Mario Villalobos

Shut Up and Listen

The process of creating all these entries, even going back to when I journaled privately, has always been the same: me, a blank page, and no idea what the hell I’m going to write. I’m not sure if this is a thing, or if this describes all writers by some inherent property in the actual act of writing, but I feel like I’m a writer that discovers what I’m going to say by actually writing. I don’t outline, I don’t plan, I just write. That’s actually how I’m writing the second draft of my novel, even though I really, really wanted to outline and plan the shit out of it. I think I’m doing okay, though. I think this trait — personality trait? — describes me, in a sense.

When I’m with people, I like being quiet and simply listening to them talk. I’ll contribute something if I have something to say, but mostly, I just like to listen. I usually don’t like contributing, especially when I have nothing to say, which mostly means, I have nothing of value to say. Most people will say that when they talk, they usually don’t think whether or not what they’re saying has any value. They just say what’s on their mind. I’ve definitely been in those situations when I talk, where the words come out of my mind faster and before the actual thought forms in my head. This happened a lot with her, which is why I still miss her. Is it a form of comfortability with people? I’ve been embarrassed (not sure if that’s the right word — ashamed?) of my shyness before, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve adapted and actually consider it one of my more valuable traits. Is that arrogant to say? Well, fuck you, I don’t care. I think it’s one of my more valuable traits because how many people actually just stop and listen? And how many people just say shit just because they want to say something?

Obviously I’m not saying I’m perfect at this. I’m most definitely not. I bring it up because I’m growing more comfortable with my coworkers at work, and I’ve noticed myself opening up more, joking around and stuff. I feel happy right now, and I have felt happy all day, and I think this is a strong contributing factor affecting my mood. Another one is working out. And yet another one is that my novel is just clicking right now. At least I think so, as well as one other friend1. I’m happy, and that is such a precious joy to me because I’ve been unhappy a lot these past few months. Days like this, where I just feel good, are valuable to me. They’re moments and feelings I try to tap into when I’m down, and I can never build up a large enough stockpile of them. And this blog…

I have readers! I still can’t believe that shit. Thank you everyone for reading. That has contributed a lot to my mood these past few weeks, and for that, I want to thank you all. I know we’re not alone as we struggle to live our lives the way we want. We all face the same hardships and obstacles, but we also face the same euphoric highs and long streaks of plain happiness. One of my favorite quotes of all time is by Socrates2:

The unexamined life is not worth living.

I wrote that on the front page of my first Moleskine journal, and it’s something I’ve tried to live by and continue to live by for the rest of my life. I think it’s so important to understand ourselves first before we attempt to understand the world, and it’s always going to be a struggle balancing both. But as long as we try, we’ll be the better for it.

  1. She didn’t say it was clicking, just that she liked it. That’s high praise in my book. ↩︎

  2. Yes, I know Socrates never wrote anything down, and yes I know it was Plato who wrote all this down. I’ve read the books. Don’t be a dick. ↩︎