Still Fighting It
It’s actually kind of strange.
As much as my life has been looking up in a lot of ways lately, especially compared to last year, it's still been challenging to find a topic to talk about that really inspired me enough to come up with something I felt was compelling and complete. I’ve started and abandoned several different topics, and it’s hard not to worry that I will unconsciously start to repeat similar themes, something that I know I used to do semi-often back when I had a LiveJournal.
I like to think I’m pretty decent at coming up with my own personal spin on memes, and funny responses to tweets (aka ideal Twitter content) but trying to write a funny blog post seems harder now than it used to be, and I’m not really sure if that says more about the world, or about me.
Recently I watched Bo Burnham’s brilliant Netflix special Inside. It’s ostensibly comedy, but has equal parts pathos and darkness. I guess that’s why it spoke to me so strongly. It’s a look at surviving a year alone, isolated, bombarded with bad news constantly and trying to find some way to cope and make humor out of it. I don’t know how it will read if I say that I feel like a less creative, less inspired version of Bo. I feel a lot of his emotions, share a lot of his beliefs. I’m sure there are many others who feel like that, too.
One of the feelings I took away from watching that beyond how much I wish I could sit down and spend a whole evening just talking to him, is how much it eats at me when I see someone whose ideas and skills I strongly relate to, do something truly remarkable and laudable with that, because I feel like there are great things inside me, things that if I could just find the right way to express them and the motivation to do it, would open some hypothetical door that allows people to understand and appreciate me the way that only a few select people can.
I really want to believe that this blog is something like that, and I guess if I keep my expectations appropriately small, it can be, or is. I do appreciate those of you who have faithfully been reading, even if I don’t really know who most of you are. I want this blog to be great, not just good, and I have trouble accepting anything that doesn’t really impress me.
I admit, I worry that I come off too serious, too deep, too intense for people. My older cousin, who is a wonderful person and who I should probably be closer with than I am, started reading my blog this week and said “the entries I have read stirred a feeling of sadness”.
I’m not sure how to feel about that. I won’t deny that there is sadness within me, but there is also silliness and much happiness. Do I subconsciously mute those things when I write?
I think I’ve gotten so attuned to trying to make people happy, both because I distrusted myself and wanted to be needed, but also because I really do love making people happy even without the ulterior motives, that it’s incredibly hard to just make something for myself and appreciate it without any external appreciation. Music is about the only thing I can do that with effectively.
Frankly, I wish I didn’t need others as much as I seem to. I keep reading that I should be able to find fulfillment and confidence within myself, and once in a while I can, but more often my brain feels like a Superfund site of self-criticism and anxiety over the sorry state of the world.
I can't get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know will be alright
Perhaps it's just imagination
And day after day
Night after night
My heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
It feels impossible to be politically aware and socially conscious without sacrificing a significant part of your ability to be happy and at ease. And yet if I supposedly care so much about other people, why is there no motivation to do more about it than I am? People think I’m a good person, but can you be a good person if you pick and choose the ways in which you want to help? When I drive past the guy on the corner intersection with the cardboard sign and sad face, or walk quickly by the person fundraising by selling something I don’t really want or need, why do I hear that inner voice smirking, “What was that about being a good person?”
When does the desire to be a better person become less a tool of self-improvement and more a whip to beat yourself with?
Is it selfish of me to wish for more feedback and interaction from people, to try to understand them more, to try to give them what they want more? Or is that the entirely wrong approach, and should all my effort be toward figuring out what the dissatisfied part of me wants so it will stop convincing me that I’m a fraud fading into obscurity?
To you, the reader, I apologize.
I know sometimes my writing can feel like disjointed, meandering, repetitious self-therapy. No one wants to attend a pity party no matter how well worded the invitation is. I know I need to give more focus to lighthearted things, I feel like that’s what people want to see and read, not a guy tripping over the same obstacles he can’t ever seem to remove.
I know I have to try harder, in so many ways. To accept myself, to spread whatever joy and humor I can manufacture. I’m no Bo Burnham, finding ways to make misery enjoyable through sheer creativity and force of will. But I’m trying. I’m always trying.
If you’re spending the time to come here and read this, please… let me know in some way. If you went to the trouble to make an account, that’s awesome, but if you’ve never made a comment, I’d love it if you did. If you don’t leave a comment, I will try not to think that your take away wasn’t “that was ok, I guess”. I know it takes time, and I know people value their time as much or more than their money.
If you don’t feel like making an account, that’s fine. If you don’t feel like hitting the little heart icon, I can’t assume that means you didn’t like the post. It’s insanely hard but I know I need to do that. I said I needed to do this for me, but I’d be lying if I told you it hasn’t been a struggle to not be insanely invested in the response, because I could have just made a diary if I wanted to talk to myself. I don’t want to talk to myself. It's not really a picnic to talk to someone who mostly wants to find fault with you.
Once in a while someone will say something to indicate that they think I’m popular. This never fails to inspire a negative reaction in me, the most positive outcome is that I’ll make a self-deprecating joke, and more likely I’ll have to restrain myself from launching into why I’m not popular, or why the concept of popularity is so massively frustrating. Hint: it’s because people see a big number and they equate that to being loved and valued and happier somehow, and the reality is that a number has very little impact on how you feel about yourself, it promises no compliment deeper than “that was cool, maybe I’ll pay attention to you sometimes when it’s convenient”. Sometimes that number just makes you feel worse because it taunts you.
“If you’re so damn popular, why are you still so insecure? Why is it so hard to get people to reach out? Is it them, or is it YOU?”
I’ve never been comfortable with monetizing whatever it is that is good about me, even if it wasn't an unrealistic proposition. Sure, it might provide momentary ego gratification to sell plush of myself and see people buy them, but that doesn’t really impact me like someone who reaches out just to say “Hey, I was thinking about you today, and I miss you.” or “Just wanted you to know that my life is better because you’re in it.” or “I love that song you made, I listen to it all the time.”
How bitterly ironic that the most valuable resource we have costs us nothing but our time, and yet how infrequently most people choose to use it.
We are just too stressed, overwhelmed and busy trying to stay afloat in an uncaring world to be the caring people we want to be.
I hope you’ll stick with me through the struggle. It know it can be dark here, but I will try to bring light, too. I know you need that as much as I do. I never want to come off like a generic positivity peddler, because we’re all too used to being told lies, whether it’s to hurt us or make us feel better. I don’t ever want to lie to you, I’d rather be rejected for my truth than pretend to be what I’m not just to get attention.
Er....I mean... being an anthropomorphic gator is different, cause that's still a part of me, even if I wish it was more (all) of me.
I’m just a guy trying to make himself happy by making you happy. Or if not happy, make you feel like someone understands your struggle. And wants to help, even if he’s a little clumsy, forgetful and gray (or green) around the edges.