I think I must have spent 2 hours in my professor’s office. She said that she could see it in my eyes when she talks to me — see that my eyes shined when I talked about writing, that I loved it, that it was important to me, but somehow that didn’t co-relate to how I seem to have given up on all of my classes. It became so bad that I couldn’t write anything, even though creative writing is one of my passions that I’m supposed to be good at.
One of my friends even asked me if I was feeling burnt out, which I tearily answered yes to, even though I feel like I’ve barely been doing anything substantial to feel burnt out anyway.
Maybe it’s the penultimate year syndrome, where a student realises she only has one and a half years left till she steps into the “real world” which John Green says it is “neither more or less real than any of the previous worlds you have encountered”. I feel paralysed, more of that “crushing monotony and paralysing terror” that nothing is going to go right any way I do it, so what’s the point of doing anything anyway? It kind of feels like I’ve lost my passion. All I can think about is how this “real world” is going to be a sea of nothingness where my dreams will stay dreams because of how lousy I am at what I’m supposed to be good at.
Which is not the right way to live your life. But it is how I feel – like no move I make on this chess game is right. A pawn stuck on the chessboard because no matter which way I go, I am going to get killed. It’s this realisation that I can’t seem to do anything right that roots me to the ground.
But maybe my paralysis is due to my lack of success in my studies and in my writing. Oliver Emberton writes that passion comes from success. See, effort is what leads to success, and success leads to passion, which would make someone want to put in more effort in order to achieve even more success. It’s a simple equation, almost as if you become addicted to success because it feels good to be able to be good at something. And that is why you love it so much.
Maybe that is why I feel like I have given up: because I’m just sufficiently mediocre at my work, and I don’t feel like I’m good at it at all. It’s not just my school work either; writing has taken a toll on me. And I feel so stuck. But the thing is, that doesn’t mean I don’t love writing anymore. I still do. It still lights me up when I talk about it.
While passion may come from a series of success, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still love something even when you’re feeling down and out. I believe that somehow I will be able to get out of this rut if I just keep going on and keep writing.
I’m not going to just give up now.
I can’t, not after years of trying to hone my craft. Not when I know that I can be good at it. This mindset of being awful at everything I do keeps bogging me down, but talking to my professor helped worked out some kinks of what I was stuck at, and I felt confident in finishing my seemingly gargantuan task.
Doing it was a whole entirely different story because it felt like I was squeezing every word out, like nothing really flowed. But at this point it is important not to give up. There’s a task to be finished and only I can finish it. And in the end, after hours of sitting at my laptop and thinking my way out, I finally completed my piece of writing. It may not be the best work I’ve done, not in my opinion anyway, but it is something I didn’t give up on.
After all, as Michael Lee puts it, “The first draft reveals the art, revision reveals the practice.” So it’s not the worst thing in the world that I can produce. It has value, even if I can’t see it at the moment.
I will not live in the shadows of mediocrity any longer. By saying that, I keep myself stuck in my rut. And I am getting out of here. I just have to keep on keeping on.
To Fridays is a weekly column that hopes to be able to give you all the encouragement and love in the world. #tofridaysvp