So often in my life I have to remind myself that this is only a Jason thing, this is not a universal thing; meaning there are a lot of things in this particular world that bother me that, I've found, don't both others. Unmitigated earnestness bothers me. Small talk bothers me. Pomp, circumstance, frills (BTW my life in real time: right now looking up the word "frill" after saying to myself "What the hell's a frill anyway?") and obligatory nothings bother me (hi how are you, fine how are you, are you working hard or hardly working?).
So when I first heard of weblogs (blogs) the only thing I saw them being used for were personal online diaries. I despise personal online diaries. I don't like it when people blog about themselves: only you and your mother (and sometimes millions of people) want to hear about it. It's so indulgent, so solipsistic, so...banal. Needless to say I certainly vowed never to do it.
But it's so tempting. It's fun to talk about yourself. It's fun to indulge yourself. I just happen to be the kind of person who white knuckles his way out of doing a lot of things I might like to do, but for appearances and prides sake I will not.
Anyway, I've been blogging more or less solid now for a couple three years and I just can't take it anymore. I have to do an egotistical, indulgent and disgusting self-centered blog post. Because I want to. Because my soul is asking me for it.
I read a little piece of this book the other day that really nailed where I am at. I've been locked in a cycle of self-loathing, self-hatred and self-doubt since I graduated university in '04. Up until that point hope was allowed to spring eternal because I didn't have to do anything—I was in school. I was gearing up to do Great and Wonderful Things that my generation has been coached since birth by EVERYONE that we will do. I was going to be a lawyer or a writer or a journalist or a psychologist or a novelist or whatever the hell I felt like being.
But I graduated, and was stupored, was floored, was leveled to find out that being told you will Do Things and thinking about how you will Do Things is very different than going into the world and actually Doing Things. In fact, it seems to me, the two things don't have all that much in common.
So to stem the panic, to stanch the all-engrossing fear that I might be a Joe with a 9 to 5 and minimal leisure time for the foreseeable future, I told myself I was launching program Education 2.0. I had graduated and wanted to "write" and soon found I had absolutely nothing to say. What's worse is that I was scared to death that people might notice that very fact. Everything I didn't know was quite palpable, my considerable lack of talent with the written word (please understand there is a great chasm between writing well enough for A's in college and writing well enough to coax money from people's wallets into your bank account) was painfully evident. So I decided to voraciously consume great writing, great art, and in the effort hope that some of it would, I don't know, providentially, osmologically rub off on me. So I would finish a Dostoevsky novel, sit down in front of a blank page, but still I would continue to weep.
"Ok, I'm not ready yet." Go off, read some Kafka (mistake), read Ayn Rand (cool), read Nabokov (lame-ass), read King (good), read Hornby (great), read Heller (god-like). Come back to a blank page, still that feeling persists that the computer must go through the window and it must go now. You suck you suck you suck. Tell your mom you're not really a writer. Writhe on the floor and scream at Jessica that you're not really a writer. Tell God you're not really a writer and listen for the laughter to redound from the knowing Father and His angels, all the ones who have known the whole time the fraud I've pretended to be.
I don't really have an end to that little story. I haven't noticed this process coming to a recognizable end or anything like that. But I have grown just ever so sick of it. I have...found myself saying, a little more often, "you know, who gives a shit?" Who cares if I don't feel I'm good enough, man I've got to get started.
And then I read this little slice of this little book the other day, and I just knew that I'm a hell of a lot closer to feeling like this than I was five years ago:
"During the last few years I have read many studies about spirituality and the spiritual life; I have listened to many lectures, spoken with many spiritual guides and visited many religious communities. I have learned much, but the time has come to realize that neither parents nor teachers nor counselors can do much more than offer a free and friendly place where one has to discover his own lonely way. Maybe my own deep-rooted fear to be on my own and alone kept me going from person to person, book to book and school to school, anxiously avoiding the pain of accepting the responsibility for my own life. All that is quite possible, but more important is that the time seems to have come when I can no longer stand back with the remark, 'Some say...others say,' but have to respond to the question, 'But what do you say?'" —From Henri Nouwen's Reaching Out