On writing, social media and the impending end of Lent

I’m irritating myself. Everything I do irritates me. I’m irritating myself by writing this blog because I sat down to write my story and look what’s happened.

Really I should be packing, or throwing all my old stuff away because we’re moving house in a couple of days, but I’ve just remembered I have a funny thing about packing. I don’t know why exactly, and it’s never a conscious decision, but I always put packing off until the very last possible second – even if it’s for a holiday that I’m really excited about. I think what it is maybe, is that packing is really, really boring.

Lent finishes on Friday. What does that signify in religious terms? I can’t remember. Was it the day they nailed Jesus to the cross? And if so then shouldn’t it be called Bad Friday? Either way, it’s the day I eat an entire Lindt chocolate egg for breakfast, so actually it’s going to be a Very Good Friday, quite a lot better than Jesus’ one.

To be honest with you, I’m sort of nervous about Lent finishing. I want to carry on the fasting and calorie reduction on weekdays because I feel it’s good for me, but I’m afraid I won’t have the willpower outside of my weird obsessive-compulsive Lent thing.

It’s not quite over yet but so far I’ve lost just over a stone of fat, which is pretty good for 6.5 weeks I think. It averages out at about 2.5lbs lost a week. Not that I can notice it on my body. I don’t know where it’s gone from. I’m waiting for someone to tell me I look like I’ve lost weight. This has not happened yet.

My average daily calorie intake is 950 and I can’t remember the last time I had a day off gym/running. I think my metabolism is slow, if I have one at all. My entire digestive system is an absolute joke. If my digestive system were a human, it would be someone like Donald Trump. Erratic, incompetent and embarrassing, but also a bit scary, and maybe not to be trifled with.

Recently I’ve felt funny posting stuff on social media. I started posting more because I thought it would help my new freelance writing business, but it’s actually depressed me a bit. I follow all these other content writers now and they depress me too. They’re just always there, you know? Writing about stuff. And it’s intimidating.

I would quite like to delete my social media accounts but sometimes I like looking at pictures on Instagram, or seeing what my friends and family are up to on Facebook, or judging people on LinkedIn. I also like taking photos, and Instagram is a nice way of sharing some of them. But I don’t want to feel like I’m showing off about my life, and recently that’s how it’s felt a bit, even though my life isn’t exactly glamorous.

I’ve also been forced to question why I like writing, because I’ve been feeling strangely apologetic about it recently. It feels self-indulgent to sit here prattling on about any old shit that pops into my head, expecting someone to read it.

I’ve concluded that I like writing because it’s the only way I can understand anything at all. Anything about me, or anything about the outside world. I’ve kept a diary since I was 14 years old. I write in it when I go away on my own. I write about things I’ve seen, things I’ve thought. It helps me digest my experience of life. Sometimes it’s the only thing I digest.

I also occasionally read my diaries back. It makes it easier to overcome problems in life. As humans we’re always changing. It’s imperceptible, like losing weight. You don’t notice it day-to-day, only when you look back. I can check back on every event in my life to see how I felt about it; to see how and why I made certain decisions. This makes it very easy for me to self-reflect. Writing is a way of debriefing, of untangling unconscious thoughts, of decoding life. I discover things all the time when I write.

I don’t always write to be read. I don’t always write for attention, or validation. Most of the time I write because I enjoy it. Maybe that’s still a kind of narcissism.

After I post a blog I feel a bit vulnerable. I never used to feel this way about it. This blog has more unpublished drafts hidden inside it than actual published content. I just feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of stuff out there – bloggers, vloggers, influencers, this constant stream of information. I wonder if I should be doing more to push my writing, to get myself noticed and read. But then I remember I never wanted that. I just want to finish my novel. I just want it to be out of me, then I will be happy.

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