Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

August 22, 2007

Edited For Your Pleasure

This blog has served many purposes since I started it earlier this year. When I first started writing, it was mostly just a way for me to vent and share my war stories about the dating battlefield. It was purely a relief to pound out my frustration and utter disbelief at some of the crap I was encountering date after date.

After a few on-line bitch sessions, I discovered yet another benefit. The more I wrote and realized that people were actually reading, the more conscious I became of what I was saying. Suddenly this wasn't just an e-journal where I could babble endlessly, feeling sorry for myself. No, I had to have something to say. It had to make sense. That storytelling aspect of the blog made me realize just how little sense my actual emotions were often making. As my mom always says, "Just because you feel it, doesn't mean it's true." The same goes for writing.

My writing process now begins with me furiously typing out everything that comes to my head. I call this "verbal vomit." Then I go back and read what I wrote as if I were an outsider like you. This comes pretty easily to me, especially if I let a little time lapse between writing and editing. I am able to quickly see exactly where I am simply full of shit. Not that I'm intentionally lying, just basically trying to pull one over on myself. Trying to justify every b.s. emotion that I encounter instead of thinking it through.

We all do this, get caught up in our own emotional crap. That's why shrinks recommend "journaling" to get your emotions out of your head and onto paper. But what they should be recommending is "journaling and EDITING."

When I spot an unnecessary element to the story I'm telling, out it goes. Click, DELETE. And it's not just deleted from my blog entry, but also from my emotional memory of the event. Basically, this blog has became a cheap form of therapy. I have since discovered that after writing, editing and finally hitting the "publish post" button, I feel immediately clearer of mind and just downright more cheerful.

Perhaps that's why I'm writing here tonight, even though I'm so tired from travelling (yet another day trip up north for work). Plus I spent most of the evening crying and in a panic over my never ending money worries and an ant infestation that was the LAST thing I wanted to deal with when I got home from the airport. Tears still on my face, half asleep before I even put the vacuum away from ant sucking, and here I am typing away. And I'm already feeling better.

All of that is benefit enough. But yesterday I discovered yet another value to this blog. But it requires me admitting to you that I've been a bit of an emotional wreck the last few weeks. Money troubles (anyone have ideas for making some extra cash that doesn't involve any form of Internet porn?), health issues that may likely involve some pretty major surgery and long-term rehab (nothing life threatening, just a major inconvenience), and that pesky thing called trying to build a relationship on the shaky foundation that is my faith in men.

Let's just say that Wine Guy is putting up with a lot of Trooper emotion, and I know it's bringing him down. The other night we were lounging on my patio listening to the crickets chirping in the canyon below when he told me how upset he was after getting off the phone with me the previous evening. I was particularly down and overly mopey and he hung up asking himself "Who is this sad girl I'm dating?"

As I began to profusely apologize (ugh, poor guy), he interrupted me saying, "But then I read your blog and I felt better." Huh?

He told me that reading a few entries helped him recall that "funny, happy girl" he has let into his life. He said he could hear my voice while reading my words and that helped him remember who I really am. Not this sad, stressed out girl on the other end of the phone line.

Sure, I'm relieved to know that my genuine voice is coming through in these entries and that this helped Wine Guy overcome a tough night of dealing with me. It also was a pretty harsh realization that I need to start being that funny, happy girl again in real life, not just in a blog. Because I'm pretty sure Wine Guy wouldn't settle for reading me on a Saturday night, if you know what I mean.

So I went back and read a few entries and it helped me remember too.

I like to think that what you are reading is the "real me," but that would probably be a stretch. However, I can say that this is the "real, edited version of me." The person I would be if I could freeze time and edit exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to react or behave in real life, in real time. But I guess that would make me a super hero or something, wouldn't it?

By the way, the one thing this blog shouldn't do is serve as a way for my real life friends to "keep in touch" with me. Sure, you'll get the gist of what's going through my mind at that particular moment, but if you really want to know about me beyond a (hopefully) entertaining few paragraphs a couple times a week, I suggest a phone call or email, OK? :-)



coffeesnob said...

calling could be tricky. i don't know your number.

sexagenarian and the city said...

dt, i was interested that wg wanted to 'recall that "funny, happy girl"' -- yes, men want women to keep them cheerful, to be 'funny' & 'happy'; do women have that expectation for men? if a woman's boyfriend was down for some reason, would she wonder where that 'witty', 'funny' man went? one of my friend roy's 'rules,' rules that i've blogged about, is that women should be 'fun.' i didn't critique it; i accepted it.
is it just that human beings like other hbs to be 'fun,' or is there a gender imbalance?

Kelly said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your writing process and how it helps you deal. A few months ago, I quit my job and started out on my own as a freelance copywriter. I write marketing communications for growing companies that don't have in-house writers. I'm actually making more than I did at my job-job now, and it hasn't been difficult to get people to hire me. You've got the writing gift & the EDITING gift & the people skills to get folks to like and trust you, & you obviously enjoy writing, so why not let it make you extra money on the side? And it pays better than lap dances!

Melissa said...

There is definately an element of turning the imagined into the real and being able to tell the difference once it's put to paper. Without writing, or talking to someone, or some other way of making our thoughts real, we are fooled into believing many of them. Our thoughts are supposed to be uncensored brain storms -- we're not supposed to actually believe all of it. But I think our society is starting to lose the ability to distinguish between reality and the other random brain storms in our head. Viva la writer!

Dating Trooper - Dating is Warfare said...

Mimi (Sexeganarian) - I do think there is some gender imbalance - at least in the initial dating phase. Women tend to be more attracted to "troubled" men in the beginning. Perhaps they are more interesting to us? While men just seem to want a happy-go-lucky gal. However, when the relationship starts (and the dating ends), I think it's pretty equal. We both want to help and nurture the other (hopefully), but if that doesn't work, we both get frustrated and start considering giving up.

Kelly, thanks for the nice words. I would love to make a little money off of the writing thing. Though I don't really know where to start to get that going. Any ideas how to get myself out there in that capacity would be much appreciated. Congrats on your success in doing it!!

Melissa - Yes, talking to friends is definitely another way to work out the b.s. we feed ourselves. But sometimes I do like to give my friends a break and take it out on my little laptop instead.

Coffeesnob - Perhaps it's better you don't have my number. Long distance from Australia could be quite expensive!

Land Mines said...

This was a great blog and sooo very true. I feel as if my blog is exactly that verbal vomit. I''m working on the editing. :)

As always thanks for sharing. Wish I had some ideas for making extra cash because I am in the same situation. Good luck with everything!


Land Mines said...

This was a great blog and sooo very true. I feel as if my blog is exactly that verbal vomit. I''m working on the editing. :)

As always thanks for sharing. Wish I had some ideas for making extra cash because I am in the same situation. Good luck with everything!


Anonymous said...

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