The one thing that I wanted to talk about was the concept of believing in yourself, especially in the age of the internet. You’re constantly comparing yourself to other people, you’re constantly comparing yourself to other… like people in your field of study that may be better than you are at what you’re doing. They may be better artistes, better musicians, when you are constantly trying to meet the expectations of someone else? you’re letting yourself down. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone, I don’t need to compare myself to anyone except myself, I don’t owe anybody anything
- Interlude on M.I’s Last night I had a dream about a hummingbird
I think about a lot of random shit. The devil works hard, but the associative networks in my head work harder. First, they plop down (when you read that, I want you to think of discrete cylindrical dollops of shit) a random thought into my mind.
For example, I see my colleague Alex, and then I remember my house master from secondary school Mr Alex, and then… plop
*when I recall my seniors and teachers from secondary school, I still remember them as being physically bigger than me even though most of them are probably not bigger than me anymore…*
Sometimes I discard the thought and end it there, or (recently) jot it down in a note I titled *Hits Blunt*. Other times, I share with someone around me, or with my followers on Twitter for some good ‘ol reliable likes.
*tweeting is, for me, like shouting in a canyon and waiting for echoes*
Occasionally though, the thought reminds me of another discarded thought, which reminds me of another thought, and then another thought and then… you get the point.
When the chain of discarded plops seems to be — even slightly — related, and I need a way to petri dish the ideas until I come to a good conclusion, then Medium.
So, here we are.
*the thing with the world getting smaller is that people will get even smaller*
These days, when I think of sharing something “original”, my personal demon shows up on my shoulder like…
- Ope, do you want to publish this and revel in your ignorance or just, like, google the topic and find 2,345 people that have thought of the same thing before, maybe more elaborately.
- In the larger scheme of things being created and shared, does your… you know what? never mind…
Write answers on Quora? Answer questions on Stack Overflow? Post pictures? Same bus stop. The more time I spend consuming the world, the smaller I feel, and the less impressive my things sound to me. Recently, I’ve been reading stuff about the human mind, and human history and you know, what makes us people and it doesn’t really help oloun, because I admire these bodies of work so much so I end up shrinking myself. These people are spending their lives doing important stuff, and I’m…?
*why are you so concerned about being small? what does it mean to you to create something “important”?*
There has been no point in my life when I wanted to be a big man, or a famous/influential person. In fact, all through uni, I was the friend that claimed to not want to be wealthy (I’ve changed my mind on this one cos whew!). One of coolest things Ezra did (as for me) in the early days of Paystack when we had “techie hype” was to set all our internet passwords to “localchampions…” (he hasn’t broken this record). My driving factor in life has been to make things that satisfy me, and that I can be proud of, nothing more.
With all that in context, you can see why I’ve been really confused as to where all the “small” feelings were coming from. And so, when I listened to M.I’s new album, I felt it. The intro quoted at the beginning of this article was the plop that reminded me of all the other plops. It was the thing that made me attempt to string all those discarded plops into this brain dump.
I’d like to speak with the therapist that spoke on the interlude — Caryn Solomon — because I want to argue. I think when you create work that you want people to appreciate, you have to be aware that it competes with everything else that’s available to them. And if you want them to feel “great” about it, it’s not enough to just best yourself. You have to body as many people as possible.
When you say you feel small or inadequate, and a really smart person says “stop comparing yourself to others”, “the only person that you need to be better than is yourself”, all I hear is:
*the solution to feeling small is to just accept that you’re small*
And maybe that’s it.
My brain bowels are emptying out, and I’m on my last plop. I don’t think I’ve reached a clean conclusion, but I’m glad to have worked through this. I’ve been learning a lot of new things and rebuilding old connections, and this is something I think I’d like to take on too: sharing more again because “fuck all of you that figured it out before me, *I* just figured it out”.
I can’t ignore the internet nor pretend there’s nothing out there that’s better than whatever I produce, but even in comparing myself to these people, I must appreciate my improvement and maybe even accept some solace in the knowledge that whatever I create is special to the people in my world, in the same way the seniors I never see again will always feel bigger than me.
Maybe 30 other people published articles about feeling like local champions, but who gives a shit right now? Definitely not me.
(cause I’m out… of plops? get it? sigh)