Sunday, August 26, 2007

A blogger's epiphany - or, a rediscovery of the real reason I'm here.

Wow. It's really been awhile since I last wrote anything. I guess you could say I needed a break from the blog world.

But why? you ask...

And it's a valid question. A question with a very good answer, too.
[Well, maybe "good" isn't the right word. More like, a very definite answer.]

Well... you say, probingly.

Right. Okay. Here goes...

I stopped because I started to feel all of this pressure when posting to this blog. Pressure to live up to the image I want people to see when they read this - whether they know me or not. Pressure to make myself believe that I was feeling a certain way. Pressure to post something in line with the way I wanted to be feeling at the time, instead of what I was actually feeling. And so, this blog became something that only allowed me to be the "ideal me" that I expect myself to be. It's a lot to live up when you set yourself standards that you can't ever live up to because they don't fit you right. I found myself editing as I typed...going back and deleting lines because I worried what x person or y person would think. At first, it was little edits - like a misspelling. And I said to myself, "Oh, but I edit emails like that, too. That's okay." But really, it was a path I never wanted to start on. I promised myself, when I started this blog, that I would write what I felt - what came out on the screen - WITHOUT EDITING - just me, raw, with no worries about who's reading it or what they think.

And that's exactly what I didn't end up doing.

As I told more and more people about it, excited as I was that I had this wonderful vault of me in my own little online space, I started writing more and more to one person or another. Or editing based on what a certain person would think if they ever read it. It wasn't always the same person. It didn't always happen everytime I sat down to write. But I created this pressure from what I thought others would think if I wrote something that suddenly didn't allow me much room to write anything.

And suddenly, I'm left wondering why I even have this blog at all if all I ever do is write what I think other people want to read, or what other people think Is "me."

It's not that I don't want people to know I have this blog, but there was something safe about the anonymity when I first created it. Something that allowed me to feel I could write the truth about what I feel - the whole truth - without the fear of being judged. We all fear that judgment that others rain down upon us. Because it happens, everywhere. Everyone does it - everyone judges everyone else. I judge other people all the time. And sometimes I have to kick myself for the things I find myself thinking about another person - remind myself that I have no right to judge him/her.

But, that's not what this post is about. Another day perhaps. For now, back to the subject at hand.

I think what ultimately did me in and made me stop posting for 2.5 months is that I found myself emailing myself blog topics that were "safe" and "neutral" to post about - that wouldn't put me under judgment - that would show me only in a certain light - that wouldn't *really* push any major buttons. And they were so boring. So not what I wanted to write about on this blog. I would sit with my fingers on the keyboard just staring at the screen - no words flowing to my head. It was like I was back in 9th grade trying to write my report on some subject for Civics class but having no words to put to paper because the subject matter interested me not at all.

So, I stopped. I couldn't do it anymore. It had to end.

Instead, I took my summer and traveled. I went to Lindy Hop events all over New England, went down to DC, went up to Montreal quite a few times. I focused on fitting myself back into my life. And I've come out on the other side of summer realizing that I miss this blog - I miss what I originally intended it to be. To quote my own blog heading: either "a portal into the complicated workings of my mind" or "just a loosely connected string of ideas that pour out of my head and ooze into the keyboard of my laptop." Ultimately, I left that for any reader to decide. The important parts of that, however, are: 1) a portal into my mind - meaning this is really who I am, just me, that's what you get; and 2) ideas that pour out of my head and ooze into the keyboard of my laptop - meaning it's not edited, it's not fine-tuned, it's just raw one-sided conversation in a way. Me talking at the screen through my fingers on the keyboard. The fact that the words happen to be public for anyone to read is supposed to be utterly beside the point.

It's time to go back to that original way of thinking. To the original purpose for which this blog was created. It's time to take my blog back for myself. And to hell with what anyone reading this thinks about me.

And tonight - what's on my mind? I'm sick of being alone.
[I've said it before. I imagine it won't be the last time I say it.]

