blog therapy #1

Personal writing when you’re a professional editor feels… kind of impossible sometimes? I struggle a lot with blogs because I always either go too far in the kind of formal, journalistic/expository style or I end up writing like I text and/or talk, with no punctuation and dropping “like” constantly and “lol” at the end of every sentence and saying “fuck” a lot.

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s hard to find your writing voice when you spend way more time thinking about how to hone other people’s writing voices.

But also, the internet has made linguistics even more of a weird mishmash than it was before and I’m a descriptivist anyway, so who cares how I write on here?

As soon as I finished typing those first three paragraphs, I could see the anxiety jumping off the screen between the lines. I rewrote some of it multiple times because I didn’t like the way it looked or felt or sounded and it wasn’t the right vibe I was going for or whatever. I think self-editing is important in all writing to an extent, but it was one of those moments that made me realize how easily I can shift from being productive to destructive in my perfectionism. My eagle eye is good for my job, but it’s terrible for my hobbies and mental health.

So I think maybe this space will be a lot of things, but a hefty chunk will be me practicing letting go of my anxiety in ways that I haven’t really tried or even recognized before. I’m tired of not allowing myself have something like a regular blog because I never think I’m doing it as well as I could be. Time to let that shit go.

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I am, I am, I am

This blog is named after the famous fig tree passage in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. I always felt a little hopeless reading it — first when I initially read the book at 16 and then every time I saw it quoted on someone’s Tumblr — as if my own anxiety about life and my future would inevitably lead me to emotional starvation, surrounded by rotten figs.

Recently, though, I reread the book, and I realized that I had maybe missed the point of that metaphor. Later in the chapter, as Esther is eating, she realizes that her dramatic fig tree vision probably only came about because she was hungry.

It occurred to me that my vision of the fig tree and all the fat figs that withered and fell to earth might well have arisen from the profound void of an empty stomach.”

When I don’t feed myself, physically or emotionally, it shows. I turn into Esther, staring at the rotting figs on the ground. But, for the most part, when I make a concerted effort to nourish myself with therapy, medication, daily self-care practices, good food, hobbies and other things I love — things I plan to document on this blog — I realize that I don’t need to worry about the figs; they’re always green from where I’m standing.