In a recent conversation, one with a new friend, full of energizing reciprocity and curiosity, I was struck by the question, "Do you have any writing you could share with me?" I had mentioned earlier in the phone call that one of my many passions was writing, so the question shouldn't have caught me off guard. But in that convicting moment, my answer being a tip-toey no, I realized that I have unwittingly allowed cynicism to pervade my journey as a writer, and more, as a sharer. Let me explain.
Writing down my thoughts has always been a vital part of my life. It saw me through depression, through living alone, through transitions, and continues to be an outlet for me to gather and visualize all that runs rampant in the vastness of my mind. But in the last couple of years, the only mediums seeing my writing are (aside from the journalistic writing I do for my campus newspaper) my personal journal entries and my occasional, characteristically long Instagram captions. Which, maybe, is okay. I'm a huge proponent of journaling (and long Instagram captions). And maybe I needed this couple of years to strengthen my self-understanding through it. But it seems that I may have been mistaken in not sharing more.
This is, of course, not to say that what I have to write is of great value to anyone apart from myself. I won't assume that my thoughts hold the same meaningfulness to someone else as they do to me. However, as I've been reading others' thoughts, being inspired and encouraged by blogs such as that of my new friend, I'm realizing the sheer value of sharing.
I consider my recent lack of public writing to be a product of cynicism because I think with the onslaught of online blogs these days I've become jaded in the area of using the internet as a platform at all. Aside from Instagram (which, even with it being one of the only platforms of social media I use, still is very hard for me to use without fighting cynicism) I've minimized my own online presence almost to the point of resenting those who haven't done the same. You know those people who leave the city, ditch their phones, and live in the mountains? I joke about being one. Only I'm not really joking, I'm just a wannabe.
The problem is, regardless of how desirable it sounds to go be "at one with nature" and say hasta nunca to the chaos that is modern society, deep down solitude is not what I desire. And more importantly, it's not what I'm called to. None of us are.
My love of connection and my heart for others keeps me present, and keeps me from taking such drastic measures as moving to some mountain-side shack. But, slowly and subtly, the hermit concept has inched into my relationship with writing, leaving me with nothing but an anxious mind that incessantly screams, "You need to write this down!"
And I've been here before. Believe it or not I've had three blogs already (now four) and I'm only 21. At this rate, by the time I'm 40 the far-off land of archives of deleted online content will be filled to the brim with words I deemed "unworthy of being shared" six months after writing them.
I thought, when I got rid of my last blog, that I had surmounted just another phase of transitioning into adulthood. I considered blogging to be a trend, a stage that I so maturely got over and came out the other side wiser than those who were still stuck in. But oh, how pride gets the best of us. And keeps us from engaging in meaningful exchange, even if it is over the internet. Even if it means we're "succumbing" to modern society, to the prevalence of technology, and the idea that conversation is meaningful regardless of the medium.
I'd be lying if I said I'm convinced that the medium doesn't affect the meaning. As a communications scholar, I practically live by Marshall McLuhan's coined phrase, "The medium is the message." It certainly matters whether I'm sharing my thoughts with you over dinner, two feet away from you and exchanging body language as well as words versus sharing my thoughts with you via this online blog. Nonetheless, it's ignorant to limit interaction to that small chance that you and I may cross paths in person and that passionate dialogue will transpire from it, while there's this great potential to reach a wider audience in a more concrete way. I'm willing to try (again!) and I'm honored that you're with me in doing so.
Here's to the constancy of the world around us, the potential that awaits us even while we're hiding away. And here's to our embarking on an idea that may or may not lead to meaningful connections. I hope it does.