Courage is hard to find some days

I want to be the fearless guy – the one who can do anything and not care what anyone thinks, or look like it. John Belushi comes to mind. Charles Bukowski.  Bob Flanagan. Any stand-up comedian. I may have come close years ago in my bungy-jumping stage. If it was risky, I was willing to try it, or say it. Wrap a rubber band to my feet and let me jump. And I did.

He didn't have a fear bone in his body, but he did have a lot of drugs.

But it’s amazing how I’ve gone to the opposite extreme as I’ve aged. When I was younger, I didn’t care what happened to me. Now I have panic attacks because I’m afraid of dying in my sleep or on a plane. All it takes to set an attack in motion is a tweak in my chest for a fraction of a second. “Game on” in my head. With announcers, too.

And then there is this blog. I want to takes risks, push the envelope, be fearless. But I don’t know if I have the courage to do it, and that makes me disappointed in myself. The fear I’ve developed over the years, combined with OCD, is a roller-coaster of bravery and panic. Up and down, up and down. Like yesterday and today.

I pulled my first published post, the one written in the style of Charles Bukowski. I spent three days on it with my OCD firing like a rocket engine. I even held back in comparison to how far Bukowski pushes his prose. I think I got close to his style and how the world might have looked to him had he had cystic fibrosis. I knew the post pushed boundaries, even for this blog, and added a warning like you might find on property guarded by a crazy farmer with a loaded gun. But I thought the post was true to its subject. Then the “it sounded better in my head” part of fear crept in with: Are you crazy? But I summoned a crumb of courage and clicked “Publish” last night.

Then I panicked. I wrote another post to push the Bukowski post back one notch. Done, in the past. No one will notice it. I felt better. Then I woke up this morning in “spiraling out of control mode” thanks to lower back/kidney pain (another post).

What did I do? Not one comment. Not good. Hmm. Did I go too far? What will people think? I like the people who read my blog. I don’t even know them. But I do. They won’t understand the style and connect it to me. It is connected to me – I wrote it. The post is too far out there. But it’s mellow Bukowski compared to his works. It will be okay. Leave it, you wuss.

So, I removed it. And I’m not sure how I feel now. Disappointed in myself because I pulled it? Perhaps. I take this blog seriously. It’s interesting to put writing out there for others to read and see how it’s interpreted. If there’s a silver lining to this story, it’s that I am pushing boundaries because my posts have made me uncomfortable lately. The question is: do I have the courage to keep pushing?

If there’s there’s a blogging downside, it’s finding your own internal editor to tell you when you pushed too far, what’s gold or crap, and whether to hit “Publish” or “Move to Trash.” I can never tell. Maybe I need to ask: What would Bob Flanagan do?

20 thoughts on “Courage is hard to find some days

  1. First: I think you are VERY courageous, in every way, every day.
    Two: I loved the Bukowski post, and not just because my name was in the intro. It was so good. I lapped up every word. I was going to comment, but by the time I thought of a comment that was “good enough”, I couldn’t find the post.
    Finally: I completely understand why you trashed it. I know the feeling, and I know the choice. Of course you chose that- wouldn’t it be fucking awesome if we could put everything that scares us in a neat little file called “trash”? Thanks for being you.
    P.S.: How are you producing so many incredible posts so damn quickly? You must have a stash, dude.

    • Lizi,

      I’m so happy you read it. I was hoping you would and enjoy it. You made my day.

      Thanks for the compliment about my recent posts. I have no stash of blog posts. I have been riding the OCD wave for days now like a short-order cook high on Crystal Meth and Red Bull. Hold on, Baby, we’re gonna crash, and it’s going to hurt a lot.

      Thanks for this comment.


  2. I’ve never been someone who needs a lot of validation from others. I’m generally very satisfied with myself even though I know a lot of people disagree with me or think I’m weird. However, this blogging thing has recently turned me into someone with an insatiable hunger for validation.

    I play the same game in my head, “it’s good, it’s funny!” then a few minutes later “it’s shit, delete it!”. What I try to remember is that I started this blog for ME. It’s also the only record of any kind that I’m keeping for posterity, so of course I hope my daughter will read it someday. But that’s it. It’s not for anyone else.

    Do I enjoy the comments I get from other people? Absoultely. Do I value the friendships I’ve formed through my blog? You betcha! But in the end, my blog is not for them. Thinking this way certianly doesn’t ALWAYS cure that need for validation, but it does make me push the ‘publish’ button more often than the ‘delete’ button.

