The art of not being seen

What is it that turns off the green light in our minds? I’m often struck by just how fast I can flick from being ‘go go go’ to ‘no no no’. I’m not talking about hitting the wall or running out of puff or other such turns of phrase. I’m talking about the weird disempowered backing away one does when finding themselves in a place of fear, guilt or embarrassment.

When things stop

I find these moments pop up often when I’m trying to make progress in something. Not much will be needed to make me screech to a halt on whatever it was I was powering away on and literally drop all motivation into a deep hole, slumping into a long sad wallow. I even have a name for this – blobbing.

Blobbing is when you just blank and give up and wallow. If there was a prize for ‘best at blobbing’ I would have my name engraved on the perpetual trophy. I know we all have low times where motivation isn’t around but surely there are others like me who find themselves blobbing all too often at the worst of times. Why is it when we want to walk forward, these are the times we find it so so difficult?!

Invisibility is rad

I recently was pondering this question and have decided it has to do with being invisible vs being seen. In my experience, being watched by others is such a kill switch for productivity and freedom. Am I right? We even have the ability to ‘watch’ ourselves by overthinking things and expecting too much of ourselves.

On the opposite side, when we don’t have crazy expectations of ourselves or any coming from others, it’s like we’re invisible. There’s a thrill to that kind of living. Waltzing around pulling faces, flouncing about in fancy dress, taking risks and running wild with no obvious consequences. What do they say? Dance like no one’s watching. That kind of dancing looks very different from how we’d move if watched by a room of people.

Critical self thought sucks

The sense of being watched is so heightened by social media and the resulting self documentation. I’m guilty of often worrying about what I look like from outside myself when I do even the smallest task – talking to my child, reading a book, driving the car. I know we aren’t all wired to be so introspective or aware of judgement or appearance but I do see many others caught in this same trap. ‘Share your plight and ask for accountability and encouragement’, ‘share your story to help someone else who’s going through it’. These messages quickly become opening chapters for stories of judgement, self censorship, assumptions, criticism and – blobbing!

Writer’s block is the least of my worries

As a writer I find myself daily hoping to find the time to jot – to empty my mind of some strange idea or fuzzy thought. I have been known to write weird stuff and crap stuff and all manner of disjointed and terribly written stuff. I’m all too aware of that. And working professionally as a writer is hard because it makes you constantly question how you’re going, where things are at, whether you’re good enough to get paid for the words you’ve strung together.

But the fact remains – I am motivated to write. Every day. I want to! Being the dramatic person I am, I’d even say I need to! So why is it when I most want to walk forward in my journey to eventually be a successful professional writer, I fall in a heap and have a good old mope? Why? Because I’m not invisible – not even to myself. And to be free, I believe we need that sense of invisibility, anonymity and openness.

The plan to see-through my goals (heh.)

Ironically, I get the sense that the more I write whatever crazy stuff is in my head, the better my stuff might get. So when that green light in my mind threatens to turn red, I will be donning my invisibility cloak and ‘throwing some killer shapes’ to get back in the spirit of ‘go and don’t stop’.

Here’s to mastering the art of not being seen. And here’s to becoming a better writer and a better person because of it.

This post was inspired by Mark Manson’s post ‘The subtle art of not giving a f**k’ and Monty Python’s classic skit ‘How not to be seen’. Please read/watch both – you won’t regret it! Mark Manson’s post goes hard on the language though so be ready for that.

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