Epi(blog)ue: When Does The Writer Stop Writing?

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It’s New Year’s Eve, and I am celebrating in style, by chilling alone in my flat, listening to music, and writing this blog. Ordinarily I would write some long, rambling reflection about 2018, but tonight it’s the last thing I want to do. I don’t want to look back on this year. I’ve learnt my lessons, I’ve made my mistakes, and it’s time to move forward. I’m done with the past. Earlier I was talking with a friend about history, and the preservation of artefacts in museums. He said countries that deny their history tend to be totalitarian states, like the Soviet Union. I wonder now if the reason I don’t want to look back on this year is because I am a personified dictatorship. Perhaps. Or perhaps it is simply that if you can see the light, there’s no point looking back down the tunnel.

I’m very much a fan of the “new year, new me” bullshit, because I have Uranus conjunct my Aquarius sun, so “new me” is the only me there is, but tomorrow feels weighted. The energy around me is heavy. Because the new me doesn’t come from nowhere, she is something I have to build.

This year, I truly learnt what it means to have a voice. I learnt to stand up for myself, both in my writing, and in real life. Learning to speak up is one of the most important initiations you will ever go through, but oh boy, I feel like I’ve written enough for a century this year! I’ve spoken my truth, many a time, and I’m glad I did that. But right now I am all written out. On the last night of this year, I don’t want to write. I don’t even want to watch Gossip Girl, or hide from the world in a televised fantasy land. I want to clean my bathroom, or wash the dishes, or play my music loudly and dance around my living room. I want to do something real.

Today I met with one of my best friends, whom I hadn’t seen in four months. He said something to me that he’s said many times “when does the actor stop acting?” but instead of solemnly nodding in agreement like I usually would, I responded with “for me it’s more: when does the writer stop writing?” I meant it in the context of I am always trying to control my life, to make the ‘characters’ act how I want (and usually fail miserably). But as I reflect on it now it seems bigger than that. I live and breathe words. I write in my diary at least twice a day, I write this blog far more regularly than I used to. I write long messages to my friends and family, I write essays for university. Sometimes I even write my novel! The writing never stops.

Writing is a fundamental part of who I am, but I don’t know when to stop telling the story. I am constantly chronicling my life, and I don’t know how to start living it. I used to say I felt like I was sitting on the sidelines, that I was the narrator of a story I wasn’t the protagonist in. Lately I’ve felt the narrator role doesn’t suit me as much as it used to. I’m sick of trying to fill in plot holes and tie up loose narrative threads. I’m tired of trying to make my life make sense when it doesn’t.

As I write this, there’s a voice in my head — that may be intuition — telling me I need to take a break from this blog. I love this blog, it’s my therapy, my passtime, one of my great joys in life. It is a platform where I have a voice, where I can authentically be myself. But at the same time, I worry I am giving too much of myself to… To what, my readers? The void of the internet? I don’t know. I don’t want to stop writing entirely — I will always be a writer. Maybe what I’m trying to say is that my new year’s resolution is to stop using this blog as my online diary. The thought didn’t even cross my mind until I started writing this post, but it feels right. I’ve been so distracted this year, and I lost my way (if I ever had one to begin with). In 2019, I want to build a better Eliza. Someone stronger, someone more grounded. I want to stop telling my story, and start living it. I don’t want to be the narrator, I want to be the protagonist for a change.

It’s a week till the next semester of university begins. I have seven days to sort my life out, before being sucked back into the whirlwind of academia. I need structure, I need a plan. I need to figure myself out, and in order to do that, I need to give myself privacy. Running away to Eastern Europe didn’t make me disappear. I felt like I wasn’t running far enough, and maybe that’s because I was posting my diary on the internet every few days.

I have this strange habit of picking up my friends’ mannerisms and speech patterns. One of my friends gets all her slang from twitter, and half the time I have to google the words she’s using because I don’t know their meaning. Then I start using them too. I subconsciously mimic other people’s speech. Lately, the word I’ve picked up is “low-key.” Every other sentence I say or think is “I low-key want to [fill in the blank]” or “I low-key think [fill in the blank]” and I’ve been getting super annoyed at myself for using it as a hedge word. But maybe it’s trying to tell me something. Maybe what I need right now is to be more low-key. No more “hello internet, here is the story of how my heart got broken” or “what’s up, people on the other side of the void I’m venting into? Let me tell you about the darkest time of my life.” It served its purpose, but if I want to truly be a “new” me, I need to stop using this blog as a crutch. I need to stop relying so heavily on external validation, and create something solid.

The story is over. A chapter of my life ended in 2018. Hell, it feels like more than that, it feels like a novel ended. Consider this my epilogue, or epi(blog)ue, if you will. I don’t know if 2019 is the sequel, or the gap between books one and two. All I know is if I want my life to change, I need to change my habits. I need to throw myself in at the deep end.

I will still write blogs, and they will still be personal, because everything I write is personal. But no more online diary. I will write about topics that intrigue me, I will write all kinds of interesting things. But no more direct channel to internal Eliza. I don’t know who Eliza is right now, and she is the one thing I can’t figure out through my writing. I have to take her out for a test drive in the real world, it’s long overdue. I don’t know if this is permanent. Maybe it will last a month, or a year. As I said, it wasn’t something I’d even thought about. All I know is it feels right, I can tell by how quickly I’m typing. This feels like the answer I’ve been waiting for, the missing jigsaw piece.

So long, farewell. I hope 2019 gives you the peace, the love, and the growth you have been waiting for. I hope life is kind to you. Thank you for reading my words, for sharing parts of my story with me. I hope you will continue to read what I write in the future, whether it’s novels or blogs or anything else.

And so the story ends.

XOXO,

Eliza

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