Thoughts at 1:14 AM: Overthinking and Speaking Up

It’s 1:14 a.m.

Same time a few months ago, I was staring blankly at my screen, tears starting to well up. A comment from an editor distressed me. A reason for the statement wasn’t offered, neither a suggestion. For me, it seemed like a straight-up “what the hell is this.” And as an editor myself, mostly for schoolbooks and rarely for literary pieces, reasons and suggestions are critical. Your role is to improve the work, no matter how messed up the manuscript is.

I remember feeling two things: one, maybe I should stop writing for a while and reflect on my style; two, I should tell this person so this wouldn’t happen again. And I did. I was able to tell this person, through a third party, that the comment lacked advice and I felt offended.

The days after felt worse. It was as if I were being alluded to. I couldn’t work. I locked myself inside my room, cried, and regretted speaking about it. Maybe I should have just kept it to myself. It was probably a product of overthinking, and I wouldn’t want to ask either if it was me they were pertaining to, as I wouldn’t want to make them feel the same way I do when it happens to me. (There were cases where some people were brave enough to ask if I was subtly mentioning them on my posts, and just to clarify, I only do this for my relatives on FB who wouldn’t like to be reprimanded by someone younger than them, a.k.a. me. It was never a good feeling—people thinking you have intentionally but subtly referred to them.)

This is what happens when I overthink. I am brought back to the past, and I cannot return to the present. It will take me time. A long one. People might have moved on, but not me. I remember who and what. I remember why and how. I always think about this person—Are they fine? Have they coped? Did it affect their self-esteem? Oh god, I hope it didn’t. What if it did? Shit, I shouldn’t have spoken after all.

This what goes on and on inside my mind. And again, I cannot work. I cannot focus. I am stuck.

I do not want to stay silent and let practices continue the way they are when there are areas for improvement. At the same time, I am afraid that they might get hurt and not recover, like me.

It is now 2:31 a.m. My heart cries for things I cannot control.

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