A Bit of Rewind

Let’s go for a rewind.

When I first made Paper Antlers, I wanted it to be a home for my stories: made-up ones from my own head or ones in real life. Then it turned into an events coverage blog, to a writing blog, to a site that was mostly just about my book. The latter ones didn’t get updated much, not because I didn’t have time to sit down and plan content. Mostly: I simply lost passion to post. I had to conceptualize, plan, and, when it comes to my writing, go through a streneous process of whether or not my post was good enough to be shared to the public. My anxiety-ridden self was overcome with my other worst trait, my perfectionism, and soon, nothing was good enough to go on the blog.

I took it down to focus on my mental health last year, however, I didn’t realize how much I missed having an outlet: a simple one, where I can simply write. I talked about how – in me struggling to find something to do with my hands that wasn’t a mannerism from anxiety – I ended up producing my first book. And because I had nowhere to tell stories, I wrote those long entries on Instagram which I’m sure not many people saw (or cared for) due to their shfiting algorithms.

Still, I didn’t realize how much blogging has been a huge part of my life. Back then, I would sit in front of the computer and write about how my day went or what I thought of the recent episode of One Tree Hill, even though I was only probably talking to 3 followers on Xanga. I didn’t think about taking picturesque photos that has to live up to those on Unsplash. Blogging was simple: it meant talking about things you are passionate about the most. It meant talking about life – unfiltered, with all its messes and complications. And it meant people messaging back in response, saying that they, too, understand. I don’t have an Instagram-influencer kind of life, nor do I think I’m an authority enough to give tips on fashion and travel. But one thing remains the same after all those years: I had stories to share.

I contemplated a lot about going back on the web. Will it be harmful to my mental health, when I’m still in the process of healing? Will I spiral towards perfectionism and discontent, eventually taking it down again? Will I be unhappy with what I create? I don’t know. I only know that I owe it to myself to share what I can, that I owe it to those who have reached out to me and told me my stories resonated and mattered to them. That I want to look back on my documented memories years from now and think, hey I wasn’t doing so bad after all. That I want to tell those who are also struggling with their mental health and are on their healing journey that they aren’t alone.

I am not alone, actually. I was inspired by those who still blog and journal in the same way, despite internet trends changing over the years. And I also realized that I don’t have to post whenever I only feel happy. (Because back then, I used to read about how I talk about my life and think, oh god, I’m depressing.) My mental health is a huge part of my story and if I only focus on when I feel okay, or if I have to think about those who nit-pick everything they see on social media or worry about what they’ll say, then goodness, I might only end up posting four times a year.

Anyway, I’m back to talking too much and not really knowing when to stop or if it’s good enough.

That’s all I came here to say.

 


 

Place: Single Origin
C3, Bonifacio Highstreet,
7th Avenue Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, 1634
Metro Manila, Philippines

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Cariza is a writer based in Washington, DC. Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, she always had a heart and soul for telling stories that hopes to inspire, comfort, and take people places.

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