The First Diary Log in a Long Time

I started to write again daily logs a few weeks ago as an attempt to make myself write when I am not in the mood to write creatively.

It was impossible not to remember the first time I started a diary and compare. I must have been around 15 then, or a bit older, still it was fun to remember how I was then versus now. As with all of us, some things changed and some didn’t and I discovered fact that most of my demons are still here, that I hadn’t faced them.

In the middle of that something happened, I gave a voice to my demons so I decided to share.

The following is my diary log as it is in my copybook (though edited, and run-on paragraphs have been omitted):

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The last time I started jotting daily logs I was around 15, and carried on doing so till my 20’s.

Now at 33, I can’t help but look back at how different I was at 15, how I have changed, and what are the things I have and have not accomplished.

It makes me smile to think, that although I have achieved many things, I did so differently than my 15 year-old self would have wanted and that’s actually not only OK, but for the better. I am happy that my life did not end up being a dream come true for my 15 year old self, but a happy life for my now 33 year old self.

If I had to point the greatest change to my character these last 18 years have resulted in, it would be the loss of most of my idealism, in favor of realism, empathy, leniency, and pragmatism. The area where age least affected, I suppose, would be my optimism… I still a few negative traits I thought I would have shed by now, but I haven’t. I don’t want to mention them, as they may still go away if I don’t give them any attention… like I said I am an optimist.

I learnt a few things too growing up. I know now that some things are attainable if we reach out, and I also know, that hard work does not always result in success. I learned that failure does not mean incompetency, but that an unfinished work never counts as an accomplishment. It cannot even be a good indicator of potential, only a finished work can be. An successful person does not talk about the things he/she can accomplish, only the things he/she already did.

A good discovery I have made since I was fifteen is that I have never, ever regretted following my moral compass. Every single “great opportunity” that I didn’t take, every little oversight that I did not commit, and every time I was tempted to settle for something and I didn’t, it turned out for the best. Never there has been an instant in my life that following my moral compass did not only let me keep my dignity as person but also protected me from harm.

15 year old me will be positively surprised that following my unwavering faith to what love should be has led me to loving and marrying the most wonderful and amazing person that Johnny is. In retrospect, this just amazes me.

Well that’s all fine and dandy, 15 year old me would say right about now and then ask “so are you a published writer like we always wanted to be?”

Well, about that…

I could give a “clever” answer to why I have not been able to be there yet. I could say that maybe life sometimes guides you away from what you want in life in favor for gaining experience in other areas so that I can become a better artist or writer over the long run, but the truth is, this explanation  would only serve to make myself feel better. The no-bullshit-short answer is “No, because I am a lazy coward.”

While I have been published  a few times (in a couple of magazines like Time out Beirut, and Entrepreneur, I have a children’s story on the Lamsa app, and have self-published on Amazon and the ibookstore), I am nowhere near being a successful author.

Like my 15 year old self would want, I still want be a published writer, a capable illustrator, an artist that can create engaging works of art. I also wanna be a frequent blogger to entertain often and get in touch with people. I love meeting new people and getting to know them, even though I am such an introvert that just thinking about it physically tires me.

Even though I have published blogs, and I have published small pieces of my work, still the idea that i have to give others a piece I have written terrifies me. It makes me feel exposed, and ashamed.

(You are only reading this piece because I have been “psyching” myself up for it for 5 weeks now and some of the raw material has been stricken out)

I think this is the reason that whenever I come close to finish something, I just can’t. I try and I try to hide any detail that may reflect upon myself, what I truly think and how I truly am. I edit and edit until my work becomes a total bastardization of my original idea, it becomes devoid of any depth and just blunt. In the end, I become frustrated as the work becomes so irredeemable that my only option is to start another project.

This is not the worst part, the worst part is that it’s a cycle. If I stay like this I will never publish a book, not now, not 18 years from now. If I don’t fight it, if I don’t even try, I would have not lived a fulfilled life.

I had many paths to choose all along my life, I chose to try and be a published, to be successful writer and I have a plan. I am going to be a blogger and work my way up to a successful writer. Even if every blog is a fight against my demons. I will have to face them, one day right?

(Around here I was thinking maybe I should post this on my blog, and then my demons came as expected… I wanted to face them, to fight them, so the following happened– heads up: in my mind it happened colorfully like the hybrid of the movie where Scott Pilgrim fights the exes and Epic rap battles of history, except it is not a rap battle… in fact I am the least qualified person on Earth to rap anything)

Cynthia Fights Her Demons

ROUND 1: Me VS. the Self Doubt Creature (SDC)

SDC: You are not going to post this, are you?

me: Well, I was thinking it could be entertaining for people to see me talking about my demons, right? and it’s personal, truthful and real, and hopefully grammar error free.I think they might like it.

SDC: People you know may read it

me: Yes, I know. I usually never want people to know that I am struggling with anything. I want people who know me to think of me as happy, content and hopeful all the time, because I am! but this is just a struggle they could also identify with.

SDC: You should remove it from your Facebook feed, or create a new blog without any ties to your personal social media accounts.

me: I could do that, but the whole point of sharing this in my own established blog is that it is a personal experience. It could inspire people to face their own demons in amusing ways.

SDC: Now we’re being a little full of ourselves, why anything you write can be an inspiration to anyone?

me: This is more of a hope of mine. The log could be entertaining too.

