Of Lovable Fuckups and Monkeys

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I had no money for a full fridge much less a Red camera or a trip on the Orient Express.                                                                                                                                  

“You should blog,” they said.
“Hmm.” I answered.
“You’re a thinker. Write for thinkers.”
“Thinkers won’t read a personal blog. They’ll find it frivolous.”
Way to judge my reader and my material before I even begin.
“What do you consider frivolous?”
“A monkey navigating life.”
“You?”
“No. But they won’t know that.”
“Fear of failure.”
Duh.

A few weeks later…

I asked a former boyfriend, who is a musician and a great friend, if he’d written any new songs recently. He who had mainly worked on film scores of late, made a grimace and with a haughty voice he sometimes affects, answered, “God no, song lyrics are subjective, self-indulgent. I’ve evolved out of teenage angst. Art needs to contribute to the betterment of the world.”

I’m entirely paraphrasing, but whatever he was saying, those are the statements I heard. He also once accused me of being a ‘details’ person instead of a ‘big picture’ person like he considered himself, which to me meant I was a perfectionist and he was sloppy.

So I kept back the words about to leave my mouth. Instead I thought, okay, ex-boyfriend, you’re being full-on pompous. No way was I going to tell him I planned to start a blog, since my idea of blogging was the quintessence of masturbatory self-indulgence.

In fact this encounter set me back twelve months from attempting the blog, not because I was easily influenced by someone else’s opinion, but because the opinion in question touched on concerns I already felt — did I really want to indulge my predilection towards self-indulgence?

Note that I doubled up on ‘indulge’ not because my writing sucks, but to demonstrate the eternal-mirror nature of self-reflective writing. Yep.

Twelve months later…

The idea of blogging had sprung up in one conversation after another with various individuals. I was going through a period of transition, dissatisfaction and uncertainty about the direction of my life (let’s be honest, I still am), and I specifically sought advice from overachieving persons whom I both respect and do not understand at all. I thought perhaps they could make me understand, and in doing so, maybe I could do what they do: Achieve. Big. And in every instance, each of those baffling overachievers suggested I blog.

I was a frustrated actress trapped in a soul-killing survival job and I wanted out. I told those from whom I sought advice: I want to work for myself. I want my own at-home business around which I could audition freely. And I want to write. Prose. Poetry. A feature film.

I had written and directed a handful of no-budget shorts on little better than home-movie equipment, yet all of my small films had won online contests and monetary awards. Based on such response and people around me behaving like I had promise in filmmaking, the future seemed well-defined.

Still, I kept myself stuck in a day job where I made my own schedule at whim, but consequently earned below the poverty level. So while I had all the time on earth for a full life pursuing study, passions, and worldwide travel, I had no money for a full fridge, much less a Red camera or a trip on the Orient Express.

Today…

I’d likely be accused of being a sensitive artsy type before a born go-getter, which really means life’s lemons are little pummeling fists capable of knocking me to the ground.

When I was eventually fired from that survival job, went through a crushing breakup, and became technically homeless for three months, self-induced catatonia wasn’t out of the question. But somehow, within six months, I booked the only audition I’d been on in a year and half for a national commercial, won a cash prize for first place in the only poetry contest I’d ever entered, and landed the lead in a feature film for which I was flown to Sri Lanka.

Flukes? Couldn’t say. But rummaging through hows and whys can’t hurt.

I’m a tangle of a person who has led a life of both bewildering adventure and mind-numbing idleness. I’ve enjoyed a pittance of achievement, and a heap of failure. But I remain unashamed because I’ve never failed to be exactly my own self.

So although I can’t lay claim to material about inspirational 180°s, I have a story or two about an overachiever trapped in a fuckup’s body. And you can decide for yourself if me blogging is — someone else’s — good or bad idea. (continue)


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26 comments

  1. “trapped in a soul-killing survival job”

    “I’d likely be accused of being a sensitive artsy type before a born go-getter, which really means life’s lemons are little pummeling fists capable of knocking me to the ground.”

