Express Yourself!

Where is my mind? Where is my Mind? Where is my mind? – Black Francis

Do Everyone’s Brains work like this? A thought I often wonder.

This is post about expressing ideas and how, for me, at least, those ideas manifest in the old brain part and work their way out via the mouth hole or handibles. Buckle up.

So Many Ideas

“What goes on in that head of your? I feel like someone should follow you around with a camera and record all the crazy things you come up with” This was said to me (I took it as a compliment) by one of my school chums during my time at UT. I assured this person that they get a misrepresentation of my ideas and that 95% of my time awake is quite boring. The normal, I believe, for most of us. Still, I guess this person thought that I have enough things that are of note to warrant some sort of public record. Well, you’re reading it right now. Hello! Hi! Welcome! Glad you are here. This is the public record of things I think about. I told you it wasn’t that interesting. Please, grab some fruit on the way out. Please. I don’t want it in my house. Ok, thanks.

Or how about this one. “I just can’t with you! How do you even come up with half the things you say and just like that? *snaps fingers*” This was a recently from a former co-worker. I don’t know, really. How does anyone come up with stuff? Ideas just happen, just like they do for all of us. I just have certain methods and techniques that I’ve used for years and years now with how to express them. I’ve basically trained myself in the way I say things and tell jokes since high school. It wasn’t just a natural thing that I’ve always had. I suppose there is a mix of natural ability to link ideas and come up with the wording of things I say, but their is also a practiced method and craft that is learned over a long time. And I’m only getting done with the 101 classes. I mean, how do you play that song that is in your head on the piano. Well, first you need to learn how to play the piano (unless you’re one of those really piano-smart people. I’m not one of those, with anything) I think this cultivation of technique is the main thing with all of this. How do I utilize the unreasonable amount of ideas that flow through my mind on the daily? How do I express them? My brain takes care of the raw elements. How do I put them together into something that works, or more accurately, sometimes works.

There are a few troubles I have with so many things going through my brain all the time. One, I rarely write any of them down so all the good wheat is thrown out with the chaff. What a waste. Two, I often get lost in my head trying to sort out the worthwhile things to say out loud. It’s would probably be easier to write everything down and sort it out like that, but oh well. The filtering system that I have installed in my mind only seems to work at about 60% efficiency. I really need to call in the warranty on it. Three, despite that filtering system, I still have to deal with ALL of the thoughts. It gets tiresome after a while. I like the song “Doesn’t Remind Me” by Audioslave for this reason. And it’s pretty catchy. But in the song there are all these things that the singer lists that don’t remind him of anything and serve as a distraction from the things that otherwise would occupy his time that he doesn’t necessarily want to think about. He describes not thinking about personal losses and then being scared to create new, good memories out of fear that they will become sad memories. Whether or not that’s a healthy practice is outside the scope of this post though. I apply it all in a much more surface level attitude where I am just trying to declutter my mind from the myriad of thoughts that flood in. It’s basically like living life with constant pop-up ads and no ad-blocker. I’m guess that I’m used to it by now though. Isn’t it a funny thing that there’s no point in the day where you aren’t talking to yourself. Unless you’re like super good at meditation, I suppose.

But I Digress

Now, almost always,thoughts lead to more thoughts lead to more thoughts lead to more thoughts lead to napping. Although introverted by nature, once I get going, the verbal momentum on me is like a boulder gunning for Harrison Ford. I specifically typed that sentence so that there are about 500 different trails to follow from it. Instead, I’m choosing a meta-explanatory sentence and have brought the whole thing to a grinding halt, so lets get back on track. What was that track? Oh yeah, digressions. They are one of my most valiant foes. Imagine if I could turn them from an enemy to a friend. I do not get very nervous speaking with people or in front of people, but I often find that I have to work hard, very hard, on the discipline to say what I need to say and then stop. Boy, that reminds me (are you getting an idea of how this works) of a line from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I think, where the King is asking for a story and says something to the effect of “Begin at the beginning and then go to the end; then stop.” I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m working on the stopping part.

