Technically, I never graduated high school, although I somehow managed to worm my way into college. At least, a few months of it, before I was forced by the school board to go home and get some rest. I almost made it through first semester of Freshman year. Almost.
And now I'm naked. I wish I actually believed, fully believed all the shit I used to talk about how faulty the "Western education system" is. How I've always been an "autodidact". How I don't believe in having a "plan B". Everything in quotes, I stole from other sources and applied to my life in some sort of desperate attempt to become the person I felt I had to be.
Boy. I really shot myself in the foot.
Don't get me wrong: there's quite a bit of the real me within the self-conscious, trite, quotable-because-I-was-already-quoting-it shit I used to spew. As with most of us, however, the person I was presenting consisted of the few elements of my personality that felt worthwhile, amplified to such a degree that hopefully no one would ever hear the other, smaller voices, whispering the great truths of myself.
I think we all have those voices. Certainly, I come from a long line of men and women who refuse to accept that someone knows something they don't. If I'm out to coffee, and someone asks me if I've read so-and-so -- you know, the Russian guy, the genius with the syphilis and that awful rat-fucking problem -- I say: "Yes."
No matter what. Because the person I'm presenting, of course, would have read that guy. The person I'm presenting what have read everything he'd written, and loved it, all of it -- except for the novel they teach in eleventh grade. That one's bullshit. All the stuff no one's heard of, though...oh, that's great.
Sometimes, when I'm having these conversations, I suddenly realize that the other person I'm talking to -- this cute girl, wearing her mom's old bell bottoms because isn't that just so fucking ironic -- she's doing the same thing. And so here we are, having this long-winded conversation about some great artist who very well may have never existed. What a strange, out-of-body experience it is, to find yourself in the middle of a meeting between two mostly fictional characters, invented by two insecure people as the leads of the movies of the lives they believe they should be living.
I promise, that makes sense.
Anyway, that's basically how I got through high school; I had assistance from an invisible mask I pieced together from a thousand influences. Of course, that mask, that person whose life I chose to live eventually turned out be an asshole, also full of self-loathing, and insisted on taking me down with him. Finally, that person fell apart. So did I. We both fell apart.
And so, almost a year down the road, from out of the ashes comes...a blog?
I guess so. Why not? If nothing more, it's a brilliant exercise: Sure, I could hide behind the ultimate mask, that mysterious code of language...but there's nothing there. The truth, I've found, can flow through me and into the people I love. Lies, however, just shine back like mirrors, until no matter where you go, your own false reflection goes with you.
I'm happy to say, I've stopped (for the most part) having the type of conversations I detailed above. Because those conversations become relationships, become girlfriends and best friends, and when the reel runs out and the house lights come up...it really fucking sucks. Every chance I get, when someone asks me, for instance: "Hey, have you ever heard those early avant-garde Eno recordings from when he was holed up in Berlin, injecting horse tranquilizers every night with Iggy Pop's infamous gilded needles?", I say: "No."
I say: "No, I haven't. Tell me about that."
Honestly, this is the most liberating thing I've ever done. Accepting my own ignorance has been truly enlightening. I hope in the posts that follow I prove to be as ignorant as humanly possible.
So I'll give blogging a try, if for no other reason than simply because my mom does it, and it helps her. Enormously. And, unlike a diary, her wit and insecurity and strength are able to touch the lives of everyone who reads her not-so-privates thoughts. It's the truth, and you feel it, and it works.
Trust me, kids: sincerity is the new irony.