I’m clearly not writing much at the moment. I moved (again) (but not really) (don’t ask) and my limbs hurt and my body is requiring me to be still and quiet and I can’t sleep and I’m so tired and my life (where “life” largely means “uni” with some charming “unbloggable things” for dessert) is sucking the life out of me.
And writing is something that sucks the life out of me, too, even as it sustains it. Writing meaningfully, properly, wrings me. It’s important and it’s sometimes, it often gets, undoable.
Writing is an enacting of my self. It’s a good bit of how I do selfhood. When I’m not writing, I don’t feel like a person, or as much of a person. It’s not just about my identity as a writer, but writing as a representation of who I am. And not even, not merely, that: writing is writing myself down, forming myself; giving my thoughts structure in the written word is a way I verify myself.
And I worry, sometimes, if doing this publicly means I take recognition, acknowledgement, from others as a legitimisation of my selfhood. But I can’t worry about that too much because either way I just need to write and, whatever parts other people have to play in it, writing is mostly about me. It’s a challenge I have with myself: how am I, how do I make myself?
Sometimes, I write even when I need the time and space and energy to nurture myself, work on the internal, rather than engaging in creating things that are going to go to the outside. And lately I’ve needed a lot of nurturing, and I’ve been struggling to give myself that. But at least I’m proud that I have made things a little more balanced and haven’t been taking time out of everything else I have to or want to do in order to do what often is taking a lot out of myself for an audience. (And taking a lot out of myself isn’t just about the writing itself, it’s about engaging with destructive comments and spaces and conversations that make me want to quit and hide and be in some other way.)
All this is reminding me of creating as gendered. I don’t mean in the sense of woman as mother, of all creative acts being rooted in birth, because that is not how I think. I mean creativity as gendered in that women are often held up as and made to act as or appoint themselves as carriers of culture. Women are seen as needing to prove ourselves and as not quite proper human beings, and the way that manifests for me in part is that there’s a drive to create and affirm and connect others with that which we produce to make ourselves or confirm that we’re real.
So silence, strangely, can be a feminist act, for me.
We’ll see how I go dancing on that knife’s edge.