I was a little off my game

I’m told by members of the audience that they enjoyed Friday’s Battle of the Bards, which was nice to hear. Personally, I feel like it was my worst show as a host. I started out by staying home sick from work that day due to a sinus cold. I slept most of the day, but still wasn’t feeling that great. Mainly, I had a heck of a headache…one of those headaches that doesn’t hurt most of the time, but feels like there’s just too much pressure in your skull. That made it a little tough to concentrate at times, and as a result I don’t feel like I got into a rhythm when I was hosting.

Most people say that that’s okay…everyone has their off days. Heck, I say that to people. But when it comes to myself, that’s not good enough. I can usually be satisfied in defeat so long as I know that I gave it my all. Arguably, I gave as much as I could with my headache limiting my ability. But like I said, that’s not good enough. I feel like I should have been able to soldier through it. After all, the truly great performances are those that involve overcoming adversity. And it’s not like this was a life-and-death struggle. It was a headache.

And yes, this all comes back to me feeling like I’m letting people down when I don’t give my all. You shouldn’t be surprised…that’s practically all I talk about. Geez, have I always been this predictable? I hope not.

I used to talk about other things…random things. I used to just fire up Scatterthought and write, with no particular topic in mind. I used to just decide that I was going to write something funny, and that’s what I’d try to do. Nowadays, everything I write has to do with some kind of ongoing search for meaning in my life.

Doesn’t that bore you? Because it would probably bore me.

Whatever. It’s not like I’ve ever cared if anyone reads Scatterthought or not.

On a related note, I think the world perceives that I am unhappy. Actually I know this is the perception, because many times in the past year I’ve had people come up to me and ask if I’m in a bad mood. Despite the fact that this keeps happening, I’m usually quite surprised by the question. I tell them that I’m perfectly fine, but sometimes they don’t seem to be believe me. That’s a valid response–since I’ve made it my goal in life to make others happy, they probably think that I just refuse to burden them with my problems.

Clearly they don’t visit Scatterthought often enough to witness me talking about my so-called problems. Again, not that I care. (ha ha)

But usually I’m genuinely surprised when they ask, because often I’m in what I consider to be a neutral mood. Neither happy nor upset…just neutral. It’s been suggested that my neutral mood comes across as a bad mood, because so many people are used to me being crazy-happy-smiley all of the time.

That’s right: crazy-happy-smiley.

And who knows, maybe it’s a factor of me becoming more serious with age. Not all of the time, of course, but more of the time.



And this is where I get thoughtful (because this scatterthought isn’t long-winded enough already).

Maybe there’s some truth to the rumour.

Once is an exception. Twice is a coincidence. Thrice is a pattern.

First, let’s be clear. When I’m in a bad mood, you’ll know it. I am not nearly a good enough actor to hide a bad mood, and usually it’s triggered by an event that upsets me.

But perhaps my neutral mood isn’t so neutral after all. To be more precise, neutral in 2007 is not the same as neutral in 2005. My emotional spectrum has changed, and I’ve adjusted to it. But when people see me being neutral (2007), they compare that to neutral (2005) and think that something’s wrong with me.

And you know what? They’re right. Compared to 2005, something is wrong with me. I’m not the same person I was back then, and I’ll agree that my neutral mood nowadays isn’t as positive as it once was.

If I were to read back over my scatterthoughts, I’d probably be able to chart my emotional state over time and I’d likely see it trending downward, with random spikes of positivity. I’d also see the occasions where I forced myself to be positive (consciously and subconsciously). And I’d see the times when I actually admitted to being unhappy.

But what I’d see, more than anything, is a person trying to contribute significantly to this world…and wondering if he’s going about it in the right way.

I wish I could worry more about my own happiness and less about the impact I make on the world. But I can’t…that’s not who I am. And let’s be honest…I’m not a saint. There are people who do far more for this world than I ever do, endlessly putting the needs of others before themselves. We’re not talking about those people, or the ones who take more than they give from society. We’re talking about me.

So what I need to do is make this work. That’s what I’m lacking right now. I think I had it at one point in time, but I lost it.

And if you want a reason for neutral (2007) suffering in comparison to neutral (2005), then that’s probably it. After all, there are few things as frustrating as being unable to find something you lost. Not even knowing where to begin, really. Just knowing that it’s out there, because you’ve felt it…and it felt great.

You begin to feel like you deserve it. After all, you had it once…why shouldn’t you have it again? Why is life preventing you from regaining it? What have you done to merit this state of existence?

And–most importantly–are you doing this to yourself?

I’ll tell you right now that I don’t like this line of reasoning. I don’t like it when people think they deserve to be happy when so many people in this world are not. So you can imagine how disgusted I am with myself for feeling this way.

Bit of a downer, isn’t this? What you have to realize is that I’m not bitterly unhappy or anything like that. And you have to believe that I’ll fight my way out of this.

I do.


One Comment

  1. Hey Russ – I hope you’re feeling better. Isn’t that cold nasty? I’ve been dealing with it since Thursday and I am not having fun.

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