Who is Earnest and what is Ethereal? Fantastic question. Sounds a bit pretentious, right? While it is a truth universally acknowledged that I love little more than the allure of alliteration (thank you Junior Cert poetry and thesaurus.com) there is intent behind the name of this website. This blog is my attempt at wit (as soon as I’d already paid for the domain name I immediately wished I’d called it Earnest & Young) but more importantly it’s my effort to make sense of the world. To bring the intangible, the insidious, the seemingly invisible out into the light and consecrate the inconsequential comedies of life that too often go undocumented. Unnecessary breakdown to follow – I wouldn’t recommend humouring me.
The importance of being Earnest
This blog is me in earnest – it is my questionings, ponderings, musings, criticisms, joys. It is, sometimes, the most serious and vulnerable parts of me – the complicated emotions, awkward discussions, difficult realities we experience on an individual basis yet share on almost universal levels. Earnestly, I want to turn the wheels of invisible thought into tangible discussions.
I believe, as much as we tend to take ourselves too seriously in this world, we often are not earnest enough, not sincere or serious enough in how we communicate or interact with the world around us.
The act of being earnest is inherently and universally unattractive – be it in an intern, a romantic interest, an over-zealous waiter. Nobody wants to own that trait that is more ingratiating than pushy and too gesticulative to be sincere.
Yet it is fundamentally important to be keen to the point of embarrassing and passionate to the point of annoying in order to be heard and impactful in this cacophonic dissonance of incessant Tweeting, ‘gramming, blogging, vlogging, WhatsApp voice messaging, podcasting, shower-singing. The things I see on a daily basis frighten, shock, and sadden me; injustice is everywhere and privilege omnipresent. Earnest conversations are the solution – let’s have more of them. Here.
Ethereal but more ether.real.
The word ethereal is, and has always been, a favourite of mine. It refers to the regions beyond this world, things celestial, sometimes heavenly but almost always intangible. This, for those used to my work, is the part of life I love most. The subliminal, the subconscious, the unidentifable but potent feelings we all walk around with yet don’t talk about: the masked pain, stifled desire, boundless joy. I write in an attempt to understand those things beyond but around us, to explain to myself the inexplicable and, hopefully, to render invisible experiences visible so we can once again be reminded we are never truly alone in the hamster-wheel of preoccupations, dissatisfactions, inadequacies that characterise this thing called life.
Often, I feel like I’m floating out in the ether. Not lost, per say, but untethered. And, of course, nothing is lonelier than writing. It is a solitary pursuit of masochistically painful self-examination – I think, type, tear hair out, publish, wait, alone. I have no idea who reads my posts, who sees any word I write and even less idea if anyone enjoys them, relates to them. I feel like this pained self-consciousness, this clumsy act of ‘putting myself out there’ as I press upload and cringily post to my social media accounts, all the while wondering if there’s even a receptive ‘there’ to put myself to, is a pretty apt metaphor for most of our interactions in adult reality.
We are all floating in our private vacuums, waiting to collide with others, waiting for our bubbles to be burst in the bliss of an ‘aha’ moment when we find a little piece of our souls in another. If only we could see the tribes orbiting around us, if only we could feel the realness of their presence grounding us, even as we float and drift.
I want this space to be the intersection between this beautiful ether – this nothing and everything cosmos of in-betweens and almosts – and the crude light of reality. A reality where, sure, some days I do my best to be a conscientious global citizen and others, instead of writing about the refugee crisis, I lie in bed hungover and write 1,000 words about brioche. And then feel proud of myself for writing anything at all.
Sick of curated existences and carefully constructed authenticity, I want to see and be more realness in the world. More of the ‘I’m struggling to feel enough‘, more of the ‘I just ate three croissants and two garlic cheese chips and kind of hate myself right now’s. More of the ‘I’m sorry, what is this 1960 patriarchal nonsense‘, more of the ‘I have no idea what I’m doing and sometimes it’s funny and good for an Instagram post but it’s also terrifying and I feel like I’m letting everyone down‘s.
More embarrassment, more muffin tops, more sincerity.
So that, as we float up, down, and around this planet, we might feel a little less alone in our bubble and begin to realise all the wonder to be found in the realness of the ether. And feel a little less guilty about that pizza we didn’t need, love interest we should never have entertained, mortifying interaction we wish we could forget.