“If it’s not on the blog, then it’s not a piece of writing”
There’s been this on-going debate inside of me. Of course, it’s one of my many on-going debates because I am incapable of struggling with just one dilemma at a time. Superpower, anyone?
What do I mean by “if it’s not on the blog”?
Why, of course, I am referring to Instagram which I have rather intuitively begun to use as a microblog. The irony here, however, is that I am a lot more frequent with my posts on the microblog than I am on my own website!
Is it even fair then to not count those pieces as writing?
I think I have begun to make my peace somewhere given how the microblog has turned out to be the better ‘online journal’ of the two.
The answer is a photograph
Instagram is where a photograph can make me speak a thousand words; where I find myself being my most expressive and natural self. I have found that, more often than not, a photograph aids in the free flow of thought – which is especially helpful when a blank sheet of paper has seemed intimidating. And therefore, I microblog
Here are a few of my favourite recalls from the microblog
Prompted by Elizabeth Gilbert
Earlier this year I was reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, when a line I read not just stayed with me but triggered a flood of thoughts that found its way to my the microblog:
I have a friend, an aspiring musician, whose sister said to her one day, quite reasonably, “What happens if you never get anything out of this? What happens if you pursue your passion forever, but success never comes? How will you feel then, having wasted your entire life for nothing?”
My friend, with equal reason, replied, “If you can’t see what I’m already getting out of this, then I’ll never be able to explain it to you”
Those aren’t my words. But they’re similar to words I remind myself of when the going gets tough — which can stretch into longish spans of time. Those of us eking a living by scavenging for work in domains that bring us fulfillment know what this implies…
We’ve taken the first leap of faith and then some more, many more in fact and the ‘What Ifs’ keep stacking up
I have to be content with ‘only’ having gotten this far?
I am not as strong as I imagined myself to be?
The work I want to do does not exist?
On those days, you shut the laptop and turn your phone off and tune into the thump of your own heart.
I do that quite often.
I am not as stoic as I’m required to be.
And that’s okay…
I write to my blog simply because I love the process of writing. I love that I get to live vicariously one more time through it.
Sometimes, it gets read by folks. Sometimes it does not. And on some extremely good days, it reaches people and places I could never have imagined
I’ve been asked why I haven’t monetized my blog. I don’t have an answer except that I don’t want money to determine the tone of what I write
*end of monologue*
Prompted by Snapchat’s doppelgänger
Some months later, when I was browsing through some of my own photographs I came across one from Udaipur that reminded me of the Snapchat logo. And before I knew it, the thought-train went something like this:
I used to liken knowing more with getting better at managing “life”. I’ve started to see how the two are entirely unrelated, i.e. no direct correlation whatsoever. If anything, knowing more has shown me how little I truly know …and that in return helps me manage myself better!
As for Life, she’s mostly about reframing the perspective. It’s like attempting an exam where the question paper remains unchanged but your answers can’t!
Prompted by the work I do
Over the course of 2017, I have been growing into work I love doing – facilitating sessions on expressive writing and un-layering personal narratives with individuals, groups, and organizations. In turn, I am the first ‘beneficiary’ of my own venture. After all, it has turned an extremely private and introverted woman into something of a hustler and provoked her to ask herself some poignant questions, like:
What do you want to see more of in the world around you?
I want to see more connection and less transaction in our relationships
…experience more community and less covetousness in our interactions
I want to hear more of the raw honest expressions and less of the sanitized diplomatic ones
…inhale more of the possibilities…
And I want to savour the Nows…
This isn’t just a wish anymore.
These aren’t just soliloquies of an itinerant mind.
Prompted by my own beliefs
Of course, wishes and soliloquies have gone on to reinforce my own beliefs back to me. Sometimes writing posts to the microblog have felt like writing tiny notes and reminders to myself. This one in particular from not-so-long-ago definitely felt so:
“I am both happy and sad at the same time, and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be”, Stephen Chbosky wrote in The Perks of Being a Wallflower
It took me some time to ruminate this thoroughly. And I can’t say I have done so completely. But here’s a thought I’ve been trying to get comfortable with: Why are we wired to think in binaries?
Happy OR Sad
Right OR Wrong
Good OR Bad
Digital OR Analog
Life is seldom that. And yet, we’re pitting two opposite tendencies against each other.
Yes, I am happy AND sad
I’m not trying to figure out the How
This has NOT been easy
But journaling helped
Expressing myself through the written word helped. A LOT.
I am human
I will experience the entire range of emotions there are to experience in this, my lifetime. And that is the one truth I want to stand and live by.
The Sad me needs care and understanding
The Happy me needs connection and conversation
If I understand fully the needs behind my emotions, then that will help me understand myself
If I shun one side of me AND only favour the other side of me, I’m going to stuck on a rocking chair — moving, but not really
I’m still work in progress
But it’s getting better as I own my story. For what it is.
I am happy AND I am sad
Isn’t it wonderful how a photograph can work like a prompt?
And isn’t it interesting to see how otherwise unrelated thoughts seemingly come together when you let yourself just go with the flow?
We are our stories
But we can be more than our stories
And we can make our stories be more too – more of what we truly and earnestly want for ourselves.
Have you explored your story? If you’d like to unravel your story through the medium of expressive writing, you might want to look up my upcoming workshops where I share some of these non-intrusive techniques of self-expression.
You can catch the glimpses from the previous workshops here
Let’s work together
I use stories as a medium when working with individuals, groups and organizations to help explore and improve both, intra and inter personal relationships.
I’m open to both, workshop as well as content collabs. Let’s explore