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  • Writer's pictureHailo

Some thoughts before I go to sleep

I posted a little blurb on Kafka and writers and insecurity (and a bad date, but that is an essay on mimetic desire and contemporary dating for another time), but what really bothers me about writers and insecurity is that I — someone still reluctant to call myself a writer, something common with a lot of writers I think — consider myself to be deeply, deeply insecure.

And I wish it was just baseline-level insecurity. Basic things like my body, or my face, or the way that I walk. Having grown up doing classical ballet and pageants, I’m the poster child for this sort of top-down insecurity. I’m used to molding myself to a set of aesthetics or rules in the pursuit of other people’s approval (my therapist once told me that this also makes me more susceptible to cults, which, if you've been in the Hot Literati for a minute, you know that I was almost in one not long ago). If it was just this insecurity — the desire for a certain body or demeanor, then perhaps it would be fixable in some sort of way. But it’s not. It’s not that at all.

In an earlier post, I alluded to ripping out the pages of my own diary as a little girl. Not because I hated the writing, I loved the act of writing, I loved reading what I had written, but because the act of memorializing my own experience, my thoughts, my feelings, made me disgusted at my own corporeal existence in the world. I was embarrassed to have gone through a day, let alone to have written it down. Almost like I was an intangible thing liminally observing everything, and putting it to paper made me feel like I was reifying myself. It felt wrong.

And the more I read and the more I read about the people who wrote the things that I like the most, the more I draw lines between thought patterns and neuroses. I feel like a lot of writers are almost embarrassed to be alive. Like they feel like they have to prove that a life wasn’t wasted on them. And that they’re not wasting their life by trying to write during it. And I think that this is how I feel a lot of the time. I feel like I’m always making up for something. I don’t know what. But it feels nice to write, I think. It feels nice sometimes. Because I can do it alone, without a witness.

And maybe I’ll burn my pages one day like Kafka. Take a lighter to all my legal pads and pay someone to incinerate my digital footprint. Because maybe if no one reads it, then the embarrassment never comes. Maybe that’s what he was trying to avoid the whole time.

And maybe you’ve read some Kafka. The things he could never turn into novels. Or even his letters. Did you think about him as a living, breathing man. One who tripped and cried and desired. And you’re reading this now, aren’t you. Do I feel like a real person to you. What’s all this worth, all this writing. Do you think I’ve earned it, this life? And maybe even one I don’t have feel ashamed of. Do you. Do you. Please don’t answer. Let me be liminal, if even just for a little while longer.


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