Our culture obsesses overdetermination, grit, tenacity, victory. We are told over and over that hard work pays off, and that quitting is inexcusable. What we don’t hear is that accomplishment isn’t synonymous with happiness and that moving on can be an act of self-preservation.
The first “job” I dreamed of when I was young was a prima ballerina. I didn’t know anything about ballet, but my mother signed me up for dance classes, and I instantly fell in love with my ballet teacher. She was long and graceful—did I say long, I meant, looooonnnggg—and that’s what I wanted to be. Plus, I was a naturally quiet, introverted person, and dance was this revelation. I didn’t have to speak a word to anyone. Well, there’s value in imagination, no? It took no time for me to reconcile the size of my talent and the size of my body and how picking a new job was the smart decision.
I figure I went through a list of 400 different “jobs” that I wanted when I grew up. And then, when I grew up, I went through a list of another 400 (easily). The commonality in every job I’ve held is writing. It infiltrated every role I held in marketing and advertising. It held the top billing when I was a copywriter and a copy editor. As a communications director, writing markedly consumed my day-to-day. Even as an HOA manager, I wrote a great deal. Have you ever lived in a homeowner’s association? In that case, you’ve more than likely received a violation letter for leaving your trash out, or perhaps for your barking dog.
Fact: I’m not a gifted conversationalist. I’m overly shy and unsure, and I tend to blurt out groan-inducing sentences that make a mockery of the subject I’m speaking on. But when I sit down to write … and earn my pay … I can sound smart. I think it’s because I think differently when I’m writing. I have time for reverie and rumination. I can feel sections of my brain light up when I write but barely flicker when I talk. I bet if I spoke to you about all this right now, different words and phrases would be coming out, and I’d be boring the pants off you.
It’s a safe bet I’ll always write. I’ll revel in it as much as grind over it. (If we ever text, you’ll notice full and complete, grammatically correct sentences that may even carry a story arc. What U will nvr C is this.)
Alas, these days, the only conversations I’m having and the only writing I’m doing is swirling around Covid-related sentiment and the 2020 election. In conversation, as well as in my writing, I know I sound like a certifiable lunatic. I’ve lost politeness. I’ve strayed from being reserved. I don’t go in for small talk. And I chatter on these two topics, pantomiming wildly while making horrible faces.
Again, accomplishment isn’t synonymous with happiness, and moving on can be an act of self-preservation. I had the intention to tell you that after the election, I would be getting back to writing light-heartedly and on every other subject under the sun. But, 500+ words later, I can’t bring myself to say it, much less commit to it. The current narrative has really opened my eyes, and there’s no turning back.
I’m worried about humanity.
I’m concerned about how technology is designed, controlled, and used.
I’m frightened of the power of social media.
I’m worried about schools and what they’re teaching the next generation – my granddaughter’s generation.
I’m saddened over the loss of trustworthy journalism.
Wildly, I believe one similar story connects each of these. That story is the social dilemma.
(See how I played the name of my blog. That right there is what I call perfect ninja-like embroidery!)
What I’m saying is, I can’t let go of any of this. I can’t talk about it because I have a low degree of conversation skills, but I can write about it. And “that” just might be my self-preservation in disguise. So I hope you like my lunatic. I’m going to be on this topic for a while. In fact, I’ve already registered (FREE) to sit in on a conversation: The Ethics of Technology and Its Impact on Public Health.