Your kind of writing

Since we are individuals, we have our own comfort zone or the thing that we are think we are good at as writers. Some writers are just more interested in crafting poems and spend most of their time honing that craft. Some are more interested in working with factual stuff and so they take up journalism or technical writing. And some are interested in crafting fictional worlds and stories. This is where we get our short stories and wonderful works like Lord of the Rings, War of the Worlds, etc.

For me, well, it took me a while before I settle down on where I want to take my writing. These past few months, I’ve read dozens of articles and essays written by other people which made me realise the only kind of writing I’m comfortable with is sharing my own life story and using it to help me navigate through my feelings and thinking. All the disappointments, the sadness, the angsts, the joys and lastly, the thoughts that I have about certain things.

The other kind of writing that got me going was writing fiction. I love crafting stories, especially science fiction ones. And now I’m attempting to craft horror stories. But I’m well aware that I’m not a published author yet. Even then, it doesn’t stop me from writing and putting them up. Whether it get one view or ten views, it doesn’t matter.

So now you know why my blog doesn’t have a set theme or topic. The kind of posts I put up are seemingly everywhere. All because those were the things I was thinking about or have tried and wanted to share something about it. And when it’s time for short story or novels, I put those up here too. It’s why the url is wordsfromturbulenthill.com.

And what’s your kind of writing? Are you a poet whose words can moves the earth and make the sky cry? Or are you technical writer who can move people in the management of a company to take action? Or are you a script/fiction writer who can tell a great story that inspires people or get them to live a different life in their mind?

Living with hyperhidrosis is lonely and sad

Just imagine. The weather is cool and you are in the comfort of your home or a familiar place, either by yourself, with your friends or family. You aren’t nervous or anxious.

Yet, you are seemingly sweating from places on your body like your hands or your feet. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Because of that, you grow self-conscious. You find yourself not willing to touch someone just because your hands just feel damp and sticky most if not all the time. You are afraid of people giving you that questioning look. So you don’t shake hands. Under certain situation, your hands are dripping.

And anything you touch with your hands, you leave behind a trail of sweat droplets. If you don’t wipe them away in time, when those droplets dry up, they leave behind white and yellow stain. Writing on paper causes the ink to smudge, paper become wet, soaking through. And whatever you grip, you feel like there are times it’s slipping away.

But that’s not it.

Your feet sweat just as badly as well. After a long day of wearing covered shoes, your feet stinks from all that sweating. And when you walk bare feet, you leave behind a trail of footprints. If someone else were to walk the same path as you, they will wonder why is the floor so sticky. Sometimes, because your feet are so wet, you feel like you could slip and fall.

A quick google reveal the name of this condition: Hyperhidrosis. So you wonder why it has happen to you. What have you done wrong to deserve this?

Well, it’s not your fault. The sad reality is that you won. You won the genetic lottery that causes the nerves that control sweating to be hyperactive. To those system, it’s like you’re constantly overheating.

Here’s the kicker.

If you are overweight in anyway, then, your body will feel like it’s overheating even more because it has to carry around those lumps of fats in your body when you do move physically. So now, you are sweating all over, instead of just limited to your hands and feet for the wrong reason.

It won’t be so bad if there’s a cure for it.

But because hyperhidrosis isn’t a life threatening condition, the medical industry didn’t spend too much resources on finding the cure to it. There are of course treatments available but they aren’t ideal or foolproof.

One could try prescription-grade anti-perspirant but it doesn’t really work well on the palms or feet because of the thickness of skin in those areas and the amount of sweat glands. The use of iontophoresis is time-consuming and expensive and may not even give you the best result. Botox injection is effective but painful, time-consuming and expensive. Oral medication comes with excessive side-effect that doesn’t improve your quality of life. You are simply trading sweating for dry mouth, kidney issues, etc. The final and more drastic treatment is the Endoscopic Thoracic Sympathectomy. It is a surgical option that comes with the risk of compensatory sweating and may stop your body from sweating properly from the chest and up. As with any surgery, there are other risks involve.

This is why I feel miserable at times. The excessive sweating prevents me from living the kind of life that I desire. Medical treatments will tie me down financially, limiting my options. I mean who doesn’t want the autonomy associated with zero debt. You are free to do whatever you want for as long as you got enough money in your bank. Without treatment, well, life sucks too. A five minutes walk will leave me drenched in sweat. I dare not enter into any relationship because of the condition. If anyone were to hug me, their body heat will cause me to feel like I’m heating up and I will sweat excessively. Meeting new people make me nervous and I sweat even more. If anyone were to hold my hands, they will probably recoil from those clammy, wet hands.

So…It’s a lonely and sad life.

Becoming aware of the neurotic mind and overwriting it for a happier self

Let’s imagine that you grow up in an environment where your parents engaged in negative self-talk in front of you, self-punishing behaviours, call you stupid or brainless when you do something wrong, or continue bring up the past mistakes you made every time they are not happy about something you did today.

Then as you got older, you engaged in similar activities without being consciously aware of what you did.

And that’s all because of nurture. After all, you were just a child and your only true role models are your parents. Even when you have friends, they won’t be there to influence your life every hour of your life. So you will just learn that what your parents do is normal, therefore correct.

As a result, you don’t question all these learned behaviours. Until someone pointed them out or came to realise it one day because of what you’ve read or heard people talk about.

And you know what?

