Confession, Ownership, Boringness And A Simple, Interesting Life
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?