What is it about putting myself out there that is so compelling? Why do I feel the need to do it over and over again, despite a pretty solid track record of failure?
Even as a child, I dreamed of being a writer. I was fascinated with newspapers and books. I would devour them, imagining my name in the byline, my face on the jacket cover.
I think what lured me in was the idea that one day I could have enough confidence to write. Writing (or podcasting or designing or any form of art) is the ultimate statement of confidence. It’s me saying that I’m smart enough and knowledgable enough and sure enough of myself that I’m going to write this thing and put my name on it and put it out there for all the world to see.
That kind of confidence was mesmerizing to me as a kid. Because I didn’t have it. I’ve always been a bit quiet and shy, but not overly so. I did alright in first and second grade. The other kids liked me. I had a girlfriend or two. Those were the good old days. The golden years.
Then it all went to shit in third grade. I started gaining weight and the bullies came out of the woodwork. I don’t blame them now, because I was a 10-year-old kid with a set of extraordinarily large man-boobs, which is actually pretty funny if you think about it.
So, confidence. It was like a mythical holy grail of personhood that I couldn’t seem to attain. Sports were clearly not my thing, so I retreated to the world of the mind. I read, I wrote, I played music, I got into electronics and computers.
Looking back now, it was all clearly an effort to find that confidence. And I didn’t find it for a long time. But then, when I did find it, I lost it again after about 20 minutes.
And that’s been the last 20 years of my life. I make something. People like it. I get a little confident and then I start thinking, “They probably don’t *really* like it. They’re probably just saying that. I mean, come on, who would honestly like this shit? I don’t even like it.”
And suddenly I’m a 10-year-old again, with my arm crossed, trying to hide my manboobs from the sea of confident, successful, existentially-satisfied 10-year-olds all around me.
Because that’s all we really are if you think about it. We’re all 10-year-olds, hoping someone will like us so we don’t have to go onto the playground alone.
Maybe that’s why I put myself out there over and over again. Blogs, podcasts, articles, web designs. Maybe it’s all an effort to get someone to like me enough that I don’t have to ride the fuckin round-a-bout by myself. Someone to join me on the playground of life.
How’s that for a metaphor?