This was originally a post about writer’s block but it turned into something different. Something that changed the way I act, think and feel about life. Something I hope we can all take hold and find liberation from the chains we put on ourselves.
Oh, the irony of this post. No wait is irony the right word? Ahh, I don’t know… how cliche? Man, this post is lame. Doesn’t cliche have that squiggly ~ on the E? My finger rests on the rectangle backspace for a minute. Nah, this post won’t go public so it will remain in my archive forever so I’ll resist the urge to use the erase button…. Insecurity, fear, and caution, are words that I think are choking the words that I try to type.
New paragraph. I don’t like the first. Is the structure too stupid? No… it’s fine, I don’t believe in structure. But writing is about expressing myself. But what if no one reads it because it’s not good? Then I’m wasting my time! Ahh, too close to reality. I best put some pictures or pop-culture references to get more views. But I don’t care about pop-culture that much…back to the main point.
The biggest block for my writing is
you me. I am a people pleaser. I care greatly about the opinion of others and what they think about what I write. This is an inescapable aspect of writing for the public. You, the reader, I may or may not know; regardless, my aim is that the effort of my words is worth your time. I don’t actually know how to use a semicolon correctly; I just want to look sophisticated in my writing even though it may be grammatically incorrect.
I realized how being a people pleaser affects not only my writing but my life. In my writing, the backspace button is the most used. Gahh, that sentence could have been more creative. In my life, backspace represents…blarg I can’t finish this analogy of linking backspace to life! Abort!
Bleh, enough of all that italicizing. It hurts my head to read my own writing and thoughts. My realization is that my caring too much about what people think has prevented me from living a fuller life. There’s a lot of layers to the idea of “caring about what people think”. Kind of like an onion I suppose.
Let me explain. One layer of it is perfectionism; the refusal to accept any standard short of perfection. I’m not a what you would call a traditional perfectionist. The “perfect” I strive for is my own constructed standard that I’ve placed on myself, created from my 26 years of exposure to humans. It’s far from ideal. It’s deeply ingrained in my subconscious. What I write, say, do, express must fit the specific requirements of the box. If it doesn’t, I keep it in my mind to marinate until it fits my idea of perfection.
Underneath this perfection is a fear of being wrong or making a mistake.
We I bite my tongue, avoid hitting post on a blog, or shy away from risky situations because we’re I’m afraid of the negative repercussions of it. Underneath this fear that comes from a perfection standard is control.
More specifically, to control what people think of me. Underneath it all, this is the chain that binds my writing and actions. Damn that’s like the 10th time I used “underneath”, people must be annoyed at that more so than these italic thoughts of mine. I want to control what people see me as, rather than them seeing who I really am. When I control people to see me as a different, “perfect”, standardized me that I’ve created, I essentially become controlled by my own creation. There are two words that I can say that reflects this idea so perfectly that almost anyone reading this can understand. Those words are Social Media. Need I say more?
Is it ironic is that I’m posting this blog on my Facebook? I’m not too sure since I don’t really understand the what irony is…
Anyways, this post is getting long. I don’t want you to say “fuck it, this post is too long and there’s no TL;DR section. I’m just not gonna read it”. Hmm I wonder how my readers will react to the F bomb… I clearly give a fuck about that. So onto my conclusion/application. I was thinking through all of what I just wrote yesterday night before I went to work (I work graveyard shift). I asked myself, “why do I care so much of what people think?” “Why do I set these rules on myself? It’s quite… limiting”. “Do I want to live my life in a box all the time? As I asked myself these questions, the chains that I’ve put on myself were revealed to me. Link by link I removed the chains and a sense of liberation filled my body. In the car ride to work, I sang with the radio; unabashed at the cracks of my voice, the unmanly falsettos, and the utter butchering of the lyrics. It was freedom.
But this freedom comes with a cost. It costs our control, passivity, and fear. It costs us our walls and our all. It requires perseverance through anxiety and criticism. It will take strength and vulnerability. But most importantly, it will take wisdom, for there is a time for everything. Rules aren’t bad, restrictions are needed, and people’s opinions should be taken into consideration. This is not a call to go crazy and do whatever you want. That is the other extreme that needs to be avoided.
As you can see in my post, the struggle is real, but worth fighting for. And fight we must do because the world will tell us otherwise. It will show us things to be frightened of and reasons to hide. It will strike relentlessly when our guard is down and tell us it’s not worth it. But the more we fight, the stronger we get to break away and live.