building walls.

being vulnerable is no one’s favorite feeling. it’s kind of like that feeling when you are presenting a project in college and when you are done, you ask your classmates if they have any questions. you know that feeling? you are sitting there waiting for them to ask a random question and it is all quiet and awkward and the class is staring at you and you stare back and the moment seems like it will never pass. all you want is to not be in that situation ever again.

after i wrote my post about my desire to move back to chicago, that’s how i felt.

it opened up a vulnerable side of me that i don’t normally allow. i still cannot decide if writing that post was cathartic or more like pouring salt on a wound.

but it is how i feel and i had to own my thoughts. expressing them made them more real. i knew i couldn’t live my life with my thoughts in a cocoon.

being vulnerable isn’t my favorite. at all. building walls seems more natural. i don’t enjoy the thought of other people knowing what i think (which might seem to contradict the idea of being a writer in the first place).

i’ve lived my entire life trying to build a fortress around myself. but what i am learning is that being vulnerable leads to openness. allowing myself to simply be honest led to difficult conversations, but at least it was me being honest with myself and others. i also realized that i am really okay with just being me and no one else.

being vulnerable means allowing ourselves to admit that we don’t always have it figured out. and to be okay with that.

that’s the thing about life. we only get one, so why not just try to be more open with each other? why not just be ourselves? we live most of our lives afraid of what everyone else thinks, trying to follow a certain pattern we think we are expected to follow but didn’t draw ourselves.

that’s not how i want to live my life.

i’m not the “well that’s how it’s been so that’s how it is” type of guy.

tearing down the walls we’ve surrounded ourselves with means that we have to be ourselves all the time. that’s sorta scary isn’t it? i mean, that means we cannot hide behind someone else’s plan. it means we might clash with others and it means we have to be who we are meant to be. who we were designed to be.

we have to follow our own desires, our own interests and our own plans for our lives. we have to be willing to be different, even if people look at us funny. we have to be willing to say that is who we are, regardless of the response. that’s being vulnerable.

we have to own who we are. we shouldn’t let anyone else own us. who would we be then?

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transparency.

the thing about writing is that it requires a high level of transparency and honesty. especially when you are writing about yourself and your own thoughts. you cannot simply make stuff up and expect it to work. i mean you can always make stuff up, i just don’t know how well it works.

this level of transparency and honesty sometimes scares me as a writer. it actually keeps me from writing often because in reality, i’m more comfortable with being vague and keeping my distance. that doesn’t work as a writer. or i guess maybe that’s why i like to write. maybe these words are a shield. in blogs, the ease of typing and then hiding is appealing. you can write whatever it is that you wish you could say to someone’s face without actually having to look them in the eye. you can express yourself in ways that you wouldn’t otherwise. but i don’t want to do that. as a writer, i want to be the same person on print as i would be if we were meeting face to face.

there is a balance that is difficult to keep at times for me. anyone who knows me knows that i am full of opinions. i cannot dispute that. but that’s the trick, that’s where growing into the person i’m becoming can be difficult when it comes to actually writing about my opinions. sometimes i want to be outspoken and speak my mind and write whatever it is that comes to mind. sometimes writing my thoughts is the last thing i want to do because i know how much my thoughts can differ from others. believe it or not, i hate conflict and the last thing i want from writing is to create any. there are plenty of things i have opinions about that probably differ from my family’s point of view or my wife’s family’s point of view. i have different thoughts about politics than how i was raised, different thoughts on religion, the environment and gays and lesbians. i like the president, that probably isn’t a universal opinion in my family. my parents are MSU grads, i love U-M. it’s just how it is.

the one thing i’ve learned about becoming an adult is that it doesn’t magically happen. and it doesn’t really matter what others think. when i was a teenager i assumed that hitting thirty years of age meant that i would suddenly be more mature than the twenty nine year olds in the room. i figured i would just know how the world works and how to fix stuff. i assumed that there’d be a pay increase in my salary because i was at an established age, and yes, i assumed i’d be established because being thirty meant, immediate success and establishment.

i’m almost half way through this decade of thirties now. nothing happens automatically.

i’m still figuring out this stage. i make mistakes and take leaps and risks. i’m not afraid of being told no and i know full well that things and thoughts can change. ask my wife, life with me is nothing if not unexpected. i call it an adventure. what fun is life if you always know what is coming next?

i’ve changed a lot the past few years. i consider it maturing. that’s what life is. i’ve learned that we have to always be evolving and being prepared for what’s next. i don’t like writing about myself as much as you’d thing. i mean this is a blog where that’s sort of the point right? so it should be easier, it’s not. but i’m evolving. i’m admitting that in order to improve in life and as a writer, i have to show more transparency. life is better when we can really just be who we are supposed to be and not worry about what anyone thinks. right?

imperfection.

in the past, when i’ve tried to write a blog post, i would try to write the perfect flow of words and hope it all sounds so good together. i’d want it to be perfect or i just wouldn’t write anything at all.

so i decided to ignore my blog. for the entire summer, on purpose. i wanted to get away from the idea of perfection. i wanted to remove myself from the concept that every post needed to convey all the right thoughts and all the right emotions at all the right moments.

because here’s the thing…

i found that my pursuit of perfection also cramped my daily life as well.

you cannot create perfection.
it’s just not all that attainable. i’ve tried. and so have you. and neither of us have made it happen very often, have we?

i’ve tried to be the perfect son, the perfect husband, the perfect employee. i’ve tried to make the perfect decisions that make everyone around me happy.

don’t you feel the pressure to be everything you think everyone is expecting you to be? do and say all the right things? if you say no… i guess that’s nice but i can’t say i believe you.

but again, trying to be perfect is unattainable. it’ll never happen. and all those people we are concerned about making happy? they already have their own thoughts and worries and concerns to deal with. besides, they already know we aren’t perfect anyway.

it’s not really a conscious thing, i don’t sit up at night asking myself what the formula for perfection is. but, it’s the concept of being afraid to let people down, upsetting the normal. doing what is expected of me. it’s a tightrope isn’t it?

today i’m going to start writing again. i’m going to start writing the way i want to without the self-afflicting pressure applied. also, i’m going to live daily without the faulty concept that perfection is the goal. there’s no reason for that nonsense anyway.