a lot of time over-thinking about writing these days. But this time, instead of dissecting that very fact and scaring myself about what it may mean, I put the negative-self-talk to bed.
Having something of an introspective nature, I tend to over-think a lot of things. There’s nothing that we can’t mentally dissect. It’s what we do sometimes; we’re humans. But in my physical world, those things are limited. There are things I can’t get away with. There are things that are possible to do that aren’t possible to undo. There are things that don’t fit into neat little categories.
Because that’s what I do on a smaller scale, and I think it’s what a lot of other people do too – compartmentalisation, isn’t it? This goes here and that goes there, but only in relation to that. And only with the others that are similar. And only when that’s not there. But it always is because we make sure. This means this but only in relation to that, and only if someone sees that, et cetera. We make systems and rules and they work. Otherwise they wouldn’t have been thought of and then realised. It’s good for us.
But then there’s the sadder part – the mental pathways we can tread after they have served their purpose; the compartments that could do with re-labeling (or no labels at all, oh, what a free spirit). Something that used to make one happy no longer does, but one’s gonna do it because it once did and that’s all one has now. Or maybe going through the motions of a social interaction because guilt is on the other side of another rejected invite and you’re sure this person is significant in your life although sometimes you forget how. Or taking a good kind of stress that motivates and transforming it into something vague by assigning falsely significant and convoluted reasons as to why something bad is about to happen. And if you strip away the weird emotional shit, the fact is that someone’s standing there feeling some kind of healthy apprehension, but then beating themselves up about it, and they could be unable to move forward.
I read a Jeffrey Kahn book named Angst: Origins of Anxiety and Depression last year and I still think about it a lot. I think about the opinions and facts presented (because, let’s face it, it’s unrelentingly relevant) but I also keep thinking about the way it was written. He explained a lot of things and simplified certain concepts, but not in a way that insulted my own research abilities. He presented anecdotes and facts in parallel, in a way that wasn’t tangling things up. But most importantly, he didn’t claim any ideas, just his re-interpretation of them.
That’s an area I’ve struggled in. Not knowing where my ideas have ended and where someone else’s concept begins.
Someone else’s concept? My ideas? Uh… says who? Me. And am I the smartest person who ever lived? No. So how can I assume that my rules and and definitions I’ve made for myself are complete and absolute? Well, I guess I can’t. And then there’s this looming suspicion I’ve had since childhood – that everything that will ever exist is currently existing and always has. Strangely, this no longer makes me sad. Confused, definitely. But it’s nothing to shit myself up over. Not anymore, anyway. Because I’ve chosen to look at it like this, at least for today:
None of my ideas are original. None of them. They are opinions shared based on things I believe are significant. And nobody can understand them like you do. Explaining that to someone else may be another thing entirely, but already your mind has deciphered something in your own style.
Isn’t that great? It can mean that ‘every communication is an act of translation’ (If This Be Treason, by Gregory Rabassa) but it can also mean that you’re no longer dragging yourself backwards on the leash of perceived originality. I’ll be damned if that’s not a relief. And I’ll be damned if I’m the first to have thought this, but I like my chances.