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My vocal.media Goals for 2024

In which I try to understand how hard this was to write.

By J. Otis HaasPublished 3 months ago 3 min read
My vocal.media Goals for 2024
Photo by Rohan on Unsplash

A short piece about my 2024 vocal.media aspirations should be a simple enough task to complete, yet this is my seventh attempt and the deadline is looming. In unpacking why this has been such a difficult exercise, I must forgive myself by acknowledging that up until a few short years ago I was little more than a free-roaming id, and planning has never been my strong suit. I’d like to believe that’s been tempered a bit by some newly acquired wisdom, but the truth is that having spent so long living in the moment, weighed down by the gravity of the past, the future, as a concept, is something I’ve never really been in touch with. Trying to reconcile that with hopes and dreams down the road can be a struggle. Though now cured, this is the legacy of my depression.

Consequently, recognizing the existence of the future becomes a double-edged sword. I embrace the Buddhist tenet “all suffering comes from desire,” though I am not a Buddhist, merely someone whose desires caused them suffering for far too long. Misapplied here, it is a defense mechanism, though, borne out of fear that articulating or expressing certain things I wish for will allow them to crystallize and become vectors of anguish if they don’t go as planned. The other edge of the blade is that whatever rationalizations I wrap myself in, if they are driven by fear, they are likely to be the wrong decision

There is also the matter of personal accountability, something I have long struggled with. This applies not just to sins and transgressions, but can, and should, be applied to any situation in which one tries to do better. Am I able to turn an honest eye inward and see the truth of my shortcomings? I’d like to think I’m improving at this, though it is still a long journey.

Halfway through 2023 I had a reckoning with myself about my writing. I decided to try to make my work more relatable, which can be hard for a person who often feels terribly disconnected from the world at large. In the wake of that decision I placed in over half the challenges I entered, garnering two second-places and six runner-ups. It made me feel as if perhaps I’m not as disconnected as I think I am.

What I had initially feared represented some sort of compromise turned out to be such a wonderful source of validation that I feel I owe it to myself to find ways to generate more such sentiments. My 2024 goal for vocal.media is to win a challenge. Having proven to myself that this is something I’m capable of, it becomes a question of how to achieve it. Part of this pursuit is a resolution to read more of my fellow creators’ work and become more active on the site.

The comments that people leave on my stories touch me beyond measure. Hearing that someone found some value in something I wrote, or the way I phrased something resonated with them, makes me feel like I’m on the right path. It may just be a matter of digging deep and finding more of those gems of relatable experience, which is what many of us search for when we read. These acknowledgments that we are not alone in feeling certain ways are sometimes the comforts we need.

I can see that the efforts I have made in recent years to get in touch with myself must be expanded to get more in touch with the world around me. Vocal has provided an excellent avenue to judge progress in that endeavor, and so I hope I am able to continue touching some lives, even if only in small ways. Thank you all for being part of this dream.


About the Creator

J. Otis Haas

Space Case

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  • Andrea Corwin 3 months ago

    Bravo. I love your stories!

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