It has occurred to me—more than once, even—that writing about myself so candidly all over the internet and beyond might be a really fucking bad idea. Just so you don’t think it hasn’t occurred to me: the thought occurs. My second major feature came out at the Missoula Independent last week. It’s about magic, you can read it here. And then there was the one before that. I wanted to take a second to really dwell on the issue and explain why I keep putting it all out there, despite the large stones it sometimes lodges in my chest.
The things that we super enjoy about art and literature oftentimes have to do with seedy underbellies. Remember when American Beauty came out in 1999, and it was all, “Oh my god, we can’t believe that seemingly perfect suburban families might have skeletons in their closets!” Well, I can’t believe you can’t believe it. The stuff I write about doesn’t seem particularly shocking or weird to me, because I thought it was obvious we were all messes.
Take the whole struggling with drug and alcohol addiction thing, for example. The truth is, I’m not sorry that I did a lot of drugs and drank a lot growing up as a teen and beyond. I mean, I’m sorry for some of the consequences, but I don’t think it was inherently bad or wicked or something that I should go out of my way to hide. And likewise, I’m not sorry that I decided marijuana wasn’t meant to be my friend for life and that it’s not some snake oil panacea, after all. I think that all humans struggle and suffer and I’m not embarrassed to talk about my own struggles and suffering. I am, however, a little embarrassed that I’m not embarrassed.
My next point is best demonstrated by a moment from My So Called Life, when Angela says:
“What I like, dread, is when people who know you in completely different ways end up in the same area. And you have to develop this, like, combination you on the spot.”
That might be one of the defining quotes of my life. I really took it to heart, and the lesson I got from it is that you shouldn’t have to come up with a combination you. So much suffering comes from trying to manage all of our different personas, and at the end of the day, it just strikes me as kind of futile and pointless. We’ve all taken in good art, so we know that people are messes. Do you think that you are somehow pulling it off and making everyone else believe that you’re the exception? I don’t know. I might be too far in the other direction. I’m still working it all out.
People talk about a lack of privacy in the new facebook/twitter/whatever society like it’s a bad thing. I’m pretty into it. I don’t think people should ever feel like they have to censor who they are to anyone at any time. If you’re doing your best to be kind and true, and you’re living your life on purpose, then what is there to be ashamed of? That’s my position.
More important than any of that shit, though, is the fact that when I write about myself, people seem to respond. Over-using the first person isn’t inherently interesting. I suspect that sometimes I can be too self-centered and boring. But overall, I feel like I’m touching on something. If I didn’t feel that way, or if people didn’t continually tell me to keep doing it, I swear I would shut the fuck up.
I’m currently a teacher at a community college. Any curious student could find this blog or any of my highly personal essays whenever they wanted. How do I feel about that? Meh. I don’t feel great about it! Do I feel like it might undermine my authority? A little. But at the end of the day, it’s like this: 1. Most students are not that curious. 2. The ones that are curious tend to have open minds and won’t hold this shit against me. 3. At the end of the day, oh fucking well. I’m not getting paid nearly enough to compromise my art or my integrity. If you’re a student and you’re reading this, just do me a solid and don’t mention it to me.
Anyway. Sorry this post isn’t that funny. This is just something that’s been churning around in my head for awhile. I’ve been going through a lot of changes. Right now my life is in a hellish dormant period of saving up money, training for a big fight, living at my mother’s house in waterford, michigan, and so on.
Shut up and watch the fitness montage from Rocky IV. I’m Rocky, and my enemies are the Russian.