The Write Way.

Three months into the year 2019 and five weeks into age 26. I’ve lived many lives, and yet here I am, confronted with the usual existential dread and despair when gazing upon the blank space of an empty blog.

One of my favorite mantras, one that I often tout to friends when they are facing some version of hopelessness, is one that also rubs me the wrong way when I consider it in the loneliness of my room or inside the chambers of my head. Reverberating over and over, with the power to both irritate and inspire that only motivational quotes can incite.

“The hardest part is to start.

And here I am, just starting.

But is it enough to to just start? What about to continue, to prevail and to improve? Do we not strive for greatness anymore, or have we been reduced to this sense of mediocrity where we pat ourselves on the back for simply picking up the pen and pressing it to the sheet of paper – or in my case, letting the pads of my fingers move to and fro along this well-worn keyboard?

Or – an even more terrifying thought – what if it’s just me?


 

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Lately, I’ve been pondering the complexities that lay in defining one’s character. We often separate the world and people into categories, into black and white. I’ve known for awhile that shades of gray prevailed, but it took some time to get to a point where I’ve begun exploring those hues.

How is it then, that an individual deemed as “extroverted” by their peers can feel strong symptoms of social anxiety, of loneliness and feelings typically attributed to those far less outgoing or introverted?

How is it that in a given moment, we can feel immense confidence, feel clear headed and certain about our choices and situations in life – and in another moment’s notice, watch all that confidence tumble to the ground and wonder how we ever stood at the top of that mountain?

It’s been a long and arduous week, and most of it is due to my participation in the Olympics of mental gymnastics. I’ve ran laps around creating scenarios in my head that don’t really exist, and have only recently began to understand what it really means to have “confirmation bias” about how I perceive the way in which the world works, and how it actually works.

In times of strife, turning to the wise always helps: in this case, I looked for podcasts to help me figure out what was going on inside my head. I came across an episode on “UnF*ck Your Brain” that delved into cognitive bias, neuroscience and negative thoughts. I found it quite amazing how just a few minutes of listening to the “experts” can shed so much light on the way your mind operates, and knowing that you’re nowhere near special when it comes to feeling like you’re the only one experiencing what goes on in your head – that nearly everyone is experiencing the same thing in some capacity.

In any case, writing always helps. I need to maintain this “drumbeat” as they say in the corporate world, for my own sake.

And the hardest part is always to start.

 

This is the new shit.

I decided to title this blog, the content of which I have yet to determine, after a Marilyn Manson song that used to occupy my iPod in my early high school days.

Marilyn Manson or Monster extra from Insidious?

Don’t ask me to fathom my taste in music at fifteen. I, too, am at a loss as to why my first ever Youtube username included the word “maggot” in it…a permanent testament to my intense passion for Slipknot at the time, I suppose. At any rate, I can’t ever erase that moment of stupidity because YouTube and Gmail decided to merge at some point, rendering the ability to delete old accounts obsolete.

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Incidentally, I once owned t-shirt with this exact logo on the front. Good ol’ Hot Topic days.

But I digress. As noted, this is the new shit. It’s 2018, another year gone and another year older.

As is customary, let’s take a look back at the top 5 milestones of 2017 for Tania:

  1. I got a new job. After an eternity of agonizing, a flurry of discontentment and self-doubt and quarter life crisis angst, I finally got not just any job, but an amazing new career full of the right opportunities, great people and good vibes.
  2.  I returned to Florence. Plagued with dreams about Ali’s kebab and wandering down those familiar cobblestone streets, it felt damn good to come back.
  3. I developed a fairly steady gym routine. Alright, I might have put on the pounds in the last few months, but getting into the habit of exercising regularly has helped tremendously, in more ways than one.
  4. I became more financially savvy. This one may have come naturally with increased income, but I was able to reach finance targets this year that I’d never imagined.
  5. I’ve been able to give back to those who gave me their unconditional love and support. Following the latter, being able to take my aunt on jewelry shopping sprees, or give my mom her every casual desire in the blink of an eye (and a little help from Amazon Prime shipping) means so much to this girl from the Bronx who has seen some rough times when it comes to money, hailing from a low-income family of 5.

I’ve followed the Times “Better Living” newsletter, and one of the tips they suggested to better keep to new years’ resolutions is to make more tangible, concrete goals. Not simply “go to the gym more” – go to 3 fitness classes a month. Drink only one cup of coffee. Eliminate chocolate from your diet in intervals.

2018 feels like its going to be a good year, because I’m going to make it one.