I am goddamn aware that the very first posts on my Tumblr are idiotic and pseudo-intellectual masturbation. I would delete them but I like having a record of my past self. And the truth is I’m not really that different of a person than I was back then. I still worship the world reflected through myself. See what I mean?
I’ll credit you with having noticed that I started swearing in posts more often in the past few months. I feel like they make my writing funnier, but maybe they actually just seem edgier and angrier to me, which feels kind of like a proxy for artistic and honest, you motherfucker! Sometimes at work one of the adults on my team will start to say the word “shit,” pause and notice me, and then switch to saying “sh-oot” instead. This has happened more than a couple of times and it’s a little adorable.
I want to be honest. My life is going really well. That’s not interesting to write about. Most of the time there’s nothing to unravel, no mystery that I need to solve, or dark pain that I need to express. I live in San Francisco with apartment mates who are all my friends. I work at a well-paying company with free meals doing comfortable and open-source work that I’m interested in, and I learn and grow all the time. This is probably the first time in my life I’m getting enough exercise. Last week I ran 10k in under 47 minutes, I finished with a sub 7 minute mile. On weekends I lay on the sand in California-weather beaches and rock climb with my brother. I get brunch and dinner with friends. I sing in choirs and play the piano at work. I blog. It’s a darn good deal.
And all of this exposes how ungrateful and privileged I must be to write about being sad, afraid, and lonely.
There is a version of me who does this for his whole life. I go to work to earn money to spend during the time I’m not at work. I eventually find a girl who does the same and we get married and have kids. If Sisyphus fucking loved rolling boulders up hills he would be a hero. And I guess there’s nothing wrong with that life, but I’m still afraid that I am that version of me. Because that’s so unremarkable. That’s why I blog. Because I’m selfish. I want you to read this and say “Jordan, you are definitely not unremarkable and I honestly believe that you will change the world. And it’s okay to want to be special. Nobody wants to be unremarkable.”
And then I’ll say “you’re saying I’m just like everyone else, in my fear of being just like everyone else?”
And you’ll say “yes, but the difference is that you’re actually special.”
“What makes you say that? Because all I see in myself is a self-obsessed child with enough self-awareness and agency to write about his self-awareness and agency, but not enough to actually go out and do anything worthwhile. In other words, the only thing I have in common with people who really do change the world is a desire to be special. And like you said, everyone has that.”
And you don’t have a response. Except that you wish I weren’t so self-deprecating but you know my ego is so big that self-deprecating doesn’t mean vulnerable. That I don’t need you to help me feel better, I’m just trying to prove how fucking special I am.
In the middle of the night I woke up to yelling outside my window. Two strangers were in an argument. I sat up in bed, pulled my blinds open a crack and peaked down to the street below. There was a figure getting out of a car and the sound of a man cursing someone out. The figure kept getting in and out of the car as the argument escalated, like it couldn’t decide whether to disengage or lean in. Then a deep voice yelled out “somebody call 911. Help! Help!” over the sound of the cursing. I didn’t call 911. I closed the blinds and got under the covers. A minute passed and I heard the car drive away as the yelling stopped. I went back to sleep.
I don’t know if that really happened or if it was a dream. Okay that’s a lie. I’m pretty sure it happened but I wish it had just been a dream. It’s not a flattering story. It won’t convince you that I’m special. It wasn’t a moment of triumph and I wasn’t a hero. It was a moment of mediocrity. I was scared. I don’t know if someone got hurt, I don’t know if everyone is okay. Tell me how special I am.