Trust30 prompts: Afraid to Do by Mary Jaksch

The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson says: “Always do what you are afraid to do.” What is ‘too scary’ to write about? Try doing it now.


(To be honest, I think Mary is somewhat misreading the quote there, so you get two answers to this – one to her reading, one to mine.)

Mary’s reading:
Too scary to write about is the nature of much of this blog. Seriously.

Because I am aware, and it bugs me when I let it, that this blog is almost entirely a parasitical work, building off the works of others. With only a few exceptions, the content here is a repackaging of someone else’s.

I’d like to think that I add a little something to it, and sometimes that’s true (the Keating annotations, the reading order timelines, the Daft Lyrics Database) and sometimes it’s not as true as I might wish it to be (the Pharmacoepia, the Rock’n’Roll History, the 1001 Afterlives). Very little on this blog is entirely original.

And I wish that more was, I truly do. But day in day out, I write what’s easy, not what’s really something. And I like to think that I bring a smile to your day, or provoke a thought, or whatever. But I’d really prefer that I could do so in a more original manner.

My reading:
It seems to me that Emerson is talking about the trap of reputation. Or an aspect of it, at least. The need – the absolute compulsion, sometimes – to live up (or down) to what is expected of one.

I don’t always know who I am these days, and that’s my fault almost entirely (and is not unconnected to the other answer here), but I do know who I am not. And I’m not that guy.

I mean, my readership here is, so far as I can tell, fairly small. Most of the people who actually trouble themselves to read this blog (or LJ or DW, given the crossposting) are among those I consider my nearest and dearest. You know me, and you generally don’t crowd me with expectations that I will be who I am reputed to be.

But there’s a wider friendship circle, people who don’t know me so well – and in some cases, who know me more by reputation (and third- or fourth- hand reputation at that) – but who seem to be utterly convinced that they know me based on these distorted accounts of things I did back in the Nineties.

I hate it, and yet it’s very hard not to play up to it. I’m so used to doing that, and it’s what the crowd expects and I do so like the attention. Afterwards, though, I feel like I just slept with someone who was using me to get back at someone else. I hate myself for it, this weakness, and yet I cannot seem to stop it.

I want to like Cagliostoro the Great in “The Trick Top Hat”, able to just say “Sorry. New trip this year” and make it stick, but so far, I am not.

That said, I’m pretty sure that the universe will offer me the chance to test my resolve on this one in the very near future…

Leave a Reply