Musings

Internal Editor

Where do I even begin with what needs to be said? Fingers pressed to my forehead, I contemplate all the words I know are inside of me and try to figure out how to edit them before they make their way onto the page. Or once they do make it onto the page I hit the “delete” key until what is left is nothing like what needs to be said.

Here’s the thing: I want to be a writer. Here’s the problem: My internal editor says I’m crap. And I believe her.

From stream-of-consciousness to word association, I’ve tried all the ways to turn my brain off and turn the writing on, but it’s never just… easy. Listen – I know writing isn’t easy. It takes time to hone your craft. It takes getting told “no” ninety-nine times before you’re told “yes”. It takes finding honest readers who will tell you your writing is crap and then give you suggestions on how to fix it. However, it would be nice to even get words on the page, to begin with, to get to those stages. Even now as I write this, I’m thinking of all the things I need to do before bedtime rolls around and I have to get ready to go to work tomorrow. Therein lies part of my problem.

I make a living as an English teacher. I spend most of my day teaching others how to write and how to read. As glamorous as that might sound, I get little time to further teach myself how to write and how to read, not the least of which do any of that for fun. And before you start in about “weekends” and “holidays” and “summers”, let me just straight up tell you: All that “time off” I spend thinking about YOUR kids and how I’m going to be a better teacher for YOUR kids. Lest this digresses into a rant, I’ll move on.

Prior to, oh, ten minutes ago, when I edited myself to write “I make a living as an English teacher”, I would claim “I am a teacher”. It may not seem like it, but there is a big difference in the way these two sentences are worded. The first implies my occupation is a temporary one, a stop on the way to something more. While the second implies that my identity is formed by being a teacher. Don’t get me wrong, I love teaching, but I think it’s high-time I am seen as something more by myself, by my students, by my administrators, and by society.

In a “take a left at the light, go down two blocks, cross the bridge, and take the first right at the mailbox shaped like a duck” way, that’s really what I’m trying to get at. My internal editor both keeps me from being a writer and keeps me locked into a job where I am finding less-and-less reasons to stay. This started out as musings on how we inhibit our ability to actualize what we want in life (e.g..: be a writer) and ended up something on the way to realizing what part of the problem may be (i.e.: the unhealthy and impossible tasks placed on being a teacher in the 21st-century).

It’s nothing profound, according to my internal editor, but at least it’s a start.

Featured Image by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Poetry, Unbound

Checkmate

I want to write
and tell you what happened,
to put the truth out there that
you know who I am
even though you might hear differently,
but the words are splinters of glass
nicking me on their way out,
blurring what I really mean to say.

Refrains of “why is this happening to me” echo
in each calculated interaction
I have with the world,
but there is no real rhyme to these things.
They just happen.
This should give me some modicum of comfort,
but it doesn’t.

“I deserve this” joins the chorus,
and this pitiful acknowledgement
of mistakes made
adds to the swirling amalgamation
of doubt, self loathing,
and words too hard to write.
I don’t deserve this though.
No one does.
But there is no one I can tell this to
that cares enough to hear it.

There is a torment of not knowing.
Not knowing what to do.
Not knowing how to feel.
Not knowing what the future holds.
Not knowing if these words will be my last.
Not knowing if I will overcome any of this
(even though people tell me I will).

The worst pain is that of having an apology
but not knowing who to give it to.
Perhaps I should give it to myself,
to the world,
to you:

I am sorry for not being who I needed to be.

In response to Daily Prompt: Struggle
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Chess” by Felix Mittermeier (CCO Public Domain)