Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Circuits and bumps 

Way back when I started this blog, I had to decide whether to blog under my own name, or anonymously. I didn’t have to think too hard – I wanted to be honest, to be authentic, to tap into all of who I am; I didn’t want to hide behind some alter-ego, so right from the start I used my real name. It never occurred to me that, far from facilitating authenticity, in so doing I might inadvertently have established a structure that would cripple that desire for openness. I knew I might have to be circumspect, but I hadn’t realised how difficult it would be to blog when I found myself day-in, day-out occupying the territory I’d agreed with myself that I wouldn’t tread here.

Anyone who knows me well in real space knows that my family matters more to me than just about anything else, yet I hardly give them a mention here – I don’t feel that I have that right. And although I’ve hinted many times at work issues, I’ve kept it general and never mentioned specifics. Yet whilst these two facets of life remain uppermost in realspace, they also remain excluded from direct mention here, which means in effect that the blog represents only a part of me, and some of the most significant parts are hidden from view. And that of course means that I’m not fulfilling my initial wish for this blog, to practice honesty and authenticity.

The converse of this situation is also true. In family-space and work-space, although a handful people know about this blog’s existence, it’s not widely read. I don’t go so far as to keep it secret, but neither do I advertise it. If anyone asks, I usually evade the question with a remark like "You'll find it if you look" and change the subject. So again, part of me remains hidden.

It all seemed like a good strategy at the time, but I’m not so sure now. Over a year ago, I wrote about how I felt divided between two worlds and two ways of being – the writer, or more generally the creative observer, and the corporate cog – and how the tension between those two drove me to seek a resolution through counseling. Yet by blogging under my real name and therefore choosing to keep some aspects of my life hidden, I seem unwittingly to have entrenched the very problem I sought to solve. A year on, counseling has uncovered and in some ways resolved many things – some written about here, many more that could have been had I had the time and the will to do so. For example, I found that I’d learned way, way back that it wasn’t okay to be myself, wasn’t okay to express what I truly thought or felt; rather, it was safer to conform to expectation – and I’ve never fully un-learned that erroneous childhood lesson. Not by a very long way, and I doubt that I ever will.

But in spite of all the discoveries, I don’t seem any further forward with being able to achieve a happy marriage between these two divorced characters. Creator and cog remain as mutually exclusive as ever. Perhaps I’m trying to find a balance between two selves that can never exist in the same body – time and again over the last year it has struck me afresh, as if by a revelation, that the only forward is to get out of this job – yet here I am still. Stuck in this binary way of being, vacillating between roles, forever between worlds and at home in neither. Unable to commit; unable to see a clear path – or even a possible path – in either world, feeling the daily warfare between two opposing ways of being.

As I lay in bed the other night in that no-man’s-land between waking and sleeping, a series of images presented themselves; I seemed to see the next ten years played out in the only realistic way that could fit with the simple facts of economics – the way of the subservient cog in the corporate wheel. I tried desperately to dream up some other possible futures – or even seemingly impossible ones; anything that might offer an alternative – but fell asleep having drawn a complete blank. I woke the next morning with a feeling of impending doom, as though during the night I’d been judged, sentence had been passed and I’d been condemned.

That sounds horribly bleak, and it wasn’t the way I’d intended this piece to go. I guess it just reflects the way in which all roads lead back to this place I’m in. There’s something here that I’m not seeing yet; something I have to work through before I can move on.

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