It’s been more than two years since I’ve written fiction. That’s a long time for someone who, since the age of 9, has been writing as if it were the only way to speak. For the majority of my life, writing has served as my voice; my outlet. Now it feels like I’ve been holding my breath since 2018.
Every time I try to write, I feel like Ariel from The Little Mermaid when she sacrificed her voice. I’m here, but I can’t speak. I can’t express the things that are inside me. I just stare at a blank word document, typing and deleting words that fall stale upon the page – if they even appear at all. This drags on until I give up, overwhelmed with frustration and defeat.
Will it ever return, I wonder. This isn’t writer’s block. It’s different; it’s deeper. My mind constantly feels foggy and out of focus. Most days, it’s as if I’m fading into the background while the rest of me operates on autopilot. Periodically, I shake myself awake, but it doesn’t take long for me to drift back into that zombie-like state as I exist in an endless loop, day-to-day, month-to-month.
I miss my characters. I miss the world that I could once escape to as I experienced their adventures alongside them. Together, we fought, we struggled, and we grew. I learned from them as they learned from themselves and each other. But I lost myself somewhere.
Whenever I try to seek solace in that world and those characters, I instantly feel tired. God, I am always so tired. Every moment is exhausting as I struggle through the miasma of 2020, alone within a condo that is both a prison and a solace.
I’m tired of this isolation.
I’m tired of the ignorance, division, and hatred that permeates my screen and the world outside my door.
I’m tired of the hypocrisy that makes me question the moral and spiritual foundations of people I love.
I’m tired of feeling an invisible weight all the time.
I’m tired of the routine that has grown monotonous and lonely.
I’m tired of feeling so burnt out, the simplest tasks demanding more energy than I can muster.
I get that everything right now is hard and my struggles aren’t unique. I get up every day and I look for things that make me feel lighter and hopeful. Often, I find conversations and stories and people and things that bring some bit of levity, but it doesn’t eliminate this monotonous, gelatinous state of being.
I have so many big feelings I’ve been struggling to express. It presses against my chest and swells within my throat, but when I try to express them, nothing comes out. It just lingers inside of me; a big ball of emotions without a voice.
I’ve tried many times to put them into words, but those words always fall short. There’s a song I heard this week that came pretty damn close. I hold on to these words, reminding myself once again that I’m not alone in this:
“Everywhere I go, I see breaking hearts.
And everywhere I go, my heart breaks.
Every single morning when I pour my first coffee
I wonder if I have what it takes.
‘Cause everywhere I go, I see breaking hearts,
And everywhere I go, my heart breaks.
Every single day, yeah, I stay alive,
But I wonder if I have what it takes.
To survive, to love
In a world so messed up.
To survive, amidst the hate,
It’s the atmosphere you’re in, I’m in, every single day.
How could you leave me standing
Alone in the world that’s so cold?
Or maybe I’m just too demanding;
Maybe I’m just like my father, too,
Or maybe I’m just like my mother.
She’s never satisfied.
So why do we scream at each other?
This is what it sounds like
When I just cry alone.
Alone in the world…
Through the hate, through the pain,– Song Mashup by The Rocket Summer
Through our division every single day,
I just want to say
Hello, good friend, I want to be next to you.”
It all sounds so dramatic. I know. I re-read this and instinctively think to myself, “Relax, girl. You’re overreacting.”
But it doesn’t feel like it. Everything feels turbulent. And while I reach for the sunshine and silver linings between it all, they feel more like desperate gasps of air as I try to stay afloat amidst unruly waters. I’m exhausted and I’m afraid. As the lyrics say, “Every single morning when I pour my coffee, I wonder if I have what it takes.”