By Alysha Radia
Reflecting on Reflecting
I always struggle to find topics to write about for my SCABs. I’m not sure why, but when it comes to self reflection, something that I know is of great importance to the creative process, I find that walls instantly come up and my verbal and mental flow shuts off. A 5,000 word essay on the history of cereal advertising? Sure, no problem. A sonnet recounting a day in the life of Squirrel? Sureeee thang. A Haiku composed solely of Ian’s masterclass verbalisms? Yeah, why not. But writing about myself? Writing about my innermost thoughts? I find it inexplicably hard. Thanks but no thank you.
So being the deep thinking *meta* person that I am, I decided to have a think, or to ‘reflect on’ if you will, why I find it so hard to be reflective, or at least, to put those reflections into writing. I think the core of the issue is that I find it difficult to hit that beautiful sweet spot between writing about something completely removed and disconnected from my life and going in completely the opposite direction and getting incredibly *deep* and letting rip, pouring my bleeding heart out onto the page and ruining my laptop keyboard with droplets of salty, salty tears. Which nobody wants, right?
When things are going well, I tend to prefer to not dwell on the who, what, when where’s and why’s and just keep at it, keep chugging along and riding the wave and enjoying myself and the work I’m producing. It’s almost as if, if I question it, it will go away as the reflective process would make me realise things weren’t going so well after all. Which they never are. Nothing is ever perfect – far from it. When they definitively aren’t going fabulously, which I guess with most people who have their feet on the ground, is how it feels most of the time, I tend to have a kind of two way dialogue in my head, with the pessimist in me wailing about how awful things are, and the optimist telling the pessimist to chill the fuck out, that everything’s A-OK and its all going to be just peachy *optimist side of brain hits blunt*.
In contrast to how others feel, who use the process of writing as a cathartic method of ejecting negativity from their minds and therefore their lives, I find that writing about the negatives can sometimes make them feel all too real. When putting pen to paper to reflect on how things are going wrong, I feel like the pessimist in me is winning out, and all the things that it is worried about about are actualising and everything that has gone wrong is being made a huge deal out of instead of letting it fade into the shadows. I hate the feeling that the chill and in control side of me is losing.
There’s a reason that we’re expected to reflect more, and one of those reasons is to allow ourselves to weigh up those positives and those negatives and to not see life through such a black or white filter, to ponder those nuances and those shades of grey that lie between.