aimless love

But my heart is always propped up in a field on its tripod, ready for the next arrow. billy collins

Thursday, April 20, 2006

performance anxiety

I don't get it... I have always been fairly confessional and exhibitionistic. Or at least that's what I thought until now.

But I have been completely baffled by this blog thing! I know several friends who blog, and have been randomly reading the blogs of strangers (some of whom I've come "to know and love") for years! (here are some of my favorite blogs to lurk on...LeeAnn and Dean's unremarkable website, the sympathetic vibration, Shawn's photoblog, Supergirl saves the world Yes, I'm a lurker and I've loved it!

I've kept a journal for years, and always presumed to want it read by those who love me best. You see, I was a lonely kid, and I never really felt seen enough, and always feel on some level that I need to be seen more, as opposed to those folks who felt intruded upon and always feared having their journals found and read. I was that kid who secretly wished that someone would find my journal, read it, and finally see what an amazing person I was and would reassure me that I was loveable and great!

But suddenly here I am with the capability of sharing that innermost me with others, and I feel scared to death! Dare I even say frozen by the real possibility that others will see me - or rather, see the very incomplete picture of me that is emerging, slowly and not at all the way I expected, from this space. It feels like a bad joke - again, with that paradoxical notion of finally getting what you thought you wanted only to find out it is not at all what you thought you wanted!

I can't understand the me that is emerging here... It feels like one of those photography moments where the print is sitting in the solution and the image is slowly emerging, but instead of seeing the expression on the face you expected to see, you see a distorted, unattractive expression... Ironically though, I think this is part of the problem with the dissertation. I'm having trouble really finding my voice - recognizing me in what I am writing. I'm feeling a bit closer to it now, here, but do I really want this part of me hanging out in cyberspace? For anyone to see?

And who is that anyone anyway? I told my class yesterday (I teach counselors/art therapists at a University) that I had started a blog - and so they were the first folks to know - and what was up with that? Isn't that a weird way to blur the boundaries?? I certainly wouldn't want my clients reading about the "innermost" part of me - the part of me that I never knew how little of which I show at work. So what about students? I don't necessarily want them to know about the parts of me that are so insecure and fucked up that I feel ashamed of them... and yet isn't that the part of me that needed to/wanted to be seen and still loved!

weird... I am really surprised by this whole process. And there's still something about it that feels very illicit - part of it is that I really do imagine that my man would not "approve." Again, is that something I want for all of cyberspace to know? And is it that he doesn't approve or that I don't approve and he very conveniently embodies that disapproval for me? I'm definitely not sure I want to broadcast my marital struggles.

so what is this medium - confession? communication? catharsis? plea for reassurance and mirroring?

Last year I was invited to read my poetry at the University where I work. I'm a secret poet. Of course, all the folks who know me well know I write poetry, and for the most part I'm not shy about reading it to others - ask any of my students, I regularly read my poems at the open mics we have. But this public declaration of myself as a poet had me completely terrified - honestly, I was so completely undone by that reading that I have barely written a poem since. I was so anxious, so completely mortified, so ashamed even, of claiming the title of poet, of being found out for the fraud I felt myself to be, of being seen - that I could barely breathe for days. I can't remember the last time I was that afraid and ashamed. All I could think was, "What was I thinking? How could I have agreed to do this? What right do I have to stand and read this drivel?"

It's all related - I really am getting the sense that the place I'm stuck in my dissertation, and my overall stress and anxiety, and this fear/desire to be seen are all related.

I want to tell my friends about this space. I want to hold it, to join the community of strangers/friends who I can come into focus for... don't I?


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