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 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 vast playground 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 (or even minimal value) to anyone apart from myself. I won't assume that my thoughts hold the same meaning within another's journey as they do within my own. However, as I've been reading others' thoughts, being inspired and encouraged by public ponderings such as that of my new friend, I'm realizing the sheer value of sharing.
My recent lack of public writing is introspectively considered 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. Who of us doesn't kid about becoming one of those people who leave the city, ditch their phones, and live on the secluded slope of some remote mountain?
The problem is, regardless of how desirable it sounds to go be "at one with nature" and say hasta nunca to the chaos which is modern society, deep down, solitude is not what I desire. And more importantly, it's not what I'm meant for. It's not what any of us are meant for.
A love of connection and a heart for others keeps me present and keeps me from taking such drastic measures as moving to some middle-of-nowhere 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!"
This is nothing new. Believe it or not I've had three blogs already (now four). At this rate, by the time I'm 40 the far-off archive-land 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 discontinued my last blog, that I had surmounted just another phase of transitioning into 21st century discernment. I considered blogging to be a trend, a stage that I had so maturely surmounted and had come out the other side wiser than all those egomaniacs stuck blasting away their personal integrity on shitty WordPress sites. But oh, how ego gets the best of us. And keeps us from engaging in meaningful exchange -- even if it is over the internet. Even if it is on a shitty WordPress site. Even if we're rambling on about things that are (seemingly) irrelevant or trite. And even if it means we're "succumbing to modern society" -- to the pervasiveness of technological exchange and the idea that engaging in 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 an emotive scholar of communications theory, 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 digital peephole. Nonetheless, it's ignorant to limit interactional investment to that small chance that you and I may cross paths in person and that genuine dialogue will transpire from it, while all the while there's this great potential to reach some audience (far-off or nearby) in a still palpable 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.