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Stuff that doesn’t matter

I’ve been thinking about my previous post, and other silly things, today. For example, while watching Return of the Jedi, I remembered the following story.

When I was a junior in high school, I had French III with Ben Costley, who was one year younger than me and the brother of one of my elementary school friends (Willie Costley, who was on Jeopardy! once), and Duncan Fraser (do I really need to explain who that is?). It was the only class I ever had with Duncan at school, primarily because he was a year older than me. For the most part, he and I didn’t speak in class, though not for lack of my trying.

In any event, Ben became the one I usually talked to, and he and I wound up working on a video presentation for class together. I forget what we were supposed to be doing, but our premise was that we happened to be on the Death Star just when Luke was having his face-off with Vader and the emperor. We shot our video, and then I told him I would splice in scenes from RotJ to spice it up.

Well, that totally backfired. I should have known better than to just stick in all the lightsaber scenes end to end, and then not watch the tape to make sure it wasn’t boring as all hell. When we watched the thing in class, I wanted to die, it was so boring. At the very end of the video, when Ben and I reappeared to briefly say “Let’s get out of here!” in French, the class tangibly woke up from a full stupor. It was just sad.

And that’s not even the most embarrassing part!

When we got our grades back, Duncan, in a rare move, asked me how Ben and I’d done. I went through the scoresheet with him. “We lost points for length,” I noted. “I guess it was too short.”

Too…short?! Was I on crack?!

Of course, what I had meant to say was that I felt that our part of the video, the stuff with us speaking French, was too short. But that’s not how it came out at all. Our conversation pretty much ended at that point, and I was left to feel like a complete moron.

So yeah, I thought about that today, and then I thought about something else, something that happened in 2001 when I was in Yatsushiro. I was reading my old journal from the trip and I noticed that I hadn’t written much of anything after June 20. When I read that day’s entry I realized why. Click here to read it for yourself–I’ve typed it up and backdated it.

Apparently I was so humiliated by this perceived mistake that I didn’t have any further desire to write. I just wanted to disappear and not worry about the classes or anything ever again.

So there’s that, and the Duncan French class thing, and the Gerberding thing. And you know? In the grand scheme, who’s the one who remembers? Me. Does anyone else remember? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s been years and no one cares anymore. What is happening is I am letting even the tiniest little errors trip me up for life. I’m afraid to try things, as I’ve mentioned before, because of this tendency I have to obsess over every little thing I do wrong.

I’m writing about it now because I’m hoping that will be cathartic, that it will lead me to some sort of resolution or solution or something. I need to stop nitpicking myself, I need to let myself be free to make mistakes, and I need to go back and learn from them instead of wasting all my energy berating myself.

I need to let these embarrassing memories go, or at least learn to laugh at them.

Today I tried something new, something I have never done before. I offered my writing to a website. I haven’t heard a thing about it from them yet. I don’t know if they are interested in the article I wrote or in me as a writer at all. I’m nervous as all hell. But I tried.

And I will not let myself look back on this, or the article I wrote, as a mistake.