Thinking Out Loud: Life is Editing

Life is an edit.

For an obvious reason: We can’t perceive everything at once or we will explode or crawl into a blanket and whimper indefinitely.  We edit, so we can function.

We take out the stuff that doesn’t seem like it matters, or that we’ve seen before. That doesn’t seem like it is about to kill us or make us look awful.

We all edit our surroundings, and our experiences, and our thoughts. Our appearance. Our friends. Our phones.

Everyone around us is busy editing, too. What they say, what they show you. What gets into the little (and big) screens.

Not just in our heads. In the physical world. What goes where. Who goes where. Buildings. Neighborhoods. Membership. Tickets to Tool concerts.

Editing is power. It’s more than just deciding what is real, it’s deciding what real things make it through to be seen and heard at all.

There is always someone in our world who wants this power exclusively for themselves (read: assholes). For some reason they want to edit the world to look and sound and be like them, and leave everyone else on the cutting room floor.

This is their way of saying, “I win, simply by existing.” By being born the “right” way. We have seen this over and over and over and are seeing it again now in the 21st Century.

When you grow up thinking you have won by birthright, the idea that you might not have is terrifying. It shakes the very core of your idea of where you belong in the shot. It makes people hostile, and angry, and threatened, and susceptible to simple slogans and dumb-ass hats.

Another thing that is terrifying is being told that you have lost by being born “wrong.” This is the cutting room floor. This is the necessary other side to editing. What is left out of frame. What is seen as not part of the shot.

No one wants to be left on the floor. Nor should they.

But many young people get edited before they even know about the editing. They get taken out of the shot, without their permission or even their knowledge. By circumstance of their birth, and by those who hold that power to edit. Who make the messages that tell them they are less. Or ignore them entirely.

To get back into the shot, you need a voice. You have to pick your bits up off the cutting room floor and grab some tape and splice them back in the way you want them.

And to do that, you need two things: 1) The idea that this is something you get to do, and 2) The skills to do it.

This can be accomplished with a pencil and some knowledge and encouragement.

When we get good at speaking our thoughts and we take things from inside our heads out into the physical world, we put ourselves in the shot.

Nobody is going to do this for us. We have to learn how, and teach each other how, and then see each other’s edits.

And we have to be aware when someone is editing us out and tell them to go choke on their stupid hat.

This is what Thinking Out Loud is about. Voice. Getting back in the shot. I will talk more about this, and bring forth projects and ask for money and all this, but for now just wish me luck.

Here’s to being loud, and pencils.


Thinking Out Loud is a Drooly Dog project created by Betsy Streeter, aimed at helping people who tend to get edited out, to put themselves back in the shot.

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