Those activities I mentioned earlier actually examples of being neurotic. And it actually leads to poor quality of life. You are never happy. And it can actually contribute to the development of “perfectionism mindset” in a person.

I know because that’s the kind of environment I grew up in. I seek perfection in my work. Was never happy, constantly depressed. Hated the world. And it was during my research to understand myself better that I came upon various psychology articles and essays about being neurotic and the neuroticism personality traits. It was then I realised I’ve got a problem.

So over the past few months, I have actually pushed myself to engage in self-compassion and self-care. It was hard at first since it was unnatural for me. But if you keep doing it,  practising those skills for a while, it’ll become easier. Just like training yourself to be able to lift certain weights or to run a marathon.

And it took me a while before I was able to catch myself before I engage in such behaviours. And these days, I can see my mind doing all the weird negative self-talks and punishment-type thinkings. But I will myself not to act on them. I simply acknowledge those thoughts and then push myself to focus on the present. Because at the end of it, you can’t control the events that happened but you can control how you react or respond to those events.

So I actually feel happier compared to when I was in my early twenties and late teens. I also recognised it’s still a work in progress because those negative thinkings and self-talks hadn’t been completely eliminated from my mind.

The other thing that I also realise is, I was actually able to focus more of my attention to creating the kind of life I want because my mind isn’t cluttered with all those bad thoughts. With that, the friction to complete the micro-goals that will put my closer to my destination is much lesser.

Knowing when to take a break

If you are a creator, there will be days when you know you just isn’t feeling it. No matter how much you push yourself and force yourself, you can’t seem to make that piece of work you desperately needed to get out.

And one of the biggest reason is pressure. You are forcing yourself to create something because you feel obligated to do so. I know because I am forcing myself to write at least one essay or post per day. I didn’t want my blog to die off for one day without new content. So I went and try to write a horror fiction. There was this idea that was stuck in my head for the past few days and I thought why not find a way to churn out a short story based on that idea. After nearly an hour, I only managed to get two hundred words out and started to feel so frustrated. So I stopped.

After that, I was thinking to myself: It’s fiction writing. It’s supposed to be my thing. The one thing I’m good at.

And that was how I killed my own writing. By pressuring myself.

Then a funny thing happened.

The idea to write this particular piece came to life. I just feel like I should share it.

And you know what’s the other thing that could just as easy kill your writing? It is your Input. An article written by Annie Mueller on Medium titled, “What’s Blocking Your Creative Output?“, talks about how the wrong kind of input actually kills your creativity.

And I’ll admit, these last few days, I have been feeding myself junk by reading a whole bunch of articles on Medium ranging from productivity to self improvement to business. And what the hell? Business? I actually have no intention of running my own business. At least not yet. So you see, reading junk actually stopped my mind from thinking about new stuff to write about.

So if you realise you are somehow stuck and don’t have any more creative juices flowing, maybe it’s time to ask yourself if there’s something wrong with your input. Maybe it’s time for you to purge those junks out of the creativity pipes.

But, I suspect you must be wondering how the hell I wrote the article, “Singapore, not as green as you think” if I’m out of ideas. Well, environment is something I cared about and it was stuck in my head for the last two weeks. I finally took the leap to write that piece yesterday and challenge myself to write an essay about Singapore. After all, I’m born and raised here so I thought I would know it better and not sound pretentious but it didn’t stop me from experiencing some kind of anxiety attack when I hit published.

And now I know, it’s time for me to take a quick break from writing and do something new. However, it doesn’t mean I stop completely. My mind is always churning out ideas. As soon as I encounter something novel during my day, it will send a spark to start the engine.

Let go and move on

Throughout one’s life, depending on personality, there will be something that upset him or her. It can be easily boil down to either pet peeves, perfectionism or both.

And there’s nothing wrong with those since often times they are part of the person’s core. It’s what make each of us unique.

However, it’s never good for one’s health if he or she remains upset for the whole day over that one thing. Anger raise cortisol in your body and leads to inflammation. Not only that, it can ruin a potentially great day and be infectious.

As what people much more mature and smarter have said, it’s important for one to put things in perspective. Life is short and you only that one. There’s a possibility that you were never born should your parents never meet at the right time or right place. And now that you are here, you want to waste time being angry at trivial things? For every minute you spend in anger, you are saying no to the other great things that had or could happen.

And I’m not saying I won’t get angry. I’m only human and utterly flawed. But anger is an emotion. You are allowed to feel it. However, you should let it go as soon as possible. It was a lesson that I didn’t learn in time and allow myself to suffer needlessly over the years.

But it’s never too late.

Over the past few weeks, letting things go became a part of my life. Yes, it’s definitely a work in progress but I’m aware of how far I have come. Though I have this suspicion that it could be because I have grown apathetic when it comes to work.

I stopped being so uptight about how my colleagues write their codes. I have also become more nonchalant about mistakes made. We are only human. Mistakes happen. And that’s something that I have come to acknowledge.  The more important thing is how are you moving forward. And last Friday as well as today, my colleague keep pointing out the mistakes made in the design of a specific module and now we need to rework. And I went, “It’s done. Now let’s move on.”

And the power of letting go and moving on feels liberating. But one should be aware that he or she could slip up and fall back to old habits. So it’s important to be mindful of your feelings and constantly practice the new habits. By practicing letting go and moving on, your brain will soon default into that mode. Once that happen, everything will be easy. Then you will wonder why you didn’t do that in the past.