Heads up, this content is 16 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Okay, here’s the plan:

Everyone in the Bay Area who’s paying attention right now, please do the following (even if you’re in a monogamous relationship)…

  1. Go to CrazyBlindDate.com.
  2. Walk through the SF Bay Area site wizard (it doesn’t ask for any personal info until the end)
  3. Make yourself available for Sunday, Monday, and/or Tuesday nights (the more the better).
  4. Make your territory as broad as you feel comfortable with, but at least include San Francisco’s Mission District (you can get there. i know you can).
  5. Make yourself available for all ages and genders with no other restrictions (come on! you can deal with this! okay, specify gender IF YOU MUST).
  6. Use the “Intention” box to be honest about the fact that you’re just doing this for fun and to meet new people. (You should probably mention that monogamous relationship of yours, too.)
  7. Finish the wizard, sit back, and see who it sets you up with (you can always say “no”).
  8. Show up (even if it seems really really weird. You’re totally allowed to bail after 20 minutes).
  9. Twitter an update about your date every time you or your date goes to the restroom (keeping in mind that your date might see those tweets).

You’ve got nothing to lose except your pride, and that’s really not worth keeping anyway. Ready? Go.

Heads up, this content is 16 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

The other thing that came up in my conversations with Emma today was ego and its relationship to creativity and public presence. Basically, when my inflated ego is running the show, my work kinda sucks. But when I can skirt under its radar and stay decently humble, I can do wonderful things.

I got hit in the head with this fact about five years ago when I was living on the East Coast and calling myself a “poet.” I was performing frequently, winning slams (competitions), influencing local arts culture, and being told daily how amazing I was. My ego inflated to the size of a rhinoceros, and then — almost immediately — something horrible happened: I stopped writing poetry for three years.

It was the kind of writer’s block that I’ve heard referred to as Superstar Syndrome: I felt like I couldn’t top my own work. I had become so invested in the identity of being impressive that I lost all willingness to make mistakes. It felt safer to create nothing than to risk creating something less-than-awesome.

Fast forward to now, where I’m slowly inching my toes back into the poetry pool (the water’s nice!), and playing around in Social Media sandbox. I’m aware that I’m mumbling into a megaphone with all these fancy tools, toys, and words, and that I don’t get to control the outcomes. Occasionally I get hit with an ego bomb that catches me completely off guard, and I’m reminded to check in with my intentions.

Encouragement is helpful and I usually need some kind of validation, but I also have to constantly work to find a safe balance in my self-image. It’s not something I can just “fix” — it’s constant maintenance. It’s spiritual grounding. It’s remembering that we’re all equal. It’s remembering that when other people give me attention, it’s not about me; it’s about them.

But oooh…. look at all my shiny twitter followers… Look! I must be awesome!

Down, girl. Sit. Stay.

Heads up, this content is 16 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

As the conversation with Emma today dug deeper, I remembered a process someone explained to me a year ago around working through resentments. It goes something like this:

  1. Who am I resentful at and why?
  2. What does this affect in my life?
  3. Am I willing to try to show this person the same tolerance, pity, and patience that I’d give a sick friend?
  4. What’s my part in this situation? How did I add to it?
  5. Have I been telling myself that I’m right and they’re wrong? (Yes…)
  6. Am I using this sense of superiority to gain self-esteem or power? (*sigh* okay, yes….)
  7. Am I doing this because I’m afraid that the “regular” me is not enough? (i don’t want to admit this, but, yeah, sure, okay, that’s one way of looking at it…)
  8. They didn’t act right. What values could they have been acting with instead?
  9. How can I work on strengthening those values in my own life?
  10. I’m grateful that I have this obstacle to practice on.

Questions #8 and #9 go together and require a lot of thoughtfulness, honesty, and humility (which I can tap into if I paid attention during #4-#7). If I can find an overlap between What They Suck At and What I Probably Oughta Work On, I’ve hit on where I need to put my focus. Then something magical happens (or I need to lather, rinse, repeat), and the resentment starts to fade away.

Try it sometime. Let me know how it works for you.