Monday, September 16, 2013

A Ramble

The terror of a blank page with nothing to say is akin to the fear of dreaming big for me. Afraid to want. Afraid of disappointment and failure. I have always viewed “playing it safe” as a good trait to have. Never risking much, always being in a fairly well-controlled delusion. I know that life is not that way – controlled or safe. I want to dream and have aspirations, but I don’t even know how to start seeking them. I guess writing is all I know to do. But I don’t have anything to say. I want more than traffic and schedules and cleaning house and always feeling inadequate. I love my family, I love to cook, I love to write, I love community, and I love nature. I feel that we are missing so much in our modern, high-tech, busy ways. I’ve felt like there was never enough time for anything. Rushing to do, rushing to rest, rushing to distract myself with mindless internet and television. I have to force myself to stay in the uncomfortable place of not being distracted, of sitting with myself, listening to my heart – who hasn’t gotten to have a say much in my life. I always have this dream of moving out to the middle of nowhere, with limited technology and living like all people did until our generation, it seems. Where you know people, to the point of having to work through disagreements and dislikes, where you know and love and serve your neighbor, where you can’t just avoid someone who makes you uncomfortable. All of that is sanctifying – burning off our superficial exteriors and purifying what’s underneath. Are we all missing that? Are we all unsanctified? It’s hard to see the value in modern convenience sometimes. Sure, I like good restaurants and shopping – but maybe that’s not worth very much compared to what we have inadvertently given up. I want my kids to play in the street and explore and skin their knees and dirty their clothes and meet new friends and fight with old friends and learn to make up. I want them to talk to me about all of that. How do I find a 50’s neighborhood in 2013? Hell, even a 90’s neighborhood – when we barely had dial up internet and no facebook. When your perceptions of other people came from real life, and probably an airbrushed magazine or two – not pinterest, facebook, design blogs, instagram – where everyone presents their best selves day in, day out and other people eat that up as the truth, or worse, as the whole truth and feel unworthy. It’s really just a slice – the happy kids, the successful craft or DIY project. Leaving out all of that ugly, real-life stuff – the messy kitchen, the 10 other failed crafts, the project that has been half finished in your office for a year, the fight with your spouse, the tantrums, the places where deep down we feel that we aren’t doing it right, that we missed a class on “successful adulthood” where everyone learned the secret but us. A large sense of how we view reality comes from fictional places – TV, movies, and these highlight reels of other people’s lives. We have cliché sayings to smooth over any ruffles of discomfort, to reassure ourselves of the lies that life is not hard. I picked up over the years that the entire goal of my existence was to remain even-keeled, comfortable and content – any disruption was a sign of my poor managerial skills. So I kept things at bay – desires, fears, insecurities, discomfort – but then other things wound up being kept at a distance too – hope and joy. Because the lesson that I missed is that all of those things are tangled up together and impossible to separate. They are always hand in hand – grief and joy, hope and fear, desire and failure. When kids in my study want to get off of the medication, they always state the same reason – they feel flat. Sure, they aren’t sad and hopeless anymore, but they aren’t much of anything now, which isn’t much better.  

I guess my goals for now are to 1.) write more, I’d like to say every day, but this is about reality 2.) stay in discomfort, don’t distract myself from it. And maybe I will learn something by doing those two things.