I think my blog has gotten off to a false start. Not that the things I’ve been posting have been false, but a lot of what’s behind what I’ve posted is false. This is my attempt to explain all of that. Here goes…
People have flaws. No one is perfect, because they can’t be. I mean, what is perfect? Maybe perfect is realizing the ways that we aren’t perfect, and trying to sort them out. Looking at our flaws and admitting they’re flaws, and not letting them get the better of us. My biggest flaw in life is a tendency to be negative. Don’t know if you’ve noticed.
I’ve always known that I’m negative. It’s obvious, to me and a lot of other people. I hide it pretty well while I’m working, but I just let fly everywhere else. People, mainly my mother, have told me that allowing myself to be negative leads me to be even more negative. I’m sure that’s true, but I’ve never really stopped to think about the negative consequences of my negative nature.
I think I’m an honest person. I don’t really lie, and one of my biggest annoyances is phoniness. I can’t stand phony people. To me, being phony is like a subtle way of lying. You aren’t being genuine. You’re hiding behind things that aren’t real. But it wasn’t until I started this blog that I realized I’m not as honest as I like to think I am. I don’t lie, really. But I just figured out, this morning, that I don’t tell the whole truth. I conceal, hide, shelter myself, and lead people on with my negativity.
It’s a form of lying, I suppose. Of phoniness. I am phony, in my own way, and I never noticed until I started this blog. Because I sat down and read through some of my first posts, and realized that the words in most of those posts aren’t genuine. They truly reflect what I think. They aren’t lies. I do mean the things I wrote, I just didn’t really write any of the things that I truly mean. An exception is my post, Vast. That was me trying to be honest, without hiding. That was an exercise, an experiment, and that experiment is part of what helped me realize what I’m doing. I’m lying, by concealing what I really mean, really think, and, hardest for me, what I really feel. And I’m not just concealing it from other people. I’ve been concealing it from myself, and I’ve finally started to realize that it might be hurting me.
Why do I do that? I never understood before why I’m negative, but I’ve been making an effort to figure it out this morning, and I think I am getting somewhere.
Fear. Fear of a lot of different things. Mainly, for me, it’s that I’m a private person. I don’t like throwing my true thoughts and feelings out there for people to poke at and sneer at. I’m afraid to be genuine, because there’s this tendency for people to laugh at things that are genuine, to ridicule honesty, and to embrace phoniness. And while I don’t do those things myself, I’ve come up with a great defense mechanism against them. Negativity.
I am the youngest of four children. I’m introverted, shy, quiet, honest, dreamy, and thoughtful. At least, I was as a child. I think that’s my nature. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve mostly forgotten these things. I don’t like to admit that I’m shy, because too many people view it as a weakness. I don’t like to be too quiet, because I’m afraid of being forgotten in situations where being forgotten matters. Like I said before, I don’t say things I don’t mean, so in that respect, I guess I’m still honest. But I certainly never say directly what I do mean if I’m around someone I’m not fully comfortable with. The only part of my childhood nature that seems to remain intact is my dreaminess. I can daydream with the best of them. Half the time I’m working, walking, talking to people, or pretty much doing anything else except writing, I’m not fully there. I’m thinking about other things, mainly my novels. Planning, writing in my head, singing, imagining.
Anyway, back to fear. My older brothers aren’t touchy-feely people, and neither is my mother. I’m not blaming them for anything, because I did my fair share of crap to them, too, but I remember them laughing at me when I used to share things. Or talking over me when I was trying to. It happened for a long time, maybe because I was the youngest, maybe because I wasn’t very assertive, maybe because I didn’t know how to express myself very well. The latter is definitely a possibility. I write much better than I talk. You should hear me talk. There are a lot of “uuuuhs” and “ummms” and… “wait, what did I just say”s. My point is, my family wasn’t big on talking about our deepest emotions. They made us uncomfortable. Twenty-however-many-years-later, they still do.
I used to cry a lot. Anything could make me cry. I cried when I was frustrated, upset, confused, overwhelmed. Anything, not just sad. When I was in college, I got really frustrated during an orchestral excerpts class because I couldn’t get a certain bow-stroke, and the teacher wasn’t able to instruct me in a way that helped me. I started crying. It was horrible, and I was mad at myself. And the teacher called me out, saying that if I was upset I should get angry. That crying was a weakness, and that it would be better for me to smash my violin on the floor than to cry.
