Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Please Do Not Fall Down Dead

I know that two posts in one day after weeks of inattention may actually cause mental harm to those of you who follow me. Writing that sentence is really funny to me because even at my slowest, I still wrote every four or five days which is pretty average for the blogs I read. Anyway, I had an epiphany this week about my posting. I was writing more often in the beginning because I was just blogging whatever came into my head. After I started in with the childhood and work stories, I somehow began to think that if I didn't have a story to write, I shouldn't blog anything. Then I was so pleased with my hide and seek stories I began to think I couldn't write a story unless I thought it was going to be as entertaining. Of course we also had the fiction spurt and which led me to feeling guilty about posting anything other than the end of that story.

All in all, I kind of forgot that this blog is really only here to entertain myself. I guess I got intimidated when I found out others actually enjoyed my writing as well. I wanted people to read my blog but I guess I didn't actually expect more than the obligatory glance. Also, I sort of have a problem finishing things. Someone once said I had a fear of failure, but that isn't really it. I am afraid of not finishing something. My personality type is a dreamer. I come up with tons of ideas that I get really excited about, but once the project is started and it becomes time to focus on the details, I get bored and abandon whatever I am working on.

This is not a problem for me. I am all about immediate gratification. When I do something it is to enjoy the process. I don't actually care about the finished product, I just want to have some fun for the moment. This has been a problem for countless friends in my life who get frustrated with my lack of success. They don't see the fun in just doing something. They are all about goals and achievement. That has never been my way.

Take school. I love learning. I always have. When I was in elementary school the goal was to learn and grades revolved more around tests than homework. Homework was pretty much short and sweet. I still never did it and that was what my grades reflected all of my academic career. The more homework was assigned and valued, the lower my grades dropped. I was lucky to graduate with a barely C average. This frustrated my parents and teachers because they knew I was smart enough and aced all my tests. It frustrated me that they didn't see how unfair their grading was. If the point was to learn the subject matter, then I should have been able to take the tests and leave the homework be. In the fifth grade, I remember getting into an argument with my math teacher that changed my opinion of school forever.

I asked him what the point of homework was. I wasn't being insolent, I was seriously confused about the whole concept. Fifth grade is when I stopped getting straight A's and school became a reason I got grounded instead of a fun place to learn. We had just been given review homework which was always triple the normal homework as it contained problems from the everything we had studied up to that stage. He told me that the point was to practice what we learned so we could pass the upcoming test. I got excited thinking about the idea and suggested that if I was able to learn it, I shouldn't have to do the homework to practice. He, of course, disagreed and laughed saying there was no way that I could have remembered everything. This pissed me off.

I was one of the best in class. Math was always my best subject. It just makes sense to me. I didn't just memorize math problems and shortcuts, I understood the concepts. So, I challenged him and told him to give me the test right then and if I even got one wrong, I would do the homework, but if I got 100% then I could be let off the hook. He immediately looked nervous. I assume it was at this point that he remembered that I never did homework which meant I always took the tests without practice and rarely missed a problem. That conversation ended quickly and I was given some sort of "because I said so" answer. From that point forward I looked at homework as a joke.

Wow, that took a meandering bend. I can't even follow my own train of thought except to say when I am doing something as a distraction or to entertain myself I have no problems. When I see that there is a goal to be reached I get nervous. I focus so much on the distance between me and the end, I start to worry that I will even want to finish. I add up all the pieces that will have to be completed and instead of looking at next step I worry about the one thing in the distance future that I may not be able to do. Then I decide to give up before I even start. For me it is easier to give up in the beginning rather than be ashamed of one more goal that I didn't accomplish.

We all have these voices in our heads. They say different things, but the end result is the same. We start trying to look at ourselves from other people's perspectives and expectations. Instead of just being ourselves, we worry about appearing foolish and ignore the different, unique parts of ourselves that drew people to us in the first place. It is natural and easy to make this mistake. I think I got my perspective back, but I can't say I won't lose it again. In the meantime it is back to me prattling inanely about whatever I feel like.

Oh, I remember my point. I spent about five or six hours on some of my better pieces. Which led me to think I needed to spend that much time on all of my posts. So when I would think about sitting down to write, instead of sitting at the computer and just throwing out whatever was on my mind, I would look at the clock. Having mono and being tired I would get exhausted thinking about spending that much time on one project and watch a movie instead. It may seem silly, but people do it all the time. We get caught in our habits and routines and start doing things because we should, forgetting that reading or writing or whatever fun thing we have planned isn't a task to be done. It is a hobby to be enjoyed.

The human being is an odd little duck that way.

PS, I mentioned before that I have a stat counter to let me see who is reading my blog. That may have been what commandeered my focus and made me feel like I had to perform. However it also kept me going at a point when I would have normally given up. I kept thinking that I should just give up writing because I couldn't keep up with my imaginary expectations. But I have a reader in Virginia who checks my blog every day. I can tell they are a stranger who stumbled onto my blog and kept coming back. Every time I started feeling insecure, I thought about Virgina and remembered that my writing couldn't suck that badly. So thank you, whoever you are! Please don't let my stat stalking frighten you away, I just wanted to send you a little message of appreciation.


  1. Nice. I have a counter on my blog and I check it about once a week. It is so cool to me that people from all over the United States and sometimes the world will stop in to read what I have written. Keep it up but keep writing for yourself. That is what I do.

  2. Glad you keep writing! I read everything - just don't often have time to comment. I can hear you saying what I'm reading and it's a nice way to at least keep up with you.