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100 Days video in which I discuss my experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder:

In which John discusses the ways we frame reality, the distance between the selves we put online and the selves we inhabit, and the challenge of understanding public lives as self-portraiture rather than reality. Also Susan Sontag and other stuff.

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Good Morning Hank, it's Tuesday, I'm gonna try and do this without a script.

So, the other day, I was talking to a YouTube friend of mine who also has OCD,  and they were like, "How do you seem so put together?" Which is weird, because at the exact same moment I was thinking the exact same thought about them.

Anyway the answer, of course, for both of us is editing. Like, you hear me say, "Good morning Hank, it's Tuesday; I'm gonna try to do this without a script." But, like, what you don't hear is, this: "good morning, good morning, good morning Hank, it's Tuesday-so the other... [inhale] Good, good morning Hank, it's Tuesday-so the other day; good, good morning Hank it's Tuesday-so the other day I was talking to a YouTube friend of...[inhale] Good morning. Good morning; good morning. [frustrated exhale] Good morning. Good morning Hank, it's Tuesd-so the other day I was talking to a YouTube friend of [inhale] Good morning. Good morning."

And that goes on for about two minutes and forty seconds. So, like, this is real; I'm in my real basement right now and I'm going to really edit this video and upload it.

But it's also inevitably a construction - like I'm picking this frame-by the way, why are there so many new boxes?? And if we moved the frame just a little bit, you would see that, like, most of the basement is toys.

[puff levels increasing]

It's almost impossible to remember on like a second by second basis that when you watch a YouTube video or you look at people's social media feeds, you're seeing a curated version of those people. 

We talk a lot in the YouTube age about authenticity and over the last decade I have tried to be authentic, but in telling the truth, you choose among many true stories which true story to tell, right? Like, let me tell you two stories, both of which are true. 

[story 1] Last week I went to VidCon Europe and Amsterdam and it was awesome and amazing and I had such a good time... true. 

[story 2] Also true, I was infuriated with myself that I wasn't able to do a signing because of these problems I have in my brain. 

In On Photography, Susan Sontag writes about the Farm Security Adminstration's photo project in the late 1930s. She says the photographers would take dozens of frontal pictures of one of their sharecropper subjects until satisfied that they had gotten just the right look on film - the precise expression on the subject's face that supported their own notions about poverty, light, dignity, texture, exploitation, and geometry. Making videos, even ones that don't feature your face, is often a kind of self portraiture, as is your Twitter or your Facebook; it's you, but it's also framed. 

And images are just so incredibly compelling, like, we've all had the experience of reading a novel and imagining the characters in our own minds, and then seeing a movie adaptation and having the images we imagine to be replaced by the actors?

But an image is just that: it is not the thing itself...

(this is not a pipe)

And this is my life, but it's not all of my life.
And if I can remember that about myself, maybe I can understand it about other people. By the way, over at the 100Days channel, I made a video talking about my OCD in much more detail; if that's something that would interest you, link in the doobly-doo below. 

And remember, the next time you see an Instagram photo that you're super jealous of, somebody framed that shot. As, indeed, we are all framing our lives. 

Hank, I'll see you on Friday.