It’s 2018 and I’ve started a blog. First thing that comes to my mind as I write this is the Slowpoke meme and how starting a personal blog two decades after its inception is like buying a VCR to watch Disney movies on VHS in 2015. Just…why? Also, what could I possibly have to say that I can’t get across in a well-written Instagram post or tweetstorm?
I had my first foray into blogging in 2013 a few weeks after my father died, mostly in an attempt to keep myself distracted from the enormous swell of sadness and tears that were constantly bubbling just below the surface of my outer facade. I think I got two or three posts out on a short-lived Quora blog before losing interest and shutting it down a few months later. And anyway, blogging was for Instagram influencers and internet celebrities to promote their nomad lifestyles and blur the lines between storytelling and advertising. I wasn’t about that life, so blogging was clearly not my thing.
Fast forward to modern day and blogging now seems to be the only viable option for me to accomplish what I need to get done as I enter my 30s and shift gears, leaving behind the most tumultuous decade of my life. For one thing, I’ve realized that I want to write and not being a classically trained writer, I simply do not have the discipline right now to grow into a “serious” writer. And secondly, I need motivation and accountability to actually produce written material on a regular basis for developing a daily routine to put out low-stakes content and learn to self-manage my time (as opposed to working with editors and deadlines on commissioned pieces for publications). I’m guessing people learn how to do all this when pursuing creative writing degrees in university or college, but since I am a microbiologist by education and only wrote research papers and lab reports during my undergraduate years (for grades and credit), I need to be innovative in developing my writing skills from the ground up.
In January of this year, shortly after New Year’s, I purchased the Self-Authoring Suite for writing about my life, developed in part by Jordan Peterson. It’s a program that’s meant to help you make sense of your past, see yourself for who you are in your present, and make a meaningful plan for your future to develop a better understanding of your life. I got as far as the second question in the Past-Authoring section and couldn’t get myself to write out the kinds of detailed responses that were required from me to properly attempt the process. I had never written such introspective things about my life just for myself; knowing no one would read my carefully crafted narrative about my life made the whole exercise seem like a waste of effort. Up until now, everything I’ve written has been for the purpose of being published and read, with money being added to the mix in 2017 as I had started getting paid for my work. So sitting at home and faced with the insurmountable task of writing about painful and unpleasant memories from my life, without any outwardly reward seemed…pointless.
Right, so, at this point, starting a blog is looking like a promising venture to address all these issues with motivation, feedback and purpose. But still, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea, until sometime in February when I was backing up the 10,000+ photos from my laptop onto an external hard drive and I thought to myself, “What the hell am I supposed to do with all these pictures?” There were pictures from when I was in high school, when I had braces, after I moved out for university, all the different dorms and apartments I lived in, concerts and weddings I had attended over the past 10 years, all the travelling I had done, the early years of my relationship with Sai, pictures of my family, friends I was no longer in touch with – it was a whole life lived in pictures, just sitting in folders on my Mac without ever being opened or viewed. As much as I love digital photography, it has proliferated the amount of pictures we take and discard without thinking twice about what exactly we’re meant to do with all these moments of captured time. Of the 1,000+ pictures I took with my DSLR over the course of my 10-day trip to Pakistan in February of 2017, I ended up sharing only about 50 of those images on my Instagram. There were still over a thousand pictures that no one other than myself had ever seen from that trip. And it’s not that they were shitty photos! I found myself in a similar situation after coming back from a 10-day trip to Mexico with more than 700 pictures on my camera, of which I only shared one to my Instagram months after the trip concluded. If a picture is worth a thousand words, I should be able to write out a 50-volume encyclopedia on just the photos from the latter part of my life.
With all these tasks and potential writing projects staring me in the face, I now have more reasons than ever before to attempt keeping a personal blog. I don’t intend for this to be like a ‘Dear Diary’ sort of endeavour where I’m just narrating back everyday tasks and activities I engage in. Nor am I looking to write just for the sake of saying I wrote something. My hope and intention is to put into coherent words the complex ideas, thoughts, insights and revelations from my mind, delving into my unique life and drawing inspiration from the experiences, memories and emotions that have shaped me into the person I am today and continue to guide my day-to-day existence.
This is not a vanity project where I just talk about how awesome I feel my life is or why my opinions are right and everyone else is wrong. Nor is this a sympathy-seeking pity party to highlight the darker aspects of my life. Like most people, my life has had its fair share of ups and downs and I’ve learned and grown from them. Some of my opinions might not always be in line with what is socially acceptable, and I’m okay with that. At the end of the day, this blog exists for me to paint a more complete picture of who I am, not just for others, but for myself as well. Being the social creatures that humans are, I want to put myself out there and connect with others who might be vibrating on the same cosmic frequency as myself, which will ultimately enrich my own life.
And lastly, a word on typos and spelling errors – there might be some here and there since I’m the writer, editor, proofreader and publisher of all the goings-on of this blog. While it is not my intention to produce sloppy or poorly edited writing, some mistakes might slip through the cracks, but I hope to keep such instances to a minimum. If you’re interested to know why I picked this name for my blog, I go into it a bit on the About page.
Yay you made it to the end of my first blog post, so here’s a picture from the vault of forgotten memories. This is me, age 19, a freshman at the University of Waterloo who occasionally wore ill-advised berets and made her eyebrows so pencil thin it would put the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills to shame. Also, straight hair was the hot shit back in 2007, and my naturally wavy hair just wasn’t good enough! Thinking back on this time of my life, I can sincerely say I’m glad I grew out of my insecurities and embraced a more au natural look. I know people fondly look back on their younger years and long to return to a simpler time, but thankfully this version of my past self exists only in my memory, and that’s exactly where it belongs.