I look at my life, and I'm really happy with it. I am, truly. I have a great job that I love. I work with intelligent people who challenge me every day and appreciate my skills and talents and who accept me as a vital part of the team. I live in a great apartment, in a place where I feel more settled than I've felt since I left home for college 8 years ago. I love to dance, and I have the means with which to pursue that hobby to my heart's content. I have a wonderful, supportive family. I have great friends here in Boston and still back at home in the Midwest.

But I don't have that "special someone" [however hokey that sounds, it's hard to put it any other way]

It's not that I can't be happy without a guy in my life. It's not that I have nothing to live for because I have no boyfriend. Far from it. I'm often the person saying I don't need someone, that I can do things on my own and be happy with who I am. And I can. I'm very self-sufficient. I've worked hard at that for the past 5.5 years (since my last - and only - real relationship). I think the feeling of being dependent on another person really scared me. I won't live my life for another person, which is what I did in that first relationship, back in college. But not now. Now, I'll live my life for myself.

And that's all well and good. Except that I sometimes worry that I've gone too far, that I've become too attached to the single way of life, that I've closed myself off to allowing someone into my life enough to create a relationship. Have I? I don't think I'm closed off. If anything, I feel more open and honest with myself than I did 8 years ago when I met my first boyfriend. I'm pretty comfortable with who I am (let's be honest, no one can say they're 100% comfortable with who they are, and I'm no exception). And each day, I learn how to be even more comfortable with me.

Fabulous. Great. Superb. Splendid.

Why can't I meet a guy?
Why can't I meet someone with whom I can start a fulfilling relationship - or even just someone I can have fun with?

The loneliness factor doesn't consume me, really. It just hits me every so often when I'm confronted with too many couples - like walking through the Public Gardens on a nice day, or riding home on the T on a Saturday night after everyone's coming home from their Saturday night dates. Walking down the sidewalk in a college kid neighborhood or going shopping at the mall. It always hits me. And not so much because I despair of ever finding someone. No, really, it's mostly jealousy. I'm pretty jealous of all these people I don't know who've found someone to be with. Whether it's someone they're committed to or someone for "just right now" - I don't know. I don't know them. But the fact remains that they're with someone, and I'm seemingly perpetually alone. And sometimes it gets a little too far under my skin. What do I do with that? I haven't got anything to work with when that hits me. I haven't got anything to latch onto, any part of that to take control of. It's an emotion I'm afraid I'm not very good at. Jealousy. It's actually one of the emotions I shy away from looking at because I see it as really high on the negative emotion list and I try to keep myself positive.

But jealousy is a natural emotion. It can't be ignored. I need to let it out, right? Need to allow myself to feel it so I can try and understand it better - in hopes of finding a way to deal with it healthily when it hits me, or at least find a way to work with it when I feel it.

Jealousy. [It's a Natalie Merchant song, and it's an emotion I'm not all that comfortable with. Go figure.]

It makes me want something (or, in this case, someone that I don't have. It makes me forget about what I do have as I suddenly have an obsessive focus on what I don't have. And, as it affects me like this, I sort of close off to the world - decide I need to take an evening to veg out and wallow for a couple of hours until I can suppress it enough to get on with life. Is that unhealthy or what? So, maybe the way to work with it is to recognize and accept when it hits me, reassess, and focus my brain energy away from what I don't have and tick off some things that I DO have - thereby skirting around that whole "need a few hours to try and get the jealousy to go away" and instead move on with life. I can't control the fact that at that precise moment I don't have a boyfriend. But I can control where my thoughts are focused, and what they're focused on.

Maybe there's hope for me yet. I'm learning to work with my world and find the happiest way to exist within it, despite all of the negativity around me.

And I'm learning that the best way to find that happiness is to just be myself, lay it raw, open the gates and allow myself to be less than perfect - because I certainly can't expect myself to be perfect - that would require me to presume that I could be perfect.

Well, now that I've extracted a moral for myself out of my own rambling thoughts... [Ha!]

Doesn't really change that fact that I feel lonely tonight. That I'd like to have someone here. But, tonight's not my night, I guess. I'll have to wait for another night instead.

With that I'll leave you. Good night all.

[Okay, I totally lied. I'll really leave you with this: FOOT!]

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