Monday, April 5, 2010

Rediscovering an Artful Past

When life gets ya down I've found that it's important to remember that it might not be life's fault. Sometimes the stress, fatigue, worry, and general 'ick' feeling is all in your head. Heck, you might be the number one cause of your own life's downiness. So perk that chin up put on your comfy travel shoes, cause we're going back in time.

I'm finding that one of the best ways to rediscover happiness is to travel (in your mind of course) back to a time when you remember a greater level of contentment. What were you doing? Wearing? Eating? Who were you hanging out with? What kind of music were you listening to? It all seems too simple you say? You'd be suprised how much people struggle with simplicity in the 21st century. In fact, in my own exprience lately, the more I try to simplify, the more I've been causing a greater degree of chaos and confusion.

Example? When trying to simply mail in a credit card payment (the old fashioned way), I ended up with a considerable amount of money getting lost in the mail and countless added trips to several different bank locations in order to solve the mystery (well...trips have been made, but the mystery is still not solved). It seems that my own desire for simplicity led to my own temporary financial demise.

This, however, is only a small and very specific example of a larger direction my life has been taking over the past few years. When I started school, I didn't know how my career was going to work out, but I knew that I wanted to be an artist. It was what I did. It was what I was good at. But wanting to be an artist, a seemingly simple idea for me, caused a great deal of confusion and chaos from my family. How was I going to make any money? How would I establish any security for my future? In this case, my family thought their concerns were quite simple too, as well as practical.

So in the interest of clearing up their doubts about my ability to survive on my own, I began to devise what I thought to be more simple goals. Practical goals. I switched my major from theater to communications. I directed my career goals from the stage to mass media. Then eventually my hobbies began to change. I went from painting and sewing to watching the news. I went from going to movies and shows to cooking meals at home. I thought I was being practicle and simple, but the truth is that it was just causing me more grief. The greif came from not being able to let go of either set of aspirations. Now I always find myself trying to follow both paths, have it all, do everything; and it is starting to break me.

But the moment I picked up a paint brush and starting painting for the first time in about four years there was instant joy. It was as if content was spewing from the brush's tip. I was ecstatic, like one of my fingers had miraculously returned from a several-year absence. Then a few weeks later I attended an audition for the first time in nearly two years. Though I don't think that I performed my best, I was instantly reunited with that old sense of pre-performance nervousness that brings me ultimate rejuvination.

Slowly, I'm starting to feel like my old singing, painting, crazy-clothes wearing self again. It is comforting to know, that the version of me that I used to love is not totally gone, but has only supressed for a short while. I am no longer worried about my future. I figure, if my family is so adamate about worrying, then they can carry that responsibility for me. I need to do what makes me happy, or I'll never be able to handle all the other stresses that "life" throws at me.

So please, my friends, love ones, and even strangers that might happen upon this blog, as best you true to yourselves. Don't lose sight of what makes you you. Even when it hurts to be misunderstood, I have found that trying to change who you are (even when done subconciously) is not a better alternative. This message has probably been repeated twenty or thirty million times by now, but perhaps that's because the goal of being true to yourself is so easy to lose sight of. So write it down this time...on a sticky note or something. Much Love ;-)

And here's a couple quotes to keep in mind:

"Gnothi Seauton"


"Sometimes the hardest thing to be in this world is just yourself,"

-Brother Ali

"Do you want to play a lead role in your own life? Or a supporting role in someone else's life?"

-Hillary Clinton

"Let go of what you think this is"

-Anne Bogart

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Real World" Update

What a piece of work is man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable, in action how like an angle, in apprehension how like a god!

-Hamlet Act II, scene 2, 303-312

I still remember reading this quote for the first time in Ms. Judge's 12th grade English class. Though I did realize at that moment that my understanding of the profundity of that line was incomplete, there is no way I could have anticipated to what degree. I seem to wake up each morning asking myself, "is this really my life?" and "what am I supposed to be doing here?" What else besides human existence presents such infinite possibility devoid of a pure or clear pedagogy by which to achieve it? Furthermore, why do humans long for such a guide? I am irked by the irrationality of that conundrum, which is itself, ironic.

So where do I go from here? Each day I try not to dwell on the fact that I am beaconless and underdeveloped. I try not be overwhelmed by how my fellow humans confuse me so. I feign comfort in situations of uncertainty (which is always). I wonder. How long will this state continue? When will the confusion fade? When do I start to fit in my own skin?

As a child I looked ahead to each new graduation of maturity with anxious anticipation. I knew what was next: driver's tests, proms, college application essays. But my life right now is at a stage that no one bothered to explain, or perhaps it is undefinable. The stage is now determined by me and the order in which I place those stages in turn determines many seminal aspects of my future. But regardless of whether or not I act, I am making a choice. My fate is being determined for me while I sit hesistantly trying to make up my mind. I find myself, now more than ever before, longing for a pause button.

Before I can move on, I want to become more aquainted with this stranger I call me. I don't want to glaze over my own passions, aversions, and abilities. But amid my current civil arrangement, how can I hope to have any time for personal discovery? Working to feed and house myself consumes most of my days.

Did Huxley have it right in his dystopian classic? Is man (whether voluntarily or pharmacologically induced) doomed to fall into some exploitive order? And another mystery remains, how is this fate possible when the scheming despots are nothing but human themselves? How do I tap into the autonomous nature that they possess? Oh what a remarkably confusing piece of work is man.