I feel like an uncanny amount of the stories I have heard about the way men mature start with the phrase “So, there was this girl” and then proceed to explain how hearts were broken, or how God’s will was misunderstood, or even how someone learned a valuable lesson about the sanctity of sex. I say this because this blog, going forward, is partly about “that girl,” and another part a blog about God, and yet another part a blog about just how unexpected life can be in general.
Like I said I’m not entirely sure why I am writing this or why you are reading it, but I feel like I am supposed to start typing something.
I have tried my hand at writing a few times before, and at first my hazy products amounted to little more than novels based off my pretty boring life. My main problem was that I kept trying to turn my experiences into these complicated metaphors so that I wouldn’t have to use any of the real names and places. I wasn’t willing to be brutally honest with myself.
My first real writing endeavor began in fifth grade. I had this idea that I would write the next big thing in literature (at the time it was Harry Potter) and that would get this really popular girl at school to notice me. Not just notice me, but marry me. It was all part of one of my long and complicated plans–no lie, I distinctly remember being eleven and picturing myself walking up the long covered walkway into my school pushing a cart full of big blue books through the glass doors. In my mind, it would take no time at all, after the moment I entered the atrium arms laden with my latest publication, for this specific girl to come running into my arms. We would kiss and embrace and it would be exquisite and magical. I knew it would happen. I saw it in my mind’s eye as clear as I saw the world that actually existed before me.
(Sidebar: Looking back I probably should, at least, have had a conversation with this girl before deciding in myself that I wanted to wed her. I think the longest interaction we ever had was once in social studies she leaned over and asked if I knew the answer to one of the questions we were working on in class, after turning a deep shade of red and stumbling to get the words out, I helped her figure the question out.)
You will probably not be altogether too shocked to find out that during my time in elementary school I never published a worldwide bestseller. Looking back I see a hole in my master plan to captivate this girl which, if possible, is even more gaping than the bit which included me writing an international literary sensation. It’s the part where the popular eleven year old girl has the analytical foresight to appreciate literature, and possesses it to such an extent that she turns away from the social pressures which command her to stay within her social rank.
As a child I was always concocting schemes to pull myself up out of the godforsaken hold of unpopularity I found myself in. It’s not really that I wanted to be friends with the people who were “at the top,” their lack of intellect and morality was uninviting even then. I was enticed by their power of social control. I’m not really sure what I wanted to do with this power once I got it, all I knew was that I wanted it.
I continued to write after this point and not much changed, almost all of what I wrote was overly romanticized and thoroughly immature. I recently stumbled upon A Year in Moments which was the novel I tried to write back in high school, it was the epitome of what I meant earlier by “complicated metaphors” but I thought it would be poignant to include here some lines to give you an idea of what I mean when I say “overly romanticized,” the book was dedicated to “all the girls who broke my heart and to whomever it will be who one day does not. You are my princess. Whoever you are.” I really don’t know if I should call for a resounding “Aww” or “Yuck.” The entire work is nowhere near complete and is really pretty terrible rereading it now.
I wonder what I will think of this blog looking back in 3 or 4 years.
Anyhow, My freshman year in college I read Brad Land’s Goat in a philosophy class and thought then that I would try my hand at writing a memoir. It didn’t seem altogether too difficult. I thought all a good memoir needed was a healthy dose of sensuality or violence. Googling around provided some articles which told me to search deep within myself and try to dig up the things which plagued me most and pour them out onto paper. I found other articles that insisted my childhood had been botched and that there was absolutely a story there to be told, and, upon further reflection I realized that, in fact, my childhood had not been botched, and for a brief moment I felt disadvantaged for being raised correctly.
I was at the point where I felt like there was noting I had to say, I felt like if I hadn’t been abused or had particularly fascinating adventures my life wasn’t going to be worth talking about and I had resigned myself to believing that I didn’t have the creative faculties to invent a fantasy world of my own in which to paint beautifully heartbreaking stories so I just gave up on writing for months.
I eventually came crawling back to my journal fit to bursting with words which needed to be written. I oscillated between writing and journaling and never really arrived at any productive end. Eventually I realized my problem was that I was trying to be something I was never going to be. I was definitely not being honest with anyone, especially myself. Even when I was trying my hand at writing a memoir and the facts and stories I wrote about actually happened pretty much the way I wrote them I wasn’t being honest because I wasn’t admitting to myself the point in what I was writing.
If I am brutally transparent with myself, for a very long time I viewed writing as a means to a specific end. I figured that one day I would publish a book that women the world over would read, and whether out of sympathy or after seeing my stunning picture on the book jacket, come running already deeply in love with me. I had hoped, they would see that I have these deep feelings that the men in their life just could never have.
Obviously this is not true. Plenty, if not most, men are better at whatever it is that makes a man a man than I am. It’s just my rampant ego which makes much of me. I want to blame it on American materialism or my enneagram type but really its just me and my heart and the fact that I have yet to mature into something meaningful which drives me to put myself up on a pedestal and assume everyone else should be subservient.
I don’t think I will truly find solace as a writer until I can cross that river of self-inflation and see writing as an end in itself rather than a means.
I have to confess that even today when I think of why I want to write I have injected a healthy dose of catharsis but I still imagine that it will string together all my previous experiences and interactions, in the sense that even the people I have forgotten about, people who likely didn’t know me to begin with, will be awed by my talent and wish they had taken the time to get to know me.
I have glimpses of that girl I met at the theater a few weeks back walking into Barnes and Noble and, upon seeing my book displayed in the front by my cardboard cutout, pick up the volume, read the back cover and have a strong and immediate impulse to try and get in contact with me.
I want to wake up one day and be independent, and not be driven so much by the approval of others, especially women. Hopefully one day I will get married and this rampant subjectivism will be tampered, but I have no way of knowing. I have never been married.
All in all, I have no idea what I am doing here. Here being college. Here being talking to women. Here being writing. Here being heading into the future. Here being alive.
I think, at least I hope, that over the next few years I can figure out my answer to at least some of those questions. The baffling thing is though; that it seems like the more I learn the less I seem to know. It seems cliché to say that, but sometimes things are cliché because they are true.