Of Fear and Neglect
I recently received an email from an old friend accusing me of not blogging enough because I’m afraid of criticism and that, in general, I just don’t take things seriously enough.
Unfortunately he’s right on both counts.
The main reason I don’t write is fear. But not – as my friend supposed – fear of criticism. Rather I have a fear of the Truth.
I find it nearly impossible to lie on paper. Not fiction writing, which is imaginary, but the same types of communication we each have all day every day with everyone – including ourselves. Er…huh?
Each day we arise and begin the lie telling process. Not big lies, but small ones to grease the wheels of a smoother day.
Maybe it starts with a look in the mirror to brush our hair as we neglect to notice the increasing amount of grey therein, or conveniently focusing only on our shoulders and above so as not to notice the increase in sag and spread around our middle.
It continues as we pretend not to mind the small, tasteless, and unhealthy sustenance we consume on our way out the door or that we grab on our commute. Sure, sure – we all love that whatever filled breakfast burrito/sandwich/pastry and our coffee/frappa/whatever. And we love eating it all the time – even if we know (on some suppressed level of awareness) that each bite/sip brings us closer to illness and death by way of clogged arteries and gastrointestinal failure.
How many small lies have we told? And we’re not even into the meat of the day – interpersonal interactions.
“How ya doin John?”
“Just great Matt!”
Um, yeah…I think you’re going to have to angle to get your nose through the door…ok, there you go. And it goes on throughout the day with greater and lesser “grease” to keep the day running smoothly.
These lies aren’t malicious, maybe they’re necessary. You don’t want to be seen as the “whiner” or as “rocking the boat”. Don’t mess with the status quo because who knows what the alternative is. Truth? The alternative really could be worse than the status quo.
So where was I going with all this? Back to the fact that I’m afraid to write, because I have an unfortunate habit of writing what my mis-firing neurons tell me is the truth. It may not be the truth as you see it, but that’s ok.
My problem is the truth is often not the way I WANT to see it, and once I’ve written it I have to confront the disparity between the fantasy world I want to believe in, and the real world my mind’s eye sees with unblinking starkness.
So, I simply neglect to write. I neglect to see. What’s that? The world’s fly is undone? Oh, I didn’t notice. The world didn’t bathe or brush it’s teeth? I didn’t notice that either.
Oh look! There’s a shiny new something or other I can obsess over so I don’t have to notice all the other stuff I don’t really want to.
Which brings me (in my usual rambling way) to the second point. I don’t take things seriously enough.
Can you blame me? How many people died needlessly in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somali, Darfur, Rwanda, or where-ever this week? How many children we’re abused, molested, abandoned, or worse? How many people are suffering from a horrible fatal illness? How many people are unemployed? How many people are losing their homes?
Ok, what? Too serious? How “serious” is enough?
So no. I don’t take many things seriously enough.
If I did, I might never stop crying.
Maybe I’ll start writing a little more frequently, maybe not. In any case I hope the world and I can keep up this tenuous truce of mutual neglect.