You’re Being Shorted

I spent the last hour trying to compose a blog post.

Writer’s block is terrible.

There really is nothing quite like the burden of a blank page.

I wrote some words, incorporated a poem and a fable, jotted some more notes, figured out how I wanted to end it, and stopped. I wrote two introductions, filled in a good 500 words. And stopped, because I’m afraid you won’t like it. And now I’m telling you about it.

Maybe one day you’ll get to read it.

Maybe not.

* * *

I think my struggle to write that blog post (which is awesome in my head!), is kind of a microcosm of my own existential struggle to know what it means to really “be oneself” in a world where no one knows how to be themselves. It’s been a fascinating realization in the past year that I spend so much time worrying about how to meet the approval of people who are worried about meeting mine. That when it comes down to it, none of us really know what we’re doing or who we are, but we think that everyone else does–we think not only that everyone else knows what they’re doing and who they are, but they also know what we should be doing and who we should be. And so we’re more interested in what the other thinks about what we’ve said than actually saying anything worth saying; we’re more interested in what the other thinks about what we’re doing than actually doing something worthwhile.

For me, this people-pleasing, second-guessing, deep insecurity comes out in various ways, depending on the context. But one of the primary ways it rears its ugly head is the inability to feel comfortable talking about my thoughts. We talk all the time about being “genuine,” about “self-expression,” about “transparency;” but it doesn’t take long to realize that these words just create a new context to hide and new rules for what’s valid and worthwhile to talk about. And once I learn the rules, I tend to think the other thoughts aren’t valid, aren’t worth communicating, and shouldn’t even be entertained.

So I get paralyzed by the knowledge that most of the things I want to write, I can’t–because it might make someone uncomfortable; or worse, everyone else will get the joke that I won’t: that what I just wrote wasn’t worth writing.

Yet, for some reason, you keep reading. And, for some reason, I keep writing.

So this is a thank-you, faithful reader, for reading what I do write, and for encouraging me to keep doing it. And it’s an encouragement to you that none of us knows who we are, what we should say, or what we should be doing. So there’s one less thing to worry about.

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