Saturday, July 22, 2017

Why I Stopped Blogging

My long time readers (and I would like to take a moment to thank all three of you, especially you, Mom) will recall that I used to be much more prolific. Nine years and 463 posts, but only four in the last year.

What happened?

I could say that I'm a lot busier, and that would be a true statement, but it would be a lie, because that's not the reason I don't write anymore. There are a lot of factors that might seem disparate, but in the end they are probably not--I think I don't write anymore because I am tired of not knowing who I am.

Take this blog, for instance--what the hell is it? Is it personal journal (a dumb reason to blog, IMHO), religious exploration, political/social analysis, comedy?  One of the problems is that it is all of those things. I've gotten slightly better at this, but when I was younger I was quite content to amuse myself, make inside jokes for an audience of one or two, be deliberately esoteric, etc. Those things are all fine to do in one's spare time--but what's the point of making these things deliberately front-facing? And I would argue that the internet is deliberately front-facing--the whole world can see it! (Sorry for the spoiler alert, for those of you still trying to get to the bottom of this whole internet thing.)

I'll be honest, as the years go on, it gets harder and harder to be a straight line professional out in the real world, but a vulnerable, opinionated, spiritual goofball online. I live in two worlds. Sometimes it's hard to keep a lid on it at work, but for the most part I'm able to keep my real self successfully tamped down between 8 and 5, M-F. I used to be worse at it, but the accretion of years have been successful at taming my soul and true nature. My true nature being the guy who just wants to prank his coworkers and practice stand-up bits on them Identity crisis. It's not working anymore to let my freak flag fly online (oh god do I hate that term). What if a future employer digs up this blog? At 25 I found that idea exhilarating--at 35 it scares me to death. I guess it's having more skin in the game, and less of an excuse for being weird.

And if a future employer did look it up, who would they find? I'm not sure. At 17 I was apolitical but got a girlfriend who made me a firebrand liberal (no questions asked, sounded good to me). That flamed out after a good two years--I got tired of waiting for the capitalistic empire to collapse, so I joined it. In a big way. Joined the Rush Limbaugh fan club and shouted down any liberal scum that got in my way--facts not required, volume and vehemence substitutes nicely. At this time I also would have told you that gays could not marry and that most of humanity would cook in hell for eternity.

Now I am unrecognizable from that person. It took an evolution of many years, but now I believe precious little of what I would have been willing to die for 13 years ago. The political game makes me want to throw up so I don't want to do the label thing, but I've definitely gone "progressive"--although I can't say that or call myself that because 22-year-old me would kill me for saying that, and he's still lurking around down there. I believe white privilege and institutional racism are some of the biggest problems in this country, that the social safety net needs to be radically strengthened, basic universal income might be a good idea; there is probably not a hell and no one goes there unless they really, really want to--and even then God will let them come on home whenever they're ready for it, AND that reading any immorality into same-sex relationships is just bad Bible interpretation. Whoa. And I'm only 35, so that's the problem--I'm genuinely afraid that I'm a rudderless fuzzy head who is doomed to be whipped about by the prevailing spirit of the age, ready to switch teams again when it makes sense to do so...

So right now I'm just not sure who I am--do I ditch the gags, the making people uncomfortable, the crazy, distant but as yet unshakable aspiration to still one day be a song and dance man, and thus fully integrate into the square world where lines are straight, conversation is pleasant and unremarkable, opinions nicely coiffed and diplomatically plotted?

Right now the square world is winning out.