That was the final post of my first day of blogging. Over three years ago i said that i would elaborate on it, but in the absence of any elaboration the post became a kind of private in-joke, a punchline with no setup.
Honestly, i forgot what i had meant to say. For three years the post has stared at me expectantly from the top of that first archive page, as if to say, “Haven’t you figured out yet?” Today i finally did.
This morning i watched a co-worker addressing an envelope, and i caught myself thinking his handwriting was unbearably sloppy. Not because it was illegible, or irregular, but because he did not use any straight lines. The side of his N bowed inwards; the cross of his J was like a wry grin.
In that moment i was reminded of the post, and i suddenly understood — both the post and how i can spend four hours of recording the vocals of just one song, never quite satisfied. It’s not that anything about his writing and my singing is incomprehensible, or incorrect. No. It’s the unintentional lack of precision. I dislike my singing because i scoop vowels and slur consonants without consciously meaning to — i just sing the way that i would speak. It’s not wrong, but it’s not on purpose either. It’s exactly the reason i cringed at my coworker’s version of “NJ” on the envelope – he didn’t have any straighter lines to offer it.
I used to covet good handwriting — perfect, font-like handwriting. I strove for perfection, writing my letters correctly, perfectly vertical, perfectly rounded. After a few years the perfection came with relative ease, so i allowed myself to slowly slip away from it. I began creating my own font, stylizing my fs and as, not because i was sloppy, or lazy, but because i was personalizing. Making it my own. Whereas, i cannot yet force my voice to be perfectly rounded or piercingly straight, so i cannot afford to blur its edges.
From there, it’s easy to complete the analogy that has been plaguing me for so long. My hair is something i used to be so apathetic to that i just let it grow, hanging down my neck in a nondescript tail or surrounding my face in a bushy halo. I was specifically against styling it an any way — it seemed to be besides the point. However, in college i started paying more attention. Now, though i tend to wait a few weeks too long to get a new haircut, i always look in the mirror before i walk out the door. My page’s layout is the perfectly analogous to this — it’s something i used to treat as transparent, but that i now detail carefully, if not often. It has a function: it is part of my appearance — the impression that i give off.
In short, at the time i hadn’t yet exercised control over my hair and my handwriting, and had just got the inkling that i would have the same issues with my layout and my voice. And, three years later, i feel as though i have mastered the former and am just now beginning to consciously control the latter.
Wow, i just freed up a few brain circuits that have been locked up for the majority of my collegiate career. I ought to do a crossword.