It had to be somewhere.
Was it in the garage? No, all my other papers are here in my office. Along with dusty creative writings I’ve done nothing with, critical theory books collecting dust, corporate theory books that make me cross-eyed…
I never printed it. There was no reason to print it. My advisor was in California, and as I rarely edited my writing back then, paper copies held no purpose for me.
And that began the digging under the stairs through tangled wires to find my Master’s thesis, stored on two laptops ago. Once the correct electrical cord was matched up with the correct laptop, I was on my way.
So why the interest in a paper written almost ten years ago?
Twitter conversation, of course. I committed to providing resources for a topic. A month ago. And in my typical struggle with subjectivity of time, I allowed a month to pass before anxiety made me move neurons and boxes to find it.
After finding a USB to transfer data to my new computer, fingers crossed software was still compatible, I sat and read it for the first time since it was approved and submitted.
Ugh, I used “the” a lot.
Wait, what? Does that sentence even make sense?
Then I moved past the grammar and expression. I had some good ideas. Not fully flushed out, definitely needed some tailoring and editing, but I was a little taken back I had written 50 Master level pages.
Especially knowing how it was produced. Which was about two weeks of solid research, about a week of note and quote taking, 5 months of procrastination, and three weeks of writing.
All while working in retail full time.
One would think normal emotional progression would be for me to get despondent, something about lost possibilities or potential. Wasting my life away when I had so much going for me… blah blah blah.
But that’s not how my brain works.
Instead I started reading other things. Like my blog from when I quit my job (most popular article to date), and the poetry I find myself writing on Twitter, and even the way I have been picking up how others use language in their writing.
Language is how I engage with the world.
I adore language. How words can build or decrease emotion. How rhythm can make prose sound like music.
Let’s be honest. Language is not always the best way to engage with the world. I know, seems a bit ironic ya? But language can often get in my way. Using a word that isn’t understood, discussing philosophies that aren’t readily available in other people’s realities, even using literary tricks in spoken vernacular: these are all things that make most people go as cross-eyed as books on business theory make me.
And I’m highly introverted. So unless I know you well, my words will fail when trying to speak.
Yet I accept this is who I am.
So I have come to the conclusion I have to strike a very weird balance with myself.
I am paid to write, and what I am paid to write is business oriented. This is not a bad thing. I get to research and teach myself new things every week as I find topics to discuss. I am exposed to subcultures I have previously passed by with little to no interest. I’m learning what a very scary world technology can be.
Yet this writing does little to open my inner monologue.
As evidenced by my thesis, conversations with co-workers, and even my earlier blogs, I have a knack for intellectual discourse. I enjoy theory and debate. Coming up with a thesis, researching and exploring, crossing fields of study to come up with something new, all entices me.
Yet there is little room for this outside academia, and my attention span rarely allows for completely thorough exploration of a topic. I have an inherent fear of committing to one subject and losing opportunity to discover a world of other interests.
Side note: same reason I never had career goals.
I enjoy creative writing. When music is created as words flow together, building emotion through word choice, choosing to leave something out in order to make an impact, it makes me smile and take a deep breath.
Yet I find myself blocked from writing a story longer than 800 words. I’ve written blog posts longer than that. Mostly because I am unable to immerse myself long enough to develop something in my mind and transfer it to screen.
After all, the reason I jumped off the soul crushing corporate train was to stay home with a very special 3 year old before she becomes a 16 year old who screams at me to stay out of her life.
So the balance I must strike is how to pay bills with writing while still engaging intellectually with the world and artistically with language. In essence, how to make myself whole.
Which interestingly enough brings me back to why I started this blog in the first place, almost a full year ago.
Have I learned anything in the last year?
Yes. I learned to be courageous and quit something I hated. I learned to accept a part of me that never really went away, just hid under the crushing pressure to climb a ladder I didn’t want to climb to a place I didn’t want to be.
And I learned this shit is going to be hard.
For the first time in my life, I’m not going to be able to wing it. I will not be able to impulsively jump through this like everything else. This is going to require discipline and structure, setting high expectations for myself. Because one thing I have always known: I am a perfectionist and I will reach an impossibly high standard if it’s set.
I’ve just never set standards for myself.