I posted a thought in the form of a quote on Facebook. Then it happened; my greatest fear. Someone disagreed with me, in front of other people, on my own status. The plot thickened when someone co-signed it, not with a simple “like,” but with a bona fide written comment. In that moment, I understood why we often would rather be consumers than creators.
Consumption is safe. As consumers, we feel as though we have the power, since we can serve as a judge for whatever it was that the creator produced. If you’re the creator, you’ve exposed yourself, potentially as a fraud or a lesser authority than you were once thought to be. With every piece of work that you actually release, you put your reputation on the line. It’s much safer to let someone else bear that cross, and “share” in their success later, should they survive the gauntlet of public opinion.
As a creator, you’ve made yourself naked by displaying, with a sense of finality, a product of your thoughts that you supposedly deem as complete and worth sharing. Never mind the fact that you, as we all are, are a work in progress, and thus the same can be said of your work. In the minds of others, you haven’t given the world an iteration of your inspiration with a glimpse of how you interpret the world. No, what you’ve given the world is a public spectacle to place on trial, and in the age of social media, everyone gets a shot. I now understand that asking someone to create something and share it with others is the social equivalent of asking them to get naked in public.
I do believe that the majority of people like the idea of making something of their own, which is why we “like” and “share” things so much. But, when the average person is challenged to create something, the typical response is: "Yeah, but I'm not as ______ as ______." For me, it has sounded like, “Yeah, but I’m not as (creative) as (Colin Mukri).” So as to say that, (said individual), with a similar skill set or idea already has 1K+ followers, is 5 years younger, and started 2 years later than you did. This obviously disqualifies you from trying.
It would be one thing if the success of others wasn’t so boisterously displayed, as there would be less to compare ourselves to. But profiles, "likes", and followers are a part of our public record these days. We can’t help but compare each other, so of course we do the same with ourselves. The thing is, at the end of the day, I’m the only one who can live my life, and create the memories and disciplines for myself and my family that I’d like to pass down to my future generations.
Sure, we no longer have the solace and comfort of falling out of touch with our former peers and classmates, so we feel as though our performances always need to be on point. But, so what? I have something to contribute to the world, even if I’m the only one moved by it. So do you.
We all want adventure out of life. What’s more exciting than skinny dipping in the pool of public opinion, and exposing who we truly are through the things that we create?