Lately, Everything I Write Feels Like Crap
If you’re reading this, it means I made it past squeezed papers and finally got a working draft!
This story is all about self-love.
For the first time, I want to be completely selfish in a story. I will talk about mostly myself.
Oh, I didn’t lose you there. Great!
I will be sharing a conversation I had with myself as I was trying to get my head out of this rot feeling of nonsense writings. More on that soon.
But hey, let’s give this some movie-like effects and say there were two people in that conversation; I and one other guy called, uh…yeah let’s just call him Guy. Ok?
That’s more dramatic. Whoo! Let’s do this.
Guy checks his wristwatch again for the third time. Or was it the fourth? He’s lost count now. The only thing making him bear this pain of waiting is the Coke he’s sipping.
‘Burrrrp!’ He belched from the gas of the Coke.
‘Yo! Guy,’ Nurein said as he waltzed in. ‘It’s been a while. Missed me?’ ‘Nope,’ Guy responded. ‘You kept me waiting for too long…longer than I thought.’
Then there was this awkward silence. It’s as if Guy was expecting Nurein to say something and Nurein thought Guy wasn’t done. ‘You are — ,’ ‘I thought — ,’ their next words bumped each other.
‘Ok,’ Nurein said. ‘You go first.’ ‘No, I’m done. Go ahead’ ‘Ok, Ok,’ Nurein replied.
‘So, I’ve been feeling like an impostor for a while now. I’ve been feeling like whatever I write is nonsense. I mean, I’ve been trying to finish one 5-min article for almost a month now. Almost a month?
He paused as if to recollect his thoughts then said, ‘No!’ That was what I had in the story two months ago. It’s been over three months now. That’s not normal at all. There’s also a lot of articles in my draft but nothing is coming together. A lot has been happening in my life. A lot.’
‘Right! But whose life is a lot not always happening, huh? Lame excuse, man. Come up with something else.’ ‘Uh, Guy, it feels like the world is coming to an end?’ ‘Really, Nurein? Really? The world is coming to an end? They said that in 2012 for god knows why but we are still here.’
‘Ok, ok,’ Nurein quickly interjected. ‘I got one more. This one will stick. I mean, you are allowed to take breaks, right? Pause for a while, and come back refreshed with new ideas, right?’
‘Just spit it out, man. Don’t you have a place to be? Because I do.’ ‘Ok, Ok, jeez. You’re too uptight, Guy. Well, yeah, I took a break in my French class because I was feeling overwhelmed at work and what-not.’
Guy quickly quizzed him about that. ‘But, that was only a week break. You’ve not written anything for over three months now, Nurein.’ ‘Watch it, man. See, work has been intense. My society has been shaking up. I’ve been writing a lot. I’ve just not been publishing. And…’
‘…but what’s the point of writing without publishing, huh?’ Guy cuts him short again. ‘Tell me!’
‘Come on, all I do at work is write too, idiot. I haven’t been playing.’
‘Yen-yen-yen-yen-yen...,’ Guy responded with a child-like tone. ‘Ok. You haven’t been playing. What’s to show for it?
Remember how you once said the following:
12. Whether it’s gloomy outside or the hot sun reminds me I’m in the tropics, I’ll write. I’ll create content.
It doesn’t matter what’s happening, I’ll create pieces that I love. That is something I’ve always done and will continue to do.
What happened to that? That was the twelfth thing in a list of brags you made. You closed a fine article with that sleek ending. What happened?’
What the hell happened, man?
Nurein sighed and said some indistinct things. ‘Sòrò sókè, Nurein,’ Guy asked, Miò gbó e!’.
Translation: Speak up, Nurein. I can’t hear you.
‘Jeez, ok, ok, ok. I’ve got to, you know, to — erm, yeah, uh…
Why are you stalling?
‘Am I stalling?’ Nurein asked in return. ‘Yes, you’re stalling, man’. ‘See, let me come clean with you, Guy. Maybe I’m expecting too much of myself. Maybe my head is full of…so much, you know. Mm, yeah, I think that’s it. My head is full of too much. There’s a lot of things I need to reconcile in my head.’
‘Yeah, kind of makes sense. I think that’s it too. When the head isn’t clear, everything clouds and you know — ’ Nurein was nodding in affirmation and subconsciously said, ‘Right?’
The sound of what he uttered brought his consciousness back.
‘Uh-uh,’ he responded. ‘My thoughts have been all over the place. I’ve not really sat down to put them in order. And when I don’t do that, I get weak. I find it hard to do anything. Especially anything creative. For example, when I start to edit a piece and I keep tweaking and aimlessly tweaking, I know that something is wrong.’
