When I was a freshman in college I got really addicted to playing Tetris on my phone. This was before Angry Birds had come out, back in the flip-phone Stone Age days of mobile devices. Before every class I was playing Tetris, and even during class. That’s probably a big reason as to why my GPA would not impress any of you. I was quite hooked. I was even seeing the blocks landing in my dreams. It’s sick. I know.
For all those hours of playing Tetris, though, I never did beat the game. Didn’t even come close. In fact, I don’t think you can beat it. I’m sure there’s a nerd out there who will argue with me and say that it is possible to beat it, but for the sake of my point let’s just say Tetris is an unbeatable game, because for me it is.
I’m finding Tetris exists outside of video game screens as well. To me, displaying your creativity is like playing Tetris. When you have an idea and you vocalize it or try to implement it, someone is going to hate it. You can’t win. (And no, this is not my subtle way to get people not to comment negative things on my blog.)
This is the era of YouTube. Have you spent any time reading through the comments section of a video on there? I’ve never seen so much hatred, bigotry, and just plain evil. People hide behind their computer screens and say whatever they want with no ramifications except maybe getting a “thumbs down.” Everyone has an opinion, and when you don’t run the risk of getting punched in the face you can say whatever you want.
People are critics by nature. It comes with our insecurity like a packaged deal. “Buy Criticism now, and we’ll give you Insecurity at no extra cost! Order in the next five minutes, and we’ll even throw in Mind-Numbing Cynicism!” Everyone gets to be a critic. Critics don’t have to produce anything; they only have to voice their opinions. And even if they have nothing to show for themselves, their words can still hurt.
It’s a hard truth of the world to know that not everyone is going to agree with you about everything. No matter how much work and heart you put into what you are producing, someone is not going to like it, and in America it’s likely that someone will find some reason to be offended by it. Some people can’t wait for the next chance to disagree with someone. I like to call those people politicians.
I’m learning that you must get past the critics and be yourself and share what you find value in. You might come back to it later and realize that it wasn’t the best idea or that maybe you need to change some things, but living in fear that someone will disagree with you is no way to live; you’re not truly being yourself.
I’m also learning that sometimes one of the best things someone can do is disagree with you. Why? Because it makes you seek out what you really believe and why. It makes you do your homework. It makes you try harder.
But just as there are critics in the world, there are also people who will encourage you. And most importantly, there are people who need to hear and see what you have to give. We aren’t meant to keep our stories and experiences to ourselves. We’re meant to try new things, to speak about what has hurt us, and to give as we’ve been given to.
Someone probably needs to hear your story. Find your own unique way to tell it. Creativity and originality will always have critics, but use them anyways.
(PS: I just realized that the Tetris music sounds like something you’d hear at a Bar Mitzvah.)