My 2018 in Writing
As far as all things go, 2018 wasn’t the absolute worst. I achieved a lot of things I’m proud of this year. A few things worth mentioning – I bought a camera and started photography, I worked really hard on my personal development, strengthened the relationships that served me and let go of those that didn’t. The thing I’m most proud of though is launching my website and getting back into the groove of writing.
I wrote a lot more – 10 posts in 2018 [eight on my site and two on Will This Be A Problem as compared to just one in 2017 [published on Nairobi Underground.] In the spirit of the year coming to a close I decided to reflect on the things I wrote. Enjoy!
Starting Over – My first post of the year, which kind of set the whole theme of 2018. This is probably the rawest piece I wrote all year – I put a lot of emotion into it, and remember crying for myself as I wrote it. I am proud of the self-awareness I exhibited in this piece – even though it kind of started off like I was going to blame my English teacher and my former bosses for my perceived failure, I knew that the biggest problem was getting out of my own way. However, it’s not just enough to know that you are the one blocking your blessings – you have to DO something about it. Self-awareness without action leads to complacency and depression. It wasn’t enough to know that I wasn’t writing because I shoot myself in the foot [well…hand] I had to actively put measures in place.
One of the measures I set up this year to help me write was getting an accountability partner and it’s something I’d definitely recommend to any creative who struggles with self-sabotage/fear of failure/fear of success/feelings of inadequacy.
Ethical Sex Part II: When Women Violate Consent – I wrote this post after very lengthy conversations with my male friends, many of whom had been violated in some way or another by women. A few of them hadn’t thought about the incident as something serious, but others were very aware of what had happened, however they did not know how to address it. I know a popular school of thought is that men should dismantle these things by themselves since the rest of us have been doing it by ourselves – but that’s just myopic thinking in my opinion. We are all raised in this patriarchal society, meaning we all exist within rape culture – there’s no gender bias when it comes to the influence this world has on us. It may manifest in different ways, but nobody wins when we deny the ways rape culture has influenced all of us.
Bad For The Brand – When I thought of doing this recap, I considered glossing over this piece because it’s the least read on the site. But I wrote it so… why would I deny it? I’m not ashamed of the piece – but with a bit more research it would have been phenomenal. FUCKING BRANDS THOUGH. Here’s a very interesting video by one of my favorite content creators, Karl Smallwood, where he publicly drags a company that approached him. He makes fantastic points – even better than I could – to the point that when I go into making YouTube videos, this will be the philosophy I follow.
The B Word – It was not 20gay-teen if you didn’t have an existential crisis about your sexuality, and mine hit me really hard in the first half of the year. I still feel the same way – most of the things in the piece still hold true till today. I guess I’m carrying it into 20bi-teen. LOL.
The Recaps: March Madness, June Jazz, July Joy, Books of 2018 – these were a lot of fun to write, and I have made a note to do the monthly ones very month next year. The March recap was very freestyle while the other two followed a format – looking back I liked the freestyle version more but the formatted style got the most views. I didn’t write more of them because I was worried that that was the only thing that was going to show up on my site [then as soon as I stopped, I had no more content lol] I would really suggest more writers get into writing monthly and yearly recaps, instead of waiting for monster sites like Buzzfeed to curate them for you so that you can regurgitate the same talking points at parties.
Let’s Not Talk About Your Rape – Really, I wanted to talk about this post the most. First of all, the first two paragraphs were so unnecessary but that’s what happens when you don’t have an editor. Just get to the point already, damn. I have seen so many writers [BAD ONES] doing this long-winded introduction thing to add more ‘substance’ to the piece by relating it to another incident – it’s so unnecessary and confuses the reader, especially if it never comes back up again in the piece.
To be fair I wasn’t truly aware of the dramatic principle that is Chekhov’s Gun: ‘Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.’ It’s mostly applied in filmmaking and novel writing, but can also fit in this context. I could have edited it and hidden this embarrassment from new readers, but I left it up as a warning to other writers. JUST GET TO THE POINT ALREADY.
The choice of title for me was very intentional – all the times I have ever disclosed information about my multiple assaults I had never told the full story. Some of it I’m pretty sure was blocked out by my subconscious, other bits by gaslighting myself, but a lot of it was from shame. After I uploaded the post, there was nothing left to be ashamed about since everything was already out there. The best thing that came about after writing this essay was that I actually told my friend what happened. I was scared and went into the conversation convinced that he would not believe me, but he did!
Another interesting development was that I am not angry anymore. What happened was inexcusable and not something I take lightly, but I no longer allow that anger to overwhelm me and make me its prisoner. I just wanted to BE FREE, so I choose to let go of the anger and resentment. I never expected the day would come that I would actually forgive a man for raping me, but that day came. Even despite seeing him several times this year – he even gave me a ride home once (I sat in the back though) I never brought it up. It was no longer about him. I just got tired of being tense and angsty because even if I knew what had happened and felt like my behavior was justified, no one else knew what was going on. The only one who looked crazy was me. I had given all my power away for years to this person who took it away from me for less than 10 minutes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dismissing the time it took for me to heal from those few minutes I was violated, however there was so much time I wasted over the years stewing in anger that I could have been using to work on myself.
I’m starting to think that you cannot heal until you let go of that anger, but I wouldn’t be able to tell you how to get about doing that – which is where the people who insist on forgiveness go wrong. There is no blueprint, there’s no 12 Step Program, it is not going to be predicted in your birth chart. It’s always going to be about you and when you want to do it. Just don’t waste valuable years of your life holding on to poison. Your skin will thank you for it.
Friend: Why are you crying?
Gemini: Oh sorry. Just thinking about a brilliant argument I made in an essay I wrote years ago.
— Astro Poets (@poetastrologers) December 22, 2018
That about sums up this piece.
I’m really looking forward to 2019 – I have so many great ideas to share and I’m very excited. I’m very grateful for the clicks and shares and kind comments, both online and offline. 8 posts, just under 2,000 views on this site, plus 500+views on the other pieces. Thank you for your support and see you next year!