For the longest time, I’ve had a hard time thinking of what I want to put on this blog. Should I write my books? Or about my marketing ideas? Or about my thoughts on Christianity? Or my new tech journey? What about my writing process?
The one thing I never thought about was honesty, transparency, something that would be so open and real that it might actually help someone else. Of course I stalled in writing blog posts – nothing was ‘right’ because nothing was real. It was that simple. I don’t want a public diary, that sounds boring, but creating a corporate blog version of my life sounds worse. There’s probably a middle ground.
This all started because I nearly had a panic attack. The shortness of breath, the pain in the chest, sudden shaking from so much emotion overwhelming my system, racing thoughts going to some very, very dark places, and me up in the middle of the night just trying to distract myself until it dies down enough that I can get some sleep. It’s not the first time that’s happened. At least it wasn’t a full blown attack. I guess I’m lucky like that.
More than 16 years in sales and marketing has taught me to put to try and put the best spin on things. It’s not a panic attack, it’s just nerves. ‘Out of work’ should be translated as “I’m between opportunities” or “working as a consultant.” In marketing you say anything but the actual truth, because truth is just what you make of it, right? Never tell clients, potential employers, friends, family, human people, that you’re struggling because they don’t need, or want, to know that, right?
How much honest is too much honest?
Who knows how much honesty is too much? I never tell people about my insecurities, about how I constantly question my worth as a person because I see my skills (i.e. ability to gain assets) as marginal at best. I’ve been told otherwise, mostly by family, but I’m not really sure that really counts.
This is me being transparent, I guess. It feels terrible but somewhere deep inside I hope this is my Jerry Maguire moment, where I lay bare my soul and it all comes out okay for me in the end.
Is this complaining?
People probably don’t say how they are feeling in public because it’s seen as complaining when you say them out loud, to people. Complaining is annoying, it’s wrong. I get that. But I don’t really care anymore. Hopefully you see it less as complaining and more as honesty, coming clean and wiping off the polish.
Polish is suffocating.
I feel better letting all this out, hopefully this gives you ideas for your own life. Maybe we are meant to be honest, even if some people see it as complaining. Sometimes we just need to get it out and stop trying to be something we are not.
Will this relief last?
Probably not. The problems I have won’t go away, they will still lurk around. My feelings about those problems also won’t change, I’ll still be anxious about money, and approval, and praise, and missing that feeling of doing what you think you were meant to do and that that might be an illusion to begin with. I might get over that some day, but not today or tomorrow.
I do think I’m done trying to be something false. (I almost said something trite about life being too short, old habits etc.) The tendency to cover up and rewrite my failures will stick around for awhile, but I think my heart (and body) are just too tired for the effort of putting up a false front. I’m not successful (by traditional metrics), or all that accomplished, or even all that talented. I have some cool ideas, a little bit of perseverance, and a sliver of God-given ability, but everything else I think I try to play up as more than it is, like a mask for the world to accept me.
I’m so tired of keeping up that front. So maybe it’s time to stop.
So what now?
So, there you go. If you got this in your email and thought “What did I sign up for here?” I understand. It’s not for everyone I guess. And I would love to tell you what it was going to be about, my posts and this blog in general, but I don’t really know. I do know it will be honest and transparent.
Sometimes that’s enough.
Hi Mr. Kilen,
Thanks for this great post! Very helpful, especially for many youths like me. I’ve aspired to be make art but nothing I made felt to even put out there. I believe I haven’t been real nor true to my whole aesthetic.
I can’t say I understand all the challenges you’ve talked about, but I think God will use them tremendously to extract in you deeper gems!
wow typos! Meant to say “….nothing felt honest enough to …”
Sometimes you just have to tell your honest story, and that means talking about the good and the bad parts. Once you are honest with yourself, you can start being honest in your work. Thank you for sharing!