What I've Lost
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my wasted potential.
In my 20s, I had a blog. A blog I couldn't wait to write in. I'd go on dates —
terrible ones — and would start composing full paragraphs in my brain on the Metro ride home. I could feel the words heavy in my mouth as I typed them out. I could practically chew them.
The blog got popular. I got popular. My social circle expanded like a sunrise, stretching as far as the eye could see. The more I wrote, the more I wanted to write. The more I wanted to produce. My creativity flexed like a muscle and got stronger with each post. People told me I should write a book. I daydreamed about writing a book.
And then... I did nothing. The popularity of the blog led to regular virtual floggings. I didn't have the strength or mental capacity to weather the criticism. And the content of the blog was unsustainable as well. I could either keep writing, or I could get serious about finding a partner and settling down. I chose the latter route.
Believe this: I do not regret this path. I love my husband more than life itself. Even knowing what I know now about what we'd go through — the infertility diagnosis, the IVF treatments, the miscarriages — I would not swap my life with someone else. I love our house. I love our dogs. I love our baby.
But as I sit here tapping away on my keyboard, I feel such... disappointment. In myself. Where did that writer go? Can you call yourself a writer if you never write?
The ease I used to feel putting words down on paper is gone. When I was writing my dating blog, it was like the turns of phrase magically appeared in my brain, almost faster than I could type them out. Writing this feels like slogging through mud. Each sentence gets stuck somewhere. That muscle has atrophied. Perhaps irreversibly so.
I don't think about this very often. Especially over the last few years, my brain has been consumed by the process of creating and caring for a child. You don't miss your creativity when you're strapped to a machine monitoring your fetus's heartbeat. But when it hits me how far I've strayed from that part of my identity, it hits me. Literally a punch right in the middle of my chest, forcing me to suck in air. Where did that writer go?
I could have written a book by now, if I'd had the gumption and self-discipline to work on it. Instead, I've frittered away my talent and time watching TV and playing games on my cell phone. What. A. Waste.
Perhaps my 2022 resolution should be that I write something. I have a partial script and movie synopsis I created around this time last year as part of a prompt for my book club. It's formulaic and designed to be a cheesy Christmas movie, the kind you'd see pumped out as if on an assembly line on the Hallmark Channel. Maybe finishing that is the goal I should start with.
If you see this, please periodically send me messages throughout the year asking how my movie is coming. My muscle is so weak I don't know I can do it on my own.
I think the worst part about how weak this muscle is is that I never know how to end these posts in a satisfying way anymore.