“Remember when I used to be a humor blogger?” I say this occasionally to people who have known me or read my blog for a long time. Sometimes I say it with a wistful air and sometimes I say it to get a laugh but I always say it because evolution is weird. How did I get here? How did I become this? I bet platypuses wonder that all the time. They stare into placid water (because that’s the only mirror a platypus has) and take in their strange beak mouth and hold up their flipper paws and think, “Remember when I used to be a duck?”
I don’t think that’s actually accurate in terms of science but neither platypuses nor I are evolutionary biologists. We just want to make a point.
The other night, I went to a Listen To Your Mother Twin Cities reunion and someone said, “You are just so funny!” and I said, “Well, I used to be a humor blogger…” and she said, “That makes sense!” but another person said, “Really?” I nodded and then she said, “What happened?” I said, “People started telling me I was inspirational.”
I have always been sensitive to what people think about me and that has an impact over time. I can conjure immobilizing expectations from thin air. It’s a terrible super power, worse than being elastic which, let’s be real, is a ridiculous adaptation. I started blogging and was funny but then people started expecting me to be funny so I started writing serious, thoughtful things because the pressure to be funny was too much. Now people think I am wise or (at the very least) productively introspective, so I want to write crazy things because I don’t have everything about life and motherhood figured out. I am a rebel! But it’s all in my own head. It’s as ridiculous as Elastic Girl and platypuses.
So, what happens then? Well, I don’t blog and I sit around wallowing in existential angst and then friends call and ask what I’m doing and I say, “I don’t know! What am I doing with my life?” But they just meant, “Have you finished the third season of House of Cards?” or “Do you have plans for lunch?” or “Can I borrow your car?” They don’t want to join me in existential reflection. They don’t want to talk about the meaning of life at middle age. I fear that I am becoming that friend, the annoying one we all want to avoid because she is no fun. But remember when I used to be a humor blogger?!
So, what is the point of this post? There isn’t one.
Yesterday, my friend Anthony said, “You can write. You’re just constipated. Literary constipation.” He is right. Writing to live up to imagined expectations is like saying, “Fresh spinach? No, thanks. I’m just going to eat this wheel of Gouda with my bare hands.” The fresh spinach is the writing process and Gouda represents expectations and words are shit.
Wait. That is an awful analogy.
What I’m trying to say is that I need to eat my spinach and stop worrying about what comes out and this post has turned out very differently than planned. And I guess maybe that’s the point. You never know how things are going to evolve.