    “I’m a tangle of a person who has led a life of both bewildering adventure and mind-numbing idleness. I’ve enjoyed a pittance of achievement, and a heap of failure. But I remain unashamed because I’ve never failed to be exactly my own self.”

    You express yourself so eloquently, and reading your posts is like looking in the mirror.

    1. Big smile. (I really have to find a way to convey that without saying “big smile” or resorting to an emoticon.)

  2. Whatever body you’re trapped in, fuckup or not, you’re pretty much my soul mate in terms of what was written above. ‘Relieved’ is one way of describing how I feel, that you started this blog. Sounds like you needed it, and to be honest, so does the world. X

    1. I’m speechless, soulmate.

  3. Geisha,

    So I’m not alone! Everything you’ve said- the overachieving mind in a brain that refuses to catch up, the crushing break-up, the blog suggestions…. The others are right- you could have been narrating my story (So that is the movie-making talent you possess! Narrating tales that everyone could relate to?)

    But I don’t know exactly what you mean by a ‘fucked up’ body- you’re gorgeous!

    Looking forward to more posts!

    Twist

    1. Ha! Not a “fucked-up” body, but a “fuckup’s” body, as in someone who fucks up, instead of achieving. Therefore: an overachiever in a fuckup’s body.

      Glad to see you here, Twist, welcome. And thank you!

  4. Keep pushing through. The couple of things I saw are obviously from someone very talented so don’t stop.

    1. Thanks for the support, it means a lot.

  5. Such descriptive prose. You use words extraordinarily well! Fan-tas-tic, darlin’.

    1. Thank you, Pat. That means a lot. Thrilled to see you here.

  6. I love this. I had the same sorts of thoughts about starting a blog. I’m so glad you did though.

    1. Me too. It has turned out to be one of the better decisions I’ve made. I bet you feel the same about yours.

  7. Love this. People kept telling me to write but I insisted I don’t write. People told me I had great thoughts but I told myself they are just being nice. People told me to blog I heard they wanted me to stop posting my feelings on facebook. Regardless of what everyone else said I decided why the hell not… I found a blog and decided to get comfortable in the space and I am happy I did. I am happy YOU did.

    1. I’m happy for all of us. So glad to have you here.

  8. There are lots of bloggers whose writing I enjoy, who are clearly witty and kind and thoughtful.

    But you always manage to make me feel simultaneously that we are soul mates and that you exist in another sphere which I can only observe with awe from a distance. It’s a beautiful thing. I for one am extremely glad you’re here – I love having that sensation in my days.

    1. I saw this quote by Kurt Vonnegut today, and it applies to all of us who write (I refuse to make a distinction between writing and blogging):

      “The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”

  9. “I’m a tangle of a person who has led a life of both bewildering adventure and mind-numbing idleness. I’ve enjoyed a pittance of achievement, and a heap of failure. But I remain unashamed because I’ve never failed to be exactly my own self.”

    Love. This.

    I feel like you’re talking about me here. A me that’s not quite as cool as you, but still……

    1. I beg to differ – you’re cooler than cool.

  10. I love the same piece Beth pointed out as well as your reference to being an “overachiever trapped in a fuckup’s body”. I’m only just getting to know you, but I’m glad you’re here!

    1. Thanks Deanna… No phrase applies to me more than that one.

  11. Ok, WHAT’S with all us talented, artsy, creative, introspective types being stuck in “soul-killing survival jobs”?? Are you taking applications? Because I’d like to move in… 🙂

    1. At this point I’ve been unemployed for quite some time, and let me tell you, I’m not complaining! I finally have time to do my own projects…

  12. As always, your elegance and eloquence astounds! Such a lovely piece 🙂

    1. This was my very first post — I’m so glad you read it. I’ve missed you around here!

      1. I’ve missed reading your wit and wisdom 🙂 It’s an addiction worth revisiting 🙂

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