A few months ago, my wife wanted me to see the first episode of One Tree Hill, a favorite show from her youth. Being from North Carolina (where One Tree Hill was filmed) and being a fan of late 90’s teen melodramas she thought I might really enjoy it. And while I won’t go as far as to say I love it, I do really enjoy watching it. It taps into nostalgia for a time when I was just coming out of high school and TV shows like this existed. Also, the WB always did a fantastic job with indie music and I love the soundtrack.
I mention all this because earlier today, I decided to see if there were any One Tree Hill tours still going on of the filming locations. Once Fall comes, I told my wife we’d spend a long weekend at the beach and I’m not so much of a sand and water guy, but I love the riverwalk and all the tourist shops. I also thought I’d surprise her with a guided tour if they had one, and if not, I’d just source some information online and we’d make our own.
Most of my top results consisted of bloggers who had made their own walking tours. Many of these posts were seven or eight years old, much closer to when the show was still on the air. I skimmed a few of these posts and I felt a profound sense of sadness.
Some of these blogs were abandoned, but many of them were not. Some of them were still being updated as recently as this week. These people never gave up on their writing and while I feel like a few of them drifted into influencer status, mostly these were just regular people chronicling that time they took a vacation to Wilmington and checked out some filming locations of their favorite show.
I thought back to all the writing I’ve done since some of these posts. How many different layouts, blogs, and names I’ve used. I thought about how I once posted with glee and excitement like these writers did and then I took a look at my page. It’s clean, easy to read, and minimalistic. It’s exactly what I set out to do, but does it make me happy?
I’ve known for quite some time that when I get scared or nervous, I began decluttering. I make life as simple as possible. I think it all dates to when I was kicked out of my house as a teenager. I had tons of things and felt secure in my living arrangement. It never occurred to me that I had amassed junk. Then one day, my life changed instantly, and I was faced with a new reality.
Now, when things get a little uneasy in the world, I get nervous and scared. Once that fight or flight kicks in, I begin making changes to my life. I start getting rid of things, I start cleaning things up, and I try to streamline everything. I try to make things as simple as possible and me as light as possible in case I’m forced to make some uncomfortable changes.
I’ve been triggered this year. Leaving my mother’s house in basically one day after a blow out with my stepfather led me to a miserable apartment. I hate where I live and it’s not comfortable. The house prices are ridiculous and I just don’t know how I’m going to continue living where I do. This has frustrated me and caused me a lot of anxiety, almost daily and I think that has been reflected in my writing as well.
I streamlined my blog into something that reflects how I’m feeling. It’s clean, neat, and extremely minimalistic. It’s no frills because I don’t feel like I can afford frills right now. I have complete control over this site with my basic HTML and that control brings me peace. I don’t have control over most of the things going on in my own life, so I control what I can, which is my writing.
I looked over this personal blog with the One Tree Hill tour and I felt sadness. I felt sadness for myself. I’ve allowed my fear to control me lately and I’m just now realizing that. Instead of freeing myself and my writing, I’ve imprisoned myself just as much as I’ve ever been before. I’ve put a block between myself and fun, under the disguise of control and being taken seriously, and that sucks.
The last time, I was truly happy with my blogging was in early 2020. I started a fresh blog on Blogger and I made it fun. It was bright green and every day I posted just whatever came to mind. One day it might be a mini rant, the next day a book review. I left Blogger due to a frustration with their services, which is something I do not regret, but since then I’ve bounced from one place to another trying to capture something that was best left alone.
My constant moving has ostracized my readers and I can’t blame them for that either. Who wants to continuously be updating RSS feeds or email subscriptions every few months? If I was a more talented web designer, I could have retained that list of subscribers, but that is beyond my ability.
So, now, I’m sitting here wondering what should I do. I’m going to take some time to meditate on this.