I am a 26-year-old white woman living in the Midwest who works two part-time jobs and hopes to one day build a career. The most notably interesting fact about myself is that I have lived five years in Canada, but other than my neighbouring northern country I have no real traveling experience. I had my stint with a depression induced alcoholism that was a long lesson in moderation and limits. I have a degree in Journalism and Literature, an array of random knowledge (due to late night binge Wikipedia adventures), and an appropriate level of anxiety for your average 26-year-old white woman from the Midwest. I am average height and weight and since there is no real quantifying measures to determine beauty or intelligence will reason to say that my beauty is average and intelligence is also average.
I’m fairly boring. I have inherited no disadvantages as a birth right, have had few traumatic experiences, and no real crazy run-ins with fascinating people that took me on some type of epic journey (despite one man who constantly thought I would one day write about him, and expounded upon this whenever, and solemnly at that, he drank.) Sure, I’m sure some things would cause some people to raise their eyebrows or lean in their ears, but they are experiences that only a white Midwesterner would find interesting given the relatively limited experiences many have. And sure, maybe my insights are interesting, but at 26 I tend to find they are still yet a bit underdeveloped.
I could write nonstop about the undying discomfort that occurs when a man cat-calls a woman, or how it feels to cut off friends out of concern that their toxicity is poisoning you, but these insights have been nonstop talked about and these days there is nothing to contribute that hasn’t already been dissected.
I suppose the major crisis in my life is that this is it relatively boring and I suffer from no real ailment. I am not in recovery, I haven’t lived in a third world country, and I don’t particularly know what it is like to grow up in the projects.
By all means I haven’t been born into exception, but I have attempted to create it for myself. I did not go through trials and tribulations to come through the other side exonerated and alleviated of the struggles of such bleak conditions. But, I’ve liked the idea of it quite a bit.
I have been a tease to the seedy side of life, a flirt to self-destruction, and a survivor of self-pity. My crisis extends only to a narcissistic nature of the creative mind that often plagues the younger generations growing up documenting their lives and truly believing that anyone really cares about what they are doing.
The hardest lesson I have ever had to learn in life was that nobody truly cares about your struggles unless their is a personal benefit in it for themselves. Perhaps your family will deeply concern themselves with the inner existential dread you carry, but some aren’t so fortunate and looking outside of the home — well, good luck.
This might seem cynical to some, and even irritate people who truly believe their story is worthy of being heard, but for myself it’s been a lesson that was not only hard to learn, but a blessing to learn.
Your story isn’t’ worth being heard if it serves only to alleviate your own mind. Nobody really cares about the sadness one feels unless they connect to it. Your journal is the proper forum for self-discovery and your art must serve a greater need if it is to be read and to be a meaningful piece that touches anyone.
If one is to really gain any insight into the people around them they need to look further than themselves in a truly honest and impact way. I don’t listen to sad songs when I am happy, much like I wouldn’t read a personal essay on any given topic unless somehow there was some gain for myself. I use other peoples vulnerability and pain as a way to connect to myself.
So even if I write and even if it touches someone, I am not personally effecting them, but only providing a series of words strung together to help them have a conversation with themselves. All art does that
In the same sense remember this: ya ain’t shit. If they love your work it’s because they see themselves in it – not because you’re so special a stranger will love you. And I say stranger broadly as most people I interact with fall into that category (this may be a personal hangup of mine.).