March 1, 2011

The irony of being self-absorbed

Babar is wonderful


My last blog post was incredibly whiny.  As Andrew Sullivan so eloquently put it in his article “Why I blog” in the Atlantic, blogging is “the spontaneous expression of instant thought… its borders are extremely porous and its truth inherently transitory.  The consequences of this for the act of writing are still sinking in.” 


In my case, it means that although I recoil in humiliation at having written such a narcissistic previous blog post, it’s there to stay and, if anything, shows how easily it is to write in the passion (or in my case, the dripping self-pity) of the moment and realise the consequences later.  Maybe that’s why blogging can be so exciting too  - “… blogging requires an embrace of such hazards, a willingness to fall off the trapeze rather than fail to make the leap”.

Even the most careful and self-aware blogger will reveal more about himself than he wants to in a few unguarded sentences and publish them before he has the sense to hit Delete. The wise panic that can paralyze a writer—the fear that he will be exposed, undone, humiliated—is not available to a blogger. You can’t have blogger’s block. You have to express yourself now, while your emotions roil, while your temper flares, while your humor lasts. You can try to hide yourself from real scrutiny, and the exposure it demands, but it’s hard. And that’s what makes blogging as a form stand out: it is rich in personality. The faux intimacy of the Web experience, the closeness of the e-mail and the instant message, seeps through. You feel as if you know bloggers as they go through their lives, experience the same things you are experiencing, and share the moment.

I feel as though there’s no point writing if I sugar-coat things.  Part of this new period in my life is being more genuine to who I am and also writing not too self-consciously.  It’s going to more accurately depict what the experience is like.  People are going to get different impressions and judge me on what they read anyway, so as long as I’m being honest with myself and trying each day to live a good, kind, meaningful life I think I’ll be OK. 


I like the idea that the older we get, we don’t change so much as just develop more into ourselves. 


Of course I’m flawed, have intense periods of self-doubt… I’ve never felt more like a failure than I do now as a teacher.  And I have to just accept this and learn the hard way that sometimes, in the good ol’ American language of self-help, sometimes you have to fail to succeed.  And look on the bright side.  And there are lots of good things happening in my life right now.  Lots.  Like remembering Babar is awesome.  Thank you Universe!

1 comment:

  1. Gumby was awesome, too.

    You can shape yourself into whoever you want.

    Red Shirt


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