Sometimes, I think blogs are a bane rather than a boon to writing. Anyone can start a blog for free and write pretty much whatever they want. Often, you find blogs with atrocious writing–terrible grammar, bad spelling, illogical structures–and lots of gratuitous sex and violence. The worst part is that a great deal of this incredibly cringe-worthy writing gets published as fan fiction, simply because of the number of people who follow that kind of writing. I sometimes wonder if half of their fans are not followers because of some morbid fascination over how horrible the writing can be, or simply because it seems like something they understand–because the language sounds exactly like theirs, the stories things they wished they could have told themselves. Rather than uplift the average or below-average reader by exposing them to better literature, this class of literature celebrates and perpetuates ignorance by passing off as fiction. True, they will never ever be good enough to win prizes or recognition from prestigious award-giving bodies, but they might occasionally creep into the New York Times Bestseller list by virtue of selling a million copies or more. Even fine literature falls victim to marketing and crass commercialization.
33. A New Post
I started writing this collection of 365 things to look forward to for several reasons.
1. I wanted to force myself to write something everyday. The original plan was to write something everyday, until a whole year was up. Then I would have 365 blog entries that I could turn into a book, or sift through and turn into a book, or pick through for topics that I could develop further and eventually turn those into a book. Unfortunately, I hit a few snags early on, and a month passed and I still didn’t have 30-31 things to look forward to. Now, I have 33! One month and a couple of days of things to look forward to and counting. I know it’s a daunting task, but I always wanted to be a serious writer. Which means, I wanted to make writing a life-time career. I’d always dreamed of becoming a writer, and I know I was getting there, but bills got in the way, and other jobs provided a more steady income. Now, before it’s too late, I just want to get on my way, so I’m always setting aside some time for writing. And as long as I can do it, I will do it every single day for the rest of my life.
2. I needed to start counting my blessings. The past two years have taken a lot out of me. I’m still recovering, but I know I need to face life head on and go on with it. Many times, I’d just take things for granted. Most things, I’d take with a grain of salt. Everything was just ordinary. Nothing special ever really happened in my life. At least, that’s how I looked at it. I was just living. I know I started becoming cynical when I was in elementary school, and I was a full-blown cynic in high school. I also developed an armor of protection. Nothing would faze me–at least on the outside. I’d taken on a serious visage and a sharp tongue. Everything I said was tongue-in-cheek, in the sense of an earlier meaning that connoted contemptuous humor. I was satirical, cynical, sardonic, critical, and took everything with a grain of salt. I remained quiet whenever I could, rarely speaking and when I did, it would be some pointed comment. Beneath all that, I wanted to be liked and like others around me. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to understand what my classmates’ lives were like, because my life certainly didn’t seem like anything anyone else I knew had. So I struggled to be that way in my senior year, and I brought that into university, where I adopted a very casual, very carefree aura. I became the belle of the ball, so to speak, and I always tried to look my best, by dressing in very feminine couture, as opposed to my boyish outfits before senior high. I enjoyed the attention and I never showed how I really felt about things. I was a natural flirt and enjoyed the attention I felt I would never get when I was younger, because I was the nerdy geeky girl with eyeglasses at whom men never made passes. I traded my eyeglasses for contact lenses, which did wonders to boost my ego, which had been brutally and constantly bruised growing up. I was extremely active in various organizations and found that I could influence people and I could make myself heard. I was experiencing independence, freedom, and responsibility like never before. And I learned that I could be in control of it all. Through all that, nobody every knew when I had problems or difficulties or issues with anything in life. I was always smiling, always friendly, but still avoided speaking when I could. I preferred to sit at the edge of things, except when I was pushed up front and center to assume leadership roles or to perform tasks, which I always strove to do my best at. I preferred to listen to others as long as I could and not volunteer anything until people looked to me, or I felt obliged to speak up and do something because no one else would, or they couldn’t figure out how to approach a problem, and so on. I preferred to watch people, because I could learn so much about them just by watching them, listening to them speak, observe how they interacted with others and reacted to people or situations or ideas. This was something I had enjoyed doing since childhood—just watching, observing–and I still enjoy doing it now. I can sit for hours, imagining what people’s lives are like from watching them, making up stories about them. After so many years of wearing this persona, I have finally realized that I do have talents that other people don’t have. I always thought I was just another ordinary, insecure girl, who had grown up to be an ordinary, insecure woman. I never thought my life was so different, or so special, or so unusual, or even so extraordinary. I never thought that some of what I do and have been doing all my life are things a lot of other people can’t do at all. I have learned to face the fact that I have been showered with so many blessings, which more than make up for the pains of growing up the way I did. It’s not the first time I tried to start counting my blessings, but every time I tried to in the past, I’d get foiled. I have learned in a very hard way that I can’t let things or people foil me. I’m in control of my life. While I can’t control everything, like my job, the environment, politics, and other people, I can always control the way I feel or react to things. I can always control the way I think. Of course, once in a while, I might indulge in a pityfest. But that’s human. What most people fail to do is learn to stop pitying themselves and learn to love themselves and see everything as some sort of blessing, twisted and disguised as they may be. Being able to even begin to see that is, in itself, a blessing.
