CV of Failures // Catalogue of Regrets

For a few months, I mapped out an essay for a writing competition I was eyeing. The essay involved something I have wanted to write about for a long time now. I made extensive notes and researched. I would revisit the word document I had already started my draft on, adding incrementally every day. I made notes on my phone. I put reminders on my calendar. I had post-its on my corkboard. There was a brief hospital stint during one month and I took my notebook to the cafeteria in the evening, jotting down notes while downing Nescafe and fish buns. I visited the website every few weeks to make sure that I had the deadline right.

A week before the deadline, after months of psyching myself up, I was unable to write. I kept making weak excuses. When I sat down, I produced very little. On the day of the deadline, I made an eleventh-hour effort to put something together but it was a long day with a few surprises thrown in and at 7pm exhausted, I crawled into bed telling myself, this is going to be a half an hour nap. I woke up with a jolt at 2am, reached out for my phone and realized I had missed the deadline for the competition.

I was – I still am – so angry with myself. I had no excuse here. You can’t keep saying that life is hectic because after a point that excuse doesn’t hold water anymore. After a point, even you get tired of hearing you say it to yourself. If something is important to you, you make time for it.  If something is essential enough, you work hard towards it.

What happened was also now a recurring pattern of self-sabotage that was seeping through other areas of life – working my way towards something I really wanted and then stuttering and stumbling when I inch towards the final bit.

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I keep a CV of failures. To be honest it’s not very long.

I keep a Catalogue of regrets. Now that – that is another story. It was a list I began impulsively a few years ago. For some odd self-flagellation related reason, I carry it around with me as though one day someone will ask me what my life’s regrets are and I will say oh wait, wait — I have a list. idk, man. This is a list of personal, professional, random regrets.  Missed connections, missed opportunities. Things I almost did and didn’t and now wish I did. Things I should have been bolder with.

When you trip and fall, you have to contend with the sharp sting of failure. But when you don’t try, you don’t fail. This is a beautifully warped logic to sheathe yourself in and it keeps you safe but also stunts you.

The blunt fizz of what ifs and should haves is a wonderfully comfortable purgatory – the shots you didn’t take, the competitions you didn’t enter, the crushes you didn’t approach, the personal and professional opportunities you didn’t reciprocate, the trips you didn’t take. It is the paralysis which occurs at the prospect of not doing something well, of getting hurt, of being vulnerable, of failing. It is the self-sabotage that keeps you wedged in your comfort zone. And it’s far worse than failing.

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Why am I here. Why am I back at a dusty part of the internet that no one visits?

It’s been a weird year and I have been writing and writing and writing to make sense of it. (FYI: daily writing and journaling has been so helpful with this. 10/10 will recommend.) The writing that has emerged is def not for public consumption but it’s made me realize that I need to reclaim my relationship with writing. It’s also been useful to unpack certain things that have unfolded in the past years.

This year, more than ever, I’ve been struggling to find the motivation to write and figure out why I do what I do. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a rewarding year and my heart is full with gratitude, but I’ve felt unmoored.

Blogging was one of the things that got me started with writing and coming back to this digital relic felt like a weird homecoming of sorts.

A lot of things don’t fit. The self-confessional style I embraced earlier now grates at the part of me that guards her privacy. The spontaneity that marked my writing is definitely not there – this took 3 months. 3 months! I’m def not anonymous anymore. And then there is a pervasive anxiety that I should be doing writing that can be billed, work writing, professional writing – work that can be slotted into my resume (perennial freelance occupational thinking hazard. What to do.)

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This is very garbled and all over the place and perhaps this should have been tossed into the daily writing folder and not out here in public. Perhaps this will be deleted tomorrow. Perhaps there is a part of me that naively hopes that something will magically unclog after I publish this and I will finish all the half-finished drafts lying around and apply to those competitions I’ve earmarked for years. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about regrets and self-sabotage and work writing and non-work writing and reflecting on chunks of 2019 and this is the outcome of it and thank you for reading.

Reasons not to write

Laundry Work Deadlines Emails Personal deadlines I want to bake cinnamon rolls The cat has brought a squirrel in Is the squirrel alive But then I kind of don’t like squirrels they’re just rats with better PR so yeah thanks cat Chores Finances Oh dear December was a heavy spending month I really have to do laundry There are excel sheets to be tackled and emails to be written Argh emails I don’t want to be that person who sends work emails on a Sunday Groceries My head is full of tweet drafts and Instagram captions Welp I write so much for work that I don’t know how to write for myself Work calls I have to buy a gift for two baby showers Why is everyone having babies Two books to finish An overdue library book to renew Why aren’t there puppy parties Need to workout Is workout one word or two It’s so warm today What is my wordpress password Should this be on medium All the cool kids are on medium or instagram Also this feels a bit stupid and passé Should I be writing about Topical Very Serious Things instead I can write about Very Serious Things it feels like I’m worrying about everything these days What if blogging is just so 2009 What if this is trash Who is going to read this anyway ffs.

Twitter Killed the Blogging Star

Miss,

We regret to inform you that your inability to write sentences of more than 140 characters has resulted in your suspension from our society. In the event of your termination you will be required to hand over the codebook and membership ID. You will also be stripped of all library privileges. We might also want our society t-shirt back – the management will get back to you about that.

In order to prevent said termination, we earnestly urge you to do the following.

1. Expand your vocabulary. Your vocabulary, like, seems to have, like reduced, like totally. Y’know?

2. Tweet less, write more. Instead of tweeting in Scottish, we suggest you spend more time writing. No, not in Scottish, in proper English.  The world is a better place without every single minuscule thought being immortalized on the internet.

3.   We noticed with great trepidation that you’ve now adopted certain Hindi slang phrases into your vocabulary. We would like to express our dissatisfaction at this development. We’ll be watching you. Closely.

4. That’s all, really. We’d ask you to stop procrastinating, but we know a lost cause when we see it.

Remember, use your words wisely.

Yours in eloquence,

The Society of Words

 

 

 

Hello World (V.2.0)

 

After months of contemplation (I was too attached to the old domain. Also, blogspots so homey. WordPress is so.. sterile) we (My blog and I) have moved.

If you’ve stuck around for the past 4 years, thank you. I’m sorry for the lack of posts over the few months – Life got in the way. Moving countries took up more time and energy than I thought it would.

So.. welcome. Here’s to new beginnings. It’s a little late for wishes, but I hope the New Year is a good one for all of you.