Blog Fail/Participating Relentlessly

Let’s talk about my failing blog, shall we?


I think my blog is yet another victim of something I tend to do—which is not unique to me (I’m pretty sure nothing is unique to anyone)–which is shutting myself in with my thoughts and never letting them out. To anyone. For any reason. Until they explode (and even then, they’re pretty guarded).


And it’s not so much that I’m afraid of talking. I’m pretty resolute on how I feel about just about anything, but I also acknowledge the impossibility of black and white truths. Part of the problem with committing your sins to pen and paper (or the interwebz) is that there’s always evidence of them.


Which is also interesting because I largely don’t give a shit if my current or future employers see my blog. Look, the job market sucks sucks sucks and honestly your odds of getting a job doing what you love are… well, keep trying. Chances are you’re going to have supplement it with another job that you don’t prefer anyway. But, what I absolutely would like to think I have the right to be choosey about is not working for employers who would discriminate based on my particular views on hot topics, or how I choose to live my life. Especially if it isn’t hurting anyone else (which is debatable because I could be very well eating something, wearing something, buying something, and/or using something that infringes on somebody’s ability to live their lives well, out of sheer ignorance). I had a friend ask me recently if I ever take my nose ring out for job interviews, and I have to say, I’ve had this nose ring for almost ten years and have only taken it out for oral surgery. Because it doesn’t matter unless it poses a serious risk in the job environment. If I do what I do well, then not much else matters. That said, there is a way to dress and act in certain situations (also known as “playing the game”), but that’s another conversation for another time.


But again, it’s difficult to put yourself out there. Especially because even though I don’t care WHO reads my blog, I care who reads my blog… There are certain friendships you maintain out of necessity, out of curiosity, out of being professional, due to history, etc., but each of those friendships are only privy to certain types of information. Though I think some of the best relationships in life develop from complete vulnerability, some of the most necessary relationships I’ve built come from a distinct lack of detectable vulnerability. Not all relationships need to be privy to every part of you, but by participating in the blogging world, some relationships are given to more information than they every really needed. And I don’t have time to blog this person and that person from every little thing I do.


But what I do for a living involves a lot of vulnerability; ideally, making music would be so incredibly vulnerable that it is at once perfect and imperfect in a single moment. Being a classically-trained musician also means being a machine to some degree, but perhaps this is the most vulnerable position to be in.


Anyway, I can’t call what I feel “scared,” but I am apprehensive. I want to write. I want the things I do in my life to be passionate and multifaceted-no one-trick ponies over here. But they also need to be focused. I’m learning that my resistance to reigning in my passion and taking stock of it is perhaps exactly what has held me back in the past. I’m taking more control of that now.


That said, I need to figure out what I want to say and how to say it on this thing. I also have to decide that it matters when often I don’t think that much of what anyone says ever matters because the world is going to keep spinning regardless. But, in terms of our little insignificant lives, perhaps what we say and do matters quite a bit. And, you never know who is reading what you write, watching what you do, and listening to what you say. This is no reason to be guarded, but rather, resolute in what you put out there.


Moving forward, though, I was reminded of this quotation today:


“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” -Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love


I read Eat, Pray, Love after it became a New York Times Best Seller, and after I had bashed it a number of times based on its title alone. Which is funny, because I’m definitely not opposed to any of those three things. I just though it sounded like an everything-is-roses-lalala kind of book, and because I’ve found ways to be happy without ever believing that everything is fucking great all the time, I didn’t want to read a book that I thought might tell me that the world is a magnificent place where only good things happen. (I really tried to edit that sentence to be shorter, but it really didn’t happen. This is a learning curve I hope to overcome in future blog posts.) In short, I thought the book would be supremely naïve, but it turns out that I was in fact the naïve one. For those who haven’t read it, you won’t get a synopsis here, but I INSIST that you read it and the follow-up she wrote a few years later titled Committed. This is a woman who examines everything and then DOES SOMETHING ABOUT IT. At least eventually. Which is really the point, right? Dwelling on something and picking something apart is only half the battle.


I’m not happy-go-lucky person. Never have been. I don’t have the tendency to jump up and down and scream for things that are exciting. I think even if I won a Grammy, I’d keep my poker face ready (which says a lot, because I REALLY want a Grammy even though the Grammy committee has been slummin’ it for a long time now. Stop giving U2 Grammys for crappy albums, guys). That said, I can honestly say that in the past (at least) 7 years, I’ve INSISTED upon my happiness and have really searched for it. Sometimes I’ve found myself happy in situations I previously could have never fathomed being happy in. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching my father destroy himself with something as simple (stupid) as alcohol, it’s that I have to fight for myself. I do that in a number of ways, and today I’m giving myself credit for doing so. I could have very easily decided to go the other way and I didn’t; I can assure you that barring blunt head trauma that changes my entire personality, I won’t let it go the other way.


Perpetual loose ends in life aside, I think it’s important to continually and shamelessly insist upon your own happiness. I think education is a huge part of this, learning things and reading things you’re not ready to face, examining yourself closely to the point of depression, and continually putting yourself in challenging situations that put you at the very edge of your comfort zone. And then, after all is said and done, make sure that there is a small semblance of comfort, of things you know you love, people you know you trust and love, around you to help see you through.


I can’t say that this a perfect recipe, but I’m 27 and alive and trying so very hard. That’s okay with me today. Tomorrow, who knows? But either way, I will always participate relentlessly.




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