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I’ve been sitting at my computer, staring at a blank Word document for fifteen minutes. Thinking. The acidic white is beginning to make my vision blur, rolling out over the computer monitor and across the desk, and I can’t seem to choose an uncomfortable memory. And not from lack of experience—as far as awkward situations go, I’ve faced the tempest. I could talk about the time I spent an evening with a couple that bickered nonstop, careening toward a massive breakup. Or the time I was babysitting and the four-year-old decided to play Tag and made me chase her three blocks while she screamed for help. I could talk about a lot of things. But very few were handled with grace or strength of will, and fewer still involved a learning experience aside from, “Well, never doing that again.” So what can I talk about? What pushes me beyond the edge of comfort? The computer screen staring back at me is a little less blank, smudged by the thin stalks of type, but still daunting. I don’t like looking at it. What makes me uncomfortable?

This essay.

This essay, in which we’re told to poke twigs into the anthills of past humiliations, past heartaches, past discomforts, makes me uncomfortable. In fact, I almost loathe it.

It isn’t the writing that bothers me—my heartbeat pulses in my fingertips, anxious and ready to turn thoughts into words. It’s the me part. The introspection part. The part where I throw all sense of modesty to a reckless abandon and bellow my praises till my throat’s bloody raw. I dislike the idea of this essay, because I dislike the idea of taking a magnifying glass to my insides. It’s self analysis—peeling back the paper-thin layer of my skin and prodding at the sticky insides, examining myself like a wide-open cadaver laid out on the table. It makes me uncomfortable.

Some people embrace the idea of self analysis like a brother. It’s easy for them. They like it. But I’m like the parents that turn their heads, deaf to the words of the children they no longer seem to understand. Don’t ask, don’t tell. I’d rather be here, just inside of this body, feel my heart throb against my skin, feel my bones stretch and yawn when I move. I just want to live. I’d rather not know what weeds have rooted up in the sidewalk of my mind. Blinders in place, eyes firmly forward. That’s my motto.

But who can learn from that? And what kind of noteworthy experience will that be if I simply walk away, gaining nothing but the rubbed-raw, violated feeling of self mutilation? A poor one, that’s what kind.

The hero cannot lose. The demon must be vanquished and I must barrel forward, live to be uncomfortable another day. How will I deal with this? How will I win? I’m going to write. Write this essay, write more essays, keep writing. I’m going to take the magnifying glass and shove it down my throat until I know every twist and turn, every shiny smooth part, every place that’s been rubbed raw, red and inflamed. And then I’ll write some more.

Just like that. Fast and painless, like ripping off a Band-Aid. Though I daresay a Band-Aid never demanded quite so much thought.

How’s that for introspection?



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This article has 9 comments. Post your own!

Justafaceinacrowd said...
Oct. 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm:
I loved this. Straight up and honest, without being narcissistic. Loved it
 
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iJustu said...
Sept. 14, 2012 at 9:42 am:
This is beautiful piece I have ever read. I swear I wanted to re-read it over and over agian. Too bad I cannot write like you to help me out with my essays!
 
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HaileyS This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm:
How's that? Well, it's perfect! Your words are rhythmic and captivating and wonderful. Are you proud of this piece? You should be. It's witty self-expression at it's finest.
 
free2believe replied...
Jun. 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm :
ditto! couldnt have said it better!
 
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flywiththebirds said...
Apr. 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm:
This was so awesome! I love this!
 
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Sophia_Cornwall said...
Mar. 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm:
I really love the style.  It's very straightforward and down-to-earth, but at the same time it's very rich in imagery; you get your point across in a wonderfully laconic voice, and I completely agree with this.  All of this.
 
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Bookloverr said...
Mar. 22, 2012 at 9:07 am:
This is amazing! Keep writing(: 
 
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jdtwenty11 said...
Nov. 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm:
LOVED it. i wanted to write something like this for my essay, but i didnt want to seem smart-alecky. you, however, write fantastically and handled it perfectly. great job
 
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Iliveinyourbasement said...
Oct. 19, 2009 at 12:37 pm:
So very, very true. It's hard to write about one's self. I feel your pain. However, if you write this way, people see you differently. You can make them think about you, understand you better. As for the quality of your writing, flawless. It would make a good poem.
 
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