Writing, though a solitary activity, has actual brought people closer to me by opening up new areas of discussion.
I quietly started posting the link to this blog around a couple weeks ago. Just a tweet here and a Facebook share there. I didn't expect too much of a response but putting it out there was still a little of a 'holy shit' moment. I had no idea what kind of reactions it would receive. Love, hate or - the worst of all - indifference.
Oh, indifference. It's ironic how strong my feelings are against you.
Anyway, the reactions were fantastic - positive, yes, but more interestingly a theme emerged. So besides the "good job, person I know!”, what I saw over and over was much better: new types of conversations with old friends.
Friends AND Family
Obviously the double Fs are the most important people in one’s life. But how easy is it to have the same conversations over and over and over with the same people? How hard is it to change the conversational rhythm with a friend after so many years?
Very and very.
Try to start talking about your feelings with those friends you only talk to about sports. Try to start talking about your vulnerabilities with those who see you as infallible. Try as you might, the inertia is difficult to overcome.
I like to think I’m constantly re-inventing myself. Maybe you do as well. But I’ve always found it really difficult to do so while maintaining old relationships. Generally, I’ve found, you have to find new people to become a new person.
And that is what I’ve done time and again. Bouncing from one friend group to another rather than try to reframe myself in the eyes of those who’ve always seen me a certain way.
A simple example
Ten years ago, in my early 20s, I lived with my older sister (hey sister!) It was a pretty bleak time for me and I know I was an unpleasant mess to those around me. (Sorry about that, folks.)
Cut to Skype a few days ago, and this sister (I have two) sees that the bed behind me is made. “Your bed is made. That’s impressive,” she says. And it wasn’t the first time she’s mentioned that.
Now, I’ve been making my bed (almost) every day for at least 4 years. It’s a low-effort high-reward thing (especially that I like living in single-room studio/loft spaces vs. having a closed-off bedroom) that is so engrained in my mind I never even think about it. Of course I make the bed. Of course I wear socks. Same deal. But in my sister’s eyes, I guess that isn’t part of how she knows me.
Maybe (hopefully) the bed to her is symbolic of much bigger changes that’ve happened since those days I dwelled in her basement but you really never know how are you perceived.
The only thing you can be sure of is that it's generally gonna be totally different than how you perceive yourself.
WTF are you talking about?
Alright, let me tie this all back together. I started the blog and got messages and it started changing the types of conversations I have with the most important people around me.
Take the same sister (hi again!) She sent me a message about the 28 v 33 v 38 post in which I mentioned feeling like a kid in adult clothes sometimes. She had thoughts on that. Awesome. It was great to hear her perspective on it, ‘cause she’s older and wiser and I’ve always have a lot of respect for her opinions. But left to our own natural in-person relationship, would that topic ever had come up?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Or to get a little meta, would I have said the things to her I’m talking about in this post right now?
Whatever the answer, and to sound like a PR rep for the brand Angus, I’m changing the conversation.
Oh, that’s what you’re talking about
So really, this was all a long-winded way of saying “hey, if you have problems being open and honest with those around you, maybe the first step is being honest with the entire world.”
But if you got that shit down then, I dunno, is your bed made?
After writing this, I stumbled upon the Medium account of Mike Posner. My hypothesis for this blog project is that a scary-level of truth and openness will bring benefits to one's life in non-obvious ways. Mr. Posner's handful of posts about his struggles after being a "one-hit wonder" is a damn fine example and one of the best things I've read in a while. Take a read and listen the original acoustic version of the song you've probably heard on
the radio Spotify, I Took A Pill In Ibiza.
In particular, read his post What I’ve Learned by Going from College Student to Class B Celebrity to Nobody to Kinda Sorta Getting Famous Again…