First of all, I want to be perfectly clear that I think she was wrong. Crying is not a weakness. It’s a stress reliever, a way to release things that are built up inside us. So is anger, but I think anger is a lot more destructive. Crying is a release. Anger is fuel. But at the time, I believed her. I was so tired of crying about every little thing that I let her convince me that anger was a better solution. And one I could turn to fairly easily, because I’ve always had kind of a nasty temper.
I think that was the start of all this. Using negativity as a way to shelter myself from anything real. Hiding behind negative thoughts masquerading as humor. I used to get frustrated that I could never think of anything to say in groups of people. So I started complaining, saying negative things. People thought I was funny, so I went with it. Used it to mark myself as having some kind of identity. Because that’s something else I’ve always been a little afraid of. Having no identity. Because I’m quiet, shy, don’t really like attention, and didn’t used to have strong opinions about things. I was always afraid of just disappearing.
When I was younger, I had a stalker. I’m talking eighteen, just about go into college, had a stalker. An older guy that I thought was my friend. I don’t want to explain here how it all played out. That’s another story for another time, maybe. But the result of it all was that he made me wary of people. He made me even more afraid to open up to people than I had been in the past. Looking back, I think I shut down a little after him. Went with my quiet nature and didn’t bother trying to open up to anyone.
I was a little stressed out in graduate school, for a lot of reasons, the biggest being that I hurt my neck severely two months in. As a violinist, your neck kind of needs to work, or you can’t play. Anyway, I had never been to a psychologist before, but I decided to go see one, thinking maybe she could help with my stress.
She didn’t. She absolutely glommed onto that stalker like he was a life preserver. Did the same thing with my not-very-emotional family. Used it all to conclude that I was like wallpaper, too quiet, too invisible, too void of opinions. That I needed to start having opinions, that I needed to start talking, that I needed to start having things to say.
That may have been the thing that really pushed me toward embracing negativity. I felt like I needed to do something, like I was somehow an empty shell because I wasn’t full of anger like that violin teacher wanted, and wasn’t full of opinions like that psychologist wanted. Again, I’m not blaming them in the least. They gave their opinions on my life, and I was too weak and confused at the time to look at them as their opinions. I took them as truth, and that was my fault. But all of it, the idea that crying is weak, the rejection from my family of my genuine thoughts, the notion that not being opinionated means being empty… all of it led me to where I am now, I think.
And where I am now isn’t genuine. All of my negativity just hides things that are real. It’s true that I dislike sunshine and kittens, which I said in one of my earlier posts. But that isn’t all there is to me, and I think sometimes I present myself to people as though it is. I am negative. That is my truth. But it isn’t. It isn’t all that I am, isn’t even half of what I am, and certainly isn’t what I want to be. And I wouldn’t have realized that if I hadn’t started this blog.
I’ve already said that I’m not a blog person. This is my first experience with one, my first time reading any. So that this blog helped me realize something important about myself is kind of funny. And it has made me decide to use this blog as a vehicle for change. To help me discover a new truth, my own truth, that isn’t sheltering behind being negative. Not saying I won’t be negative on here sometimes, because that’s asking a little too much right off the bat, but I can tone it down, and try to be more honest.
George Carlin is one of my heroes. It still makes me sad that he died when he still had so much to offer to the world. I started listening to George Carlin’s stand-up when I was about 10. I read his books, too. I loved him then, and I still do. I latched onto him as a hero when I was very young. He was funny, smart, and he was negative. But his negativity was probably more genuine than mine. I’ve always kind of had the attitude that if George Carlin could be negative, well so could I. But I need to change that now, because as much as I love the man, I’m not him. What he was and what he believed can’t be what I am and what I believe.
And so, I need to find my own way. And because it has been bugging me that my blog doesn’t really have any kind of focus, I’m going to make that my new focus. Writing to discover what I truly think about things, and why. What I feel, even, despite still being a little bit afraid of real emotions. I think that’s why I like writing fiction so much. I can put all of my real emotions into the characters, and no one needs to know if they’re my emotions, the emotions of someone I know, or something that I observed while out buying a sandwich. Fiction, like I’ve said from the start, is just easier. It’s easier to be genuine without being afraid.
But here goes, a new experiment. Using this blog to write frankly, without being afraid of rejection, without being afraid of being ridiculed, and without hiding. In my post, Vast, I wrote down a bunch of words I like. It was a good exercise for me, so here are some more. If some are the same as last time, well… I like those a lot.
Vapor, jungle, snooze, warmth, sea, tranquil, fabric, breeze, swift.