I have had this thought circling in my head for a while. I think the easiest way to explain it is to compare it to when I was doing my Drama A-levels and I had to write a short scene in the style of Brecht for homework. I loved getting into his style and using words they way he did and telling a story the way he did. I got a good mark for it, and it might even have been good for the standard of a 16 year-old, but it was not my piece of writing. Or that is how I felt. I had written it, but it did not belong to me. I think the difference is between being inspired by something or just plain copying them.
I explain it this way because the essence behind this idea is linked to a few things I have noticed about my blogging and my own personality. For one instance, I have noticed that I have started thinking and talking in a way similar to someone I listen to on a podcast. I will think of a joke, and then re-work it in my head to sound like it would have been said by this other person and not me. I do not do this all the time, but I am aware of a change in my inflection, the pitch of my voice, even the rhythm of my voice when I think about saying it like this other person and not me.
I think it is part admiration, part of my brain that used to like to act coming out and thinking how I would play that part on stage, partly that I have done an adaption of Poe stories recently and I am thinking about how I would write the guy’s part in a play, but mostly, I think it is something basic about human beings. Wanting to be popular. Wanting to be noticed. Wanting to admired.
Let’s have another for instance. How many people do you think want to be Beyonce? Not to be like her, but to actually be her? Or be Katy Perry, or Lady Gaga etc? I think there are more than a few. I am not saying there is anything wrong with Beyonce, Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, but I do find the idea of a human being wanting to be more like another human being than themselves fascinating. I wonder which is more prevalent; the desire to be like someone else because they are admired or the need not to be ourself because we do not like who we are?
So, back to me, it is my blog after all. I am hoping that I am not the only blogger who has thought ‘That blog is doing well, maybe if I do something similar, my blog will be as popular.’ I think I have resisted this urge, well, mostly anyway. I will do not deny the desire to do it is pretty strong at times and the desire is usually strongest when I am not feeling confident. So what is that desire?
Does it all go back to wanting to be like the cool kid in school? Is it that basic? Perhaps that is a root of the problem, however I think the tree grows a bit higher than that. I see the phrase ‘See what is trending on …(insert social media of choice) a lot. Someone does something, people imitate it, it gets old. Then the next big thing comes along and the cycle repeats. I admit fully I have wanted to be or joined trends. I am merely wondering why?
So, coming back to the intro. Using the thought that the Brecht scene did not really belong to me as it was a poor copy of his work, was a way to shield myself. I it wasn’t any good, then I could blame the style of writing, and not blame me. I think this is the scariest part about being a human sometimes. Being honest and being yourself is hard. If you are truly being yourself and things go wrong, who or what else is there to blame? It is an admission of ownership and responsibility. This scares me a lot.
I have received a few rejection letters so far, and I admit I have thought a few times ‘Aw. I thought my book was good, but maybe it isn’t. Perhaps if I change it to be more like…’ and then we have a problem. At some point, I have to accept that I will either make it in life or not. I can choose to try and make it or not as me, or as a copy of someone else. The fear of failure as me is strong, but I think the fear of knowing that I did not try my best to succeed as me is greater.
To mine own self be true? Jeez. Being me? A part of my brain just thought ‘Wait, you are going to leave me in charge? I am not sure that is such a good idea with my track record.’ Luckily it is only a part of my brain. Most of it, either voluntarily or because I am bullying them into it is thinking ‘Ok. Let’s make a new track record.’
Now Beecroft, say it again with confidence.
To my own self be true!
(Me: Was the ! enough to convey confidence? Other me: Hmm. Yes. Approved. Now move along).
Take care buddies,