University starts next Monday, and that leaves me with a week of panic and resentment to work through before dropping the panic for flavourless tension and, hopefully, exchanging the resentment for the same kind of thought-provoking intellectual investment that I found last semester. Honours has been great thus far, and while I do regret not having pushed myself to use my holiday time more productively (as always), I am excited to spend another four-ish months doing things that I like that aren’t “writing”, by which I have meant for the past 4 months “thinking about how I should be writing and that I would also enjoy it and then not doing it, ever”.
I don’t have anything to add to this. This is how it’s been since I started studying; I’m not used to having anything but free time, even though for the past 6 years my supply of free time has diminished due to having obligations to actually pass the papers I’m studying and shit. It still feels like a temporary thing, a phase that will pass me by and I’ll be back to normal where I just sit around all day doing – or not doing – whatever the fuck I feel like. Throw in the fact that “whatever I feel like” often involved lying in my room feeling apathetic about everything due to having pretty severe depression as a teenager, and then less severe depression but just as acute anxiety as a younger adult, and basically I am not set up very well to take advantage of this “free time” I keep referencing, a half-mythical fantasy that I have never bothered to investigate very heavily.
It’s all about risk-taking. I’ve been saying that for the past little while; I’ve been yammering on about it in my last few posts, and it’s just not enough. I wish I had had a full, fulfilling summer break, and instead I’m left with memories of wanting to do things and either not being able to do them or avoiding even trying. Again, nothing much has changed.
I believe I said this before the start of last semester too, but I guess it’s no less true now: free time basically doesn’t exist. You have to create it. And paradoxically, the way you do that is by doing more, not less. You don’t stock up on free time to fall back on during the dry season; it’s there and then it’s gone. I mean I say I wish I had more free time as I’m writing on my writing blog, during my free time. That’s how ridiculous the concept of free time as some kind of liberating resource is.
The thing I’ve learnt is that I only make judgments about how much time I have in retrospect, when I’ve spent it on something and look back to remember it. Especially if it’s difficult and crammed; the more you do, the longer life seems to be.
So this means I’ll be working on my creative stuff during semester, obviously. It also means that all of those Other Things I didn’t make myself do over the break will also get done during semester. I essentially want to make it so that I have no free time, ever, and it’s going to take a lot of discipline, and honestly I don’t think that I can do it. But I know that it’s what needs to happen if I’m ever going to feel like I’m capable of the things I want to be capable of.
It’s all about risk-taking. And the thing about risks is that they don’t matter until you take them.
I’ve had a lot of fancy ideas about how to manage myself, lots of esoteric psychobable deployed in the service of rationalising my labyrinthine procrastination habits, when it’s really just about anxiety. I’m afraid that I can’t live up to my own expectations, the expectations I think other people have of me, of everybody. I’m afraid that I don’t measure up. I’m afraid I’ll write something in a first draft that makes me a horrible person because if people read it they would be hurt by it, and that’s the same thing as them actually reading it. I’m afraid that I’ll never do anything I set my mind to and will live and die an absolute failure of a human being. I have been afraid of these things since I was 15.
And it’s all very well to say “Enough is enough”, but if you don’t do anything about it, you’re lying. If you can’t do anything about it, well, that’s another story, but so often the things we can’t do are the things we just don’t believe in ourselves to do. So I’ve gotta take a risk and do these things I don’t believe I can do, so that empirical evidence will get me to start believing.
And accountability is also good, so I thus announce that tonight I shall write the first chapter of my ridiculous vampire political thriller, where the only dialogue I have in mind is really offensive and presumptuous and I would want to punch the author if I ever read it, and I’m going to write exactly that. And now that I have put that statement of intent into writing, I am obligated to do it. Otherwise there will be consequences. Very serious consequences. Seriously.
Okay, writing now …