on writing, and not

In the ways that really matter, I have not written since my graduation. I’ve tried a bunch of journals and I’ve completed a couple blog pieces, but it’s all felt superficial. The reason, I think, is that the year and a half that followed my graduation featured some of the worst times in my life — an excruciating move between apartments that made me lose my sanity over a three-week period, a drawn-out immigration filing that gave me relentless anxiety for months, and a forced sabbatical summer that left me feeling hopeless, graceless, useless.

That year and a half, of course, also had good moments — first and foremost, my wedding and every tender memory with the man I love, but also wonderful little moments with my friends, my family, my interns, and so on. But when I look back at that time, it’s hard to focus on the bright spots when I remember the darker blurs.

The truth is I didn’t want to write anything down. In bad times, I didn’t want to reflect on my distress — I didn’t want to remember it any more clearly than I thought I would (and I do). And in good times, I just wanted to enjoy myself — I didn’t want to waste a precious moment thinking about things. I tried to shut off every introspective impulse I had, and just go through the motions. And I reveled in my own misery, both hating and pitying myself all at once.

I say this in the past tense, thankfully, because I’m in a better place than I’ve been in two years. I’m forcing myself to do things that will make me healthier in the long run, like reading every day, cooking more often, taking some vitamins, going to the gym, and writing. I don’t always want to do these things, but I treat them like chores while telling myself I’ll be happier for it. And I am — not in the sense that I am skipping around all the time, but in the sense that I’m content in myself, I’m proud of what I can do when I put my mind to it, and I sometimes jam out on the treadmill.

It’s been four weeks now, and I hope the habits start to solidify. I hope they get easier and I hope spring comes soon. I hope I write and share more, even when it’s not good, and even when it is. I hope I have the strength to keep going no matter what happens, and I hope you do too.