Sometimes my heartbeat quickens when I’m about to hit that ‘Publish’ button. I wonder how the piece will be received by anyone who reads it. I wonder what emotion or feeling it will trigger in them. I wonder if they will agree with me, if they’ll think I’m a fool while disagreeing vehemently or if they’ll simply move on, completely unmoved by it–this last one is the worst. In fact, before I made this blog public, shared it on social networks and started writing less frivolous pieces and more frequently, I worried about negative reactions. Wait, let me start at an earlier point in time.
This blog was once on Windows Live Spaces and I started outgrowing it in 2009 (somewhere around this one, I think). That’s when I desperately wanted my blog to be on WordPress, but I didn’t know how to transfer all my old posts from Live Spaces to WordPress. I tried exporting it, but Live Spaces wasn’t a compatible platform for that. I downloaded some software meant to help achieve that, but it didn’t work. I didn’t want to lose my archive so I stayed put, dissatisfied, wishing I could somehow migrate to WordPress.
Then, in late September 2010, Windows Live emailed me to say that they were shutting down Spaces and…wait for it…moving their blogs to WordPress! I was ecstatic! They said to create a WordPress account as soon as possible so I used one I already had, called integratedkarma. It was inspired by the tattoo I have on my right shoulder-blade, which reads karma in Devanāgarī script shaped like the integration sign in mathematics (since that was my major in university); it stands for “the sum of all of one’s deeds.” Anyway, the first post I wrote on WordPress was Crash and Burn. That, incidentally, was when my main laptop died and I was forced to use a 10″ netbook for a while, which I’d bought for my first solo trip to Europe in 2009. But, despite the cramped keyboard of that convenient little white Samsung netbook, that month of October saw me write 15 posts, a personal…best, I suppose, having never, prior to that, written as many in a month. (I don’t believe I would have been able to do it without my singlehood. Thank goodness for it: I may never have discovered that side of me had all those relationships not gone sour. We Were is about all of them. So I have definitely got to give singledom a lot of credit and hope it sticks around.) My writing had already become quite personal in 2009, but now I was beginning to share it with a wider audience, with people who’d been a part of incidents that made me write certain pieces, even though most of them would never realise that they’re somehow linked to it.
When your writing is inspired by your own life’s events, there are usually other people involved in the backstory who could, possibly, take offense to something you’ve written–if they recognise their connection to it, that is. (The F Word was written because of a certain clueless “friend”‘s behaviour.) So in the beginning I’d tried very hard to stay neutral and write about absolutely safe topics lest someone disagree or, what I thought was worse then, get mad at me. Then as I wrote more, I realised that so long as I believe in and am sure of what I’m writing, another person’s opinion shouldn’t faze me. And then, since this is my blog, I suppose I’m entitled to express on it my views, my perspectives and my take on situations that have affected me. So I wrote more freely, with more passion, but still being careful to not be offensive. There’s an invisible line which must not be crossed and I’ve never intended harm. Besides, this blog means a lot to me, its importance in my life grows with every piece of writing and I would never want to misuse it. So I choose words carefully because I don’t want to hurt anyone through this–and I try my hardest not to–; it is merely a means of expression–sort of like tattoos or body piercings for some, but it’s therapeutic and sometimes I surprise myself with certain realisations while writing a piece: Thoughts, opinions and feelings I didn’t know existed within me begin to surface. It catches me off-guard sometimes and the piece takes a different turn, like it has a life of its own. Sometimes I just think about exactly how I’m feeling and let my fingers type away. If you could see me writing, you’d see my face contort into different expressions involuntarily. You’d see my eyes narrow when the words mention bad sides of people’s natures, you’d see my mouth tighten when writing about their nastiness, a look of serene calm when talking about being free and letting go, and you’d see me smile when I write about happiness and joy.
Passion controls my writing so much that I cannot write at length if not sufficiently moved. The piece will feel stilted and I will think of it as only mediocre and I hope none of those recently have seen the light of day. I can do little blurbs, yes. I have to write for our company’s blog which has an informal feel to it, but I cannot wait for the mood to strike when I have to put something out. Those aren’t elaborate pieces of writing so it takes only a little effort. But here, where I have the liberty to write when I feel like it, seemingly unfinished posts will sit under ‘Drafts’ for a long while, until I decide to fish them out and see if I want to salvage any, or sometimes even just bits and pieces of them. (I backdated Close to the Chest to when it was first written and published it with that earlier date after it had lain among the drafts for almost 3 months.)
See, I know these aren’t world issues and maybe those are bigger than our personal ones and maybe not as many millions of people care about the latter, but that doesn’t make ours any less significant; they still matter, just on a personal level, affecting us directly in the worlds that are completely our own. If you click on that picture up there, you’ll see a bit of the cover I added to the journal that I wrote to help myself get through a particularly difficult time in my life. I still use it, but its contents are never shared. There’ve been times lately when it has helped me overcome writing blocks by ridding me of negative feelings which get in my way, and then I can write to share, with ease. (The Frown Collectors was written after an extremely cleansing writing session on totally different issues the day before.) So sometimes when my heart-rate increases just before clicking ‘Publish’ it’s because of the passion and thought and meaning behind every piece. It’s because I believe in each one so strongly that I’m almost afraid to have it subject to scrutiny, whether I know of it or not, irrespective of each reader’s verdict. Then, sometimes an amazing thing happens: When a person, even if just one person, tells me how deeply a piece affected them or simply made a difference, in any manner, to them or helped effect a positive change in their perspective, I know it was worth it to put each thought into words exactly the way I thought it and felt it. Sometimes I hear of it and maybe sometimes I don’t, but to be able to reach even one person out there, whether I know it or not, that’s enough for me. And that, really, is what it’s all about.
Thank you for encouraging me by as simple a deed as reading.