I’m sorry to say that I haven’t been taking blogging as seriously as I should have. When I started, I thought that the only things that were really necessary were writing as regularly as possible, making the blog look pretty, and writing about things that I thought were cool. While all these are wonderful things that really do help make a blog work, there was just one thing that I was missing:
To be completely honest, I’ve felt claustrophobic every time I entertained the notion of deciding what this blog was actually about. It frightened me, because I thought that, if I decided on something, I make things too narrow, and I would cut out most of the things that I’m passionate about and that I could talk about for hours on end simply because I think they’re just so darn fantastic. All my interests felt mutually exclusive, like choosing one would be denying everything else, and that terrifies the heck out of me.
Let me tell you something I’ve never told anyone else. Being told I must decide what to do with my life gives me so much fear that I want to high-tail it to the farthest of far corners of the earth, so that the person who mentioned it can never, ever find me. Laugh if you want, but picking a career is the stuff of nightmares. I’m afraid of just thinking about it.
Right now, my entire body is shaking, my heart is trying to beat its way out of my chest, and my fight-or-flight response has kicked into high gear. You could tell me I’m going to die tomorrow, and I wouldn’t be as utterly frightened as I am right now.
I am in no way kidding about anything I just wrote. This is serious shit.
I’m good at a lot of things. I can write, sing, draw, compose, do math, and learn musical instruments like nobody’s business, and that’s not even the entire list. If something looks interesting, I’ll try it, expecting that it will come easily. If it catches my heart, I’ll start working at it so that I can not just reach, but exceed the heights of my potential in that area. If it doesn’t catch my heart, but something about it still speaks to me, then I’ll dabble from time to time and enjoy playing around with it. About the only things that I’ve tried (and I really haven’t tried much beyond what’s been offered to me at school and home) that I have to really work at in order for my efforts to look vaguely presentable are dance and the more rigorous aspects of philosophy and logic. Perhaps I’ll lose readers over this; I don’t care. Being good at a lot of things doesn’t make me any less human, and it certainly doesn’t make me a genius. If my cognitive psychology class has taught me anything, it’s that I operate well within normal parameters.
As a child, there’s nothing wrong with constantly seeking stimulation. There’s nothing wrong with always wanting to learn and always wanting to be able to try new things and to develop a variety of skills. Children are encouraged to dream big and dream lots, give themselves a variety of options. But that’s all that they are, options. Once you grow up, you’re supposed to pick something and forget about all those other avenues, because being an adult means being good at one or two things, and doing those things for the rest of your life. Some people are fine with that. That’s okay; I don’t expect everyone to be like me. It’s when everyone expects me to be like them that I start to freak.
Telling me that I can only pick one career, one future, is like telling me to cut off my limbs and paint with my nostrils. It’s like saying “Well, you’ve had your childhood to try out all your senses, so which one do you want to keep?”.
Yes, dear doctor, I would love to keep just my sight. Then I can be deaf, numb, and unable to enjoy food and flowers properly for the rest of my life, but at least I’ll be able to give you such a look that you’ll know it’s all your fault that I’m miserable.
Becoming an adult feels like killing my curiosity, enthusiasm for learning, ability to experiment with everything, love for everything that doesn’t fit with my career… good God. It feels like death.
I’ve told a little of this to others, and they’ve told me that I’m overreacting. All I have to do is find the thing that incorporates everything that I love, and it’ll be okay. Well. That’s what most of them have said, and it’s good advice; advice that I’ve taken seriously because it would be freaking awesome if there was a job that incorporated everything that I love, while still leaving room to grow. This advice doesn’t hurt me; it makes sense and invariably comes from people who I admire for their confidence and maturity. It’s what other have said that hurts.
What they say: “Stop complaining, Thea. I’m only good at one thing; you should be happy that you have so much to pick from.”
What I understand them to say: “Thea, quit your whining. You’re freaking out because you can’t pick what to do? Oh, boo hoo. I can’t do anything else. Pick one thing and stop this idiotic showing off.”
What I hear them believing: “I have no choice but this one. I’m not good at anything else. I can never be more than anything I already am. I will feel attacked by anyone who thinks otherwise about themselves because, if I can’t have anything better than this, then neither should they.”
And that is the person I’m terrified of becoming. That is the person I see myself becoming if I deny myself all the things make me me except for the one that I decide to call my career. Cut off the roots, and the fruit becomes bitter. I will flee to the ends of the universe from that person. That person is dead inside, and I am alive, and want to live, live, live.
I am afraid that I will knowingly commit identity suicide just to be accepted by everyone else.
This fear has grown to irrational proportions in my heart. Whenever I get a new notebook, I feel pressured to do something specific with it, so I put it on a shelf and do nothing with it just so I don’t have to choose. I let others choose what to do when we hang out whenever possible, because I don’t want to have to be the one who narrows my options. I start a blog and, when it begs for a purpose, I write about everything except something that might start to define a purpose.
I can’t keep living like this. For crying out loud, I’m writing novels that will someday be published. If I don’t get my act together now, I’m going to be writing a lot of insincere crap, and no-one wants to read that. So, over the next month I’ll be digging deep and figuring out exactly what I’m going to do with this blog. The guest post is still going up next week (next week! :D) on Sue’s blog, and I have a special surprise for you all happening on the 30th, so if I write anything in the middle of the month, it’s only going to be one post. And it’s going to be about the purpose of this blog.
There you go, guys. After a year of blogging, I’ve finally started to show you who I am. If you don’t like me, then move right along. As my mother once told me: “You’re not going to like everybody, and not everyone’s going to like you. And that’s okay.” On the other hand, if I haven’t repelled you by all this then, hey! I’d love to get to know you. Don’t worry, I won’t make you tell me your deepest fears or anything. Just tell me what you’re comfortable sharing, and if you don’t feel comfortable saying anything, that’s okay, too. I don’t mind lurkers. ;)