I recently received a challenge (thanks, Chris!) to write 500 words every day. The idea is that it’s to combat the level of media consumption in our lives – instead of merely consuming, we are also producers, thereby introducing fresh content to the stream of information.
I think I’d like to take it one step further, myself. It seems relevant to also create these 500 words before consuming media on a given day, so that they’re untainted, directly from my thoughts and experiences rather than largely reactionary.
So. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about how I use big words, and slightly formulaic sentence structure, and syntax perhaps too elevated for my content and audience. (Case in point.)
But there’s a part of me that loves writing like that. For one, I generally think it makes me sound smart – like the ideas in my head are impressive – and for another, it makes me feel like I am somehow “good” at expressing those big ideas by using proportionately technical devices.
On the other hand, it also feels pretentious. I am a goofy, fun-loving person who doesn’t always think things through, who is often dramatic. I just happen to also really love words. So I’m internally weighing one over the other: the woman I am in my writing uses vocabulary words and research paper tone like some people use toothbrushes and tennis shoes. The girl I am in real life doesn’t write very often, and when she does, isn’t sure if she feels more guilty for not writing or for spending her time on something that doesn’t require interaction OR a connection with the immediate sensory world.
I know I struggle to interact with people, although I wonder if I have tried to fix that for so long that I actually err in the other direction now. I know FOR SURE that I struggle to be engaged in the “immediate sensory world.” So much of my day exists purely in my head, as I try to convince myself to treat others kindly and give them the benefit of the doubt…or as I imagine happy future situations and how I might place myself in them…or as I consider how “in-the-clouds” I am and criticize myself for being a poor driver, a poor communicator, and a poor disciple as a result. Does anyone get to hear the process that I go through as I remind myself to be Christlike? Or hear my irrational aspirations and hare-brained plans? Or my sometimes debilitating criticism?
It depends. I’ve mostly grown accustomed to mentioning my anxiety, in the hopes that the gift of awareness will help others to give me the gift of reassurance. My closest friends (say Cindy, or Katelyn, or Allison) get to hear my hopes and schemes, and either encourage them or attempt to mitigate them. Depending on the day, I appreciate or resent either one.
But I don’t think I’m very good at conveying to anyone the process I go through to arrive at my actions and opinions. I know I have an air of competence that draws assignments to me, whether or not I actually have the resources or interest to do a good job at them. It makes me wonder – if more people knew how often I hesitate, how firmly I have to remind myself to be brave, or kind, how different would things be? How much better?