I think I can. I couldn’t do it.

I’m not writing about the hard things. At least not publicly. I know that to write the good stuff, I have to write the hard stuff, but I’ll just stick with mediocrity for now. I’m afraid of being embarrassed, of being wrong, of hurting others, of taking a powerful experience and writing it into something plain and dull and not being able to convey to anyone what I mean, but I don’t know exactly what I mean, so I just won’t try at all. If I remember an event incorrectly even once, I can rewrite wrong it in my brain forever, falsifying a it little more each time, so I’d better just leave it investigated as little as possible, like keeping the fridge closed during a power outage. If I open the fridge even once, it’ll let the cool air out and the good stuff will spoil faster. But if the power stays out too long, it’ll all spoil that which never got enjoyed for fear of faster spoiling. I lie a lot. Little lies. Sometimes I’ll say I’ve done something, but I don’t remember if I have, I might have, and now by saying it, I have. I’ll remember having done it.

I don’t have to write the hard things just now, not yet. I’ll wait until I’m a better writer. I’ll do these memories justice. When I’m an old lady, I’ll really be good at the hard things. I’ll be a great writer then. A famous writer. These hard, bad things won’t be so ambiguous ambivalent. I’ll have all so many mostly right memories with falsehoods in the proper place for a good narrative pace.

I think I can. I thought I could. I thought I did. I couldn’t do it.

Woman with pink hair lying on bed.There isn’t one hard thing, one deep down terrible thing, I’m suppressing. Well, maybe there’s that. But there are also those lesser things. And there’s this thing that’s almost as bad. I don’t want to be judged. You can’t tell me I’m wrong if I don’t tell you how wrong I am. It’s not so funny anymore. It used to be funny. I won’t even tell you the most superficial bad habit, the one that means I’m not a bad person, just undisciplined.

I’m better now. I’ll be better later. I’ll never do that again. Whatever I did, I won’t do. I’ll write it later. I’ll tell everyone later, when more people are reading me. If I humiliate myself on the internet and nobody notices, do I even exist?

I’m cool and fresh. I didn’t fail this. I did this. I did this right, and you’ll never know.

4 thoughts on “I think I can. I couldn’t do it.

  1. I like this. And I’ve experienced this same manner of self doubt, when it comes to writing. With time and age, you get over it. And you see the value in brutal truth, particularly after you’ve experienced loss and I have, on so many levels. It comes with time though. This was and is a creative peice about uncertainty and even longing…but to any younger writer I will say only this; don’t ever be afraid, or silence yourself. Sometimes, the only things you have left is knowing you settled a score, righted a wrong and embarked on some journey for justice, with the story/article/poem/essay that you put together. Great piece. Cheers! 🙂


  2. Looking your fear in the eyes, even by writing that you’re afraid to write, is powerful and healing. Keep pushing and allowing and breathing!

    As a side note, it’s also OK to be afraid. Incidentally, it’s also OK to fail. Fear is something we’re told to fight. Fear will be there regardless. I say, acknowledge it and act anyway, even with baby steps.

    Hooray for you, old friend! ❤


  3. The powerless fridge is an awesome metaphor! Tons of tasty ingredients in there! Now make a meal of yourself and let others devour you, for good or for ill.

    And this is a beautiful and honest exercise on being ready, good enough and the torturous self-doubt and procrastination cycles and psychosis writers put themselves through.

    But of course, one can’t get good at the hard things if one doesn’t simply DO them. Just keep up the discipline and throw all the words out there, polished “perfected’ or not. When I can’t write, I write about what I think about not writing. This is a perfect reflection of that thought exercise. And it ends in triumph. Bravo, Lauren!

    “Work finally begins,” says Alain de Botton, “when the fear of doing nothing exceeds the fear of doing it badly.”

    And you should read this:



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