant editing doesn’t make my writing better, it inhibits. I have lost the desire to write for the sake of writing.
Another assignment, from the book, is to keep a notebook or journal. This is not something I have ever been able to undertake with regularity. All of my high school attempts were dotted with embellishments, for no one’s benefit but my own, and ended in pure fiction. For something that no one was ever going to read but me, I spent a great deal of time making it entertaining.
This blog, while not a diary, contains more personal truth than any of my previous writing. And it couldn’t be more public. It is interesting that I have no difficulty lying to myself but balk at embroidering my life online. If I ever discover the reasons for this, I hope they will also permit me to be as vulnerable in my real life as I can be in this space.
For now, I will keep trying. Especially when it’s hard. I don’t want to disappoint myself any more. I am worth more than that.