Focus becomes an annoying thing to both lack and have. For example, I’m writing this now because I couldn’t focus on reading my book because I got so fixated on the author’s stream of consciousness that I began to think that maybe it wouldn’t be so boring for people to read a memoir about me, and particularly a scene in that memoir in which I’ve discovered a new band I love. Actually, it’s an old band who broke up in the 90’s. But to me they’re new. And to those who have had the feeling of discovering new old music and can’t put into words how that makes them experience a spectrum of emotions without the catharsis, my confusing journey would be of interest to them.

The annoying part about it is that it’s at the expense of this poor author whose book I keep getting distracted from to focus on this thought, yet it was my fixation on his style of writing that led me to be subsequently distracted from it and now hyper-fixated on writing about writing about this spectrum of emotions. And the nice, even more paradoxical part about it is that writing about writing about this spectrum of emotions which I couldn’t seem to express distracted me from writing about it so much that I’ve inadvertently found my catharsis.

So my situation begs me to conclude this: sometimes the way to express an idea comes from the act of distracting yourself from it, but in a way that your brain still searches for the missing feeling in the back of your head. And at some point, the things that eat at your brain are perfectly distracted by the things you distract yourself with, and the things you distract yourself with are perfectly ignored by the things you can’t stop focusing on. And as paradoxical as this statement might seem, though you’re probably used to paradoxes at this point in the passage, such is the way you live your life when you’re not overthinking the solutions to everything. When you strip yourself of the pressure to show all your steps, or when you reverse-engineer an answer that already exists, you find both the focus and distraction needed to express something.

Writing selfishly to grasp my own identity. View all posts by Ali Haider

Originally published at on December 23, 2019.

Writer out of Dallas, TX. Constantly looking for new ways to finish things.

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