This is actually the seventh time I have written this blogpost. The original post talked about how I used to write songs when I was in a band. I was in a band. A very sexy, cool band with a horn section. We were super cool. Lots of women were attracted to us. It’s hard not to picture how amazing I looked on stage:
|“Damn these sweaty arms. If only I had some type of rainbow-colored, sweat-absorbing, elastic wrist cuff.”
But I digress. I wrote six previous versions of this post because I wasn’t sure what I wanted from this post. Then I realized, I knew what I wanted from the post, but I was worried that it wasn’t going to fit my formula…you know, tell a funny story with some funny pictures and then bring the mood down a bit while I lay down the smooth message. Then tie it off with a quick witty comment. Deviation from the formula could disappoint some of my dozens of fans.
So, I wrote and rewrote hoping to come up with some amazing, witty story that would really resonate with people and make them remember my blog and ultimately how amazing I am, and by extension, what an amazing therapist I am. Alas, amidst all my writing and rewriting, I became consumed with the thought of how horrible the post was coming out.
Now, in this the seventh time writing, and after talking extensively with my wife (we openly share our feelings with each other each night, as any good husband and wife would…for example, my wife just told me, “I haven’t showered yet today,” while smelling her armpit), I realize I do want to talk about being in a band. I don’t think it gets said enough (Hi, I’m Rob. I was in a band).
I wrote a song on our album called Competition. It’s not my favorite song. Any time someone asks for a CD (call in the next 10 minutes and receive this stunning diamond pendant) I hand them one and tell them to skip track 10. A number (3) of people have told me it’s not that bad. I say thanks, but assume they are also fans of Le Tigre. Then I hope they don’t come back to me and tell me, “Hey man. Good CD” while laughing under their breath. But as I have listened to the song more over the years (there’s nothing wrong with listening to your own CD…it’s just like watching your high school state championship football game over and over) I can respect the effort I put into the song. It’s not the most amazing song, but I wrote it and I take pride in that.
The same has been true for me with this blog. Each time, I write and rewrite worried it won’t be as funny as the last (I know, I set the bar pretty high). I worry that my message will be missed (yes, these posts have messages). I worry that people won’t be impressed.
The truth is, I am proud of what I write. Some posts are not my favorite (I’m looking at you “Why Don’t You Just Tell Me the Name of the Movie You’ve Selected”), but I am putting myself out there. I’m taking a risk (as much as you can writing a blog) that what I have to say will be received and not just become more white noise.
It’s easy to get caught up in the worry and anxiety that accompanies creating something. But if we never risk, we never get the chance to stand proudly behind what we have created. If we never risk, we bemoan our circumstances and complain that others have all the luck. If we never risk putting ourselves out there, we never become closer to those around us. If we never risk, our circle of influence will never increase.
Real joy in life and relationships doesn’t come from sitting back and watching things unfold before us. It comes from risking vulnerability and failure. It comes from putting ourselves out there. Create something. Grow closer to someone. Increase your circle of influence. “You’re free to go off and be jilted yourself.” (What?! I know lots of guys who quote Pride and Prejudice).
I’m not sure this ended up being much of a deviation. (Insert witty comment here)
Rob Porter, Ph.D., LMFT
Marriage and Family Therapist, Austin TX