Leaving things unfinished

Illustration of cherry blossoms in two rectangular frames

kiwimancy on Instagram

Dear Reader,

I’ve been thinking lately about the value of starting things you may not finish. I say this not only to defend my growing stack of unread books, half-finished Netflix shows and my short attention span, but also as someone who can’t help but second guess myself whenever I try something new. That’s stopped me from doing a lot of things I felt that I should be doing, particularly in a time of great inequality, climate disaster and general helplessness.

The me that I want to be–proactive, and intelligent, and fearless, is not the me that I am. I’m still figuring it out.

My strength and weakness is my stubborn sense of responsibility, which is why I hesitate to commit to things–because I know I’ll force myself to see it through at the expense of leaving my comfort zone. I couldn’t live with myself otherwise.

Not particularly healthy, which is why I’m working on accepting that I can’t do everything perfectly, and that it’s alright to stop halfway if I’ve lost steam, and that there’s no one who will think any less of me for trying and failing. But also, that it’s okay to sit with discomfort within myself. To be unhappy with who I am and to want to be better.

So, I’m trying to sign myself up for things before my brain has a chance to stop me. And in those rare moments where I’ve allowed myself to be put in situations that test my comfort level, I’ve picked up Singapore Sign Language, learned how to read Arabic, and made a zine for my favourite anime. On the flipside, I’ve stopped going for beach clean-ups as regularly as I did, and I lost inspiration for a series of letters I was writing about the environment.

But I’m reminding myself, amidst anxious self-scrutiny and doubt, that I’m capable of doing new things. From these small, personal achievements and unfinished projects, I hope that I can bring myself into greater moments of learning, healing and doing. And I wish the same for you.

- Jen