Project AvidScribbler

(c) Avid Scribbler Logo: All Rights Reserved

(c) Avid Scribbler Logo: All Rights Reserved

Tonight’s post is unconventional, in terms of what I normally discuss. I regularly analyse, critique and dissect aspects of the South Asian Diasporic identity (in all of its glory across the world) as I attempt to make sense of it and do my best to help other South Asians view particular topics in a different light.

Every single week, I feel as though I’m about to go into cardiac arrest, for what I say and I am truly thankful for everyone who reads, supports and comments on my blog. You alleviate that anxiety and give me faith to continue writing about this.

Everywhere that I look on the Internet, everyone (and their mums) are writing out inspirational blogs that are a reflection on 2015, what they’ve learnt, how they’ve grown and what they think will happen in 2016. It’s lovely to see, and read, because they are sharing a part of their story with thousands of people on the Internet that they’ve probably never met or ever will meet.

I admire such people; they truly embody what it means to be a writer and it takes a lot more courage, skill and tenacity to write something than write nothing at all.

Whenever I look back on an AvidScribbler blog, I feel taken aback at how personal some of my posts have been this year. I remember the uncomfortable, swirling feeling in my stomach as it tied itself into knots and the burning sensation I get in my throat before I do something I’m not sure of.

You see writing is, and always will be, an act of defiance in some way shape or form. It’s a part of you which comes out onto paper, or a blog, which you then post onto the Internet at the mercy of the world. The best way that I can describe it is like ripping all of your clothes off and standing in the middle of a terrifying thunderstorm; helpless, frightened and vulnerable.

I understand that I’m probably not selling the craft of writing very well here (but then again I never was a natural salesperson!). But I can make this guarantee to you: it is worth it every single time.

It is worth feeling like my stomach is about to drop out of my body to write. It is worth feeling frozen with nerves as I read and watch people’s comments come in as they tell me how a blog made them feel. And it is worth experiencing that burning sensation, every time I open up my emails and read someone’s story that they have decided to share with me after reading a blog.

The latter doesn’t have to even come from my own blog; the beauty of our stories is that it takes courage to share them and that they will always have the capacity to inspire someone, somewhere in our world.

For the next week, I will be doing a mini series: “Project AvidScribbler” where I talk about aspects of being a blogger, a former journalist and my own personal story of where I come from and what has shaped me.  I welcome you to join me, as I experience that same sense of paralytic fear and show another layer to who and what AvidScribbler is all about.

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2014

This is my last post for 2014 and I’m not usually a fan of the whole “New Year, New Me” rigmarole unless there’s a degree of seriousness attached to it. What I do take seriously are the gifts of hindsight, expressing gratitude and methods that individuals (and groups) have taken steps to try and better themselves and their communities.

This year was particularly trying; I started 2014 in not a great way and for the first half of the year it felt like being in between a rock and a hard place. I was very on edge almost all of the time, burnt out, uninspired and fed up of life when I’ve not even started living! It wasn’t until I went out to East Africa for three weeks and left my phone, laptop, social media etc in London.  I remember the night before I left, feeling like a complete failure because I wasn’t on a high salary, wearing designer clobber, out travelling the world or living in a Chelsea flat and “living it up” like many people I knew. I remember my dad telling me not to worry, but how could I not worry? Life is so fast and I felt like I wasn’t in control of it in comparison to my fellow peers.

Those three weeks were the best of my life so far; it was a much needed break and out there I saw a different way of life and members of my family who gave me some great life advice. I met people who were successful in their own right simply by being persistent, working hard and staying focused. I also severely embarrassed myself on several occasions – which I won’t reveal here but on Twitter (@c_syal). I came back to London feeling rested, energised, full of ideas and fabulous.

I still felt like rubbish but started to see things in a very different light. I stopped following what others did and feeling inadequate which is hard because we’re bombarded by it 24/7.  I stopped blaming myself for not being rich or owning a flat in Zone 2; we’re all at different paces in life and should be focusing on the next step instead of the next 200 steps. Since then, I’ve been a lot more relaxed and at peace with myself which has made a big difference with regards to my general outlook. There’s nothing wrong with any of us or our lives.

There have been many highlights, experiences and opportunities that overshadowed negative experiences and I honestly wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the good unless I’d experienced the bad stuff. Even with unscrupulous individuals – we all learn something from each other and it is so important to not take things personally nor depend on anyone too much. I’ve been very blessed to have collaborated with and work with some incredible people who have each taught me something new about myself, themselves, the world and the work we are involved in. And I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for supporting Avid Scribbler and what it stands for.

I am also truly touched and so thankful for everyone’s support; especially after last week’s post which you can read here.