Wednesday, April 02, 2003

"what are we doing?" what does that mean?

sometimes i just reflexively ask myself that question as i'm getting ready to turn my attention to some task or other. it's a kind of mantra to organize my thoughts, i suppose. but in the context of making that phrase my blog "description," i was thinking of what socrates said, about the unexamined life not being worth living. too often we just rush along in our lives, not really thinking about what we're doing. it's hard to pay attention to things when there's so much information and entertainment distraction. for myself, it's important to ask this question because it makes me focus and reflect on things. i have a bad tendency to go along with whatever's handed to me, but then i get frustrated because i want more. yet lately i've felt like i'm not really working hard enough to get those things. sometimes i can't even admit to myself what i want. and i also become confused about what i want. sometimes i want things that aren't good for me, or right for me. yeah, sometimes i want those things most of all! but then i wonder if i've just talked myself out of wanting certain things because i'm afraid i'll never get them, or can't have them. on the other hand, i'm susceptible to pining for things i will never have. i think there's a kind of safety in that. one of my best friends often uses the mantra "be careful what you wish for" -- these words are very true. so, if i wish for something i can never have, well...that's safe.

it's also a recipe for a lifetime of dissatisfaction and regret. i don't want to feel those things any more than i have to. i have a lot of friends who are older than me, some of the ones i love the most. they're writers, too, or artists of some kind, many are multi-talented. there's a disillusionment that sets in, it seems, even if you are a successful artist, in the sense that you get to make your art and put it out in the world. i don't want to feel that way. (although some people might say i could stand to be a little less naive about some things.) i know you can't eat art, and a lot of my friends' problems come from the increasing difficulties of making a living if you're not willing to sit in a cubicle or stand behind a fast-food counter all day, or prostitute your work in some horrible fashion. they're mavericks, and that's why i love them so. i feel that i'm one, too, but in truth i can "pass" in the straight world better than many of them. this is one of the things i dislike the most about myself. i feel like i'm not bold enough. i don't trust that i have anything to say, anything original to create. i so want to do it. i'm working on something now, but it's so hard. at first i went around and got support from people i thought could encourage me, but after a while i didn't even want to talk about it with anyone. one of my friends says you have to go into the wilderness at some point; i feel that i'm there now, but i'm not sure i'll ever come back. i'm wandering around in the woods, picking up twigs and leaves and interesting-looking rocks and whatnot, but what to do with all this stuff? i'm slowly seeing the path unwind, but i dunno where it goes. it's kind of exhilarating at times, but right now it's just scary. i feel kind of lost, but i can't ask anyone to be my guide. i spend too much time looking to others for some sort of sign that i'm doing the right thing. i want to work more on listening to myself.

the only bad thing about that is, what if i listen, and i hear nothing?

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