Our spirits are bigger than the argument
I rarely used to write as candidly as I’ve done on certain recent occasions. Breaking the rules of what I’ve felt would be a better thing to write. A more worthy thing. Not sure how long it will last. I’ve felt the impulse waning, and the writing shifts into other topics. But that’s partly a diversion from my tolerance level for my own stories, which aren’t always so comfortable. But – I’m a little bit of the mind that one’s own story is the most (perhaps the only) quasi-honest thing that they’ll ever have to offer. Writing involves persona, but a persona does have roots.
When venturing into the darker places, I’ve thought “am I making myself look bad?” Aside from the heart-to-heart with close friends, I would try to be more enjoyable than what is real, in real life. Try to avoid subjecting people to actual reality. It’s the polite thing to do, right? But this is a blog. On the internet people have a choice to tune you in or turn you off, or just turn your page to a better day. A more productive, enlightened, insightful, less self-indulgent, more palatable day.
I’m inclined to get personal because I’ve wanted to see more of it around and the brand of “truth” that it offers. And because people like to say things in life aren’t personal, even though sometimes they damn well are. And because some like to say that you shouldn’t write about the personal, and especially that you shouldn’t blog about the personal. Why not? I do it because I don’t want to be a vegetable. Because I am not an emotional zombie. Because nobody is.
Nobody is any of these things, and yet with current trends of cancel culture, conspiracy violence, and a revolving door of media-corrupted and debased relationships underscored by apps treating people as a pizza to be ordered, a mounting loss of respect for basic humanity is upon us. To write the personal is, in a way, to stand for humanity.
It seems tragic to have to remind ourselves that humanity itself is intrinsically worth something. And that it deserves respect on this basis alone. And that humanity is why we are doing what we are doing — everything we do. Because of love. Because of need. Humanity is everything to us in fact — even when we forget this. And we were not put on this earth merely to exist as an extension of somebody else’s agenda, or for whatever our value is or isn’t to them.
So how can the personal be so offensive? Does it seem too… feminine maybe? Too low? Too self-important, unless you’re a celebrity whose stories are automatically more valid than yours because they are rich and famous and you aren’t? And so everyone wants to hear their story, but only for the tabloids to take them down later also? For their humanity. Or is the personal just too real, as if we are not even grown up enough to handle that? What exactly do we need to reject about it? Don’t write about yourself, we’re told. Don’t talk about yourself. Why not?
We have stories. Why not tell them? What exactly is so offensive about a first-person narrative now? Is it really that much more “selfish” than anything else? Or is it just that it doesn’t sell as well as a how-to? Is it less practical and functional? Is it less… “good business”? Maybe even less…. bullshit? Does everything have to be monetized to have any kind of value? Does human experience have no value? Are our most unusual personal narratives “crazy”? Obviously that’s all total nonsense. Yes I said obviously. Let’s stop playing dumb because we can do better than this.
To understand humanity one has to get personal. To piece together a complete picture of history, even, we study people’s letters and diaries. Women’s history would hardly even exist without such accounts. Without the surviving poetry of World War I and II veterans, that entire front-line perspective of the very real horrors and consequence and the human cost of those wars would be missing. What about works like Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass? We’d just never know. All the history we’d have then is “big history.” Only life’s biggest winners — the most powerful and influential. And grossly incomplete. The personal does have its place — even in the most important research.
Everyone has their take on what’s going on in the world. Everyone has their take on what’s going on with another person, with groups. To write the personal is almost more responsible, because one presumes only to know oneself. Of course we do not really know others, much as we like to think so. We can only theorize. Yet if you write yourself and pretend that the writing is of others — of characters or even real players — it would seem more respectable to forge that little white lie.