    • Jenny,

      Hold on a second, I’m using a luffa sponge to rub the Justin Bieber tattoo off my ass. Ouch.

      Great comment. You are on the money. And I really appreciate you writing it because it makes me feel better. And I know it will help the next time I have a post I’m afraid to press Publish on. What would Jenny do? is the new question I’ll ask. I’m serious. Jenny says, publish the MF post, chickenshit.

      You’re awesome.


  3. You’ve been a blogging maniac the last week or so, my inbox can’t keep up with you. As to the question what would Bob do, I think he would give the world the finger while singing a song then he would go and lay down and look at the sky for a while. 😉
    I enjoyed the post that you’ve deleted, I’ve never heard of the writer whose style you where using but the style seem to fit you for some reason! While reading it I was playing it out in my head like a Monty Python sketch, it would be an excellent piece for them to do. So you keep writing what you like and if the rest of us don’t like it then that’s just tough, you write it for you and your family.
    BTW I like Sean of Englandshire, I might use that as an official title.

    • I officially knight you, Sir Sean of Englandshire. It does fit you, my good man. You’re royalty. Now I expect an invite to the castle this summer. Let’s go on a crusade together. I have to be back by 4 to do my treatments though.

      Yes, the perk of subscribing is receiving the “banned in 30 countries” posts. Charles Bukowski is an interesting dude. Funny books. Check out his Wikipedia page. They made a movie about him, Barfly. Semi-autobiography.

      Your humble serf,


  4. When I clicked on the post to read it had already been deleted. A wave of despair swept over me. How? Why? Where did it go? It will always be known as the lost UC post now…I will just have to speculate about its brilliance.

    As your #1 stalker, you know I would have commented, had I read!

  5. I’ve been blogging and attending blogging conferences since before it was en vogue (my wife was on the “making fun of train” for a long time)… and I can tell you a few things about how you feel about your desire for validation and comments. Hope you enjoy my advice as much as I do. 😉

    Write what you want to write and how you want to write it. People will come and go, keep coming, or keep going based on who these people are and how you are either 1) honest about/with yourself or 2) pander to what you think they want to read.

    In the end, you WANT people and will be validated by people who like you for who you are and who like reading what you write on any given day. Have I ever stopped going to someone’s site after one off the wall post? I’m 95% sure I haven’t. It usually takes a few weeks until I decide that this person and I are not on the same page with what I want to read. Personally, I don’t care for your Fox posts, but I still come back time and time again because you add value to my life with your other writing.

  6. I also loved the Bukowsky post and I’m really glad I had the chance to read it before you deleted it. I’m not familiar with other Bukowsky material which is mainly why I didn’t comment, but the writing style fit you to a “T” (at least the little of what I known about the great Unknown).

    Continue to post whatever you want. Don’t let what others might think make you question the validity of what you have to say.

    • Brandi,

      You rock. Thanks for letting me know you liked it. Bukowski is an interesting read. Not for everyone. Great observation about his style and mine. I found it comfortable to slide into his style, and it was a good writing exercise. His style is very plain, simple. I had to strip the sentences to their bare minimum over and over, especially the dialog.

      I will continue to post what I want. Thanks.


  7. I’m really shitty at keeping up with my blog reading. I would have loved theBukowski post. In addition to strong, hopeful, cautious, conscientious, and considerate, sometimes we need a place to be angry, irreverent, and impulsive. Me, personally? I need to swear and be offensive on occasion. but communicating with the group of people I have set out to help doesn’t really enable that. Neither does two young children.

    Maybe I should rent out some cabins and we can all get together for a Bukowski retreat. I’ll bring 20 typewriters and 200 bottles of red wine. We can throw obscenities like fists at all that enrages and oppresses us.
    I often don’t write the words I want to say because I will lose my ‘audience’ . I censor myself.
    If we are afraid to speak our words, the ones that come from us and belong to us, the ones that make up the darker parts of who we really are….how will anyone ever know us? That’s not to say I’ll change anything.

    But I’d still love to read the Bukowski post. 🙂

    • Amy,

      Awesome idea about the writing and cabins. I can only imagine the craziness that would ensue. 200 bottles of red wine spells trouble.

      I think you should write what you want to write, but I’m not the guy to give that advice, as I’ve struggle with it all the time. However, I did make some strides this week.


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