Writing about not having time to write this month.
I started this site nearly two years ago, and since the beginning I've been determined to never go a month without posting some piece of writing on here. Since May of 2015 I have been proud of the consistency reflected in my archives. I am also proud to now know that the "ch" in "archive" is pronounced like a "k" and not actually "ch." I learned this late in life. For me, being a person who has a blog feels self-indulgent, cliché, corny, and cringe-worthy most of the time. I once shouted to a friend, "I hate every single person who has a blog!" and I really meant it. She stared back at me confused. I'll probably have to bring this up during therapy someday.
Posting consistently has helped lessen my anxiety about sharing my thoughts on the Internet. Simply dropping by every few months when I occasionally thought I had something important to say was never an option for me. If I was going to write, I was going to be a writer, goddamnit. Posting sporadically feels like stepping onto a pedestal whenever you have Something You Deem Very Important And Valuable To Share With The World. I didn't want to stand on that pedestal. But if this could be a thing that I do, then there would be less room for my own criticism. Each month, I feel my self-imposed deadline creep up on me.
When I first started posting here, it was to put together pieces for a job I was applying to as a blog contributor for a music magazine. I wrote pieces quickly and they mostly consisted of reviews of popular music. I threw in a few witty sentences, but kept the material relatively formal and based on whatever was on the radio at the time.
When I was studying in Italy a few months later, I began drafting a more personal post. Overcome with anxiety and a sizable dose of heartbreak and anger, I wrote what became the longest and most personal piece I had posted to date. And it felt right even when it felt wrong. My writing transitioned from then on, becoming a bit more personal with each passing month, but still consisting of many basic reviews—the things I thought I was supposed to be writing, the practical pieces that could be useful when applying for internships, the things I had created this site to write in the first place.
Then the spring of my junior year was my favorite semester of college academically—five upper-level classes (and five As!) that I became completely engrossed in. I lived on Staten Island, read PDFs of academic journals during my commute, and stayed up late in my bedroom-living room to finish my assignments with a rigor and dedication I had never before experienced. My new work ethic was a reaction to the semester prior, when I took classes on Italian cooking and jewelry making. Though I enjoyed those classes and don't regret taking them, I did feel like something was missing. (Perhaps this was my own modern encounter with the problem that has no name, but much more trivial, glamorous, and temporary.) I was craving something that challenged me intellectually and I found that in my classes when I got back to the States. I was also working hard to compensate for some newfound personal insecurities that had developed during the anxious era depicted in the infamous Italy blogpost. I studied in an attempt to prove I was worthy, though I'm not sure to whom I was trying to prove it.
The summer before my senior year, I was writing for my second music magazine. It was May and I hadn't submitted anything in a while. I pulled up Meghan Trainor's latest music video, thinking I could write a simple article complimenting the song's clever hook. Next thing I knew, I had written a 2,000-word critique. It wasn't the kind of piece that my magazine was looking to publish.
Around this time, every job and internship posting that would've seemed perfect a few months ago repulsed me. All I wanted to do was read and write and learn. I found myself at a fork in the road of studying Communication. Did I want to be a part of the media, or did I want to be critiquing, analyzing, reading about, writing about, and researching it like I had done all semester? A degree in Communication prepares you to do either, and I felt like I needed to choose between being a part of the media and studying it critically. By extension, I asked myself if I wanted to write like a reviewer or like a writer. I started to lean toward the latter.
I quit my magazine job and wrote a July blogpost about Beyoncé and the Black Lives Matter movement. In an attempt to write what felt right, this post hurt people I didn't want to hurt. I cried at my kitchen table early on a Saturday morning, desperately begging my mother to explain to me how my intentions could be so vastly different from their outcomes. I tried to do the right thing but still ended up in tears. My expectations were myopic and I underestimated the influence of my own words. I carry this guilt and confusion with me and it hovers over everything I post. It still stings when I think about it today.
I continued to feel my writing change, and the May post I wrote about Meghan Trainor's music video feels half as good as what I could write about it now, less than a year later. Often when I read through my old posts, I am disgusted at my own inadequacies. I ask myself how I ever thought any given piece was good enough.
But the ones I find myself accepting without brutal critique are the ones I put the most heart into: the ones that are emotional, personal, vulnerable, self-indulgent—all the things I'm most afraid of. They're the ones that are the hardest to write. The ones that are about me and my relationship to music. The ones that come to me once a month, at the very end of the month, and prioritize quality over quantity. The ones that satisfy the feminist in me—the ones I would be proud to have my nieces read one day. The ones that contain the stories I constantly stop myself from saying in person because I am convinced that no one wants to hear what I think or believe or feel or know or experience.
I want to focus on these kinds of posts, even though they're not the ones that could theoretically help me get a job (sorry, mom and dad). I've decided to title my posts this year with the name of the month when I wrote them, which might lead to some really corny or confusing titles down the line. Please excuse me for trying to be consistent and for trying to get recognition for meeting my own deadline, because it's actually really difficult to keep most months. Sometimes my friend Roxana, who was basically the main character in my August 2016 post, will text me in the final days of a month asking what I'm working on and telling me she's looking forward to reading it. She motivates me more than she realizes.
My intention tonight was to write a blogpost stating that I don't have time to write a blogpost. I was going to miss my deadline for the first time in two years. I wrote a 50-page thesis over spring break and I thought I had run out of words. I started writing this after midnight and I have a speech to prepare for tomorrow. This was irresponsible time management. I was aiming for a single paragraph, solely for the sake of keeping my archives consistent, and saying only these things:
The month of March ultimately provided me with more to write about than this bulleted list. This is why my sisters compare me to Alexander Hamilton (why do you write like you're running out of time?!). What can I say? I promised I would never just drop in with a few wise words from my pedestal.
Music, feelings, and a little bit of feminism.
words by the month