Originally posted on "The I's Have It", March 7, 2011. Filed under Insomnia, Insecurity, Identity.
Let me begin by saying: I am not, actually, Mark Zuckerberg. I am, in fact, a thirty-six year old woman who, for the most part, stays at home with her children, which very fact has kept me from writing a single blog post in the five years that I have owned this little bit of the Internet. And by that, of course, I mean the crippling fear that I will be misunderstood (in this case, pigeon-holed as a "mommy-blogger") has once again kept me from acting on an idea or impulse that probably will turn out to be a good thing for me. But back to Mr. Zuckerberg...
Several weeks ago, my husband and I watched The Social Network. I remarked on this event in my Facebook status (so post-modern! I know!) by acknowledging that this was the first film that he and I had both watched from start to finish in many a moon (I believe I said "since 2005", which those in the know understand as code for "since before the kids who reduced us to being those people who spend the hour or so after wrestling both woefully under-regulated-when-it-comes-to-bedtime children into some semblance of quiet-if-not-totally-asleep in a haze of reality television, checking emails, cruising Facebook,
picking up toys, folding laundry, doing dishes and finishing bottles of wine before dozing off on the sofa) and that I had enjoyed the movie. The end. And I did, enjoy the movie, quite a bit. I loved Trent Reznor's innovative score, and I enjoyed Aaron Sorkin's rapid-fire dialogue in a way that never really engaged me in (or convinced me to watch past the first episode of) The West Wing. Jessie Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield both struck me as actors to watch, and I do harbor a soft spot for Justin Timberlake, even though his character was pretty unlikeable.
But here is my real takeaway from The Social Network: I am, actually, Mark Zuckerberg. Or, at least, Mark Zuckerberg as he is portrayed in this movie. Obviously I've never actually met the (young) man (billionaire), and I understand from the kind person(s) who wrote his Wikipedia entry that he's probably a lot nicer than he seemed in the movie. But his characterization in this movie as someone who was singularly devoted to his idea of creating something "cool" (a word that was used over and over again in the movie) that everyone would love and enjoy and want to be a part of, and his total inability, upon success, to happily be a part of the very thing he had created....well, it struck a chord. A chord that has been resonating within me for lo these couple of weeks, and inspired me to, at last, write something.
(The ridiculousness of comparing myself to a man who is an insanely rich, incredibly talented and brilliant visionary who has changed the way just about everyone in the world communicates with each other is not lost on me. I'm just saying.)
I have ideas. And I also have Ideas. I act on some of them, and I believe I will act on more of them. I ignore even more, and I feel pangs, occasionally, when I think a really good one falls by the wayside.
I am, for the most part, happy with my life, and secure in who I am. But I cannot pinpoint what it is that makes me happy(est) or even describe the things about myself that I like the best.
Example. I have (it may actually be had) a non-profit community organization, started largely because my sister and I wanted to build a new playground in our town. It quickly grew to encompass many projects and activities, to the point where I have basically shut it down (temporarily?) because it had taken over my life. But when it was still very active, my favorite part about it was recapping all of the things we did for the website I maintained for the organization. I don't think I actually enjoyed the activities themselves, or, at least not most of them. I certainly didn't like the part where I had to ask people for money, although the playground was finally built. I was always happy to let my sister be the one in the newspapers. When events were coming up, even events that I was hosting at my own home, I would not say anything to my closest friends about them. When meeting people for the first time, I would not tell them about my organization. Yet I am incredibly proud of what we accomplished. ?
Example. I love to host parties. I rarely enjoy them. ?
Example. I love to throw themed parties, especially for my sons. I have, in the past four years, made three false starts at becoming a children's party planner. I even went so far as to incorporate. What holds me back, time and again, is the thought of asking people to pay me. ?
Example. I get physically ill and completely frantic when I know that someone is upset with me, or flat out doesn't like me, and will often apologize for things I don't really need to apologize for. However....I hold serious, serious grudges, and often find myself wishing that horrible things would happen to the people I believe have wronged me. ?
So I probably have social anxiety, or depression, or Asberger's....I'm pretty sure I don't actually want to know. I'm probably a bit too self-absorbed for my own good. I don't believe I am any different from anyone else.
I guess my biggest fear, at this point in my life, is that I am not ENOUGH. I am smart, I am creative. I am a communitarian (feel free to spread that word around, I'm pretty sure I made it up). I am a good mother. I am a decent wife. I am a home economist. I am a loving daughter and sister, and a loyal friend. But I don't think I am any of these things ENOUGH.
I feel like I have created my cool thing, but I don't know how to enjoy it.