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Another Platform, Another Journey

Making the words happen again

A very strange thing happened on the way to Medium today: I got stuck trying to be someone I’m not.

Maybe this happens to you. Maybe it has already. Maybe it will happen to you tomorrow. Sounds like it’s something we should talk about then.

The Creative Urge To Be Something For Everyone

So yesterday I sat down, amid all the other domestic things I had to do (trash and laundry aren’t going to take care of themselves), eager to psych myself up for whatever this is. It’s been years since I sat down and really wrote a blog post, and even longer still since I sat down and wrote something that really spoke to me as much as I thought it might speak to somebody else.

See, my problem is that I want everyone to like me. Maybe that’s because I didn’t get enough hugs as a child, maybe it’s because in seventh grade that girl Allison didn’t want to be my pretend wife for a history class, maybe it’s because I feel like what I do is hard to explain in a way that makes it seem valuable. I just want everyone to be my friend, and I want to help everybody create whatever they want to so they can live the life they’ve always wanted.

I also don’t do small wants apparently.

Now I know logically, not everyone’s going to like me. And I know, logically, that not everyone is ever going to need a writing coach or a book editor or a creative consultant. There’s way too many people and they’re all doing way too many different things that we’re just never going to intersect. Yeah, I totally understand that every time someone says it to me.

It doesn’t mean I still don’t want to help every author, every daydreamer, every YouTuber, every podcaster, and every person selling something to someone else.

It is Sisyphean. It is overly romantic and naive. It is utopic.

That doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing.

But it turns bad like that old stuff in the back of your fridge, it can go off without you realizing it until it’s too late.

Like old milk and impossible promises

Maybe social media is to blame for training people to pursue and even prioritize trying to give other people what they most want. Either by convincing them (like salescopy) or by alerting them to the absence of something that just so happens to by solved by the hashtag-content they’re consuming), people are driven over and over to produce and seek out material that seems to not only do one thing well, but one thing perfectly and a thousand other things well.

This is why every YouTuber has a Discord. And why everyone has a variety of classes and paid content. And why we all get told a thousand times over to diversify your income streams.

We don’t stop to really ask why any one stream isn’t enough so that you have to diversify in the first place (hint: it rhymes with shmapitalism), and we don’t really stop to think about what you’re asking someone like a first-time author to commit to with all these streams, but that’s the pressure. That’s the maze we all have to navigate, and it can so often feel like instead of reaching the maze’s end, all we’ve done is travel farther from where we started.

What this has meant for me, especially in the last 5 years, is wandering in an amnesiac fog, wondering what exactly I had been doing, wondering if I can do it again, wondering what was it about that stuff that worked, and why can’t I just remember it clearly enough to consistently reproduce it.

If you ever find yourself wandering around trying to figure out what to do and what you did, let me give you one piece of advice: don’t try and be what you want everyone always wants, you’ll never end up happy.

I spent too long caroming off any interaction or potential interaction holding myself back (more on that tomorrow) or trying to mold myself to someone else’s expectations or what I thought they wanted.

This isn’t about fabricating some backstory or creating a dossier like a thriller movie, it’s more about turning up or down the particular parts of my personality or expression of that personality to do what I thought suited the person I was speaking to or interacting with.

I was me, but I wasn’t me.

And I’d tell myself it was okay, because I wasn’t doing it too long, just a few minutes here and a few minutes there. Then a few more minutes here and then some more over there. Every day. For 15+ hours a day, depending on the workday.

It fast became a slippery slope where I lost myself and only ended up farther away from anything resembling what I wanted to be or do.

When you’re lost in a maze, you can always stop and try again

If there’s been one constant for me in all these periods of wandering, it’s that I often find I need to stop and reset things. I did it when I got sober. I did it again when I transitioned to private coaching. I did it again when I started streaming. I did it when I started the podcast. And I’m doing it now when I’m back to blogging (is this blogging?).

I like that I can always stop and reset. I might not know where the maze ends, but I know how to get through it. So if you’re here, and you want to go through this maze with me, here we go.

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