This post is a bit of an experiment. So, I ask that you indulge me and do me a favor:
Play this song while you read this post. You'll want sound on, obviously. Pretty please?
You certainly don't have to. It's not required. But if you're playing it, thank you. It may seem corny. It is corny. I love this song. I've loved it since the first time I heard it. And the song honestly feels like putting your hand in someone else's. And because of that, I wanted to share it with you and use it as a soundtrack of sorts. It's what I want to do with this post, and I'm glad that you're willing to experiment with me. Because that's what this is, after all. One big, gigantic experiment. It has been since I started writing.
And lately, why I write has been a question on my mind. It's a question I feel I know the answer to, but it still comes up in my mind and in my heart.
Sometimes, I know exactly what I'm doing when I post something deep and introspective and heartfelt. I know what I'm feeling is what you are feeling or have felt. I am talking directly to you. I want to tell you how alone you are not. I want you to know that there's this guy living on this planet, probably in your country, possibly in your state or city or even town, who has gone through what you are going through (or have gone through) and that you are not alone. We may not be friends. We may not even like each other. But you have company on this journey through life.
Sometimes, I just want to be crass. I want to get a reaction from people. I want to see them gasp or groan or pretend they're civil and above you when they know fully right and well they're just as human as I am, and were thinking the same thing I was. They just didn't have the guts to say it.
Sometimes, I want to explore emotion. I want to poke and prod at the things within me; within us all. I want to see how they react when tested. I want to know if the response is a social requirement or a true, honest feeling.
Sometimes, I have something in me I just need to share. I want to open my heart to the experience of being both understood and misunderstood; to discover who feels what I feel and who doesn't. I want to dig into the human experience and find out just how alike (or alone) I am.
Sometimes, I want to call bullshit on what I, you and everyone else knows is bullshit. I want to piss on the posers. I want to point at them and say "you're a fucking faker." I want to call them on their unyielding need for validation and attention and mock them for co-opting something special and interesting and great for their own vanity.
Sometimes, I am scared. I am so very scared. And I write about what scares me so that it's no longer just in my head. It's out there. It's on paper. It's on the blog. It's in front of thousands of people. Things aren't so scary when they're not just in your head. It's hard to fight a thought. It's easy to fight information. And writing it all down transforms it from thought to information. And that is liberating on so many levels.
Sometimes, I just hurt, and I need to bleed.
Sometimes, I feel so much joy from being alive and I want you to feel it, too. I want you to read the words I write and go "you know, Joe's right!" I want you to really FEEL every word I'm typing; to internalize it and study it and put it into your heart and your mind and do something with it. I want you to learn to work out. I want you to learn to fist fight. I want you to stand up for yourself. I want women to feel beautiful because they are beautiful, not because they match the images on magazine covers.
Sometimes, I want you to laugh. Nothing more. Just laugh.
Sometimes, all of these things I do... Well sometimes, they conflict. Sometimes, they're meant to conflict and contrast one another. Sometimes, it's just the fact that my mood changes. I may post a snide comment on some peoples' inherent need to put themselves on pedestals and be contrarian so they can feel superior, either morally or spiritually, to others. Sometimes I celebrate the life of a man I never met who took a picture of himself with his cat, and I talk about how much that moment touched me.
Sometimes I'm a hypocrite. Sometimes, I hate myself for being one, because above all things in the world, I hate hypocrites (well, maybe child abusers more than that).
But always, I am a human being. I am flawed and I am broken in places. In other places, I am pieced together and held firm with the glue of experience. But in all cases, I'm subject to the exact same mood swings and difference in opinions and varying needs to reflect on or express my feelings as you are.
When you write things down, they take on a certain sense of permanence. There's a log. You can't just scream and yell and vent and then expect people to forget it ever happened like you can when you're face to face, speaking to another person. When you confide in the world with your writing, you commit your sins in front of an entity with a permanent, flawless memory.
This isn't my curse. This is my choice. It's what I do. It's what I must do. Because above all else -- above the fear of being pointed out and laughed at, or called a loser, or called a pussy, or called a hypocrite -- I must hang out for the world to see the things I feel and think and know.
Because it might mean something to you. Because we're on this journey together. Because I know that the writers I admire and love and read every day, or every month, or once a year -- they're with me on this journey. They've been where I've been. They're my companions throughout this time I spend on this Earth. They let me know that I am human. I am flawed and I am broken in places. In other places, I am pieced together and held firm with the glue of experience.
And it's okay. It's how it should be. That's why they write. That's why I write. It's my way of spiritually taking your hand into mine and saying "You can be brave, because I've been brave, and I know that if I can do it, anyone can do it." It's my way of teaching you how to do the things it took me so long to figure out; the things that once I figured them out made my life so much better.
Because we're all human. All of us.
And we're in this together. All of us.
Even if you don't want to be. Even if you are skeptical. Even if you've read everything I've written, and if you think that I'm full of shit. It's okay. I think I'm full of shit, too. And you know what? You are, too. We all are.
Welcome to life. Take my hand. We'll get through it together.