Ranting and Ravings, Writing Therapy

Overcoming writer’s block.

I’ve been having an extreme case of writer’s block as of late. All of the writer’s block manuals tell you that it’s probably just anxiety over the fear of writing. I’ll take it a step further and say it’s the fear that your writing sucks or will be judged by people who are more talented who will know that it sucks.

Anxiety is a big part of my life. Most can’t tell or just don’t know, but my anxiety is expressed through my dark passenger who throws at me a million and one reasons as to why I could potentially fail at something. For fear of failing, I never even get started, and I’m out of the race before it’s begun. This blows me. But I digress.

How to get over the writer’s block, is the question. I’ve come up with a few things:

  1. Identify and eliminate the cause of my anxiety over writing
  2. Do some writing exercises to inspire the words to just flow
  3. Write about my anxiety

Obviously, I’m already doing Number 3.

As for Number 1, I think my anxiety stems from a couple things. Obviously the desire to be perfect, particularly in my writing, and knowing inherently that I will never be. But maybe also that I haven’t written or had to be creative or done anything prose related in years. The last thing that I wrote, outside of reports or group projects in college (which were a cinch), was in high school. And at 24 I feel a little removed from that person. So how do I pick it all back up and get back into a rhythm of good writing. Like really good. Like really great because I want to start selling manuscripts, articles, short stories, novellas, whatever.

I’m also worried about money, which is why I want to begin writing. Some may ask why a person with a grown up job would need to be worried about money. Hmpf. If only you knew. Doesn’t matter how much you make. We’ve all got to pay bills — some of us support our families. And Maryland asks for a lot of freaking taxes. But my bf says that I can’t get jacked in to worry too much about money, and I agree. I’ve had times when I was a big-baller-shot-caller and used to trick off on ALL my friends (see my freshmen year of college).  And I’ve had times when I was dead broke, barely making enough to keep up with my overdraft fees. Because of this continual cycle of having, and have not-ing if you will, I now know that eventually I’ll have again. Not today, but possibly tomorrow and for that reason, you can’t put your energy into worrying about it.

But it would be nice to have a lil today– I’m not even gonna front.

That being said, I’ve addressed the issues and recognized ways to tackle them. And that’s where I believe Number 2 steps in. This blog is a series of my own writing exercises, but I’ve also researched a good number of other ideas. You may see some of them following this post. So get ready. I actually hope you stick around to read them, whenever they happen.

Well that was therapeutic. Next step: write, write, write!

My Dark Place, Ranting and Ravings, Short Stories

The story of why I want to be perfect.

In the 1st grade, my teacher asked all the students to sit on the carpet in front of the class and ask her ANY question we’d ever wanted to ask a grown up but never got the chance to. Other kids were asking, How do trains run? or How do plants grow? Me – I didn’t need to know that s***. I raised my hand eagerly and asked my teacher, “Why were we put on this Earth?” Swear that’s what I asked her. She looked back at me with all seriousness and said, “I don’t know.” Then proceeded to answer everyone else’s question. No one gave me a second thought. My little mind really wanted to know the answer to this question, and THAT’S what you give me? No one’s mind looked blown, no one was even thinking on that level. But this is what I’ve lived with for life.

My quest to find the answer to that question continued to follow me. I mean duh, it was a very important question and I needed the answer! My answer came a few years later in the 3rd grade. I remember this as a monumental moment in my 8 year life. My teacher, Mrs. Akinkoye, who was my first black teacher, came to my mother during the Parent/Teacher Conference and said to her, Mrs. Patterson, I think Marrissa is a very gifted student. You should have her tested and get her into a Gifted and Talented Program. So my mom, who has only ever wanted the absolute best for me (it all started with her buying Hooked on Phonics for me at 3 years old) made the arrangements and got me tested.

I took the test the first time and I was on cruise control. I was in my own zone, not thinking anything about the results. I just wanted to show people who I really was. I just wanted to match up the freaking shapes the way I just knew they were supposed to be matched. So I did what they asked and drew some lines and filled in some bubbles and handed in my test. I can still remember the tiny little room with the tiny little table they placed me at to take the test.

