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Confession, Ownership, Boringness And A Simple, Interesting Life

by Gip Plaster on February 22nd, 2011

This post is not about religion or psychology, things that I — as a simple, spiritual person — allow myself very little time to consider. It’s about how confessing your past and owning your present could be an important part of a simple, deliberate life.

First, here are two stories.

Friday Night Live

I was part of a group of four who attended a concert by Elizabeth Wills at First Street Coffeehouse in Fort Worth Friday night. In fact, it was my idea. I was a bit concerned whether I’d like it, however, since Elizabeth was repeatedly described on her website as a “confessional singer/songwriter”.

She isn’t, however. From what I saw, she’s a person who takes ownership of her life, admits the silliness of her past and admits that’s she’s still recovering from it. She went into great details about how her life is okay, and she mentioned in less detail that in the recent past she has encountered some very significant problems.

She spoke freely of panic attacks that kept her home from school as a child when there were rain clouds around, but she didn’t say what specific challenges made 2009 and 2010 some of the roughest years of her life.

She talked and sang about her struggles and a very generic version of her faith without boring her audience or making it uncomfortable, despite the fact that we weren’t the only ones who had never seen her before.

Her music and her story were lively, entertaining, interesting and well presented.

A Previous Night Dead

Last Friday night contrasts with a previous night in the same room.

After a decade of preparing a CD of his original work, the artist who performed on that night a year or two ago gave a painfully dull program aimed at giving himself the glory for his own accomplishments and achievements.

We attended the event because we knew a couple of the people in his backup band, but this artist left the band standing uselessly on stage more than once for twenty minutes at a time while he showed slides of shadowboxes he had painstakingly made for relatives and gave detailed accounts of how each line of each song was written.

Most of the people in the room knew him well, so they already knew the stories. Those of us who didn’t know him found no compelling reason to want to. Before we left at intermission, he only managed to get to four or five songs — one of which he played to us from the CD because he believed the on-stage band couldn’t do it justice.

Confession, Ownership and Boringness

This post, as it turns out, is about three things that may be part of your life: confession of your past mistakes, ownership of your current life and and being boring for your friends and loved ones — and your readers if you’re a blogger.

Confession, as they say, is good for the soul, but depending on the presentation, listening to it isn’t necessarily good for those around you. Taking ownership of your life as it exists now is the only way you can find a way to move forward.

But there’s no reason to become boring or tedious.

People who get wrapped up in religious dogma become tedious because a vocabulary of highly specific terms that only mean something within their group invades the places in their souls where higher thought processes could be flourishing.

And people who get wrapped up in psychology become boring because they discover the freedom that comes from confessing and start to do it all the time.

It’s tempting to provide you a laundry list of the things I’ve done wrong in my life — and to list out the ways I’ve been victimized. But that would be boring. And confessing my shortcomings puts me in danger of starting a comments contest with you to see if yours are worse than mine.

I grew up as the only openly gay kid in a small Texas town full of people who found openness threatening to their own secrets. The exact details of my life’s tribulations are actually less dramatic than the ones those facts conjure in your head, but I’ve had some rough days.

From time to time, expect me to confess a few details to you. Every time you hear from me, expect me to take ownership of my life, including the baggage that I haven’t yet shed — and the joys that I’m not yet celebrating.

And The Point Is…?

I don’t know if Elizabeth Wills is living a healthier life than the man who told an audience expecting music about his shadowboxes, but I know which of the two musicians seemed more like a vibrant, interesting, whole person.

Why would you want to waste other people’s precious lives by being boring in their presence? And why would you want to live the kind of life that sounds boring when you tell about it?

When confession helps you take ownership of your life, it’s part of simple, deliberate life. But being boring never is. Do you own an interesting life?

