“Hey, let’s write about all the great bloggers we love and compare ourselves unfavorably to them!” – said no (reasonable or successful) blogger ever (probably). But hey, my brain thinks it’s a great idea.
I am not nearly so wacky as The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson – my sister might be that wacky, and in fact, I am almost certain of it. Just as I love my sister’s sense of humor, I really appreciate Jenny’s – it almost makes me feel normal. And then I remember she’s so far beyond normal that this says nothing useful about me. It’s okay; I still want to be Jenny when I grow up.
I’m also not as clever as Geraldine DeRuiter, The Everywhereist – certainly not as consistently clever, that’s for sure. That would, again, be my sister. And again, I’d love to be Geraldine when I grow up. Just as when I read Jenny’s work, when I read Geraldine’s stuff, it feels rather like a sisterhood of sorts. I also want to be more like my actual sister, Kjerstin.
I’m not them, though, and even though my brain keeps trying to convince me that they’re an ideal to strive for, once again, it’s a bit off the mark. I’m far too serious, for one thing. Seriously, this is me as a child…
So is this…
Looking at photographs of my younger years, my husband once felt the need to ask me if I ever smiled as a kid. I’m beginning to wonder about that myself.
When I listen more closely to what my brain is really trying to say, I realize that perhaps I’m misinterpreting a bit – symbols aren’t as precise as language and even language can be imprecise at times. Plus, wait – is there possibly a third actor here besides “Me” and “My Brain” that is partly responsible for these misinterpretations?
Setting aside for now the question of another party crashing the party of my consciousness, yes – I am most certainly misinterpreting.
Much as I would love to be just like Jenny, Geraldine, and Kjerstin, the actual truth is that what I really want is to feel more comfortable just being myself.
There is another truth here. If I can extrapolate from how well I know my sister, a few words I’ve had on occasion with Geraldine, and all the amazingly self-deprecating writing that Geraldine and Jenny have put out there in all their clever wackiness – I have the impression they don’t always (generally? ever, hardly?) feel as comfortable as they sound either.
And this is why it helps to read what they write. It gives voice to what is still quiet within us. At its best, it gives us courage to be more ourselves too. Can I write like I’ll more comfortable than I actually am? You bet. Can there be value for myself and others in doing that? Possibly. The only way to find out is to do it.
My brain started talking to me about actually getting out there and doing this for real because I was stupid/smart enough to say something to Geraldine when she and her husband Rand spoke at a recent event. I have been so impressed at how candid she is in her writing about her relationship with Rand and I said something about how uncomfortable that would make me. Michael – my husband, AKA Tall Guy, a totally unapologetic Everywhereist fanboy also loves her candor and justifiably wouldn’t take ownership of my concerns, at least not in front of Geraldine.
I still don’t really know yet how I will navigate those waters in real life when they’re no longer a hypothetical, but Geraldine was right to call me on my shit and say that it sounded like it was just an excuse.
She was also right that when have have anything to say, you’ve got to put it out there. I honestly don’t know if what I have to say would be of any interest or use to anyone else but a shared journey is at the very least a less lonely one and is often more enlightening too.
And if I can capture at least some of what it says when my brain talks to me, I’m fairly certain that my head will be a lot less noisy and it may even help me make more sense of all that activity. Either of these would be terrific benefits that could make the effort worthwhile. Let’s do this thing before my brain decides to back out of the deal.