I failed the test. No clue what “grade” I got on the test. But I did not pass it.

I don’t remember being particularly crushed. I was okay. But I remember everyone around me changing a little bit. Everyone started to make me feel like this “fail” was in fact a “failure” in life. Like this was my first life test, and I’d just failed it. Like huh? I’m 8! Can’t I just run on the playground?

I remember distinctly that this was a crossroads for me in my life. I’ve always been the type of person who wants to make other people around me happy. It’s why I love to throw house parties and why I believe in other people’s ideas way more than I believe in my own. At the tender age of 8 I looked to my right and saw a road where I could continue on with my failed grade and just live my life, just doing me and maintaining status quo. Then I looked to my left and saw myself achieving a passing grade on that Gifted test. Can you guess which direction I chose?

When I made the choice to re-take the test, I didn’t realize what kinda path I was on. I thought, okay, you can pass this test, then you can get on with your life. I didn’t realize I was opening the door to more and more tests, that I was going to go to a separate School for Gifted and Talented, that I was going to try to constantly achieve 100/100 for everything I did in the future. But I came to realize that this was a relief for me. After struggling to understand my purpose at age 8, I’d finally figured out what my purpose was – to maintain this idea that I needed to be perfect. It gave me something to live for, it gave me an understanding. It became my comfort zone and it’s where I’ve lived for decades. I live in the make believe world of perfection and believe that I belong in that world. And my dark passenger is there to certify that I continue to live for this idea — that perfection exists and I must strive for it.

Just needed a quick side note to describe that short story. Go back to The Catharsis.

Ranting and Ravings

Why I think gender neutrality is a good thing.

I come from a very stereotypical black family from the South. I went to church A LOT as a kid. I’m thankful that it was the foundation for my relationship with God. However, some of my family are a little…extra at times.

This is the thing. The Bible was a book, written by men, who were on the precipice of a plan to control a nation. They used religion to get people to do what they wanted. They interpreted the gospels as they wished. From there, said book was translated into many languages. Not each language reads as the translations. Go read about that.

These are things that kill me!

  • The fact that we’re grown now. If you still think it’s “gross” or “disgusting” when a man kisses a man, or a woman kisses a woman. Grow up. You need to dig deep for some maturity, because a human being can love another human being. Why does it matter if their genitalia don’t match the way society says it should? Don’t be mad at their relationship just because you have maturity of a 7 year old who giggles at the word “sex”.
  • People that reference the first chapter of Genesis saying, God created Adam and Eve to procreate the world. If the relationship doesn’t culminate in procreation, then it’s a “wrong” relationship? Then the relationship is evil? What about the fact that the world, for all intents and purposes, is completely overpopulated, and what’s worse, the kids whose families abandoned them? Yea, they need homes. If two capable men or two loving women are willing to take the time to parent to our children without families, why would I ever want to stop that?
  • Other Bible scriptures that folks use from a book that was written eons ago. I feel as though religion was the death of spirituality. You can no longer just have a relationship and love and reverence for a Higher Power. NOW you have to go along with this strict set of rules by which to govern yourself, including, I can’t love another person of my same gender in public. Like who comes up with this shit? And people follow it so blindly. The Bible was meant to be a tool, not a weapon. Use it to learn how God moves, or how he blesses you. Don’t use it as a torch against all things a little different from you. Lawd…
  • Gender roles. Boys must play with guns. Girls must play with dolls. Sike. Kids are kids. Once, long ago, someone said that masculinity is equivalent to toy usage. And we believed that person. We then cultivated a terribly binding societal motif that said our kids need to be their own gender. At all times. And if they’re not, that kid is weird, or uncool. I have a friend, that sees people as people. I’m often very jealous of the way that she can see through gender and just love someone else. It speaks a lot to the type of person she is. She puts her trust in another human being and she begins to foster a relationship with them that peaks with love. From the outside, she is one of those warm, loving, genuine people that have a sort of glow about them. And you love that person. That’s dope to me.

At the end of the day, you won’t change everyone’s mind. You won’t. And people may think it’s pointless for me to express my opinion. But I just want people to know that there are people who exist who believe in God, but also believe that Love is Love, no matter who is doing the loving.