Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Me and Greta Gerwig

I'm trying to concentrate on writing this blog, but you know what?  My baby is giggling uncontrollably in my husband's arms.  My son is crying that he's hungry.  Again.  My daughter is butt naked and bouncing.  It's WAY past bedtime.

It's like a zoo.  But it never closes.  And the admission is insanely expensive.  And the animals smell REALLY bad.   And the zookeeper sleeps in my bed.

Anyway.  I want to be totally honest with you.  When the readership is low, (the blog keeps track of how many people view the blog), and the comments are infrequent, I start seriously doubting myself.  Worse yet, I doubt my worth.

It's sort of like when I try to impress a group of strangers.  I want to seem cool.  Or mysterious.  Or above it all.  Or totally down to earth.  Or unique.  Or really nice.  It kind of depends on my mood.  But in the end, all of the effort that goes into impressing strangers adds what to my life?  Diddly squat.  That's what.  (I actually just googled 'diddly squat.'  I had no clue how to spell it.)

So I'm asking myself, in front of the few of you who are reading this, why I base so much of my value on numbers on a page.  1 comment.  30 page views.  I wish being proud of my writing was enough for me.  I wish I could say that I never even check.  But that would be such a lie.

I read an interview with Greta Gerwig where she said that when she was younger and doing her homework in front of the picture window, she used to imagine people were watching her and noting how studious she was.

Oh My G-d!  That was ME!  I always imagined that people were ALWAYS observing me.  Like ALL the time.  I thought that when I sang quietly to myself, people were secretly listening in, with some kind of crazy special trinket that allowed them to hear something sung at a whisper.  And they were about to tell me that they NEEDED me and my AMAZING voice for their musical movie they were filming.  I thought when I spun on the handle bars on our swingset in the yard, that someone was watching and waiting for the moment to tell my parents that they absolutely needed me to join their circus, because I was OBVIOUSLY the most talented trapeze artist EVER!  Plus, they had just the sequined outfit for me.

This obsession of me imagining myself constantly observed had some weird drawbacks.  For instance, when I was in middle school, I used to worry that every time I went to the bathroom, there was a boy from my school, hiding in the linen closet and laughing at the fart noises.  (This was when I was AT HOME!!!)

When I was in high school it manifested itself as me being RIDICULOUSLY over self conscious.  Every time I did some little movement, like light a cigarette, buckle my seat belt, slip on my shoe, I thought people were watching and judging me based on my performance of these mundane tasks.

One of the biggest drawbacks to this way of life is that you are constantly disappointed that people don't care about you as much as you always assumed.  (In fact, they are probably playing their roles, hoping you're noticing them!)  Another drawback is that I am very stuck in my head.  Lest I be caught off guard, I am constantly running every moment in my head, like a constant replay, and analyzing it.  It can make me sharp and witty at times.  But mostly it just takes me out of the moment.

So when my son is giggling in my husbands arms, instead of just smiling from joy, I think about the fact that it is good that he laughing.  'It is good that he is laughing with his father.  It is bonding.  It will help him be a joyful person later on.  Am I enjoying this moment enough?'  Yeah, it becomes insanely annoying.  And really intimate moments are made... Awkward.  Am I breathing too heavily?  Are my eyes rolling back in ecstasy or do I look like I'm having a seizure?

It doesn't help that I have spent most of my life either with my father or my husband, both of whom are perfectionists and have this way of telling you how you could be something better.  They're usually right.  But it reenforces the idea that people are watching me and judging me.

And so tonight I said to my husband, "I don't think I should write the blog tonight.  I don't think I've been very interesting lately.  People aren't reading it so much."

But saying it out loud made me feel... stupid.  Is the only reason I write this blog to get recognition?  And encouragement?

Well, somedays, yes.  It feels really good.

And the problem is I read the line above and think, 'I will never be cool.  I will be forever a needy, insecure, small person who needs to be lifted by others.'

But again, I listen to the words of judgement.  And what am I hearing?  That I do enjoy attention.  And that has been a part of me since I can remember.  I want to stop pretending to be anyone else.  I mean, Greta said it, and there was no apology to follow.  This is who I am.

Well, I guess this is who I am.  So instead of pretending otherwise, I am making the decision to write the blog tonight.  It is my way of recognizing the need to be seen, and saying to this part of me, 'It's okay to want that.  And it's okay when you don't get it.  But don't stop doing what you love, based on the response.  Sing whether or not anyone hears.  Sing whether or not anyone likes your voice.  Sing because you love to sing.  Write because you love to write.

As a wise old woman once said, "What other people think of you is none of your business."

But what I think of me makes ALL the difference in the world!  And I can choose to love the part of me that seeks attention and recognition.  And I can console me when it doesn't come.  And I can feel embarrassed that everyone is reading this.  And I can post it anyway.

And finally, I'm going to leave you with this awesome piece that I cut and pasted from a facebook message my brother in law sent me.  By the way, he's awesome.

Once Rebbe Nachman was talking about the greatness and importance of simcha on Shabbat. He saw Rebbe Nosson looking kind of downtrodden and asked him what's going on. Rebbe Nosson kind of shrugged and said, "i feel Frum on Shabbat, but not this kind of simcha." Rebbe Nachman laughed and said, "great, so now you have another reason to not be happy on Shabbat - because you're not happy on Shabbat." It's good to get over ourselves, lighten up sometimes and not be too serious.

So take it from Rebbe Nachman and Brother Ami.  Lighten up, man!

  1. Hamburgers on the grill
  2. Harvesting garlic
  3. The sky today.  Amazing
  4. Noticing absolutely amazing little drops of water and how beautiful they are in the garden
  5. Stopping in the town diamond to hear a brass band concert by seniors on the way home from soccer.  So fun!
  6. Our new turkeys
  7. Getting a much needed shower tonight!  
  8. Being told I look great today.  (In the, you've been working outside all summer and look really healthy, way)  Felt good.
  9. Finding all different way to be a Spiritual Warrior, like writing this blog
  10. G-d!  (Because the list looks so much better with ten things, rather than nine.)  And because G-d rocks. 

And P.S. This is actually not a coyly written piece trying to get more comments or readers.  I just wanted to keep it real and share what I'm thinking about.   

1 comment:

  1. So I probably should not comment so you can write lishma. But I am your mom so I really don't count anyway as far as your readers go. But I have to tell you how much I love these glimpses into your head and your life. Did you know that as a child I was always waiting to be discovered by a Broadway producer or director? And these last few years have been a major adjustment for me, not to live a public life. My ego is getting used to not receiving positive feedback for my work in the world. So I guess I'll just go into the kitchen and eat some of Chaim's blueberry peach pie and at least feed my belly.
    So daughter of mine,write on/ right on.