I’ve been learning a lot. I’ve been feeling like I, uh… I guess I feel like I don’t really fit anywhere. I tried getting behind a microphone, and that didn’t work. I tried working retail again, and that didn’t work. I tried YouTube, but now that I have a shot at making that work, I’m too afraid and insecure to make it work, probably.
I just, I’ve written myself into a corner. On the one hand, I have… something. A uniqueness, I guess. Whatever my YouTube stuff has been so far, it’s… its own thing, I feel. But the problem with that is, I have no idea where I fit. Am I a “Philosophy YouTuber” and if so, how could I possibly even hope to compete with the incredible philosophy content that already exists? And if not, why bother with the philosophy stuff at all? But for me the philosophy stuff is the point of the channel.
It isn’t important, really, it’s just that I have no idea whether there’s a place for me. On YouTube, but kind of… anywhere? Maybe YouTube has been my attempt to carve a place out for myself. But is that a good thing? What if some people just shouldn’t have a platform? I know I’m not as bad as a lot of people who do have a platform, but that doesn’t stop me from comparing myself to others, or anticipating criticism before I even receive it, and to be honest, I’m really terrible at taking criticism.
I wish I weren’t. I’m embarrassed that I am. But I’m… as a person who grew up with a learning disability, deep physical ineptitude, chronic migraines, multiple psychological disorders, and parents who were far too sweet and kind and patient and understanding, who should have “whipped me into shape” so I wouldn’t turn into a millennial who just believes she deserves to take up space in the world for no gosh darn reason, KIDS THESE DAYS – I’m being kind of silly, but also kind of serious… anyway as a person who grew up with all kinds of disabilities and setbacks (as well as advantages, to be sure, but I’m telling you how it feels), I really struggle with criticism not because I’m not used to it, but because every second of every day for my entire life, I’ve been criticizing myself in my head so aggressively that I can barely function, socially.
People sometimes get the impression from me that I’m egotistical which I think on some level is probably true, but often the truth is really just that I’m overcompensating for something I’m deeply insecure about, that I assume I’m so transparently self-loathing that no one could ever miss the joke of what I often feel are, like, bursts of “performing” self-esteem, or whatever passes for self-esteem in my head, that day.
Basically, I’m a mess of contradictions. I want so badly for people to like me that I wind up oscillating between trying too hard to guess what the person I’m interacting with wants me to be, how they’d like me to behave, and getting fed up with that approach and just going, to use a term I shouldn’t enjoy using as much as I do, “balls out.” I’ve been going a little too far to the “balls out” side of the spectrum, on youtube, I think, but it’s hard not to when there’s literally no one there to modulate your personality for other than a camera, which represents a hypothetical ‘them’ that ultimately, doesn’t feel real until after the video’s posted, sometimes not even then, if no one engages with it right away.
I just wish – and like a typical millennial shit-bag, I do think that capitalism is to blame for a lot of these feelings in myself and in others – I wish I didn’t have to fight so hard just to justify my own existence. And I know that it’s kind of just a part of the game. I understand that to think you can just opt-out of the same shitstorm everyone else is in, it’s not even naiive so much as it is a silly thing to hope for.
But I worry. I worry because I genuinely don’t know when I’ve gone too far, and I… basically exist in my own little world, in my head. Which is a problem partly because there are real-world considerations to be made like paying rent and figuring out how to pay rent while also doing all my stupid philosophy stuff, while also figuring out how to navigate the weird waters of the internet without either drowning or going too far afield and losing track of, like, the real world. Again.
I know a few things, though: I’m not a bigot, I’m relatively self-aware, I contain the capacity for (though an imperfect one, obviously) selflessness, and for a dumb dumb, I’m kind of smart. Just not at, like, tying shoe laces and regular life skills most people learn in kindergarten. My intelligence is a little more detached than most people’s – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just… not the easiest type of intelligence to predict the outcome of, when it comes into contact with the real world. It’s just… it’s really hard to go easy on yourself, sometimes. That’s all I’m trying to say.