Good morning crickets. Welcome to day number three-hundred-sixty of Operation Achieve Anything. Even though I wasn’t nearly as stressed as I’ve been over the past couple of years’ worth of Christmas events, I’m still happy that this year’s holiday season is over. I shared a few reasons why I felt this year was easier in yesterday’s Christmas post, but since then I’ve realized a couple more things.
First, I felt more like I wanted to be there because this was the year that I finally put my foot down and opted out of the big family get together, with the aunts, uncles, and cousins. I love these people, but right now, I’m still working through my social anxiety issues that led to my midlife meltdown and can feel extra out of place since no one in my real life has yet to even hint at the fact that they’ve noticed a change in my personality.
I used to be bubbly, and always up for a good time, and for four years straight, I only answer questions with closed-ended answers to get people to move on. I’m not upset by the fact that everyone respects my wishes and let me observe the world from corners of rooms, but it would be really nice if someone at some point would have pulled me aside to say, “Let’s have a real talk some time,” or something to that effect.
I’m not saying this as a personal criticism them because I’m the same exact way from being raised by these people, who were taught these ways by the people who raised them. I feel like I’m often accused of being selfish, and/or passing the blame when really, I’m just trying to explore how and why I struggle to relate to the rest of the world and a big part of my issues has to do with how I interpret, whether accurate or not, how I interact with others.
I often fear that others may think that I see myself as an all-knowing preacher expressing my insights as rules when really I just like to explore ideas without doing so only through my fictional characters in my stories. Since I’m not one-percent tied to any idea that irks me, in this new world, where EVERYTHING is so polarizing that noncommitment to a cause equals guilt, I tend to want to censor myself and give up on interacting with the world.
This is why I spent more of my holiday time deleting old posts on social media. At first, I was a bit bummed because it made me feel like I was giving up on exploring these old ideas but then I started to look at it like I was just editing old work to closer represent what I believe, minus the drunken ramblings. By the time that I woke up in the morning, I saw this tidying of social media thoughts as more of a benefit than anything.
I’ve been wanting to do this for a couple of years since I no longer feel like the old me. I felt keeping these old “Bunker” thoughts, the party animal version of me, was the only way for me to hang on to the parts of my old mask that I used to love. I also sort of saw post deleting as my effort to rewrite history and act as if I never had as crass of a past. I finally realized that I’m not hiding anything because all of the examples of the old me are within the pages of this blog, which I may clean as far as typos go from time to time, but I will never hide an old thought that I once share as content.
This line of thinking opened my eyes to a whole new way of looking at things to where I now feel even more excited about my future. I now see my life play out this way. The neglect that I felt as a child from having two parents struggling to make ends meet so that they could provide for the family while surviving themselves led me to being obsessed with TV, even more after they split. I instantly fell in love with stand-up comedy the first time I saw one of the many stand-up shows that were ubiquitous since they were so cheap to produce during the beginning phases of modern cable TV. I also loved the growing access to movies, which was a medium I loved since I was born.
My love of stand-up led to my drive of wanting to entertain others, while my love of cinema taught me to love the art of storytelling since with was a time when comedian, at the time seemed to be more focused on joke structure and laughs with less of a focus on a cohesive narrative. My love of stories from films directed me to follow joke slingers who walked the line of performing stand-up and putting on a one-man-show.
I moved into my first garage in junior high school when my two younger sisters were born and needed a room. This was great for me in that the space was so big, it was like having my own studio. I had a paper route giving me an income to do what I want, and a working mom who made cakes in her spare time with the same passion that I work on this blog, but she also had the incentive to support us. This is why I never feel like I can complain, but at the same time, it’s why I feel like I’ve lived a life with no guidance at all, and can get frustrated when I still feel completely lost, with distant entertainers filling the role as my mentors. Enter my love of talk radio.
Not Morning Zoo nonsense where a group of idiots talk in between songs, but real talk like Howard Stern with used both humor and story to express themselves. Howard was always my favorite, not because of all of the scantily clad strippers and porn stars, who I couldn’t even see, and always hated was the main selling point when he had his show on E!, I was more fascinated by his exploration of life. When I first started listening, he was a miserable man who never left his basement yet could effortlessly fill any airtime by finding what’s interesting in the mundane.
This opened me up to embracing the fact that I was an introverted observer who had some funny ideas which is what led me to build my mask of an extrovert, known as Bunker, to go out and explore the world, and would through myself in the craziest of situations, not really to join in but observe and share my findings. Eventually, I went too deep in the undercover extrovert sting, but it took decades for me to get caught.
Before getting caught but after my first putting on the Bunker mask, I was still too shy to really get out of my comfort zone and take my concepts to the stage, so I started to jot down my stories. As I often point out, I have dyslexia and struggle with English classes throughout my entire history with school, but I needed an outlet for my stories. This is why I started with scripts since I saw them as blueprints for what will be seen on the screen meaning I’d be safe from too many criticisms on how I taught myself to place words onto a page.
I went on as a screenwriting Bunker for decades while I attempted to hone my craft while continuing to seek out chaos for my inspiration. Enter social media. As a screenwriter, I barely shared my written work with the world, even in the screenplay format because all of the feedback I ever got was how my technical writing skills were terrible, while most people enjoyed the creativity and concepts being shared. At first, social media was more like the real world. I was only connecting to friends and family, and just like in reality, I was slow in testing people’s sensibilities before I would interact, but when I did, my playful/silly approach got a lot of positive attention, even if that just meant one or two likes. I was just excited to feel as if I was being heard.
