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I’ve been thinking about why I am unable to do the things I want to. There is some disconnect in the circuit between the part of my brain that wishes and the part that acts and I’ve spent the last year wanting to fix it. Wanting to fix it, because like I said, to do isn’t possible. My problem keeps me from finding a solution, which is to say, I am the hurdle.

Every month or so, I am struck with a breakthrough about some behaviour pattern, either of mine or others in general. Sometimes the breakthrough is a new problem that I’ve recognized and at other times, it’s an explanation – why it is the way it is. The solution, however – how to try and no longer make it a problem – is a never-ending mystery.

I’ve been told I use a lot of fillers in my speech. Words like “like”, ”um”, ”uh”. Words that apparently have no relevance or hold no meaning. Words I say because there are vacant spaces in time and I want to plug the holes. Words that I wear as a mask, as I try not to make it obvious that I am oblivious to my own train of thought. 

There are also a lot of filler spaces in my day, big chunks of time in between finishing one activity and starting another, spaces that don’t really count as rest or work. They simply exist, adding (again, apparently) no meaning or value to my life. Something usually referred to as a waste of time. Is it true though? Can anything you say or do, not amount to anything? Isn’t every activity that you do or don’t do, propelling you further, nudging you just a little bit harder towards the person you are becoming?

Before starting this piece that you are reading right now, I started (and deleted) more than a few drafts, because no other thought was coherent enough to expand itself to this word count. And despite the little corner in my head that is skeptical of myself, I know that every word I have ever written, even if it was erased almost immediately, has lead up to me writing this sentence here. What I’m trying to say is, there is an understated struggle lying in the underbelly of every single day, and the seconds that go into wading through that river aren’t worthless. I recently watched a video about how these filler words in our speech are not just important but are irreplaceable. While a pause could indicate an abrupt end, your um’s and your like’s let the listener know that there is another word that is on its way. Words that say, “Wait, I’m not done yet.”

Which is to say, every time you spend an hour on your phone in the morning before you get out of bed, it’s an hour that indicates that there is something significant incoming- that you are about to begin the series of events which will start your day. There is a deadly pandemic around us and life feels like it has become static but this is just the filler before the calm (yes, I made my own version of “the silence before the storm”). Something is approaching; something aglow with possibility and hope. 

I know there might be sentences in this piece that don’t add much to its meaning (Whatever I am, I am self-aware). But even after I write the last word and begin my process of editing and proofreading, I know they’ll stay. After months and months of the biggest writer’s block I’ve ever faced, these are the paragraphs that whispered to me that something worthwhile was on its way and that I must wait.

You could consider this another small breakthrough, where I have gained an understanding, a new perspective on an old issue. I mentioned earlier that I never find a solution, only an explanation at most. But when explanations make you realize that your problem isn’t even a problem in the first place, who’s to say that you can’t call them solutions?