The End of Self-Censoring

'(Self) Censored' by Carolyn Tiry, Flickr

Seh Hui Leong


Back in the days…

I used to blog a lot, seriously. Checking my archives back when I started, I wrote almost on a daily basis.

Then sometime in 2009, the pace of my writing is starting to slow and I still remembered when I rationalized that I wouldn’t want to harp on common themes that I had written for years: on long introspective thoughts that touches on my emotional states, my fears and weaknesses as I embark on my journey towards adulthood, my dreams for the future, as well as the turmoil and heartbreak I have gone through as a closeted homosexual and a string of unrequited crushes towards straight men who are in a long-term committed relationship with their girlfriends.

And so I thought it would be more constructive for myself to write in a more positive tone and trying out new formats of writing: cartoons with captions, writing out thoughts and ideas that are more motivational, writing a couple of humour pieces, cutting out posts that I felt were fillers… everything that I thought would have made my blog better and more useful to read for others.

Everything is just pristine and perfect, ready to take on more visitors and traffic when the lucky day strikes. There’s only one problem…

My post counts dwindled, and it’s not a good sign

I’m feeling less and less compelled to write as the days passed. I thought to myself that maybe I’m busy: that I’m constantly stressed out and swamped by work. Maybe I’d get back to it later to write a longer post when I come round to it.

Occasionally I’d sit down, wrote a post, and after writing for a while I’d just stop and deleted the draft, saying things like:

  • “nah, this feels like rambling,”
  • “nah, this idea is not well-developed enough,”
  • ”nah, I don’t want yet another about my complains and hardships,”
  • “nah, this is not helping anyone,”
  • “nah, this is just pointless”…

As time goes on, I totally forgotten how blogging used to be fun and enjoyable.

And eventually the posts came to a halt, and the blog stays dormant.

Worse, my life became more miserable: my career’s a slog, I’m going nowhere in my relationships and I felt like a bitter prune that no one understands.

… “I felt as if I have lost my voice, and I have no outlet to vent my…”

… “Hey… wait a minute…”

The thunderbolt realization

My blog used to be THE outlet. With that realization, the true issue I had is now laid bare in front of me: that I have committed the act of censoring myself. It started from my blog, and then the habit carries itself into my life.

Looking back, my intention of wanting to write positively is good, yet I failed to acknowledge or realize that I may not have enough reservoir of positive energy in me that I could bring forth even when I’m in my low points. The façade that I’m attempting to put up is just not who I am: someone who is generally positive in a mild manner and am more sensitive towards my own internal feelings of fear and doubt.

What I’m trying to achieve in 2009-2010 is to be a smaller image of the big boys like Gary, Seth and Hugh: which wouldn’t be possible at all because I’m not them. And I have yet to discover my unique way to express myself to the world and figure out how I could contribute best in the world.

Stopping myself from inching towards dim

Fabeku Fatunmise from Sankofa Song has a fantastic story about a time when he procrastinated to change the lightbulbs above the sink: on the first few days he’d be annoyed that the bathroom looked all dark and cave-y, on day four he felt less annoyed and then on day five he’d forgotten that there’s even a problem at all.

It exactly describes the situation I’m in now: that the dimness inches in slowly, gradually and almost imperceptibly and slowly my perception of normal is adjusted and eventually the dim reality became my new normal before I realized it.

I wouldn’t be the bitter prune now without allowing myself to become so gradually in the past.

So the least I think I could do in the present moment is to remove my imposed self-censoring and just write the way I do, just like when I started in 2004. Honestly I’m not sure what would happen in the future, but hey, isn’t that part of the adventure? 😊

Written by

Seh Hui Leong

Python programmer by trade, interested in a broad range of creative fields: illustrating, game design, writing, choreography and most recently building physical things. Described by a friend as a modern renaissance man.