3. I need to be more positive. For the longest time, I’d seen things with a jaded eye. There were people and things, of course, that were exempt from this point of view. Those people were mainly my friends who I considered close to me, or those who had taken our relationship from “colleagues” and “associates” to “friends.” I’m not going to name any now, but I do keep in touch with several of them, and even those I haven’t been in touch with are still special to me. Those are people who, no matter what, I will consider good and dear friends. Others are just passing through my life. But that’s not the way it is. In reality, everyone and everything that is in contact with me in whatever shape or form they come, touches my life, becomes a part of me. Some will affect me in a huge way. Some in tiny ways. But I know I am learning things from them, every single day, every moment of my life. I just need to acknowledge that more often. I need to accept that. And I need to do it in a positive way. Some things or people might pass through with little effect and hardly any affect, but that’s because I will have learned that these are insignificant to me, or potentially harmful, hence the need to avoid them or discard them. That’s actually a life lesson. I need to count my blessings and see things in a more positive way. Which brings me back to item 2 in this entry. Blessings and positivity. You can’t separate those two.
4. I need to focus. Too many things interest me. I want to do too many things. I want to learn too many things. I want to be too many things. But I have only one life at the moment. And one self. One body. One me. I knew, back in high school, that I needed to focus on something to determine what course to pursue in university, and eventually, what path my career would take. I was overjoyed when we were offered an aptitude test, that would help use determine what areas we were good at, so that we could plan our future along those lines. That way, we wouldn’t be wasting time developing an area that we had absolutely no aptitude for. I was completely dismayed and disappointed when my results came back. I was hoping the test would decide for me what direction I could and should take. The results I got back showed that I scored at the top of the chart in three career areas (out of five), and scored in the second bracket in the remaining two areas. Before the results were out, I was told that I could pursue a career in the areas where my aptitude lay in the the top two brackets. All I found out was that I could be good at any of all the 5 areas, and that I would be good in any career. I couldn’t even ignore the lowest-scoring area because there wasn’t one. And I couldn’t focus on the top-scoring area because there were three of them! So once again, I was thrown into a quandary where I could be anything I wanted be. And so my life continued, picking up skills in disparate areas of interest. I have finally decided that my earliest desire, to be a writer, is what is really best for me, because it allows me to use the knowledge I have acquired over all the different aspects of my life into a singular task, albeit with a myriad outputs. I have also decided that the second thing I do want to specialize in is my art. That will be totally new discussion, of course, as this entry is getting quite lengthy.
So, there you have it. This is why I chose to start writing 365 things to look forward to. It doesn’t mean I won’t write about other things, because if I do, that means I’m doing just dandy, because finally, my writing is coming handy!
Putting together a blog is not easy.
In the first place, what do you say that you don’t mind the rest of the world knowing?
It’s also a challenging exercise. You need to figure out what to put in your blog and what to keep out.
There’s one thing I have to say for blogs: it’s a great way to organize your past.
I’ve been wanting to sort out all the bits and pieces of the past that I’ve been keeping in all kinds of little boxes forever. Doesn’t everyone have a little box or two or three somewhere with things you just can’t throw out? Little things that remind you of incidents in your life that you might otherwise have forgotten?
I could never get all sorted out and organized the way I imagined I should because there never really was any pressure to do it. But now that I’ve got a blog that I’ve got to fill up with things, all of a sudden, I’m pressured. Besides, all my friends are digging up their old pictures from elementary school and posting them on Facebook and other places. I know I’ve got a bundle of pictures somewhere…everywhere.
I’ll be opening up those boxes now, one by one. I’ll be reading old notes and letters that are yellowed and torn at the edges or crumbling. Well, not really–that’s just waxing poetic, but you get my meaning. But honestly, some of them are crumbling. I’ll be scanning each and every little souvenir and letter and photograph and note and card so I’ll have an on-line scrapbook that’ll be an autobiography of sorts, as well.
And I will be baring myself to the world.