#nofilter

Listen, first you should all know I try with my whole being not to like Mumford and Sons.

But this song, y’all… I can’t stop.

Now, for something totally unrelated to Mumford –

Recently, I read this beautiful piece about writing what you know.  Writing about the pain and the joy… and the stuff you think no one gets.  I’ve always hated people who sugar coat the truth – or people who sugar coat their writing (ie: Elizabeth Gilbert’s first chapter in Eat Pray Love), but writing what you know means you have to write about the real stuff.

And the real stuff gets personal.

For the most part, I think people know a lot about me.  I share way too many short sentence thoughts on twitter and FB, I share too many opinions on this Southern Wild blog, and I post a thousand photos of daily, mediocre life on snap chat.  But I feel like there is still a large aspect of me that I keep secret.

Someone recently made a very sweet effort in telling me how inspiring my posts were, and they noted that they were “envious” of my happy outlook on life.  That was incredibly sweet, and nice to think about, but it made me feel like a total fraud.

You see, I don’t like thinking about the bad stuff – which means I don’t like sharing it – which means I don’t write about it – which probably means, even though I share a lot of personal thoughts, people don’t really know me.

But in a world where selective oversharing is taking over, the idea of being completely translucent in writing is difficult.

Really, really difficult.

After a post I wrote a few days ago, my mother expressed that my writing is not as vulnerable as it once was.  She was worried I put too much thought in what others think when they read it, and she was right.

But when you want to write for a living – people have to want to read what you write.

AND THAT IS TERRIFYING. 

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I love sharing my attempts at discovering who I am, what I want, and where I fit in this world, but I hate sharing the negative side of doing all of those things.  Unfortunately, when you don’t want to harp on negatives, you have to find the positives, and sometimes that focus on the positive side shows an idealized, Kim K version of what life is really like.

I guess what I’m trying to get across is this:

Life really is beautiful, chasing after dreams is the best adventure, and love and friendship are the most rewarding feelings in life.  However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t parts that suck.  There are days that are hard, there’s disappointment, there’s loss, and there’s still failure.

I don’t write to help people, or to inspire, or to evoke feeling.  But I also don’t write to mislead.  I write because I like it, and sometimes I feel like it’s the only thing I innately know how to do.  I write when I can’t sleep, I write when I can’t talk things out, I write when I can’t understand how I feel…  but that writing isn’t the writing I share.  I share the dumbed down version of that, because I have this immense fear of how it will be relayed.

And that’s not fair.

Maybe that’s something we should all strive to change?  I’m not saying not to keep the private things private – but this world could use a raw look at things.  Maybe it will let us all know how closely our lives and challenges align with one another.

– Cap

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What We Leave Behind

Lately I’ve been worried about what I will leave behind in life.  I’m not planning on going anywhere, but it seems like a lot of other people are.. and I can’t help but think about what gets stuck here when we all go.

What memories are left

What impact did we have

Will people miss our actions

I don’t mean will people mourn.  I think anyone can do that.  I mourn the loss of people I’ve never met before.

 ie:  reading my newsfeed when it is chock full of obituaries and gofundme links.

I want to know what happens when the grief and shock have past.  Is there something lingering around that still makes the world know you were here?  Something that’s not a memorial, or work of art, or an awkward shrine on a living room wall.

The only death I’ve ever known that really hurt was the loss of my friend Stephen.  I didn’t know Stephen for long, but I knew him long enough to be impacted by his creativity, free spirit, love for yahoos, and his ability to find just the right amount of risk and rebellion in life.  Stephen made people think.  He made you question everything you once had total faith in. Sometimes to a fault.  Many times in conversation, I wanted to sprint back to the easier, picturesque world Stephen had just made my mind leave for good.. but I was too entranced with his take on the world.

Six years later, I still find myself thanking Stephen for opening my mind.

He left that behind. 

It was hard to see Stephen go because I felt like he had so much left to do.  I thought more of the world needed to know him – they needed to have him impact their lives like he impacted mine.

I wish Stephen was still here fulfilling all of his passions in life, but I think of what he left behind a little differently now.  I don’t think about what he could have done anymore.  I think about what he did.

And I guess that’s the reason for this post. 

I have a horrible habit of reading and stalking all devastating drama on Facebook, CNN, and where ever else it seems to pop up.  That habit has shown a seemingly formulaic layout to how reaction and mourning to death goes.  For example, there are usually comments of friends and family sending love and prayers, comments of how great the individual was, pictures of memories, long prose form statuses filled with regret, and so on… but one in particular really gets to me.

“They had so much left to offer the world.”

This one haunts me.  I know it’s probably true in all accounts of life.  We all have more to give, more to see, more people to love, more coffee to drink, etc.  Still, I hope no matter how old or young I am when I go, no one thinks I should have done more.

I hope no one thinks I didn’t fulfill the life I had.

I want my day to day interactions with people, art and writing to be enough.  And when the inevitable happens, I hope people celebrate the life lived instead of mourning the unlived.  After all, isn’t that what living is about.  It’s the dying and the uncertainty that makes the act of living so beautiful.

– Cap