Why I write about myself
“Talking about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
Marshallogue, since before it was even called that, has consisted mostly of me talking about myself. Even when I talk about something else, like travel or education or Christianity, it’s still squarely centered (I’ve been wanting to say that for a while) on me.
I’m the hub for all the spokes. I’m the reason why all this connects. In that, it’s selfish.
Telling from experience, instead of generalizing what I observe, leads me to talking about myself and from my own perspective. I try to write what I know, and each of us know the most about ourselves and our own experiences (scary, isn’t it?). That’s how we end up with all these posts about me.
But there’s this danger here too, the one Nietzsche noted. The more I tell of myself, even if I’m trying to be honestly open with everything, the harder it is to imagine me any other way.
Let me give an example. Let’s say I tell the story about the first time I rode my bicycle without training wheels. It happened on my birthday, I think, perhaps the day I got my new bike. Pop held the bike while I climbed on, and then the rest of the family watched as he gently pushed me along the sidewalk. He let go at some point, and I kept balance for a moment. That moment didn’t last long, though – I quickly tipped into the grass. That happened a bunch of times, but eventually I got it. And that’s how I learned to ride on just two wheels.
Now, having just heard that story, if I mention something about me and bicycles, what comes to mind? This story, right?
Well, actually, there’s another story about me running races with friends riding bikes. But you didn’t think of that story, did you? You thought of the one I just told.
Now what if I mention me and bikes again? You think of those two stories, the one when I first learned and the one with me racing friends.
And the more of these stories I tell, the more you think you know about my adventures with bikes. And while that’s true – you do learn more about my adventures with bikes – you also end up forgetting that there are stories I’ve never told about me with bikes. It’s harder to imagine those ones, though, or ask questions about those ones because you think you know.
As a reader, you end up forgetting that no matter how many stories I tell or how many lines you read, it’ll only be a sliver of reality. So it goes.
“A fool’s voice is known by his many words.” -Solomon
The more I tell about myself, the harder it is to imagine me otherwise. And so, by supposedly revealing more about myself, I’m able to craft the story of who I am, how I think, and what I do.
I like that. I like that I get to write my story. I like the freedom. But with the freedom, I can also lead the conversation away from the halls where I don’t want to go.
So maybe that’s why I write about myself.