You just got to write sometime, right? I mean if writing is something you like to do and not in the journaling mind dump for personal therapy kind of writing. But the kind of writing where you feel like you enjoy it and have some level of talent for it. That’s the kind of writing I speak of and sometimes you just got to do it despite the initial discomfort. When I have ideas spinning in my head and want to write about it, the immediate feeling of getting to that point for some reason induces anxiety. Thoughts like “who cares what you think anyway” pop up. Or I’ll think “oh this one thing is really important but it leads to other things that make a wider web of things and all of a sudden you’re trying to deconstruct all of reality and meaning.” An entry on a brief hike or walk that inspired something gets way to existential really fast. I also get rather self conscious. Will this be understood how I meant it? Is this too rationally cold and unfeeling? Or, am I just a huge nerd and do people not really find interest in this topic?
I don’t know if anyone has noticed lately but I’ve been particularly more vocal on Facebook of late and I think I was using that as a testing ground of getting back to writing more substantial stuff. It has been nice because a lot of information I’ve been browsing and studying has been stimulating all kinds of ideas in my head and I haven’t been overwhelmed by it or scared to speak my mind about it. Recently I moved to the Tacoma area, Lakewood being more precise. Something about being with the person I care very much about and love and being in a new place seems to have provided quite the muse for me. But, nevertheless, I remained hesitant to start writing blogs or essays or articles again.
Really there are just a lot of excuses for not cultivating and letting loose my creative and artistic side. And that’s just not good enough anymore to stop me. Shielding myself from possibly feeling vulnerable or misunderstood cannot be allowed to be the reason why I don’t put effort towards my creative outlets anymore. I want to share my ideas, be heard, and maybe even influence or intrigue another human being with something I have to say. In the process I can also learn more about what I’m thinking, allow it to become more coherent rather than just being intangible stuff stirring around my brain.
At my most cynical moments I often just feel like sharing ideas in the way people do through blogs and social media is incredibly narcissistic. I mean we just put it out there in the interwebs, floating around as data in the sky or on some super secret mega server owned by Facebook, or Google, or Microsoft. Who am I even talking to? Why should I think what I have to say is even important? But these are my cynical moments. Sometimes these last awhile and I don’t touch facebook for weeks or only dabble with it sparingly. Even scrolling the feed will cause anxiety, or I’ll start writing a status that gets long winded and just go “blahhhhhh this is self righteous crap”. Highlight all and delete. If you’ve been lucky enough you’ve spotted a status from me that within seconds or minutes was deleted because I thought twice about it. Some of them were self righteous, some of them were asshole-ish, some too personal, and others were probably perfectly legitimate and I was just being sensitive and self conscious about what people would think.
If anyone knows me well enough to say they are familiar with how my personality is they very well know I am not short on opinions. I deconstruct everything around me ad naseum. Some have even had the distinct pleasure of knowing me at my most intense and manic moments. Those periods of time where I behaved and spoke as if I had it ALL figured out. And even though I do indeed know the answer to life’s most fundamental questions ;)…life humbled me. It’s given me many a beatdown. So much so that I became numb to them, even despondent. I swiftly got over the initial euphoria of feeling like I’d learned my lesson and now I can conquer my demons. I had probably 5 or 6 come to Jesus moments that showcased my selfishness and delusion and led me to thinking I was now the better for it and can help inspire people as a comeback story. But than 5 or 6 turned to 10-12 wake up calls and I just wanted to crawl up and be insignificant. I wanted my ego to stop telling me I was unique, that I saw the world differently, and that I was aware of something that 99% of people weren’t. I just wanted things to be quiet and simple. No coincidence this process has led to nothing being posted on my blog in over a year.
But now, at this time, I seem to be feeling an inertia that is bringing me out from underneath my rock of humility and urging me to be less shy, I think I’m taking it much slower. I’m not numb but I’m avoiding overconfidence…I think. Always good to check yourself if you are telling yourself that you’re not being overly confident. I’m reading books, my Chrome window always has like 5-10 tabs open. I ‘like’ all sorts of pages on Facebook to turn my feed into a plethora of information and ideas, many of which conflict with one another. And though I’ve come to feel that knowledge and truth are a very illusive thing, I still make an attempt at having a stance on issues lately. I’m reading books again as well. And naturally it’s books that are subtitled with things like “How to Think Our Way Out of Extinction”.
As I find this room and level of comfort for my opinions, I have had on my mind recently the importance of compassion and forgiveness. When I read a comments section for an article I try to see through the lense in which people might be looking through that causes them to react and say the things that they do. When a tweet or a status kind of irks me I try to understand why people I know and indeed care about see things that way. And of course, I am only too aware of my own missteps and many shortcomings and find compassion and forgiveness being essential in giving myself a chance to be heard again. I do have concern that to some degree my opinion might be seen and debated in a readers or listeners mind on the basis of how I have behaved in the past. So in order to share I first need to be kind to myself so that I can feel like I’m still okay to share what is in my mind, and then I hope that some level of compassion and forgiveness is levied towards me from my friends and acquaintances or even strangers so that the essence of what I’m saying can be appreciated despite my many flaws.
The world freaks me out, fascinates me, and inspires me. I find it beautiful, absurd, worth living in while also contemplating how trivial and random my very existence is. See what I mean about my stuff drifting towards the existential. Always. Too much Heidegger and Nietszche. Lost, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and countless indie movies that have those fantastic wide camera shots of a flawed human being in the world that makes them seem so small have ruined me. Thankfully Fight Club and Atlas Shrugged didn’t take advantage of my youthful trauma and angst and become my bibles. But there is plenty of literature in that vein that has influenced me. I enjoy the tortuous process of watching complicated, ambiguous, often depressing and difficult things. But I’m not taking it all hook line and sinker. I remain uncertain all the time but am starting to perhaps find an optimism in a single humans ability to establish meaning and purpose and building around it. Something that uplifts them and still respects the beliefs and purposes other people are partaking in, even blending with them.
I’ll conclude by referencing an awesome discussion my brother Dan and I had. It dealt with the ever pesky issue of uncertainty that exists in an incredibly complex society we live in and how that makes truth so hard to find and creates the dilemma of really knowing what the right decisions are. Even if a decision seems morally and ethically sound, there are variables that exist that make it impossible to know what the long term consequences are that could make that right decision in fact be…much more complicated. But if life is this unforgiving, vast and endless ocean we are drifting in, somewhere we’ve got to make a platform on which we want to build our lives upon. I cannot endlessly deconstruct to the point of paralysis. We’ve had several discussions since then that will bounce back and forth for a bit, Dan often being the more optimistic and me being the pessimist, and on occasion one of us in futility will cry out “DECONSTRUCTION!”
And so this comes back to how I began. Sometimes you just got to write, right? I needed to. I wanted to. So I finally did. Feels pretty damn good.
Music listened to while writing: Avett Brothers via DJ Caitlin
Last movie seen: ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’
Last Book Read and Current Reading: ‘The Watchman’s Rattle: thinking our way out of extinction’ by Rebecca D. Costa
‘Iconoclast: A neuroscientist reveals how to think differently’ by Gregory Burns
Current obsession and uncontainable curiousity: How Breaking Bad is going to end
Place of Writing for this post: Vaughn, WA with view of Vaughn Bay.
Fueling my efforts: A morning coffee and lunchtime ham and cheese sandwich on a pretzel hoagie bun.