Why not not write for years and years?
I have envy for people who have the confidence to just write, and write in public spaces and places, with any kind of confidence. I have lost mine to be any authority on anything, so instead of collecting my own thoughts, I just scroll through Twitter collecting others and retweeting the ones I like. I don’t know if it’s age, or the state of the world, but I just don’t feel like I know enough to even delve into topics that aren’t superficial bits of nonsense. Which would be fine! But is that what I want to be known for? Being quippy about 20-year-old sitcoms and having cats in the house?
My brain freezes more often than it used to if I don’t understand something right away, and more often, I just don’t even know where to begin to learn, something that never seemed to be a problem before. And here’s the thing: I made it on to Jeopardy! last year (my episode aired in April). I was completely unprepared. I studied, sure, but in a ‘Oh, I should learn the names of some vice-presidents and National Parks’ way, not a hunker down, and make it my job way. Making lists is not my way of learning, but there was no way I was going to absorb all of U.S. history and sports (?) things (??) by watching more Simpsons, where I had learned most of the little I already had.
I muddled. I did Sporcle and Huge Quizzes out the wazoo. I went through years of games on J! Archive I tried to listen to dull-as-dirt audiobooks while I commuted and actually retain the information.
But I also have a job. And ADHD (I only found out for real later). And anxiety-exacerbated insomnia. And I was facing, y’know, that guy who won millions and had made it his career to be a champion.
Also, in parlance of Jake Peralta, I could not handle the trivia presh.
The friends who went with me were so supportive, and I will forever be grateful to them, as were the folks at my viewing party, but after thirty years (literally!) of people asking me if I was going to try out and be on it, coming in third after failing to get the
buzzer signaling device timing, blanking, running out of time on answers, etc. was a real blow. It was over in about 19 minutes (plus commercial breaks).
But it’s a game show! Who cares?!
It was the thing I was supposed to be good at.
Is it the thing I wanted?
Hm. It might have just been the thing people expected.
If it’s the thing I wanted, would I have taken it more seriously? Watched the show every night (I sure didn’t, and have not watched since I was on) to look for patterns? Made an effort to understand any fucking thing about betting strategy?
As with most things, I have no fucking idea. But I really lost my sense of self for quite a long while. That was unexpected.
I abandoned Facebook fairly recently, but before I left, I was part of a few groups for former contestants, most of whom, like me, did not win either. They are maybe the only ones who understand. But many of them still celebrate their time on tv, celebrating anniversaries, celebrating their accomplishment. I’m not there yet. It’s almost a thing that happened to someone else at this point. Not in a medically dissociative kind of way, but it was such a blur at the time, and then my life didn’t change aside from getting a $700 cheque (they took the taxes out in advance) from a tv company, and a profile in the local paper, and poof! It was like it didn’t happen.
What a bunch of privileged bullshit, right? The world is on fire, true megalomaniacal idiots are in charge of billions of terrified, or, worse, compliant, people, Covid-19 is coming for us and/or our loved ones, and I’m whining because of a game show-induced identity and confidence crisis.
It’s why I’ve not been writing. It’s a big part of why this space has been neglected for two years.
I’m not saying for sure that I’m back, but maybe?
(Also, it’s International Women’s Day and the day the clocks losing an hour Insert joke about it only being 23 hours long.)