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Paralysis, Judgment, and Why I’m Here

I’m new here. Here to this URL, not new to the blogosphere. I’ve been writing and reading for years, but always somewhere else, somewhere that doesn’t have my name attached to it. I’ve been too scared to put the words down in a place where people would have the opportunity to say, “Oh, look at her, she totally makes herself seem like this, but she’s actually that.” Because they will. And they already are. Hey, you’re probably forming some kind of opinion about me right now…

For me, this was paralyzing. The idea that people I don’t even know could sit here dissecting each and every word I write, trying to figure out, “Is she happy?” “Is she as miserable as I am?” “Does she even have a job?” “Does she make more money than me?” “Is she going to have a mental breakdown? When?”

I don’t know why I was so afraid of this. I have those thoughts all the time. In fact, I would say that I am very judgmental. At least in the beginning. I read blog posts about the writer having some kind of grand realization about life and the universe and I say to myself, “THIS IS BULLSHIT AND YOU’RE NOT HAPPY AND YOU’RE JUST TRYING TO MAKE US ALL THINK THAT YOU HAVE IT FIGURED OUT BUT YOU DON’T.” Of course, I say these things to make myself feel better. Because I don’t want to be the only one who doesn’t have everything in my life completely put together.

And then I realize that no person can be completely happy all the time, and that most people only expose the things that they want other people to know. The things that they think will help inflate their reputation or their image or their net worth on this planet. Everything that you release onto your social media channels are all a reflection of who you are, what you’re good at, and your level of competency. But this is important! Yes, it is. But you can only hide behind your rainbow-filled-butterfly-covered social media wall for so long. You are a social person. You will meet people, and they will figure out that you’re not who you’ve been saying you are because they’re perceptive just like you are.

This ties back into the idea of transparency, and relates to both individuals and brands. And it’s really crazy to me, because I feel like everyone is always talking about these companies who are really great about being open with their customers about who they are. When they make a mistake, they own it. They apologize for the mistake, but they remind us that their company is made up of… guess what… HUMANS. And humans are not perfect. Humans have feelings. Not just some humans, all humans. This not only boosts their brand reputation, but also boosts sales. Crazy, right? So why are we always holding back?

Whether it’s subconscious or not, most people take a second to think about what they’re about to tweet or post on their Facebook status, regardless of how they’re feeling. Because Twitter is not private. Neither is Facebook, and neither is your blog. I’ve seen so many people write about how they have X number of blog posts in draft status that they’ve never published. Everyone has their own reasons for this, sure, but the underlying reason is fear. Fear of what OTHER PEOPLE might think. Fear of how their writing will affect their reputation, their status. Fear of how people will perceive them when they meet in person for the first time. “Oh, remember that scary blog post she wrote about how she was crying in the corner and couldn’t move or speak because she was so depressed? She’s unstable.”

Oh really? You can really extrapolate the entire nature of someone’s existence because of a vulnerable blog post? Are you like a blog whisperer or something? You can read through the lines and into my soul or some shit? Well, good for you, but you’re wrong. I’m not broken because I cried in the corner. In fact, maybe I’m more put together than you because I had the guts to confront my feelings and write about it.

So why are brands successful when they add a human transparent element to their approach? Because it allows their consumers to relate to them as people, and it makes people trust them. That’s why I’m here. I trust very few people, and it’s partly because so many people are blowing smoke and bullshit into the world. And for what?

I’m just a human, but if I can help one other human admit that they’ve felt the same way as I have, that they are afraid of everything and that it’s holding them back, then I think we’ll all be better off for it. As my Norcross says, the only real fear is imminent death. Everything else is in your head.

So what do you think?

Category: introspection
  • Peter says:

    For me, I start taking bloggers (and their blogs) a little more seriously when they let themselves be vulnerable in a post. I get bored when everything on a blog is all unicorns puking rainbows that taste like pizza.

    That being said, it was hard for me to finally let down my guard on mine.

    Pretending nobody was reading helped.

    Realizing I didn’t much care what strangers thought helped more.

    And now I’m craving pizza.

    June 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm
    • jess says:

      I think it’s hard for everyone to let their guard down, in general, not just on blogs. That’s what I’m trying to fight. It’s been really hard for me too, but I just close my eyes, cross my fingers, and hit “Publish” when I’m done. That seems to do the trick.

      Now I want pizza too. Damn you.

      June 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm
  • Jenelle says:

    “You can really extrapolate the entire nature of someone’s existence because of a vulnerable blog post? Are you like a blog whisperer or something?”

    Haha, I love you Jess. I think you’re a pretty fucking awesome person and you should own it.

    I’ve held back from honestly expressing myself online for a number of reasons, but you are inspiring me to start a blog or something. I haven’t been writing and now I’ve built up this self-critical complex and don’t know what to write that would be worthy of being read. Perhaps I need to follow your lead and just throw something out there, and maybe someone will like it.

    June 2, 2011 at 4:26 pm
    • jess says:

      I love you Jenelle! You should totally go for it. It feels good to get things out on paper, and for me, it’s nice to get some kind of reassurance from people like you! It is scary and not everyone’s going to like it, but screw them :) If nothing else, I will read what you write!!

      June 10, 2011 at 10:39 am
  • me. says:

    I was searching through old emails to help date an occurrence, and found this wonderfully relevant chat with a certain jesso, dated December 4, 2007:

    me: I could never have a blog because I’d write about too many different things… nobody would be interested in all of them, and not enough people in any one of them
    jesso: right
    thats why im abandoning my blog
    its stupid
    and i dont trust it
    so theres no point
    im never honest
    i mean REALLY honest

    Hooray for self-improvement!

    June 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm
    • jess says:

      That feels like yesterday. I can’t believe I had a blogging attempt that long ago. Thanks for the reminder and encouragement… it only took four years!

      June 10, 2011 at 10:40 am

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