Writings Essays

Finding My Rhythm

I have a problem.

I have trouble conveying my thoughts into words. I find that my mind does not follow a linear pattern; thoughts branch out and ideas go into tangents. When I try my hardest to write my thoughts down, and organize them, make them coherent, I just end up either staring at a blank screen, or ending up with a lot of erasures on my paper. What I want is this: what I have in my mental landscape, I want it translated as directly as possible, as it is as possible, but the thing is, when you write things down and try to form an article, or an essay, there is always that unspoken rule that it has to be coherent, so that whoever is reading it will understand and will follow. This is why it takes me quite a long time to finish a piece of writing. I have a messy mental landscape, and arranging everything to present my thoughts as neatly as possible on paper, in a way that is reader-friendly, it takes a long time to do.

 And this problem I experience not only in writing, but in speaking as well. I actually did not know this myself until someone else pointed it out to me. The thing is, I am a very quiet individual. I only talk when spoken to, and even then, I talk very briefly. That is, unless I find that the person I am talking to and I are on the same wavelength, if I feel like he or she will understand, and if I feel emotionally comfortable enough to vomit my thoughts in front of this person. And when it happens, when I do try to talk about certain topics, I never stay in one line. I always have a lot of “sidebars” or other topics that I end up talking about instead, and oftentimes, I lose track of my original objective, and it all turns out like a tree of ideas. While some might find that a little annoying and frustrating if it happens to them, as someone who has this “problem”, I find it very fun and stimulating. It is what I consider a stimulating conversation. When it happens, I just laugh. Anyway, in the end, I was able to convey whatever I was thinking as purely as I could, only that it wasn’t exactly as “structured” as how people want it to be. And if the other person can follow, then he or she instantly becomes a close friend in my personal phonebook. And I have met a number of these people.

I am not a stranger to writing on journals. When I experienced the internet for the first time a few years ago, I immediately found a way to self-document my life, and I did. I had an online journal. I wrote very regularly. I wrote about every significant and insignificant thing that I encountered in my young life. It was a mess; I was almost like a totally different person. But such is youth and innocence, and adolescence and a little sprinkle of recklessness. It was fun while it lasted. Only when I got a little bit older, I realized things, learned new things, improved maybe, I changed my style. I learned what was important and what wasn’t; what “deserved” to be written and what didn’t. I became more self-conscious, wrote in a more structured way. I became obsessed with the details, too. At that time, I thought about why I was doing it, and decided that I was writing on a journal so that when I do get older, I will remember all these things, and I write all these details because I want to go back to these memories and relive them down to the bone, no details missed. Time happened; I continued writing. It was a thoughtless exercise. It became a habit. It worked for a while. Time happened even more. I had other things to think about. Writing became such a chore, so I stopped for a while. Maybe I needed some room to breathe. Back then, before that, when writing on that journal was a regular occurrence, I wrote in two ways: one, to document, and two, to vent. It was good. But when things happened, I got older, had more things to think about in life, writing on that journal became less of a habit, less of a chore. I only wrote to vent, and that was it. I no longer thought of the importance of “self-documenting”. It’s not like I could do it anyway; this thing people call “reality” (which I do not believe—another topic for another day) ate me.

“Photos are for people who can’t remember,” Ryan Bingham once said (quoted from the movie Up in the Air, 2009). I just stumbled upon—this movie, and thus—this quote recently, and I found it to be an apt description of what I thought about picture-taking, and at the same time, “self-documenting” in the past. I don’t know what I think about them now. But, personally, I think that I was just looking for something, anything, to validate my decisions. Or poor decisions? Who knows? I should know, but I don’t. Maybe I should say, “I just didn’t have the time anymore.” But it’s not an excuse. I could have made time for it. I just did not have the energy, and the energy of self-documenting and the energy of my writing process don’t match. It was a realization that came to me later, a life-changing one. It helped me to finally understand. Because busy-ness, not-having-time? I don’t buy that. I never. Some people do, though, and I use it against them, because they believe in “reality” and “real life”. (I don’t.)

I learned, felt, realized, and it dawned on me, that my thought process and my writing process do not match. When did I try to ever match them? I don’t know. Maybe I did in the past, and maybe that was when I thought writing was so much fun, that it was a very cathartic experience. But I never put my thoughts into words all the time. My thoughts just and always exist, and I may or may not acknowledge them. So I may or may not have thought these things. But feeling is something else entirely. An emotion is always true. If I feel it, then it is real. It doesn’t matter what “everything else” is.

When I write for an objective, I find writing to be very taxing and energy-consuming and a waste of time. I don’t like that. If I write, it should be a natural thing, a natural feeling. There should be no hint of any force at all; I am not being coerced, I do because I want to. I do not want to force my thoughts into a box. I do not want to force my thoughts into words if they do not feel like it. My thoughts are the master; it is what it is, and it is the ultimate. If I try to translate them into something tangible, they become less than what they originally are. And when I try to convey them to other people, they lose their value. Because every person has his or her own set of tools, to perceive, to interpret, and to respond. My tools may not be the same as your tools. My tools might be faulty. The point is, there will always be a barrier between me and you. If we understand each other perfectly, then good, if that is even possible; if we don’t, it’s only fine if I do not care about misunderstandings with you. The catch is, I abhor misunderstandings, unless I intend them to happen. Maybe this is why I stay quiet.

