With My Sincerest Apologies To Writers, Readers and Editors: Here, There and Everywhere
And that’s for having the audacity to refer to myself as even one of the three, as of late.
I just reread the last thing I published and wondered at what point, I thought the world or anyone in it would find it even remotely unique or intriguing?
I literally didn’t make it through the entire re-read — and I wrote it. I lived through it. My reality created it. The same reality I wake up to each and every God-Forsaken, pandemic-dampened day.
So forgive me for not wanting to once again glance it all over, via a mediocre piece of writing. One I literally have no recollection of writing, nonetheless.
But you see, this piece of writing is not about that piece. Not exclusively anyhow. It’s about any post I ever gave less to than I was capable of. Gave less because I was certain it didn’t matter anyway.
And maybe it didn’t. Would a handful of more tweaks here or there have made me the next overnight big thing on Medium? Probably not. Mainly because it couldn’t have, being I’ve been bleeding openly on this platform for years now. Going on four to be exact. I’ve already put in far too much time and work to be an overnight success.
But that right there is the real issue. Because for my first year and a half here, I’ll be honest, I think I worked as hard as anyone on the platform. I wrote every single day, without fail, for almost two years. Twice a day sometimes. I basically still averaged a post a day through my two-year mark and beyond — but then something changed. Actually, it’d be more accurate to say, practically everything changed.
And unfortunately, so much of it wasn’t for the better. I began to feel worn down and drained by almost everyone and everything around me. It felt like the positive changes I had made in my life, via attending 12 step meetings and therapy, merely only made me a naive fool who gave the benefit of the doubt to people who didn’t deserve it. It felt like my own positivity along with my newfound spiritual and emotional maturity, duped me into becoming some pushover who people took advantage of. I stopped making meetings. I felt as apathetic as Eagles Running Back Ricky Watters when he infamously asked “For who? For What?” in response to reporters questioning the effort he brought on the field after the opening game of the1995 season.
I moved 800 miles away, only to find myself right there with me, and as a result shortly thereafter moving back home to Philadelphia, with new additions to the list of people I resented as much as I did life itself.
And that was just in my personal life.
On the creative front, Medium went and got itself in a big damn hurry to try and get Ev mentioned by Forbes again — and began implementing changes that clearly, only benefitted Medium. Ones that they were granted, to our detriment, but without our say. And that goes for both readers and writers.
Orange Is The Head that Wears The Crown
Not to mention, we had a sociopathic narcissist in The White House at the time. A vilified pussy-grabbin’, wall-buildin’, Muslim bannin’ hate pot who both refers to himself in the third person regularly and has readily identified as a stable genius more than once, in public. All the makings, of a modern-day political nightmare on wheels. American-made wheels that corporations found ways not to pay taxes on the production of, thanks to the man in question.
One who seemed to have been sent by my own collection of bad karma itself for my every wrongdoing, as a way to torture me each time I turned on the TV, called 75% of my extended family members, or went on social media.
While he often made for great material, he really didn’t and never did at all, if we’re being honest with ourselves. He was filler. Of the variety, we had never encountered in such a fashion before. He was the byproduct of every original American sin we never repented for which never came back to haunt us.
He was the walking, talking manifestation of the hate and anger so many people in this country walk around with daily. He didn’t deserve a fraction of the attention or outrage we gave him.
But this platform and every other just couldn’t help itself. For better or worse, he was a polarizing and almost magnetic force we couldn’t bring ourselves to ignore. I got tired of reading his name and about his supporters. I hated I shared a gender and race with him because this seemed to somehow make me personally, at least loosely, responsible for his mere toxic existence.
Well, me and every other white male in America, anyway. According to every article written here ever, that I didn’t write — it seemed anyhow. But keep in mind, I can be a bit dramatic. I was raised by a man who declared the stock market and democracy as we knew it dead and gone the morning Trump’s victory was announced in 2016. I can’t help myself. Dramatic is what we do.
So, I showed up less. I began writing less frequently. Each day I woke up and didn’t write, just made it easier to do so the next day. And the one after.
Oh, and if I ever came up short on ideas of things to write about when I did decide to, I could always bellow out my greatest hits and trash Medium for not inviting me to their corporate brunches, nor sending me monthly handwritten thank you letters for just existing creatively.
Or anyone of the other fickle and minor inconveniences, I misperceived as personal slights and let my restored sense of self-righteous anger blow out of context, and make about me. It was all fair game.
I could complain about this, that, and the other instead of taking personal accountability for — well — anything, really. Truth be told, I didn’t even vote for Hillary, I was sick that day and stayed home. I’d be damned if I was going to let that stop my train of outrage every time Trump or Ev Williams's names were mentioned though. Potus would get his comeuppance, I thought.
And I’d get back at Medium, alright — by writing less, of course! Biting my nose to spite my face has always been a favorite pass-time activity of mine.
Meanwhile, there were new writers and readers showing up to Medium, in packs. Ones who had and have the dedication, work ethic, and willingness that I did when I first got here.
But rather than let this excite or regenerate me, or allow me to be happy for them and their untapped potential — it too, just kind of made me mad. Listen, when you’re angry about where you’re at in life, it’s completely conceivable to be the utmost bothered by things that matter the least. Things you should be happy about, even.
To be completely honest, it felt good to be angry again. To allow myself to devolve back into the person who was bothered by what the stranger on the internet had to say about foreign policy that day — it was fucking liberating.
Because for a few years I tried to pretend those deficiencies and personal liabilities didn’t exist within me and never had.
As if I’m not just as fucked up or insecure as anyone else reading this, on any given day. Like I’m not capable of becoming furious over the frivolous in less than sixty seconds.
As much clarity as I may have been carrying with me back then — that was the one thing I couldn’t see or refused to accept. That we can’t completely rid ourselves of those parts forever, at least not entirely or absolutely, anyhow.
Because no matter how much light you let into your life, those dark parts will always reside somewhere within, despite how deep or buried they may descend under the surface over time — and that will remain true for as long as we’re human. Because it is this perfect unknown ratio of darkness and light that makes us who and what we are. It’s what makes us terrifyingly interesting creatures.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t want a single ray of light more imposed upon even one Johnny Cash song or Stephen King book. Because, if life has taught me anything thus far, it’s how beautiful the darkness can be when it’s finally far enough behind or deep enough inside you that you can live in awe of it, rather than in fear of it.
You can even gather it all in a single place and call it creativity or inspiration if you want. The choice is completely yours, as are the words you use to express your ideas to your audience. Ideas that came directly from both the positives and negatives life throws at you daily. No matter how significant or inconsequential they may seem.
It is both the darkness and light that makes me a writer and provides me with whatever it is I need to continue being even a half-decent one. But, neither the light nor dark can do so on their own. As much as they may be polar opposites, they are supplementary therefore one does no good without the other — much like the reader, and writer.
All I know is I hope I can rightfully get back to justifiably calling myself a reader, writer, and editor very soon — because I’m almost certain there’s not much else I have much interest in being or becoming, outside of those three things.
However, all three of those titles are earned and not given and I haven’t put in an adequate amount of work to earn any of them recently. All I can do is my absolute best to change that. No promises though — I always break them, anyway. It runs in my family, on both sides.