Life: and All That Jazz
Everything Popular Is Wrong
I don’t know who you are. Isn’t that odd? I write to you — whoever you are — and we’ve never met. We’ve never exchanged a dirty joke over coffee. We’ve never pulled our hoods on our heads to brace the bitter wind. We’ve never had one glass of shitty white wine too many and thought it was a “good idea” to shoot a live video on social media.
And yet I write to you.
I’ve been writing to you for years now. Sometimes I even give you a look at what I’ve written. I let you see me at my most vulnerable. What if that word was wrong? What if I use an Oxford comma here but not there? All of my flaws, beautiful as they are, exposed to your prying eyes.
Mostly, though, I write to you behind closed doors. A document saved to my hard drive, a protector of my most valuable vulnerability. Half-baked novels, short stories with a short lifespan, drafts discarded to the virtual dumpster. I’ve written a lot of things for you, yet you’ve seen a very small percentage of the whole.
That’s life, I guess. We show people what we want to show them. Hell yeah, post that up-angled selfie in the bathroom of that posh restaurant. Others will envy. Rejoice! Then, when someone from your often-neglected but really real past crops up in the line at Chipotle, make eye contact for a second — literally, a split f*cking second — enough time for your synapses to flare up and know that they know, and they know that you know that they know. And quickly (a little too quickly) look some other way. Not at the ground but up, at the scaffolding above, something you never notice in any other situation. Feel your cheeks grow warm and GTFO.
We show people our life in Technicolor. High-def. Reality — that dull, blurry bitch — isn’t that pretty. Well, I guess from this angle…no. It’s still not good to look at. Best to just post another beach photo. That was when I was in shape, you know.
The title of this post — “Life: and All That Jazz” — is a metaphor. (Side note: Is it overly pompous to mention the name of something in that thing? Probably.) Life is what you live, whether you’re aware of it day by day or not. All That Jazz is what you give to the others in the world.
I find this to be a great tragedy.
That Life portion is grimy, like the garbage in my kitchen, which my wife writes as a chore on our whiteboard instead of taking it out and just dealing with it. Life is going to Dahab, Egypt for a total of thirty-something hours and deciding nope, nope, nope, let’s go back home. Life is struggling mightily to find clients, perusing your various job board haunts, while your soul yearns to write fiction. Just finish the story, you weakling, you’re wasting your talents.
Life is what happens to all of us. And we decide not to share.
It’s scary to announce to the world: “Yo, I ain’t perfect. Not by a f*king long shot.”
But there’s a quote I found early this year that, unlike those petty, highfalutin (yep, that’s how you spell it, you’re welcome) quotes from a dead president or Einstein, I actually implement into my thinking:
“Unless you’re in mortal danger, fear is a compass showing you where to go.” -Mastin Kipp
Fear is a compass. One that everyone can read but we choose not to follow.
I’m scared to rip my chest open and allow you to root around in there, exploring my gritty bits. Like the fact that I am currently 15,000 words into a novel I’m incredibly excited about. Or I love hanging out with my wife more than any other human being and it makes me sad that the majority of marriages aren’t the same way. Or my belief that you hold energy in your body and that you’re in more control of your thoughts and feelings than you’d care to admit.
These random parts that make up our whole — dreams, aspirations, beliefs, dogmas, anything un-status quo, really — is Life. And it’s terrifying.
But dammit, I need to let you in on it all.
I’ve never met you. We most likely will never share that cup of coffee and that dirty joke that involves genitalia and a misogynistic “That’s what she said.” We may never see each other in person. But you know me. And I know you. And I write to you. About Life…
and All That Jazz.
This is my foray back into the world of Medium.
I’m here to write about my experience as a young person living. I will be writing about anything and everything that occurs in my life, alongside my wonderful life partner and my vulnerable writing. I’m deciding Medium is my place to share the things that wouldn’t get shared on any other social platform.
This is me beneath the surface, the optimistic smile, the freelance writer. Because I am more. Much more.
There’s more where this came from:
A solid background on how my wife and I started living as our truest selves.
A little taste of my fiction style, with absolutely no story attached to it.
The all-consuming hell that is freelance writing for a living…