Being Enough

One year ago, I began this blog.

One year ago, I felt pretty lost. Everyone around me was doing so much, or so I felt. I didn’t feel competent enough. I felt I was being too complacent, too cowardly, too negative. This blog began as an attempt to revive my love for writing and… and something else; something that I couldn’t quite place.

I had been mulling over blogging for at least six months before I started. But for some reason I never felt I could go through with it. I had stopped writing since a long time, and it didn’t come as easily as before. I had no idea of what would be acceptable to publish. The first post had been sitting drafted on my computer for a long time.

File:Stipula fountain pen.jpg

Photo via Wikipedia Creative Commons

One night though, I made a snap decision. Past midnight already, I opened WordPress.com, chose a cheesy URL, picked out the first theme I saw and hit publish.

When I started blogging, I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to come out of it. I liked writing, but had pretty vague ideas about what exactly I would write. I was being affected by too many other bloggers who had their own style. There were bloggers who had weekly features, who wrote fun stuff. For some time, I tried doing all of that. There were several posts that I published and then deleted. Nothing worked; it just wasn’t me.

For several months, I wrote just for the sake of it, struggling even to publish just once a month.

A change came around September. I participated in a blogging challenge. I wasn’t able to finish it, but I wrote more than what I was previously doing. I think it was significant in two aspects; one, that it helped me get rid of my writers’ block, and two, it gave me the courage to publish without spending ages on revising it.

I remember the first follower I had, the first time I got a comment, the first time someone “liked” my post. I wasn’t sure what exactly I was seeking; validation perhaps, that there were people out there who liked reading my thoughts. I remember signing in with anticipation every time, getting excited when I saw something orange on the top right corner of my WordPress account. A follow made my day, I liked being “liked”. The time I hit a 100 followers, I was over the moon; there were so many people who were reading my blog.

In the past few months though, a change has come. I still smile when someone “follows” or “likes”. But I am the happiest when the orange button indicates a comment.

I’ve finally realised why I started blogging. What I wanted the most was conversation.

It’s not like I don’t have friends; I do, and they are great friends. But they all know me in bits and pieces. I discuss books with some, poetry with some, feminism with a few others. I talk about stuff close to my heart, the things that make me wonder, the things that I fear, my musings generally, with certain others. This blog is where all pieces of me come together wholly to form the mosaicked self¬† that I am.

Over time, I’ve figured out a rhythm for myself. I’ve developed a voice that I can see myself talking in. More importantly, I’ve become brave enough to put myself in the posts. I no longer feel the pressure to publish twice a week; I know now that thrice or four times a month is more suitable for me. I write what I actually want to write about, taking time to articulate what I have to say.

I never was comfortable writing poetry before. I think it has something to do with the fact that my father is a Ghazal writer. Ghazal is a very restrictive form of poetry; there are a lot of rules to be followed. Somehow I always felt it would be too much work to write poetry to be able to enjoy it. When I started blogging, I also started reading more blogs. Though I knew this before theoretically, it was only then that I finally internalised that poetry didn’t have to be restrictive. I have no idea whether my poetry is any good, but I don’t feel conscious about it anymore. I write it because I like to. Blogging has given me this gift.

It is here on this blog that I’ve talked about overcoming failures, about obedience, about being good. It is here that I’ve come to terms with why I am the way I am. It is here that I now feel I am enough.

Thank you. For reading, for sharing your thoughts, for conversing. I appreciate it.

Of writing and conversing

WritingWriting, to me, has always felt like baring my soul on a piece of paper. I have always guarded what I write, sharing it with very few people. I have mulled over the idea of blogging for a very long time before I actually decided to commit to it. And I’m still amazed at my decision, considering that normally, I just keep to myself and blogging is all about connecting with different people.

So what brought about this change?

It’s not just about having an audience (though I certainly like that part; who doesn’t?!). It’s also about sharing what I love, and making new friends and hearing other people’s views.

I’ve always been more of a written conversation person. As I child, I was fascinated by the idea of sending and receiving letters. Written letters. But sadly, that has become a thing of the past now. Emails became the substitution and that transition wasn’t really difficult for a person of my generation as we never had a chance to get too attached to letter writing; we were exposed to internet quite early in life. I’ve maintained long and beautiful friendships via emails. But then emails were replaced by Facebook. And I thought that Facebook messages would be somewhat similar. But they are not. Nobody bothers keeping in touch in the true sense. Seeing somebody’s photographs on Facebook is not the same thing. I long for personal emails in my inbox.

And here’s another thing about written conversation. You have time to think. Some people may argue that it’s not really conversation if the thoughts don’t flow out at once. I’m not going to question that. Fluent conversation is beautiful in its own way, and I enjoy a good conversation regardless. But just say, you and me start talking about something. You raise a point. I spend some time thinking about it, then get back to you. Isn’t that a meaningful contribution to the conversation? Won’t we be having a more enriching conversation if we spend time on the thoughts that we want to convey?

Blogging is about conversing. I want to hear your thoughts and tell you my own. I want a conversation.