The bitter old woman in me
This afternoon I broke from a sweat-soaked dream of fighting bears and garden snakes circling my ankles, to thoughts of self-destruction strangling voices from my slow-moving generation of internet thinkers and human-interaction dodgers. Friends and colleagues endlessly struggling with project completion and personal progression, understanding of self as independent entity and self connected to greater whole. Friends and colleagues struggling with an understanding of self, as they hamster wheel into obscurity.
As the most thriving parasite on satellite earth with no nameable opposing force greater than outraged oceans and man itself, it’s reasonable that a certain segment would suckle suicide by time.
Some succeed in dumbing and numbing through intentional wheel-spinning masked as accident.
Others lock into directionless courtesy of SOMA-stoked bored contentment, memory tricked into knowing the times before as instances where they were not themselves, victim to erratic emotions, unboxed and venom-fanged.
Others still reprogram impressionable mind-meat into regarding unpredictable terrain and internal missiles as those engineered to thwart the influence of logic, until the boys-don’t-cry rhetoric of the 50s has been cloaked in the garb of SCIENCE to keep them quiet, confused, disposable, and apologetic.
The bitter old woman in me claims that those dodging the charms of self-destruction most completely are those willingly disconnected from a comprehension of self with greater relation to the larger world. Those whose world view is informed by their day-to-day needs and the acquisition of stuff, who complain about the cost of gas without dot-connecting to the origins, who neglect to note that many of us are born equipped with transportation courtesy of functional legs.
The bitter old woman in me claims that those immune to this elixir are those who will drunkenly announce themselves to be evolved, no longer seeking the answer since they fuckin’ found it. This holy-fuck-I’ve-done-it world view is succinctly summarized on web sites and readily available pamphlets and paperback best sellers endorsed by your favorite talking head and televised wank fest. This sort of trumpeting seems to catch the ears of invisible listeners, who can’t wait to help the self-annointed guru stuff too many people into a sweatlodge.
The people who actually do something
However: there are plenty who, by whatever fluke of science and nature and love and work, somehow manage to engage with day-to-day reality without so much pacing, who find ways to pacify dark thoughts of shame and insecurity to commit to achievement of vision. Many drinkers have mastered the grumbling understanding that a majority of the human populace is destructive or useless. Only a few seem willing to truly consider their own capacity for greatness, which can’t be measured by externally constructed models, but created ones with personal means of measurement.
(Side note: others still don’t think about this shit that much. These are the people who look at me exhausted and wonder if addiction-commitment might derail my internal circle-jerk enough to stoke forward some semblance of laugh-riot. Sorry folks. I’m the hole in your garden hose.)
In a few determined hours I could produce a toilet paper roll of 10 point font names of courageous individuals thwarting pressure to mirror-mumble until expiration date. Each instance offers evidence of a combination of luck-prayer-hard work-clarity of will-sacrifice, though only some would agree on this list of ingredients.
Some would dismiss the luck component, neglecting the winning lottery ticket of being born in America where we don’t have to fear being recruited into a machete-wielding child army after observing the massacre of people we once adored.
Others might laugh off the prayer with a ho-ho-ho they won’t credit to Santa, insisting their repetition of heart’s desire was just for the sake of clarity — nothing was overheard.
And some of this group of achievers won’t even clock their achievements, will even shun the word success based on a definition constructed by some other, and will therefore express ingratitude, an inability to comprehend such good fortune. These are generally those who have achieved in a realm undefined by material rewards, who interact with culture in its birth canal, their material sacrifice for vision-preservation a mark of bravery without the badge.
Few among us planned on the luxury of so many decisions, only some of us even observing how many options truly exist, and many observing the endless rings with panic and paralysis, not willing to risk drowning to join a more interesting raft of refugees.
It’s important to take a moment to be astonished by human capacity to accomplish nothing. Even with no prison sentence offering boxes and walls to circumnavigate, no international crime lord rifling through plastic surgery records to uncover an assumed identity. No demands from a family of thirteen that each mobile adult take an extra shift at the shirt factory to provide a bag of beans that will last a week. No full body paralysis to explain the catatonic state.
So how does we crack alive? How do we muster together art and words in the midst of base survival, which calls for day jobs over daydreams, doldrums over danger, donuts over….just donuts.
How do we create anything to completion in the stranglehold of sloth, how do we break away from this pocked understanding that with science on our side we’ll live forever?
How do we smother the perception that opportunities are to be considered, not seized, as there will always be another chance for life and love and greatness?
And is it fear of death that keeps us locked behind invisible bars, or fear of life and our ability to navigate new complications that will inevitably present themselves as our decision-making grows riskier and our life choices become harder to defend?