Shouldn’t we pretend to be “above it all” to help our career and reputation? I struggle with my own cowardice too. To write the personal is to actually share. To allow oneself to be seen, beyond hiding behind signifiers that would elevate our status. But to write the personal is also to subject oneself to something as fraught and complex as the ideology of our own existence. And as fraught and complex as the admission of ourselves as sensory and emotional beings. Sensitive beings. Souls, even. In doing this, our stories propel us all into bridging the gaps of our differences. Enabling myths to be dispelled and theories to evolve and opinions to expand. Is this why the personal can seem so offensive in theory? Is it too demanding to step into another person’s experience, or even to dive more deeply into our own? The personal can be as antagonistic to core beliefs, as much as it can be seductive for its intimacy. Does its seductive quality make it too easy?
In the darker times I’ve had the thought, would I be writing like this if I were happier? Perhaps no. But I would still be writing something if I were happier. So do I just pretend this current reality of my humanity doesn’t exist? What good will that do? Convince or encourage more people to sit alone on the couch by themselves crying in their own worst moments, thinking no one understands and fearing what will happen if anyone discovers their grotesque vulnerability? That’s no great service either. Will I ever be happy again? I assume so or can only hope. For now, I will at least do something with whatever is going on in the moment. What could I give, as an artist, more than these diverse momentary truths of my existence?
To worry so much about saving face is to never be free. And, I would argue, to worry so much about saving face is to limit what you have to give. To worry too much about saving face — maybe that’s the true self-serving disease.
To understand, is an opportunity. To not understand is a choice.
Why? Why? Because I see all that shit and I just think, no no no, show me you. I want to see you, I want to see your actual life, I want to see how you see the world, I want to hear what’s in your head, I want to know you… I don’t want all this STUFF. Do we think it’s that entertaining? All of you diluted and filtered. All of you through links, images, stories, videos, even memes, even jokes, as if you yourself are a channel of electronic transmissions, a free mass media channel, why? you are dangerous. you are an adventure. you are a problem – is that the problem? is the beauty in you too much trouble, the complexity too distasteful. interiors of each other reduced to a business plan. like as if this messy exhausting disaster is so much more righteous. is that all there is to your perspective, who the fuck are you, i want to know you, i want to feel you, you are in the head, you are lost in the collection of crap, a range of crap so unlimited it will always take precedent, will always be more than you, is this valuable? subtlety and mystery give way to vulgarity. you are a medium for everything that’s a medium, do you exist? what do you exist for? look at us the advertisers. look at us pure entertainment. do you know why the world gets away with everything you don’t want? everything you hate? everything you have an opinion about? we do not see you. we do not know you. we do not feel anything much
the stuff keeps us cold. we do not need you this way. we like you, but we do not need you. we like you, but we do not love you
do something. fucking do something
the garbage is telling you that you don’t matter. that’s how garbage propagates more garbage. that’s how nobody knows you. that’s how to play it, fake. and make it, the rise of the lie so paramount and empty. the world doesn’t need it. the world doesn’t need more fake. the world doesn’t even really need your fucking opinions about everyone else’s opinions. the world doesn’t need you to share what it already has. the shit has already been shared over and over. it’s something else the world needs from you. it’s something else so figure it out. nobody will remember your opinions about opinions. nobody will remember it. what do you think people fucking remember? the world is begging you for the only original thing you have. we want to see you
we want to know you
we do not know ourselves either
we need to see you
we need to see ourselves. find us
or we hate and we cancel
that’s what it says. we are going to die one day. what did we do with ourselves? were we garbage? do you know what the fuck i am talking about? it is not your job. it is not your shows. it is not your porn. it is not your humor. it is not your opinions. it is not your links
who the fuck exists? who is a person today? what exactly did you create? what did you fucking create. what did you fucking create. what did you fucking create?
i am not just talking about art
We don’t really know you but if we did we would love it
i can’t find you
i want to know you
We were uncluttered yet impure,
now we are too pure
or we like to think so
Now we are cluttered
we are clutter
but we don’t think so and we
it is okay
this coldness will not last
forever, it is so young