Putting Yourself Out There

I am not an expressive or emotional person, and I genuinely don’t like people, so why is it that I am constantly compelled to put myself out there?  Despite being a guarded and private person I can stand in front of a microphone and joke about the things that make me feel terrible to total strangers, or write essays about the worst things that have ever happened to me.  I never understood how I could be such a contradictory person and move between expressive and private mindsets so easily, but it is something that I would like to take a bit and explore.

When I was younger I was always dying to express myself.  I would constantly write poetry and songs, but I was always too afraid of letting other people in.  I suppose that I wanted people to naturally know that I was talented and insightful while also showing depth as a human being.  I desperately wanted someone to stumble across my writings and have the revaluation that I was important and deserved to be loved, but instead of doing anything to facilitate the exposure I just sat there and was disappointed when things were not discovered and thing’s didn’t magically get better.  I could chalk it up to being young and stupid, but there are still many times in my life today where I expect people to read my mind and make my dreams come true, fortunately I have become more inclined toward action on my own behalf.

I love to write.  The idea of people reading my thoughts and identifying with things that I say is almost like a drug.  I could say that I am selflessly putting words to the thoughts that others are unable or unwilling to say, that I am the potential martyr who is willing to fall on the sword of public opinion for the greater good, but that would be bullshit.  My writing is a way for me dictate from my own platform and say what I want to without any interruption while also garnering feedback.  I don’t journal, or keep logs, I just pontificate on the internet, and it makes me feel good.

When I first started writing Facebook notes styled as blog posts (or Flogs as one of my friends termed them) I thought that it was a way to connect with my friends.  Pretty soon I was hearing about how my thoughts resonated and how they were passing it on to others. It created a cycle where I was inspired to write more so that I could have that opportunity to get that adulation.  I started writing more and more, and while some things hit others completely missed and much like my jokes I was able to identify patterns that allowed me to write things that would have a greater hit percentage.  My writing style is very formulaic and many of my essays follow a very similar pattern: Topical introduction>Deep history>Growth over time>Demons that I need to face>Current feelings>Closure paragraph that is supposed to resonate, hopefully ending with a line that makes a callback or statement that closes everything off nicely.

I struggle with terminology sometimes.  I feel that “writer” is too pretentious of a term for what I do, and “blogger” is not pretentious enough.  I prefer the term essays over posts or articles, but “essayist” is too arcane of a term.  What you call yourself often determines how you feel about yourself and since starting this blog I find myself more and more confused as I progress through the system.  Confusion isn’t always a bad thing because when you get confused you have to ask questions and questions beget answers, and we are all searching for answers.

I often wonder why people care about the things that I write.  I know that I have a decent writing style, and I address issues that generally have merit, but why do people seem to identify with my writing.  The only thing that I can come up with is that they are interested in the vulnerability that my writing provides.  I am generally not a vulnerable person, but when I open up and put myself out there while discussing issues that matter to me it allows people a look into my life.  Vulnerability is scary, it exposes my weaknesses and gives people written evidence to use against me.  At the same time it is exhilarating to leave everything on a page and walk away.  I generally don’t read my essays for more than a quick proofread, mostly because it is almost as painful as listening to a recording of a standup set.  Anyone who creates things thinks that they can do better, and that unequivocal pursuit of perfection is painful and drawn out so that if you don’t establish boundaries to stop yourself from fiddling with tings then you will never actually release anything.

I have found that no matter what I think of something there is no way that I can predict how it will be received.  A joke that I love gets nothing but blank stares, or an essay that I think is a joke gets more than 500 page views in 12 hours.  The key to becoming a better writer or comic is to keep doing it in order to increase your ability to identify the things that will resonate with others.  By continuing to put myself out there and find new ways to express myself I will be able to hone those skills, making it easier to identify with others, which will give me to motivation to keep putting myself out there in a self perpetuating cycle.

Pharmacy is my dream job, something that I decided that I wanted to do when I was 11 years old and have dedicated myself toward for 2/3 of my life. I realized a few months ago that as important as my job is to me, it is only a part of my life.  After a dozen years of identifying myself as a pharmacy student or pharmacist I started describing myself using other terms.  I started thinking of a future that included things other than pharmacy and dreams where I could be something else.  I know that I don’t have the dedication to every move in order to pursue comedy, but I certainly think that I can focus on writing whenever I can.  I have been experimenting with my writing style and process and trying to identify the way to write better and more frequently, but I think it will be a long process to figure myself out, but I have plenty of time.  All I can hope is that I can continue to tweak, change, adjust, and put out some quality pieces while continuing to put myself out there.

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