SDC: Aren’t you kind of old to be doing what you are doing right now? You have too much self doubt to have any ambitions about writing. better not embarrass yourself with any of this.

me: Why have I always felt that I was too old to do anything? I swear I remember being 4 and thinking I was too old for ballet, because I got it in my head that “you gotta be 2 to start learning ballet.”

SDC: What would Johnny say?

me:  I could ask him

SDC: THIS WHOLE THING IS STUPID, once you think about it, you will realize it. Go ahead post it and be spontaneous. You’ll regret it, the minute it gets published. All this sharing and being an “extrovert” is not who you are. Better stay true to yourself.

me: Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone

SDC: … you’re hopeless

me:  I could write other things  suppose, instead of this. I don’t have to write personal things.

SDC: Whatever, it is probably going to be boring anyway. You are not that interesting. Why do even you think you could be special enough to be interesting

***Enter the Over-excited Optimistically Fantastical Fairy(OOFF)***

OOF: OMG! OMG! OMG! If you post this conversation between you and your demons, it’s going to be HUGE! This is soooo interesting! You are going to do GREAT THINGS!!!

SDC & me: Shut up!

SDC: Who left the window open?

me: I did, I needed someone to balance you out. Hopefully one day I can be strong enough to mute you both, forever.

SDC and OFOT: You will never get rid of us

me: Probably not, it wouldn’t be human, and I think I have wasted enough time talking to myself today.

I am going to ask Johnny what he thinks of this.

End Of Round 1!!!

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….And this is how I ended the first diary log in a long time. Giving voice to my demons gave me a visual of how my subconsciousness works, and where it blocks me. 

I asked Johnny this is how the conversation went:

– me: so I have started a diary where I talk to my demons and it is actually helping me with my self-doubt as a writer

– Johnny: Cool, you should share that on your blog, it is interesting…

So after I took the approval of my hubby, I got a new sense of self-confidence and went right away to publish it on my blog… No I am kidding, I have battled with this for 5 weeks, and if you are reading this now I won… See why I need to face my demons? I will never get anything published if I can’t publish a frigging blog.

And here’s  something to look forward for next week. Next week, I will share the next log in my new diary. It is about facing the the demon that always seems to have the upper hand on me. If you are reading this, it doesn’t mean I won a round with him, it just means I am hiding from him.  Shhhhhhhh….

No More Procrastination

Procrastination was a real problem for me. It is for every writer starting out, probably – I thought my problem was unique until I discovered tumblr, pinterest and other social media making fun little posts about writers procrastinating.

“Why you do procrastinate” My very-workaholic-concerned-about-my writing-career-engineer-very efficient-then-boyfriend-now husband-of-four-months asked all the time.

The first few times I always had an excuse. It was the same excuse I would use on my parents, family and friends. My excuse mostly had to do with me not having enough time.

While most people just accepted that, very-workaholic-concerned-about-my writing-career-engineer-very efficient-then-boyfriend-now husband-of-four-months did not buy it for a long time. He came to the conclusion that I did not really want to become a published writer. When he told me that, I nearly fainted. What? Writing is my oxygen. I write all the time, I just never finish anything. It is my one and only dream to succeed as a writer. I didn’t even care much about success, I just wanted writing to be a sufficient source of income for me. I would be happy then.

And just to prove my point a little more because of the not-so-convinced look about him, I told him how I was different as a child. Unlike other girls, I never thought about my wedding day much. I was very happy I met him afterwards, just my first love was not a boy, but writing; creating worlds out of my own rules. Whenever I wrote I felt I met the most interesting people (imaginary people), and got to follow on their adventures.

“So why don’t you finish anything?” was his usual follow-up question.

Then I felt the same emotion I had every time I was done with the first draft of anything. Pure fear. What if the story is silly? What if the characters are stupid? What if there are plot holes. What if I finish it I show it to people and they tell me I am not meant to be a writer? My world would collapse. I would have no purpose. I couldn’t handle living in a world without purpose, without a dream. What if I fail?

Once he had enough of my excuses, my very workaholic- concerned … well his name is Johnny told me,

“You are afraid of failing? Don’t get me wrong I would be ecstatic if you get to succeed from your first try but who do you think you are, that you can’t handle failing a few times before you make it, while the rest of us try and fail every day in order to succeed.”

Well I might be paraphrasing a bit, but that’s more or less what he told me when I buried my head in my hands. He was right. I shouldn’t be afraid of failure. I did not tell him I was also afraid of the slight possibility of success also.

Anyway, it was a revolutionary moment in my life. Not that I only needed to hear those words in order to become instantly efficient but I did become more and more efficient and I did overcome some of my irrational fears.

Completing the Nanowrimo challenge last November was just one more way I could prove to myself that things can eventually be finished if I keep working at them.

So now, my next challenge is to edit the story I wrote for the challenge. The story is called “What Michelle won’t tell.” And it is about two fraternal twin sisters Danielle and Michelle. Dani thought she knew all about her sister, but things happen and Dani discovers Michelle has been keeping a dangerous secret.

I love mystery/suspense novels; they tell you write about something you love to read about, so I am trying my luck with that.

The odds are not in my favor. This story may not get published ever. That’s OK. I will still try my best and I will still believe in it. I might get disappointed but since I can’t stop writing, I will learn and keep at it. I will try and keep the procrastination beast away from me as much as possible.

Got to go now and edit my story. If I spend more time on my blog I would be procrastinating.