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12 Comments
  1. Jeff & Gena S permalink

    Gip,
    That is one thought provoking post! we would say it definitely sounds like you are owning your life, good, bad and otherwise. While it saddens us to think of you going through any kind of difficulties, it also strikes us, that similar to some of our own, you, as we did, grew stronger through/because of the rough days. We try to own our mistakes and we certainly try not to bore, you may just have to visit to see how much of an interesting life we own. 🙂

    We enjoyed your guest post yesterday and are still getting great comments, send your readers over to check it out and get ready to say howdy to some of ours! 🙂
    Jeff & Gena S recently posted Lay Aside Your Expectations- Pardner!

  2. Deb - Life Beyond Stuff permalink

    I don’t like sharing too much of my life in real life. I find it easier in the blogging world (where I hope it isn’t boring). I did tend to become verbose after a few drinks, but have now given up alcohol. Maybe this guy had a few drinks before taking the stage. Our stories always seem more fascinating to us when we do that.

    PS. Re:Celia Imrie; I think it’s just the haircut.
    Deb – Life Beyond Stuff recently posted Be Careful What You Create

    • I don’t drink, so I don’t have to worry about that.

      I think the shadowboxes guy had been planning that event for years and he wanted to make sure he did everything he imagined he would do. It would have been better if he had written a script and edited it down for years.

      And I think the smile is very Celia, too, in your new photo. (I told Deb on her blog that she looks like a somewhat younger Celia Imrie — a British actress — and I’ve yet to determine if she is flattered or offended.)

      Gip

      • Deb - Life Beyond Stuff permalink

        A little hard to be flattered by an actress who has been on Harry Potter and is not one of the students. She does look kind of cool in that movie Imagine me Imagine You thouogh and I think I liked her in Calendar Girls (if memory serves me well). You don’t have to reply Gip I don’t want to dominate your comments. Suffice to say in this business any publicity is good publicity. Thanks 🙂
        Deb – Life Beyond Stuff recently posted Be Careful What You Create

  3. Hi Gip,

    What a thoughtful post. It’s good to hear that you powered through any adversity faced in your younger years by becoming stronger — rather than wallowing in self pity. Sometimes it’s harder to make the choice to be strong, but I think you always appreciate your own strength that much more when you do choose to take the high road.

    I’m afraid I’ll have to disagree with your take on psychology though. While some people may use the study of human psychology to (as you said) become boring and displace ownership for their problems, I think many people (like me) use psychology to better understand themselves AND become more empathetic to the diverse array of fascinating people in this world.
    Jenny @ exconsumer recently posted 6 Ways to Get Through College Quick And on the Cheap

    • I’d rather see people find comfort and release in spirituality rather than psychology, but anything that helps navigate life has value.

      I’ve never felt like I’ve had adversity, but I suppose I have. I just think some days haven’t been as pleasant as others.

      Gip

  4. Jo H. permalink

    I think there is a difference between living a boring life and being boring when you tell about your life. Some people have a knack for storytelling and description which make even mundane things engaging or humourous.

    I think there is also variation in what different people would think of as boring. Many would think my life is boring – I’m not a traveller, I don’t have a glamourous job, I live in a small town. But I don’t find travel or glamour or city life to be interesting to me although it would be to many people. In that respect, boring is relative.

    • I’m not much into travel either, Jo, and I don’t live in the city — although I think I’d like to move to the city again. That’s not possible today, but it might be sometime soon.

      Thanks for commenting!
      Gip

  5. marianney | A Life Set Free permalink

    the problem with boring people is that they don’t know they are boring. and many times, they don’t do any introspection either so how would they even find out?
    marianney | A Life Set Free recently posted 11 Up &amp Coming Minimalist Bloggers You Should Know About

    • Introspection is the thing that so many people don’t seem to bother with.

      And you’re right. I suppose people aren’t intentionally boring.
      Gip

  6. Anne Sales @ Coupon Codes permalink

    Very interesting post!
    I have discovered that living simply may sound simple and easy to achieve, but once you start the journey, you find that it’s often hard to let go of the things that sustains your comfort zone.
    You also have to be prepared to have your motives challenged. Another challenge is to face your dark side. We all have one!
    But no matter how tough the journey, it is worth it in the end!
    Anne Sales @ Coupon Codes recently posted Coolhandle

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