Shouting longing into the void: a sort-of manifesto
I've started a couple blog posts lately that I've felt overwhelmed by. When I say "overwhelmed," I mean that I'm writing them and there's no end in sight. There's no place where I can wrap it up, save the post, revise a few times, publish it and feel good about it. When I say "overwhelmed," I mean that I'm opening up cans of worms everywhere. I'm spilling my marbles all over the place.
And that's part of the reason I started this blog/site/whatever in the first place. To test out ideas, to write whatever came to me and about whatever I found interesting in the moment. Something in me told me that if I started this and followed my writerly nose, I would find the things I needed to write about.
Needless to say, those couple of blog posts are no longer blog posts. They've made their way to Word documents. I'm not going to call them essays, but I'll call them "things."
I've blogged since blogging was a thing. I blogged more often when I had free time, lots of free time. And angst. Lots of angst and emo-y feelings and heartache and shit that I just couldn't hold inside. And for some reason, blogging was the perfect way to express all of that.
Some of the things I wrote and published were intensely personal and vulnerable. I wrote about crushes, and longing, and heartbreak, and memory, and anger. When people I knew found my blogs or read what I wrote, I was intensely embarrassed, but it didn't stop me from continuing. It doesn't seem like it makes any sense -- why would I write such intense, vulnerable, personal things and then publish them on the internet? And if I did that, why would I be so embarrassed when people from my actual life found it and read it?
Blogging in those days was more about finding a place where I could shout and scream my heartbreak and longing at the edge of an internet cliff, hear it echo, and then get on with my day. In those days, when I blogged, I was never thinking of who would read it. Nobody was ever next to me when I walked up to the edge of that virtual cliff. It was just me.
These days, I would hesitate to hit "publish" on even a fraction of what I blogged about ten years ago.
I started Medusa Ironbox because something in me said, yes. Now is the time. So I did it. I started Medusa Ironbox, because I was tired of feeling like I needed to write something and then send it out into the world, but having nowhere to send it. I was tired of the idea of being "accepted" to a literary journal, of trying to fit my writing into a linear essay format, or any kind of form that demanded coherence. I started Medusa Ironbox because the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to lift up the blog entry as a legit literary form (whatever "legit" means), because, right now, it's the only place where I feel free to embrace my chaos and resist a demand for coherence.
I love the immediacy of the blog post, its documentation of specific moments in time. The way a blog can cultivate a community, or lift up social justice issues or ideas or knowledge that the mainstream ignores. It's a way for a person to carve out a space for themselves in the world, whether their reach is 3 people or 300 or more. Blogs are something to take seriously, are things to be reckoned with. They are not side projects or offshoots. Blogs are not trivial - it doesn't matter if I'm a 15-year- old writing about my crushes, or a heartbroken 21-year-old shouting my longing into the void, or a 31-year-old feeling around in the dark to find connections between food, self-care, activism, music, books, race and culture. All of it matters and all of it is worth reading.
Beyond that: all of it is worth writing.
So...this is my post for the week, I guess. In real life, I'm in the middle of a busy training season, which means I'm constantly scrambling to get everything done in time. I feel like I'm spinning a bunch of plates and they're all wobbling, but I can't/won't let any of them fall. It doesn't necessarily feel like it in this moment, but I suspect that I'm in survival mode. I'll know when I'm on the other side.
It's times like this when self-care is the most important, and I'm not great at it. I let the sink pile up with dishes. I don't do my laundry as often as I should. I don't feel like washing my hair. And so on. You know how it is.
This blog is part of my self-care. It's a way for me to re-center myself, when so much of my day is spent in service to others. And these damn blog posts that I talked about earlier that have overwhelmed me? They don't feel like self-care right now, but the fact that they exist, that they're waiting for me when I have time and energy to return to them -- that's self-care. I wouldn't have started them without Medusa Ironbox.
So I'm going to channel my fearless 20-year-old self, and just publish this because dammit. This is a piece of my revolution.