Staying On Task

I really should write down my mission statement for my blog somewhere that’ll force me to read it every time I go to write a post. Every day since I started writing these, without fail, I start writing something I feel strongly about but that makes me incredibly sad or mad or frustrated. I get through the post, calm down or need to take a break to marshall my willpower to push through the sadness, and THEN remember I’m supposed to be enjoying myself. Sometimes I’ll get it right the second time, but most of the time I wind up doing it again at least one or two more times.

You’d think it would be easy to write about only the things you like or enjoy, things that make you happy, or just interesting things you want to explore. Turns out, it’s actually quite difficult. At least, you know, for me.

I’ve long struggled with feeling like I have nothing worth saying or that there’s nothing I can say that someone else couldn’t say better. I’ve even gone so far as to think that my unique worldview has no value to other people due to the weirdness of my personal situation. Turns out, if you were raised to measure your self-worth in terms of what you can provide to other people and you lack the ability to know exactly what value other people might see in your work because you’re not a prescient mind-reader, it can be difficult to convince yourself something is worth writing.

As you can clearly tell from my posts and will no doubt see further as I continue posting, I’ve learned to reframe the questions I ask myself when I sit down (or stand, since I have a standing desk at my day job and frequently write during breaks). I’ve learned to ask myself if I would find value in exploring an idea or writing something down. I love it when my stuff gets read or someone likes something I’ve shared, but as I’ve said before, this blog is for me. I’m writing things that I feel are valuable to me. Or maybe I’m just taking some time away from whatever mood I’m in and thinking/writing about something I enjoy. I was still tired after writing yesterday’s post, but I definitely wasn’t sad anymore.

That being said, since this is a public blog and I do get a nice hit of dopamine from every like, comment, and view of my blog, there’s value to me in making sure I’m creating something interesting or engaging or, at the very least, sensible outside of my head. Thus me feeling the need to explain myself to you right now even as I reaffirm my decision to myself (it’s called multitasking).

A lot of people will tell you that you don’t need to justify your existence. That you can just live your life without concern for what you provide for other poeple or the value you bring to the universe at large. While I think that’s probably true, it’s not really something I’m prepared to live in my day-to-day life and I suspect a lot of people feel similarly. Almost eighteen years of being taught that my only purpose was to validate the existence and choices of other people isn’t undone in a dozen, much less the actual five years I’ve had since I realized that was how I’d been raised and why I had such terrible self-esteem.

So, today, after telling myslef I’m doing a good job, giving myself a little shit for failing to stay on mission, and reflecting on some of the difficult truths of my life, I’ve got a message for me and you.

It’s okay if you feel like you need to justify your existence, sometimes. You know you don’t need to, but “knowing” and “feeling” are very different things and “feeling” usually gets priority. And that’s okay! You didn’t fail. The people around you get it and no one is going to think less of you for doing it. Try to avoid doing anything unhealthy or that will set you back when you do it, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you fall back into old habits. Just pick yourself up when you’re ready and try again next time. I promise no one will hold it against you.

Normally, I’d end with some kind of meta joke about people not feeling the same way about me wasting their time with this blog post, setting myself up as an exception to what I just wrote, but I’m gonna take my own advice for once and just believe that if you were the sort of person who didn’t like this kind of blog post, you’d have stopped following me long ago. Or never even started. It’s not like I’ve been hiding what I’m doing. I literally laid this idea out in the first post. Anyone whose time is wasted by this post chose to waste it themselves.

As much as I’d love to keep writing, knowing I might be wasting the time of someone who’d get mad at me about a self-referrential post like this one, I think I’m going to go do something fun now that I’ve shored up my sense of personal validation. I hope you do so as well!

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