Right now, I am in the midst of revising several old essays, in order to link them together. These essays go all the way back to 2018 - and some of them date back to the years before I started psychoanalysis, when my memories of my own life were kind of shadowy and didn't work all too coherently or well.
Because of what my book is about, the aim, for me, is not to get these old essays sounding as fluent or as perfect as possible. Rather, the aim is to journey towards recapturing the person who I was, at the time when I was writing: the deep insecurities, and the essential, if desperately glossed-over, hollowness that defined me. But also the incredible quantities of life force that kept me walking through the desert of my own mind for years, towards the distant outlines of a self.
This intention might be easy enough to describe here, in words. But in fact, I've found it very difficult to accomplish in person. Whenever I look back at past versions of my self, my first, anxious instinct is always to erase and correct - to fudge the facts and figures wherever possible, in order to pretend that I've always been the person who I am today. To furiously revise and cut and curate, so as to create a false impression of consistency over time.
So for me, learning to accept my old essays - instead of throwing them out, or brutally altering or censoring them - has something to do with overcoming this urge towards self-erasure and -correction. In many ways, it feels like the most important thing that I am learning, from my art: to see the past versions of my self with empathy, acceptance, curiosity, and grace, instead of only the usual bouts of hatred or judgment. So far, it's been the hardest part of the whole process for me! I feel tired, and at times very burdened. But I also feel sure that it's my direction of growth.
I'm not feeling very eloquent today. But I wanted to get this blog post down to register my thoughts. I'm starting a new cycle of freelance work at the end of this week - and it feels important to log where I am in my creative process first, before going out there again to field the rush of other people's demands.