Speak Up

Black Mirror
Black Mirror

You should talk more.

In the case of insecurity there’s an unpleasant parallel I’ve noticed: those most respectful and reverential of their art are the ones who have the largest filter for themselves and thus make the smallest contributions.

In comparison, the loud and confident (such as myself) get to command attention with all the force of extroverted momentum. And I am an extrovert. And, frankly, one of the scariest realizations I had was that there were thousands of people smarter than me, funnier than me, more talented in every genre and didn’t live up to their own standards.

It wasn’t that I was any better. It’s just that I was louder.

I’ve worked to get better, but there’s a funny thing about talent: it grows uneven, and never how you’d hope. Still, I’ve achieved. I write often. I get paid for that writing. And I owe it less to my talent and more to my shamelessness.

You should try it.

***

It isn’t that I’m confident. Confidence is a tricky thing and it’s easier to give up on it altogether. Confidence isn’t what you need: what you need is simple neutrality, the peace of self to participate openly and truly without letting doubt censor your work stillborn.

Look: we’re on the internet, okay? Why are you anxious? Do you think you’re any worse than CODY_429 and whatever comments he bleeds on Yahoo! Sports articles?  And, for that matter, do you think you’re any better? You’re not. You’re human and you get a full share of this world, same as anyone else. Let yourself take it.

Restraining yourself sometimes feels like the safest thing. I get it. It’s universal. But fear- and it is fear, fear of rejection, fear of inferiority, fear of finally applying and losing rather than merely hoping- is a stifling, dangerous thing. It’s something, famously, that you fight.

So fight it.

I’m not telling you that you have to do anything, but at the same time it’s worth analyzing your patterns of comfort. Silence is easier and it risks less than participation. If you’re not letting yourself speak up because of personal doubts, forgive yourself and allow yourself to participate fully in life. Nobody knows what’s going on, yo.

You’re not uniquely bad.

***

Maybe I’m projecting here. As an extrovert, I sort of just assume everybody wants as much attention as possible. But at the same time I know tons of people between binaries who are torn between instincts to share and a fear that they aren’t good enough. And it kills me.

As a general rule, don’t let your doubt stifle you. Experience and practice is how you learn.

The internet is tricky. On the one hand you have the easiest possible place for self-expression- Twitter, for example, is the closest thing we have to an opt-in psychic network- and yet you have all the risks attached. Public humiliation is an ever-present risk for any amateur. The spectral presence of “the haters,” whoever they are, linger.

But, at the end, the internet is scary because you have to come face to face with your own opportunity. At the edge of the infinite, do you dare step in?

You should. Every idiot in the world is. What makes you so different?

Have fun. The water’s fine. TC mark

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