As a somewhat reluctant blogger and hopeful novelist, I have a confession… I don’t know everything.
Shocking, I’m sure.
In fact, I would hazard to say that I don’t know very much at all. I know my own experiences, I know what a college education bought me (my opinions on that subject vary…), and I know what little I’ve been able to absorb and hang onto. I’m moderately opinionated and a relatively competent writer who has a deep love for the craft as a whole in all its various forms. Man, I just want to be a part of it. I just want whatever slice of the literary pie I can get my hands on. And I, like you, have my thoughts, feelings, experiences, and opinions. They are mine and they are circumstantial to my own definition and understanding. I am multifaceted and ever changing. In fact, I sincerely and wholeheartedly try to be. Not that I always succeed, mind you, but the desire, and effort is there. I enjoy writing (and reading) expressive, emotive and thought-provoking pieces just as much as I enjoy employing my healthy sense of humor and boundless love of sarcasm. I find catharsis and joy from writing out my experiences with my mentally ill mother and the struggles of being a single, teenage parent, just as I really enjoy stepping into the lighter side of things where I can make fun of myself and those things in life I find amusing.
But really, I’m just me, this average, relatively boring person on the other side of your screen. I eat, sleep and shit just like everyone else. I make mistakes, big ones, and I face the consequences. I’m frequently shown the error of my ways and forced to reevaluate things as simple as how I care for my skin or the best ways to cook for my child. I learn new things daily; things that rattle against the flimsy bars where I keep all my insecurities locked away, things that challenge my most cherished sensibilities and my deepest personal convictions.
Here, have an example:
One of the first articles I wrote for Thought Catalog touched on my desire to withhold a cell phone and social media from my daughter until she was older, 16 or so. Through reading many of the comments on the subject (some more constructive than others…) and reflecting on my own words and emotions, I’ve come to reevaluate my opinion. The conclusions and experiences of others challenged my thought processes and beliefs. I’m not saying I’m all aboard the cell-phone-social-media-for-kids-and-teens-train, but I have taken a looser stance on the subject. I guess I might say it’s become more of a guideline than a rule. Some might point and scream ‘retraction!’ but I guess that’s not how I see it. I feel that I, just like you and everyone else, am just as entitled to my opinion as I am in changing that opinion. In fact, I crave people and ideas that contradict my own experiences and views. I don’t want to constantly be surrounded by people who agree with everything I say and do. How boring. How mindless. How would I, or anyone else, learn or grow if we’re always in the ‘right?’ If no one ever steps up and offers a different perspective how to do we ascertain that what we believe is right for us or is founded on anything other than the basic chemical reactions in our brains?
I share myself in this particular writing forum not because I think I’m inherently right or because I believe myself infallible, but because I enjoy the personal challenge it presents and the opportunity it has given me to reach out to other people. To in turn challenge them. Hell, through my admittedly short time as a ‘writer,’ I’ve grown tremendously as a person and as an aspiring artist. The experience so far has been very informative and humbling. I learn things from the comments, from the pieces of fan mail, from the reactions my writing garners in general. Things that either challenge or reaffirm what I think and feel and that’s so vital, so necessary. I don’t want to live in this vacuum. I don’t want to always be right.
We all have our faults and we all make mistakes. I just try to own up to and grow from mine. I’m not perfect, not even fucking close, but neither are you, no one is. I just keep trying to be a better person than I was the day before, not sure what else I can do. Doesn’t mean I always succeeded, and neither will you, you’ll probably fail more than you like (I know I do), but if you’re not trying to be better… than what are you doing?