When I started posting material to this site in 2005, it was a very particular psychological exercise for me: see if you can keep thinking what you think when you’re alone, but now in sight of whatever readers happen to wander in; dare to disregard the difference between being seen and being unseen. The objective was to start to inure my terminally shy private mind to public exposure, feed it on scraps of validation, and maybe even finally nurture it into something sturdy enough to carry out in the Light Of Day.
Well, over these six and a half years I have failed utterly. Instead of learning that being naked is no shame, my skin has spontaneously calloused itself into some kind of awful leathery clothes, completely dead and numb — even, to my horror, when I’m alone. This despite the fact that my audience here has consisted, essentially, only of the people closest to me and most supportive of me in my life. The Light Of Day will never never be so kind and mild as my reception here has been. And yet all the same here I am, backslid beyond my least wild dreams.
I’m not saying that maintaining this blog has done anything negative to me — I’m just saying that for all my good intentions, I did not, in fact, allow myself to receive the intended exercise and benefit in the way I needed. I did not follow the fear. I knew that my objective was to learn to stop worrying and love the bomb, but my intuition led me astray by telling me that this demanded some kind of bravado.
Bravado is the enemy of real courage, which is to say the strength to experience fear and do nothing about it. To be brave is to retain all one’s faculties in the presence of fear because one does not misuse any of them in combating it.
(The notions of “courage” and “bravery” as generally invoked are actually pretty vague and muddled and this has long been a point of confusion for me. It occurs to me now that maybe this is because everyone everywhere “has issues,” so I’m defining them as I like.)
The process of inuring myself to that which embarrasses me will by definition entail being constantly embarrassed, and I ought rightly to have my hands tied from doing anything about it. Unfortunately the “hands” in question are little neural hands inside my head that can slither out of the tightest knots, not just like Houdini but like Droopy Dog being locked in a safe inside a safe inside a safe inside a safe and then walking in the front door. “Hello.” It’s Toontown up there.
But I think I’ve learned a thing or two recently about what it really means to shiver in the cold rather than grow nightmare clothes (which here are, per the previous image, clothes one grows in a nightmare and clothes one grows to protect oneself from a nightmare), and I think I finally know which path through the Tulgey Wood takes me to that sad little rock where I can be good and lonely. (“I give myself very good advice / but I very seldom follow it.”) Edifyingly lonely.
The fine line for me, here, is between writing for myself but feeling subconsciously that there might be some magic audience out there that will receive it… and writing for a real audience but striving always to be true to myself, striving against the suffocating expanse of their difference from me.
The latter seems smart and clear but entails an endless and ultimately debilitating struggle that I am now trying very hard to renounce. Mu that! The former is easy and joyful but requires faith in something akin to God. It is a balloon whose string I have let slip. But the ceiling may not be all that high.
There is no magic audience, fine; there’s no real audience either. Existentially speaking, I’m all alone in this and I can type whatever I want without fear or hope of that ever changing. If I get to choose what to believe in I’m going to choose magic over you people. My God, I feel pretty sure, is, as Gods go, pretty down to earth, and is surely at least as good a life coach as any of the people I turn to for advice. “Respect only thy ruling faculty and the divinity within thee,” amen.
This site was supposed to be as big a mess as my old hard drive, but instead it has gradually become me trying harder and harder to “do justice to myself,” a less honorable goal than it sounds. I know some sites that have collapsed completely from that kind of dry rot.
Well, that and the Disney things. Typing up those transcripts is for me the latest in a long personal tradition of simulacra of the creative act to which I am impulsively drawn at times when the soul is silent — a substitute teacher who in her sense of inadequacy puts on, ahem, a Disney movie, rather than try to teach. That said and acknowledged, I’m going to keep doing it.
Yeah, I bet you thought this was going to be some kind of sign-off, but it’s not. More to come. More of the same! Hopefully more embarrassing, is all I’m saying.