An infinite set of Russian nesting dolls | Summer 2016

If you follow this space closely (and I don’t know how many actually do, but if lah kan) you would know that I’ve been writing short posts everyday for the past month, about something that makes me happy on each day. It has been an interesting experiment/challenge so far because first and foremost, it is a level up for my discipline muscles—sometimes I’ll be half asleep and remember I haven’t written anything and then I scramble for my phone in the dark to (admittedly, hastily) publish 100 words or so.

Second, it makes me realise that I need public exposure to remain accountable… which I don’t really like about myself. I want to be able to do things I say I will do just because I say I will do them. I know if I told myself to write in my journal once a day, I wouldn’t be as good at keeping it up as I have been on this site because I know no one will see it other than me. Then again, maybe I should be easier on myself and think of this as training wheels, and perhaps I should phrase my earlier statement differently: I have learnt that making things public helps me maintain accountability, as opposed to it being something I depend on. Wah, look at that positive spin. Proud of myself. Tepuk tangan. Hair flip. Ok, enough.

Third is something I’ve realised over the past year since I started this blog: I have been writing in my personal journal less and less because I write so much here and that’s a little annoying because I write so much more personally and honestly in private. But on the flip side, I linger over each word and sentence much less (if at all) when I write in private, which means I don’t confront my writing as much as I do when I write on my blog. Each post on here takes me up to 2 hours to write because I fuss over things and re-read and abuse the “edit” button and re-write until I’m happy. I guess those are just the expected pros and cons, but attempting to balance writing in public and in private has been an interesting thing to work on and I enjoy feeling as though I’m developing myself in a very personal capacity as opposed to only at school/work.

Fourth, doing the 100 Happy Days challenge really has pushed me to see more of the upsides in things which isn’t always easy because our brains tend to bend towards whining and sighing. A girl who reads my blog, Lu (hey, am I saying your name correctly? let me know hehe) told me she heard that completing the 100 Happy Days challenge makes you a happier person and I guess I can see how it helps. It consistently and patiently lays a new brick for building good habits bit by bit everyday. I make a conscious effort to take more pictures of little happy things throughout the day to help me document and remember.

Fifth, it has forced me to confront the fact that I love writing for pleasure and could do it everyday. I previously didn’t really like saying that because I personally feel like writing comes with a responsibility to write well and… well, that’s pressure and who likes pressure? But writing everyday means that these days, I’m always “writing” on some level—most times in my head. I’m always scribbling one liners and stand-alone paragraphs which read out like they were plucked out from a longer piece in my head waiting to be birthed.

Which brings me to what I think I want to say, which is… lately (and when I say lately, I mean for the past 8 months or so) I have this constant craving for creating content. I feel like there is a book in my head, a talk show in my mouth, I feel like I see photographs waiting to be taken whenever I look around. I don’t want to sound like Kanye West on a Twitter spree claiming he’s a genius who Mark Zuckerberg should start investing in; God knows I do not share his hubris. I just can’t help but to marvel at everything: every story, every conversation, every view, every person and then feel compelled to reach for a pen, a camera and turn it into something….

…And right there’s my problem. I want to turn the things I see into something else except, what is that something? And how do I do it? How do you live in the suffocating space between feeling so inspired and so unskilled? And more importantly… why do I feel like I should/could do something, anything? Like, who do I think I am anyway, right? But then again, why not me? Isn’t that the beauty of it all; that anyone can do it? Questions reveal themselves like an infinite set of Russian nesting dolls.

For now, all I can say is that I crave creating things pretty much the same way I crave buttercream frosting on cake when I’m on a diet and the same way I pine for a cold bowl of cendol on a hot sunny Philadelphia day. I think about it when I wake up and sometimes it keeps me up at night because it feels like a sum of all the times I’m thinking of a word that’s at the tip of my tongue but can’t quite put my finger on it. To somewhat satisfy my cravings, I’ve been scouring the internet for blogs, photo essays, vlogs. It helps keep me inspired, I think. It makes me so happy to see other people creating things, materialising ideas and making (what I consider) art*. Accessible, relevant, meaningful art.

I’m sorry this post was so boring. I’m just thinking out loud and didn’t even know this post would end up here… I didn’t really think it through. Actually, I’m not sorry. Why should I be sorry? This is my site, I can do whatever I want. Wait no, actually, I am sorry, I took on the responsibility to make this site something I and other people will find meaningful and I don’t think I’m living up to that.. and now I’m doubly sorry for over-thinking out loud and for being annoying. Or maybe I’m not sorry, because everyone goes back and forth like this too and maybe you relate? I DON’T KNOW. BYE.

(I’m okay, I promise. Haha.)


*A side note: I think it’s possible that everyone creates “art” in one form or another and you may disagree, but I urge you to realise the complexity that lies in everything we externalise: from professional portraits to Instagram selfies, from poetry to Facebook statuses. I mean, let’s not get too philosophical here, but whether you realise it or not, each of those things and everything in between comprises of like a gazillion choices made either consciously or subconsciously. I am always so amazed by how a bunch of ideas and choices (lighting, composition, word choice, tone, length, size etc) make up a whole greater than a sum of its parts.

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3 thoughts on “An infinite set of Russian nesting dolls | Summer 2016

  1. Pingback: An emotional ride | Summer 2016 | Dayana Writes Once A Week

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