In real life, I always only felt genuinely comfortable with a handful of people at a time. Though I may have appeared to be an extrovert because of my mask, most times, when I seemed to be the most outgoing, it was because I felt comfortable talking to the two or three people in front of me, passively entertaining any others who may overhear us or attempt to get involved. Even my interaction with those who would then join the group was more meant to entertain my friends and not really to make a new acquaintance unless they were really fun when playing along. When it came to social media, I was allowed to expand this feeling of passively entertaining an audience of strangers.
The more and more my screenplays would get rejected, even as my technical writing skills continued to grow, over being not marketable enough over the merit of the story, the more and more I wanted a new outlet where I didn’t need any form of middleman to approve my work. This is why I started The Wicker Breaker site. I don’t think I would have started this page if I didn’t have the confidence boost from the interactions that I’d get through my social media posts.
Blogging and social media became my new thing where I was able to hold on to the joke telling that I loved thanks to stand-up through Tweets and Facebook updates, and my blog posts allowed me to focus more on storytelling. As with most new comedians, my social media approach was very sloppy as I attempted to find my voice. It didn’t help that more than half the time I was either on drugs or alcohol or just in need an ego boost to inspire my wall rambling, while my blog posts were more thought out.
I’m now to the point where I want to merge more of my humor back into The Wicker Breaker page while continuing to discover and nurture this blogging approach to expressing myself, only now it’s time for me to stop being so derivative of my influencers and nail down this new voice that’s purely me. This is probably why I’ve been so hung up on my relationship with offensive humor in the most recent day of the My Saturday Night Life challenge. Just like with my real-life relationships, I can tend to burn bridges on my way out, to avoid the pain that may come when ghosts from the past try to reach out, and not that I’m filled with hate, the way that I may lead them to believe.
In order to find my authentic voice, I feel like I need to make this same sort of hard break from my comedic influences, which might be why my reactions can seem harsh or judgemental toward the things that I used to love. I’ve also noticed, that ever since this epiphany came to me, I feel less passionate about the My Saturday Night Life challenge. Not because I’m no longer enjoying the show but because I think I finally got the answers to the questions that I was subliminally seeking that led me to start the challenge in the first place. So now I feel like I’m just enjoying the show minus the quest for insights on growth while questioning how I’ve evolved.
This lack of passion probably also has to do with the fact that I’m up to more modern shows that are unfamiliar to me, so they no longer take me back to who I was when each episode initially aired. I have no plans to give up, but I’m now sort of struggling with how to transition out of the extremely reflective stage where I’ve been dancing for the past several months, into something way more light-hearted and fun.
My ultimate goal is to keep writing until my voice feels authentic enough to where my writing style can grow to be as fluid as my mood. I want to be able to float around without worrying about the audience's expectations, which is another thing that I’m learning from the My Saturday Night Life challenge. I feel that I’ve already gotten pretty good at doing whatever the hell that I want. At the same time, I have back of the mind concerns that in doing so, I’m frustrating some readers who don’t feel comfortable the inconsistencies in my work. Like how sometimes I do get too autobiographical, while other times, I can get too hung up on certain aspects of the show, and then other times I have no problem going entirely off topic for too long.
I’m now much more comfortable with my freedom to do what I want since, now, I legitimately see this moment in time as me being six years into a ten-year challenge that was intentionally designed to work all of these issues out. After this challenge is up, the plan is to truly dig into to my next ten-year plan where I want to adapt all twenty-five-plus of my screenplays into a collection of novels. This would then lead to a final ten-year plan where, once all of my old first drafts are clean and available, I’ll take everything that I’ve ever learned about writing and life to then write a final novel that shares all of my findings and retire into a life of relaxation after that.
All of this actually plays into yesterday’s assignment where I was supposed to explore my authentic self/my voice and why it’s important not to censor yourself. At first, I thought it was weird timing considering I was literally in the process of deleting posts from my past when I read the task for the day. This timing actually really helped me to see the light in why I decided to start to attempt to curate my thought from the past.
From here on out, I will probably go back and clean up all of my social media ramblings at the end of each month until I work through my cravings to just blurt out whatever’s bothering me the second that I feel the urge based on other’s thoughts. After all, that type of judgment of my personal beliefs is what usually gets me fired up in the first place and then leads to self-hate. I do see a bit of the hypocrisy in my own views that everyone’s voice should be heard but don’t always like the aggressive tone in some of these voices.
With that, it’s now time to introduce the assignment for today where I’m now supposed to continue to tear away the costume that I’ve been wearing as a poser who once needed to rely on disguises to find who he really was. As you can see, I’m already thinking along these lines so tomorrow will probably be another long winded post if you’re into that sort of thing. Either way, it’s now that time for me to sign off as usual by saying, good day and good luck to you and all of your projects.
Talk to you soon.
The Wicker Breaker
P.S. Below are links to my novel, which I plan to promote as part of Operation Achieve Anything, as well as a link to where you can buy the book that is providing the structure to this project in case you would like to purchase it in order to play along.