Punch Me In The Face

Guys, early this morning I finished my sixth book of the year. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. I have so many thoughts on it I’m making it my next video. But that’ll be for later. I have to talk about something else.

This was my sixth book of 2019, yes. But it was really my sixth in less than three weeks. I’ve already surpassed my entire 2018 of reading. In three weeks. I’m proud of that. Very much so. But there’s more.

I wrote just a few weeks ago about some of my personal struggles I haven’t been able to get over. Some of the feelings I just can’t quite kick. And guess what? Now that I’m reading a bit I’m feeling so much better and I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I’m foolish for not realizing it sooner.

I have two literary tattoos. I own something like 250 books. I have this. My YouTube channel. My IG. All about books. And I know y’all know about all of these things, but what I’ve somehow forgotten is just how happy books make me. Not going out on the weekends or any of the “typical” things people my age are supposed to do, but books. Sure I love traveling and playing Xbox and even hanging out with friends, but books make me, me. And I absolutely love that.

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No Easy Day

Yes, I stole the title of the book I’m sure many of you have read. But it fits perfectly with this post. This won’t be about books.

I’m already crying my eyes out and I haven’t written anything.

One year ago today I lost my grandma. It was the single worst day I’ve experienced in my 27 years. I haven’t had a good day since then. I’ve had a few okay days, but oh so many absolutely terrible ones. On the outside I look fine. No one in public or at work has any idea anything is wrong. Even the few who do know, don’t. Not really.

When she died it was part of a chain of events that continued throughout the year that I haven’t overcome. It’s so easy to get a glimpse into someone else’s life and think all is well. They don’t have to worry about money? They have a nice place to live? They try to travel as much as they can? They work for a Fortune 100 company with lots of potential growth opportunities? They must be doing so well!

All of those describe me. And I’m not doing well at all.

No one understands my feeling of not being good enough for anything. Not good enough for a better job. Not good enough for people to genuinely care about me as a person. Not good enough to be in a relationship. Not deserving to be happy. And on and on.

I have maybe 5 friends. I should take the blame because I’m the lone constant in the endless line of people leaving. Honestly, I don’t expect to regularly talk to any of them by year’s end. It’s just how things are. But when I’m really having a terrible time I only turn to 1. Or when it gets really bad, my ex. Lately I’ve stopped saying anything to anyone because who wants to be the person constantly bothering someone else about how bad things are? Or the person who never has their shit together? Or worse, the person pitied by others? Not me. Especially when I do reach out just to talk and get nothing in response.

I know there are so many people out there feeling the same as I do. But still my feelings are only mine. No one walks in my shoes just the same as I don’t walk in anyone else’s.

I don’t know what the best course of action is. Therapy, probably. Which I haven’t done because I’m too embarrassed. If someone asked me to my face why I feel the way I do I wouldn’t have an answer. And quite honestly, I’d just break down.

My birthday was recently. I visited my grandma because she would always sing me happy birthday. I cried alone at the cemetery for an hour and went home and went to sleep. Remember those maybe 5 friends I mentioned? Not one said anything. Not one.

When all of this really began in late 2017 I never thought I’d get to 2019 and feel worse. But here I am. Yet I want to end with something positive. When someone makes an impact on you or simply helps you through some rough patches, let them know. You might feel silly or nervous or awkward, but I promise the other person will appreciate knowing they’ve helped you along the way. I cannot think of anything negative that can come from a genuine message of “I really appreciate everything you do for me.” Can you?

I’m still crying. And that’s okay.

If you read this far, thank you. I know this didn’t flow well at all.

PS: I got this in October as a daily reminder to just trust myself. I’m still working on it.

Guest Post: I’m going to slit my wrists if you don’t publish me…

… Well not really. Hmm, scratch that, I’m only kinda telling the truth.

The fact is I have had my moments, you know the type, the devastating (albeit occasionally histrionic) outbursts of “it’s not fair! Why me? What have I ever done to anyone? Who was I in a past life? Hitler!” Okay, so maybe that last one is just me. However, I have spoken to enough writers to know that emotions of desolate desperation at never being read (at least by enough people) or known are ones that attack many of us at some point in our turbulent creative journeys.

I have been writing from a very young age, seriously trying to get some sort of recognition for the past seven years or so (on an off and on basis in all honesty) and have given up on my attempts at many intervals during my writing “career”.

The countless knockbacks classily framed in those “sincere” rejection letters that have so obviously been meticulously crafted for me personally [come on publishing/literary agents, at least change the font and colour when you cut (and may I add creatively misspell) and paste my name assuring me there is someone out there with whom my story is going to click eventually, I just need to find that needle in the haystack] were enough for me on an individual basis to throw in the towel once and for all.

I would just stop, there would be no calm before the storm or voodoo inspired smoke signs before the eventual demise of my pen (or keyboard), I would seriously just get up one morning and that would be it. No more writing, no more creation, nothing. Nada. Blank space full stop.

When I look back on those times when my imagination would be firmly tucked away in the abyss that occupied the supposed artistic section of my cranium, I wonder if I was truly fine not writing. I have been innovating places, people, stories, worlds, everything and anything really that my brain can possibly conjure up for so long now, I don’t really know how not to do it.

It was only when my extremely insightful father asked me one day, “Why do you write?” that I truly reflected on the reason.

“Why do I write?” I asked myself aloud one day. I mean before all the drama and the hypocritically enamoured materialism set in, why was I writing at six? It wasn’t for the publishers. God knows I never really wrote anything to be read, I just wrote because I had to, because it made me happy, because it kept me sane and safe in a world I still, till this day, often struggle to comprehend.

Screw the publishers, I thought. Kick the literary agents to the kerb, I mentally screamed. I will write because I don’t know how not to. Not for the money, or the elusive and often fallible “fame” associated with compiling a bestseller, but solely because I can’t not write.

When I would open up the dam I had forcefully deployed to block all the creativity within me and commence on my imperfect path to writing heaven, my mind would seriously punish me by not allowing me to sleep for weeks, often months. It was like opening up a realm of wonder, full of untapped imagination that was just waiting impatiently to pounce, rip apart any sort of entrapping realism I was attempting to band aid on.

The reality is it is much more torturous for me not to write than it is to. Sure, the chances of being read by anyone really is meagrely slim, but those few and far between who do, make me so much more grateful. Who knows if I’ll ever be “famous”, but accepting my fate as a writer (successful or not) makes me that much more content to do what I don’t just love to do, but in unbridled reality, have to do.

Last time I checked, breathing isn’t an option, it’s survival and I don’t need the act to be recorded on television or anything. Similarly, writing for me is living.

So, what does writing mean to you? Truly?

MP Sharma