I don’t smell good. I never managed to make it to the shower yesterday and it’s not because I was productive. Sometimes I punish myself for my lack of productivity. I don’t let myself enjoy the simple pleasures of a cool shower on a hot day. My hair is greasy and my body is stiff from sitting at this desk too long. I am trying to write. I am. I am trying to write something someone will want to read, but all the words are coming out wrong and the sentences are just a mashup of cliches and half formed thoughts.

This is not supposed to be easy. It’s supposed to be hard. When I started trying to teach myself how to run, I kept thinking if I keep doing this it will get easier, but it never did. I tried to run a little longer every day and I did, but it never felt better. Is this what writing will be? Will I write a little more each day but it will never feel better? I’m worried I’m only looking for praise, but at this point I’m not even allowing for criticism.

Stuck in this loop of self-loathing is a chore. I keep thinking about imposters syndrome and how it can’t be a syndrome if you’ve never succeeded. I keep shielding myself from criticism by wrapping my arms around what I wrote, like a test paper I don’t want my neighbor to see. What if they cheat off me and get a worse grade than if they’d just done the work themselves?

At one point I really thought I had figured out a voice, a way to tell the story I want to tell that was a little self-deprecating but also light and airy. Approachable. But when I sit down to write it veers into self-pity and manufactured drama. I am unable to determine what is actually serious and what is an over-reaction. When I first started going to therapy to treat my anxiety, I told my social worker about my dad and how he over reacts and how we tease him for it. She thought about it for a while and wondered aloud if maybe he was merely reacting and my mother was under-reacting. I think about that a lot. How the people who raise you help shape how you see the world. How you analyze the way people perceive you. Am I under reacting or over reacting? Am I reacting?

This morning I worked on a little short story I thought I liked. Now I am not so sure. I think it’s ok. I find little bits that stick out and look strange and wonder how I never noticed them before. What a mess.

I’m going to shower now, on the off chance it will clear my mind and make me feel better.


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