con·fi·dent (n)

W'sup, blogosphere?!

Thanks for letting me into your club. And by "letting me into your club," I mean "allowing me to exercise my first amendment right without needing your consent." Because America.

Okay, enough of the fake formalities — let's get on with the real formalities.

First, an introduction: I'm Jake Novak, coming to you live from my ~*lush*~ San Fernando Valley apartment, never far from a noisy taco truck or a porno film shoot. For a living, I act and sing and accept charity from my parents. I also write, but I don't make a living off of it—and, since I'm starting a blog, apparently never plan to.

Second, a clarification: The title of this post is not a typo. I know perfectly well how to spell the word "confidence"; I was the spelling bee runner-up in seventh grade, after all. More on that shortly — the confidence, not the spelling bee, although I do have some scintillating stories. I'm saving those for a future post, entitled "Ways to Cry In Front of Your Entire Middle School."

Finally, an admission: I have no idea what this blog is going to be — I mean, not a clue. I guess I'm intending it to be a humorous perspective column (whatever that means) about my struggles as an actor/singer/writer in LA, but it could very well end up being a weekly love letter to bagels.

I've thought off-and-on about blogging for some time, and after a friend complimented the writing quality of one of my recent status updates (#humblebrag), I decided to finally elevate my platform from Facebook to something more public and fancier-seeming. Don't worry, it is not actually fancy, only fancier-seeming, because this blog will probably get fewer hits in a year than my FB page does in a week — and that ain't much.

I had the idea for a blog called gaining confidents a few years ago and never did anything with it. I love puns and wordplay (my comic niche is "dad humor") and was surprised that I hadn't seen or heard this one before. I instantly reserved the url on Blogger to keep it securely mine, which was ironic because, unbeknownst to me, nobody used Blogger anymore. Some sexy travel writer could have easily thought of the name and taken it literally anywhere else. But she didn't, which I took as a sign that the two of us were meant to be—and so were the blog and I. The sexy travel writer hasn't shown up yet, but she will. She will.

This particular play on palabras stuck out to me not only because it was devilishly clever (like using Spanish to achieve alliterative and assonant awesomeness así) but because it actually made sense. To prove it, I'm about to hit you with a grammar thought experiment — three words that have never before been put together, and with good reason — so brace yourselves.

"Confident" is an adjective, meaning "having strong belief or full assurance; sure of oneself." The state of being confident is "confidence," a noun. But think of it a little differently: What if "confident" were not an adjective, but a noun? What if it weren't a descriptor of personality, but a physical thing that you could have, like a baseball or a hangnail: "a confident"? To me, a confident (noun) is the result of an attack on your confidence — a dent in your armor, so to speak. It's unsolicited and likely unpleasant, but given time and perspective, a confident (noun) helps you strengthen, improve, and ultimately become more confident (adjective). Thus, "gaining confidents" is more or less the same as "gaining confidence," but the former seems to more aptly reflect the flawed, oft-painful journey required to get to that place of self-assuredness.

To take it meta, life is in many ways defined by gaining confidents (yes, with the wrong spelling). Obstacles are thrown at us every day — mostly proverbially, but sometimes literally, depending on your hobbies or proximity to comedy clubs where they throw vegetables — many of which leave marks large or small, or even invisible. But each ding, while momentarily disrupting our image of who we are, brings us closer to who we will become.

Humans are like brick walls (bear with me): When we start, we're fresh and smooth, albeit grouty, and think we'll stay that way forever. But nature hacks away at us relentlessly, exposing our imperfections, exploiting our weaknesses. And if all that doesn't knock us down, we emerge as an individual: we dig beyond our weaknesses to find our power; we embrace our imperfections because they're what make us ourselves. While a new wall may be impressive for its uniform, pristine face, I'd much prefer to gander at a grizzled old counterpart and wonder how it got all its unique scuffs, scars, and dents.

What does all that have to do with this blog? I couldn't tell you. If nothing else, it's led me to an understated-yet-dope header image for this post and... well, probably nothing else.

Perhaps I'm too quick to that conclusion, though; maybe this linguistic folly of a theme is, in fact, writable. Therein lies my great experiment with this blog: can I take my confidents and spin them into stories anyone else will find interesting enough to read — or, Morgan Freeman willing, to share? In keeping with a trend I'm unintentionally setting, I don't know the answer.

But I do intend to find out. Maybe you'll join me while I do.

Maybe you won't, though, which is totally fine. I bet you have better things to do than read articles by yet another privileged, white millennial. Writing this thing is tough enough, and frankly, I'd be relieved to not have the added pressure of impressing you every time I hit "publish." But I just told you about how I'm trying to be a writer, right? Maybe a few confidents from the comment section will do me some good.

I'll be back in no time with more bad puns, strange analogies, and attempts to understand the world through them. Maybe I'll see you then.

But probably not.

essaysJake NovakComment