“What is important is to remember that it is not the way in which we record our existence, but that we do record it. In the air, and everywhere around, we must remember how the streets ring out for every soul that thought and felt and passed through them in weakness and in strength”, wrote the young writer and poet and sailor Nicholas Heiney before he ended his life in 2006.
Nobody really pays much attention to what I do or think or say, and that is quite all right because if I’m young, and I haven’t yet proved to anyone that I actually have anything to offer. I’m eighteen. I’ve not even finished school. What do I know, really?
If you’re my age, or younger, the same is true for you.
Like, if I evaluated myself as a source, objectively, I would place myself far down on the list of credible sources that were worth listening to. While it may injure my ego to think so, and while I may like to be the peacock youth are accused of being, and while I may like to extend my plumes to make myself appear bigger and older and wiser to everyone, the honest truth is that I’m barely more than a kid.
Neither are you, if you’re my age. However, ever since I heard that quote from Nicholas Heiney that I opened this post with, it has resonated in me. I have felt slightly less uneasy at times for extending the plumage here on the blog and elsewhere.
Why should I not speak? Why should I not try to be heard? Why should I not be trusted to know what is going on in my own life, and in my own society concerning the things that go on among my peers? Can I not think for myself?
Even if I don’t know everything about the real world and its machinations, I think that recording myself here on the blog is somehow worth it. And it is worth it if you do too because of that other poem from Nicholas Heiney that affected me very much.
I sing, as I was told
I sing inside myself
the one wild song, song that whirls
my words around
until a world unfurls
That song is inside me too, and it is so powerful, so loud, so intense. Now, it can not be contained, muted, or shut up. Or, maybe age will do so. Maybe the movements of the days and years will quiet it until it is a whisper drowned out by the idea that our youthful energy and passion were wasted and misplaced on the frivolous. Maybe that voice will say that we were peacocks, glorious peacocks with deep rich feathers. Maybe that voice will say that the feathers will fade, and we will just be one more gray face in the crowd.
But that voice is a lie. It is defeat. It is fatigue. It is the hurting sides after a long run when everything will just be much better if you sit down and rest and do nothing. But the act of running, or recording yourself, and thinking about yourself, and analysing yourself is as healthy as running. The hurting sides is not the essence of the act.
Record yourself. It’s not narcissism. Not even if you have an audience. Well, there may be an element of narcissism, but that is okay too. What it is mostly about is to think and feel and act. What it is about is to be human, a good human, a better human. And to make a record of it for the ones that come after. Maybe. Or to make a record of it for yourself, to remember the song in your mind if it ever starts to fade.