This blog—which has become an intro to what might as well be my future best selling novel— has turned three today. Three years of words, ideas, heartbreaks, and energy all compiled onto this thing called the internet. But instead of celebrating, I’m overwhelmed. Nowadays, I’m not even sure if I am even a writer. I grapple with the idea of if this is what I even want to do anymore.
Somewhere between a year of freelancing, aggregating trendy content for some of your favorite publications and being consistently asked to write about a “carefree life” I just didn’t live, I lost it. I lost the feeling, I lost the love and the passion for writing. And who the fuck am I to not be passionate about anything? I’ve avoided my blog so much that even typing the name into my search engine has made me anxious. Calling myself a writer or blogger has seemed like a lie. I’ve gotten texts from people with ideas for my blog asking “when I’m getting back to writing” and had to refrain from replying “when I enjoy it again.”
Shit, how can I be offended if someone else has ideas for me when I don’t even have them for myself?
See, I’ve convinced myself that the stories I had on my heart now wouldn’t be as good as the last ones. So every time I put my pen to the paper or finger to the keyboard, it felt forced. Nothing flows as it used to. I’ve spent my time channeling my energy into other creative things, all while treating writing like my neglected child.
There was a time where writing consumed every part of me, I used to be excited to write— it was apart of my identity. The “blogger girl”—who could turn a short-lived fiery romance into a post to cradle her wounded ego and yet thinly veil it in “moving on”— yes, I am she. Or was. The girl, who you’ve stood next to at concerts and festivals as she obnoxiously rapped the words to your favorite artist’s songs then wrote about it, I am she. Or was. The girl, who overshared and tweeted her way through many procrastination fueled-anxiety attacks instead of tackling things head on. Yes, I am she and still that girl, if we’re keeping it real.
Everyday has become a constant battle between who I am and who I am supposed to become. Some call it adulthood, others call it growing pains. I call it a headache. Most days, positivity wins as I wake up, force a fake smile until I believe it to be true, and start my day. “We’re getting to the bag,” I repeat in my clouded mind (that typically runs on four hours of sleep) as I make my way to the train station. I’m optimistic and the trait keeps me out of the dark most days. But on days that seem to be too frequent as of late, it kicks in. It starts off small, it’s an afterthought. With every amazing interview or piece I read from someone I admire then immediately doubt if I could ever do the same, it grows. With every idea I scrap after wondering if it’s even worthy enough to bring into reality, it begins to crawl up my spine and hug me making my chest feel tight. With every “Am I really a creative” or “What am I really doing?” It grows until it finally consumes me. And like a child afraid of a monster that she’s created, that tiny piece of who I need to become hides in a corner of my mind.
My favorite artists, poets, and writers have all spent time privately (and sometimes publicly) drowning themselves in self doubt accompanied by a vice of their choice. As I struggle to not join their club, I often wonder who am I to even compare myself to them? “Who are you?” is a question I’ve been answering since college. As I was raised with the belief that your name was the only thing that mattered, “I’m Jourdan,” was always my simple yet naïve answer. A professor kept me after class once to tell me one thing I’ll never forget. “No one cares what your name is. They only care about what you can do for them.” From that day forward, I was taught to have my “elevator pitch” on the tip of my tongue and ready to recite at any moment. But, what happens when you don’t believe in your pitch anymore? What happens when those positive affirmations just aren’t hitting that day? What happens when you see yourself become as small as an unhealthy environment makes you feel? What happens when you look in the mirror and really have to ask “Who the fuck am I?”
The short answer? I’m not sure. In a time where instant gratification seems to satisfy the masses and ourselves, the beauty of self-doubt is the long battle to get out of it. I could’ve written something positive about three years of having my own space for creative freedom, and being able to actually see who I was, who I am now, and who I’m becoming. But would that be my truth? I don’t always wake up feeling like “a black Carrie Bradshaw”, the second coming of my favorite author Toni Morrison, or even myself. I don’t always feel like writing is my calling, but on the days I do… It feels like a friend I’ve missed and we have lots of catching up to do. Maybe, this will be the start of something new or maybe it won’t. For now, this could just be another page in my book, but that would mean I’m a writer… right?