And this is how it works, not only between me and other people, but also between me and myself: particularly, the one who wrote (past), and the one who is reading (present). The one who wrote, back then, was very particular about things. Back then, I usually did not write with feeling, I only wrote about what happened, because I did not want to “contaminate” what actually occurred. I want my future self to remember the event as it was, and then from there, recall all feeling. I did not want to force my future self to feel a certain way. I will give my future self that freedom, at least. “This is what actually happened. Feel whatever you want about it.” If I can’t remember any feeling, then I’m pretty sure the brain will conjure up one.

But I realized, this is not me. This is not my process. Over the years, if I have learned something about myself, it is that I am a feeling person. I am a person of feeling, one very sensitive to emotions. If there’s anything I should remember, it should be feeling. And, of course, I realized why I stopped writing. It was because I wrote for an objective. I wrote for an objective, because writing in that way, self-documenting in that way, was not natural to me. Having an objective helped me focus. I was forcing myself to write in a certain way, because I had an objective in mind; I had a goal to achieve. That kind of writing process became very tasteless. Like I said, it became a chore. It was like breathing just because you had to. You know that feeling when you try to regulate your breath even when you’re breathing perfectly fine? At least for me, when I force myself to breathe a certain way, it becomes constricting, it’s like I’m choking myself. What I wanted, and what I hoped for myself was to write and not think about it. I just want to let everything flow. And I figured a solution for that: not writing.

Not writing, but just speaking instead. In my opinion, translating your thoughts into speech instead of translating your thoughts into writing is a much better way to convey your thoughts if you want them to be conveyed as close to the original as possible. I speak to myself all the time. I write sometimes. So I thought it was the better and obviously more natural option. It is, for me, actually a personal therapy. It doesn’t even feel like it, but it is. And that’s what makes it good; it’s something natural to me. I don’t think about it at all. I just do it. No plans. No to-do lists. It just happens, and I welcome it every single time. And all this I do unconsciously. It’s a part of my being.

So I’m writing now, why? I honestly don’t know. Now I’m just making up reasons, but everything is honest here. Maybe it’s because I also wanted to try something else out. I don’t want to hate writing. I love words. They’re not thoughts, but they are the closest. So I wanted to try something out. This, this thing I am doing right now, this is me writing naturally. I started without an objective. I just felt like writing. I had a burst of inspiration. I was speaking to myself as I was writing this. This is the writing process that I am most comfortable with. Maybe I can even not consider this writing, maybe this is just me speaking. But of course not. When I speak, I don’t worry about spacing or “this should be in the next paragraph” and whatnot. That is the additional baggage writing brings, and add that to the baggage that speaking brings: I have to find the words first, and since I’m not the most particular, I might have not chosen the best word for an idea. I want to say, “This is me thinking. These are my thoughts,” but I don’t agree with that, either. That is a lie.

I would be lying, too, if I said that it’s a pure reason. It’s not. I don’t believe in pure causes. I am very sure that there will always be something else. Something else happened, something else tempted me to do this. But writing for its sake is reason enough, and it’s the only reason I can tell you. This is, without shame, a word (or thought?) vomit.

When I started tapping on the keyboard, I was looking for a rhythm. Like in music, rhythm guides you to keep going. It’s something that is always there, even when everything else is changing. On the piano, you could have pressed three keys, or one, or two, or five at different intervals, but the rhythm is always constant. If you know the rhythm, you will find the timing, and then you can create music that can be heard and listened to and enjoyed. I was playing the piano before I started writing. Maybe it helped. I found a rhythm, and it got me to this word right here.

This was fun to do. I love this. I might have fallen in love with writing again. The only fault I see in this process is, there is no conclusion; there is no end. I cannot stop thinking and neither can you. In your head, you don’t wrap things up and then bow or whatever. This isn’t a written speech. (That’s inception right there.) I don’t even know how you stop thinking about a certain thing. Maybe it’s when you unknowingly go into tangents do you actually move on, and it’s not even stopping, it’s just moving on. It’s a complex thing. I don’t know why I even bother. Words are not capable of describing it. The brain creates the words; the words can’t create the brain.

I will do this again some other time. I won’t go back to my old ways. I will not stick to a schedule. I will write only when I’m inspired. Because inspiration and motivation cannot be forced. You will only end up hating what you do when you force yourself into something, especially when it’s something creative, something that starts from nothing. I strongly believe that if you force yourself to be inspired, to do something that you only do when you’re inspired, anything that comes out of it is not authentic. It is fake and not true to your inspiration. And this is me trying my hardest to be as authentic as possible to myself and my thoughts.