Do you ever have a really horrible compulsion that won’t leave you alone?
I’ve had one of those for years now and I can’t make it go away. I also can’t figure out any way that it makes sense, so I hover in this in-between world where something inside me whispers, “You must do this,” and I respond back with a bewildered, “But what would that even mean?!”
Please indulge me here. I need to talk about this, but I don’t know what I want to say. I don’t have a point. I just feel the urgent need to talk with you about this.
I haven’t been interested in acting or any kind of public performance since I was a teen-ager. Back then, I acted in plays. I made speeches. (I won second place in a state speech contest and I’m still angry that I came in second.) Public performance was easy, but I haven’t sought such opportunities for decades.
For the last few years, though, I can’t shake the intense feeling that I need to be making videos to talk to the world — yet I haven’t the slightest clue about the purpose or content. Crazy, right?
I’ve always believed that nobody should communicate unless he had something clear to say first. I’ve always thought you should have a clear purpose — even need — before you write or speak. People who speak or write without having a specific reason seem to be people whose egos just like to have themselves heard.
But I find myself in the bizarre place of feeling that I need to be recording video — not acting, not selling someone else’s marketing message, not reading a bland script — that will speak directly to somebody out there who needs to hear what I have to say.
What is it that I envision?
Here’s all I can tell you. I see myself speaking my own thoughts directly to the listener, not from a lifeless script, but directly from my heart, about … something.
And that’s where this completely breaks down.
I feel as though I have something I need to say — something that someone needs to hear — and I need to deliver that message in a very direct way through videos on YouTube or a similar online platform. It’s not a personal desire to do this. It’s not an egotistical need to be seen. (You can probably tell that I really worry about about it being seen that way.) It’s an almost mystical compulsion to speak.
But everything about this terrifies me.
Here’s what it feels like. Let’s say God whispered in my ear, “I have something important for you to tell the world. I’ve gathered to masses to hear this message. Go on stage to the microphone.” And then let’s say I went to the microphone in front of the assembled millions or billions of people, just waiting to hear this important message in my ear that I’m supposed to repeat — when God whispers, “OK, you’re on your own now. Just wing it.”
I’m not like the Blues Brothers — “We’re on a mission from God” — but this compulsion feels strong enough sometimes that it has to be obeyed. Yet if I stood behind a microphone and looked into the camera right now, I have no clue what I’d talk about.
I told you up front that I don’t have a point here. I just need to talk about this, because I’m frustrated and have no idea how to deal with it. I want to either do whatever I need to do — or else kill this awful compulsion for good.
I have a camera. I have a professional microphone. I have good recording and editing equipment. I have lights and various other things I need. I have everything I need to make a video in the house right now.
Except one thing.
I don’t have a message. Or if I do, I haven’t been able to hear it clearly enough. My muse hasn’t talked to me loudly enough about it. Or maybe I’m afraid to hear. I don’t know.
I’d love to kill this idea and put it behind me. I don’t like the way I look on camera. I don’t like the way I sound on camera. I have no desire to embarrass myself by making some terrible thing which is never seen by more than a dozen people. I don’t want to do that much work for something that won’t find an audience. (I know people who’ve done this.)
But this compulsion won’t leave me alone. At times it’s an obsession.
Is there something I have to say? Is there something that you need to hear from me? I have no idea, but the contradictions of this terrible need are driving me crazy — because I’m a lost ball in high weeds right now.