Everything is Something

A lot of the jokes that I say or witty one-offs are actually references to things or very much in the spirit of some reference, whether it be the words or the style. For the life of me, I can’t remember who said it or where it happened, but I do remember laughing very hard because of it; someone, who like the “camera idea” person had placed a little too much confidence on my brain, once realized that a lot of what I say is referential. They then, with perfect comedic sense delivered the line, “Oh, you just reference things? I thought you came up with everything. Oh. You’re not funny at all then.” Hilarious. Honestly, I thought it was one of the best things anyone has said to me. While true that I may not be the best at the specifics of creation, I like to think that I take more the spirit of a reference and am able to bend it and change it to fit a current situation. And, to be fair, I do actually come up with a lot of original material, but express it in a blend of influences. I’m not talking about joke stealing here or just plagiarizing what others have done. That’s lazy, irresponsible and lots of other bad adjectives. Once again, a lot of the HOW I say things is because of a childhood growing up watching the Simpsons and similar shows. It’s where I was really introduced to the idea of the misdirection punch line of a joke and, wow, do I over use that technique now.

But really, everything is a reference. I mean, I suppose that is how brains work. Different neural pathways relate to different things and certain neurons for certain things. All that sciencey stuff. But, like, my brain works in pop culture references,once again, mostly The Simpsons. There is a lot of word association. I tend to compound and one association leads to the next and so on…like professional basketball. This word/idea association is a reason that I find rapping and hip-hop to be fascinating. Its easy to tell when an artist in those genres is lazy when it comes to writing (All artists in country music are lazy). Then, I have so many ideas pop into my head at one time and have to sort through them till I find something worthwhile. Or, more accurately, until the timer goes off (about three seconds) and then whatever has the most up-votes in my head comes out of my mouth, whether it is good or not. It tends to look all cluttered and run together in one big jumbled mess, just like my bedroom. But, I’ve been operating with it so long that I guess I have learned to navigate it, just like my bedroom. It’s a mind forest and I know my way around pretty good but sometimes it still gets little weird to me, or even a little scary, just like my basement.

A Forest of the Mind

When it comes to having conversations with other people, I sometimes describe it as if I am wondering into a forest. I guess if someone wants to accompany me, that’s fine, but the paths get awfully twisty very quick. Now, and just bear with me here, I know a lot of the paths in this forest. I’ve walked them for some time now. There are familiar areas and I usually visit the same places over and over. There are some parts though that I’m sure I’ve yet to go and things to see. There are goofy parts, less goofy parts, generally weird parts, scary parts, and uncharted parts. Sometimes, after about 15-20 minutes of tlaking to someone, they get a certain look on their face and I think, “Ope, they’re lost. They are all turned around and have no idea where they are any more. Better show them the way back out. Or not!! [runs away laughing into the trees]” Once people have known me for a while, they seem to get a little sense of how my mind works and are able to better manage themselves whenever they find themselves in conversation with me. Every once in a while, I encounter some sort of conversation survivalist who can just adapt and almost be one step ahead of me while I navigate my own mind. These people are fascinating to me and a great joy to talk to (not that the others aren’t) because it’s almost like a, “Oh, you know, don’t you? I know that you know what this is like. Let’s play ball.” moment.

Expressing Yourself

All this to say, I don’t know if this is how everyone’s minds work or if I operate a little out of left field. I don’t think I am any smarter than anyone else. I know for a fact, my brain doesn’t work any faster than the next guy or girl. I don’t remember if it was in a different post or if I just thought it, but with the way I approach thinking and expressing ideas, it’s not that I am somehow above or below other people. It’s more that I can coming in from the side. So, it’s not a matter of quality of thoughts but just that I tend to be a little weird and quirky in conversations and writing things. Let’s just say, I have very little time for formalities when it comes to expression. Especially when there is a sacrifice of personality for that formality. For me, is there a time to use AP style writing and put on the suit and comb the hair? Sure. But, not when I have a choice to not do so. I’m always going to talk “weird” and write with non sequiturs and references and jokes, but I’d rather do that then make everything some neutral gray and blend into the mold.

Here is a piano cover of the song “Where is my Mind?” by Pixies that I quoted at the beginning of the post. It helps with the decluttering. I can take or leave the visuals.

***After Credits Scene***

While writing this in a coffee shop, I bumped the table and made my drink spill a little. I promptly looked at the chair across from me and, as if someone were sitting there said, “Easy, will ya? You’re making me look like a fool.” I then saw a girl, a real one (or a very convincing hologram), at the table near me looking right at me. No way she didn’t just see me whisper-yell at an empty chair. I then looked back at my imaginary friend and they said, “No, you are, weirdo.”

Ok, that’s all.

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