My love affair with Writing began in fifth grade. Every day, Miss Haig posted a prompt on the overhead projector, and we dutifully responded. At least, I did.
On the rare occasions that we didn’t write in our journals, my peers celebrated the brief hiatus while I wallowed. I knew then that while I had a crush on Writing, everyone else was far less enthralled by him; he was the kid on the playground who would rather conduct private excavations in the sandbox than play a game of chase. So I decided to keep my crush a secret.
Ten years, a Xanga, a few WordPress blogs and countless articles later, this crush has turned into a full-fledged relationship. And just like any other relationship, we’ve hit our rough patches, and Writing has its faults (I, on the other hand, am always irreproachable).
A few weeks ago, I serendipitously stumbled across my Xanga, still floating around in the abyss that is the Internet. It was the first time that I’d visited it in about four years, I’d say. Upon rediscovering it, I found myself battling a serious case of nostalgia.
I blogged before I knew what it meant to “blog.” On my Xanga, I carefully crafted my words and developed a voice that has significantly evolved in the six years since, and thankfully so. My only vow then was that I would not use my Xanga to recount the day’s activities in chronological order. Unfortunately, instead I often descended into paragraphs filled with ostentatious observations: musings on everything every girl is looking for in the perfect guy, complaints about how hard high school is, declarations of love for Ryan Gosling (I guess this one hasn’t changed).
I am most surprised, however, by my own candidness. I wrote letters to unnamed friends, conveying sentiments I know I never had the nerve to profess out loud. I betrayed my own heartbreak, as I contended with my inability to come to terms with change. At times, I sound like an angst-filled adolescent who is completely unrecognizable to me now. But there’s a sense of sincerity in my confessions; I know that these are the sorts of professions that I would go to great lengths to conceal today.
There are sentences, paragraphs even, when I begin to think that 17-year-old Nazish knew a thing or two about life that 23-year-old Nazish has since forgotten (yeah, I’m referring to myself in the third person). But then, lo and behold, I’ll spot an emoticon and a discussion about something so twee I can’t keep reading, and suddenly I’m grateful that I’m not that person anymore.
Preachy pomposity and grammatical errors aside, I’m really glad that this account of who I was still exists. It is the kind of blog that an aspiring journalist should conceal at all costs (I realize the irony in the fact that I’m writing about it now), but it serves as a reminder. Of how much has changed and how little has changed, how the passage of time can play tricks on our memory. They, the all-knowing, say that we, as human beings, are forgetful creatures, that we have a tendency to remember things differently from the way they actually went down. My Xanga serves as proof of this.
I communicate best by writing, for it requires the diligence and contemplation that sometimes come only by putting pen to paper, finger to key.
Generally speaking, I love writing. But sometimes our relationship disintegrates into the love-hate kind. Do I love every minute that I spend writing? Of course not, just like the athlete doesn’t treasure every minute he or she spends running suicides or lifting weights. At times, writing feels like a compulsion and an obligation, even when it’s not. It’s my sport, and without it, something just isn’t right.