‘What do you even get by writing? Why do you like it, Nurein?
You’re asking me? ‘No, not really,’ Nurein shook his head. ‘I was thinking aloud. So yeah, the satisfaction that I made something tangible with my hands. I’ve noticed that the times when I publish consistently, I’m happier. I have this energy after completing a piece; this feeling that I can do anything…like I can take on the world, you know?’
The other day, my siblings and I were talking and we were wondering how it is that some people can do whatever they want while we can’t. We want to but we just can’t. I mean, look at DJ cuppy, for example. She can do whatever the hell she wants. See the Smiths — Jaden and Willow. Let’s not even talk about those ones.
Those people have something we don’t and that thing is leverage. We don’t have any significant leverage. They are benefiting from a massive amount of leverage their parents and possibly their grandparents have amassed. My dad? Nah, he ain’t got enough leverage. My mom? Nope, not enough leverage either. This isn’t to shame them or any of that. It is what it is.
The earlier we realize that; the better and earlier we start building our own leverage too. Nobody’s going to do it for us.
So, that’s also another reason why I write — to build a network of social capital; brick by brick. That’s one form of leverage. It’s self-love and it’s kind of selfish, I know, but who isn’t?
Mm, now that I think about it, I’m thinking of how my environment makes me think within its boundaries hence filtering off some leverage.
I change my environment? or what I do? or how I look? and my possibilities change too. For example, one of my friends lives abroad now. I never knew he liked musical instruments. In fact, I don’t think he thought so too. Now, he has an instructor guiding him on his guitar journey. Weird.
Never thought of him as that kind of person when he was in Nigeria but you see, now he’s abroad, his range of possibilities has changed. They’ve broadened and he noticed it too and acted upon it.
My theory: nobody’s really any particular kind of person — with the right incentive (motivation, push) and proper context (environment, situation), most people can probably do what they didn’t think they could.
Change of environment to a place where there are more opportunities expands your possibilities which in turn then pivots your leverage to a stronger position. That’s another way to not only build leverage but strengthen it.
There’s also this funny game of connection that my —
‘Damn, man!’ Guy exclaimed. ‘Slow down. You’ve forgotten you’re talking to someone? What’s all that monologue for? I got the point from the ‘…like I can take on the world, you know?’ sentence but you kept talking about leverage and some shit…’
‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry I rambled on,’ Nurein said as he looked away.
He spots the attendant and signals for her attention. ‘How can I help you, sir?’ Yes, love, please, let me have a can of Radler. My throat is dry… thanks. ‘Ok. Should I clear your table first?’
‘No, leave the Coke. It’s for my friend.’
The attendant looks confused. ‘Your friend?’ she asked. ‘Yeah, don’t mind him. When I’m feeling lost and he wants me to talk, we usually do this. Now that I’m finally chatty, he’s complaining…’
The attendant walks away even more confused.
‘Guy?’ Nurein looks around. ‘Guy? Guy, where the hell are you?’
Oh, you le— Burrrrrrp! Burrrrrrp! Nurein belched loudly. ‘Coke and gas!’ he cursed under his breath. ‘I got a place to be too, though. He looks at his wristwatch. AGAIN. Shit! time does fly when we talk.
Bye for now.
Ok, that’s enough drama
Mostly, when I talk about the things that bother me out loud with myself or a close friend, I feel better. But that’s not even why. It’s not that I find solutions or those friends propose solutions – it’s the act of having a conversation that of course, starts with the problem but quickly gravitates to something seemingly unrelated.
My point is that the moment that that switch to an unrelated thing happens and you’re all chatty, you begin to feel better about yourself.
Those kinds of conversations uplift you. In fact, they aren’t supposed to give you 1, 2, 3 bullet points of what to do. All they do and all that is important is that they raise your self-awareness because when you’re feeling some type of way, you don’t usually need a solution; you only need to feel better about yourself.
So, talk to yourself. Find your Guy like I did. Talk to a friend. Make that change even if little in your life. Re-invent yourself. Clean-up that closet you've been meaning to clean. Do something you don’t usually do.
I’ve never tried to write like this before but here we are. I don’t even know what to categorize what I wrote under.
Anyway, yes, these changes are not as mega as completely moving to another country for more opportunities.
Yes, they seem minute in the grand scale of things.
And yes, they might not even be noticeable to the world but you're changing. You're evolving. You're not the same person you were before.
And that’s all that matters.