Since I was a kid, I've been very conscious of death. Conscious of a lot of things actually- body conscious, self conscious, etc, ad nauseum. But I really became aware of life the day I became aware of death. It remember it clearly; I was maybe four or five, in kindergarten at least, crossing the street with my mom. Picture me, a kid with braids and glasses, walking to school when suddenly... I noticed the cars. So many cars, it seemed, all around me and I don't know why it had never occurred to me before that they could hit me and I could die. Actually, I think I do know- before that I had never really thought of myself as a person, a separate organism. I know it seems strange, -surely I knew I was alive- but honestly, I don't think I remember much before that age-don't know if I even remembered my own name really (developmentally lagging, that was me, I think). And you know what they say- "Cogito ergo sum." I think therefore I am. I know I wasn't really present until that moment, and then suddenly I was, just in time for a car to blow by me. And that's when I knew I was real, that I could be hurt. It's a lesson that reverberates with me to this day. So much of the time I try to be a good person (whatever that means), someone loving, someone intelligent. I give myself to people, and I know you're not supposed to ask for anything in return...but sometimes I need something. I need to be appreciated. I need to be touched. I need to feel like I'm doing a god job living this, the one and only life I've been given. I hate that I walk around sometimes thinking that that moment, whatever I happen to be doing, will never come again because how many of us are living in our purpose in every moment? Ordinary life takes up so much time. It's necessary, but sometimes it fills me with regret. It makes me feel like less that I'm not living a super powered life every minute of every day. But I'm not a flame. I'm a candle, and you know what they say about burning a candle at both ends. I don't want this awareness of death to make me depressed (ironic, I know). I just want it to give those moments when inspiration does overpower "real life" even more of an edge. I want to dedicate myself to creating something, if not lasting- after all, writing and art don't always last past their creation or creator- but something, if not lasting, at least beautiful. I want to spend my time with people and things, in places, that acknowledge me and make me happy and make me treasure life the bitter sweetness that underscores it. I don't want to squander it. So I've got to focus- on me and my one life and my story and creating something- leaving my legacy, whatever it may be, behind. There are some people who would call that selfish- who don't want to be part of my story. To them I say, you're not wrong. It's not you; it's me. I am being selfish and I going to stay that way. It's my life after all and I've only got one. I've got to make it count.
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.
It amazes me how two people's thoughts on anything can be light years apart-even, maybe especially, on things they agree on. The process of how people come to an agreement is like watching a Mandelbrot fractal being born-you start off with chaos and make...chaos-just in a beautiful form, because even once we agree, we can never really understand each other's thinking processes or motivations. How do people ever come together when our interior landscapes span mental continents? How do we explore each others mental terrain and decide this person is my friend, my lover, my enemy- or even "this person is just like me!"-when the truth is, you have no idea. We will never truly know what another person is thinking, or why they do what they do. The rules of society help us make our decisions-but they aren't absolute and they change constantly. What's popular, right, moral- all decided, it feels, on a whim. And I'm an outsider loking in, who can't figure out the rules of the game. Some people are experts at moving through life, despite it's unpredictability. I think it's akin to being a mathematical savant who's never studied algebra- you can intuit an answer and be right, but never use the same process twice to get to the final answer. Which means when I try the very same thing that worked for you or even worked for me the last two times, the third time-Kaboom! When talking to people I feel, always and forever, a stranger in a strange land. I have no idea how to navigate the pitfalls of interpersonal relationships and usually wish I could just say "Screw it!", and not obey those damn unspoken rules of society everyone else seems to know so well at all. But I want to be a part of something. And people who don't try don't get too far in any direction. And...I have to admit I'm not strong enough to bear society's censure for long. I wish there were an easier way to overcome our mental chasms. But maybe that's the point. Chasms can be overcome when people cooperate-when we strive to understand each other. Sure,I usually don't get it-but I am striving. I think we all are. And maybe one day, we'll all get it. For right now though, what I want is for someone on the other side of my mental divide to lend a hand and throw me a rope. Any takers?
"Sometimes it is the person closest to us who must travel the furthest distance to be our friend."
I had a strange day yesterday. My multiple personalities came out to play. It started when I woke up feeling hipsterish, so I got dressed in tunic and tights, the whole nine yards, despite the fact that I was going to be doing a bit of semi-professional speaking that day. Call me crazy, but I don't think people respond respectfully to other people when they look like they're about to head out to a rave, but I decided to go with it and to hell with the consequences. Besides, I ended up as an elephant that day and no one minded that at all. I went out to do a puppet show for a group of kids and instantly turned into Miss Perky-you just can`t be mean to a bunch of little kids when there`s a puppet on your hand and they`re all smiling at you going "Do it again!" It was a good start to the day. Then I went into my office and suddenly morphed into office lady, checking email, scheduling meetings, taking requests. Still dressed like a college hippie, but now a manager who just happened to have an elephant puppet on her desk. Surreal has been my byword for some time now-my life taking roads I never could have imagined-never knowing who I`ll have to be when I get up that day, and never knowing who I`ll bring back home with me that night. I sort of wish I could use that puppet everyday. I get the feeling all my conversations would be a lot more honest and fulfillin that way. I always thought one day I would figure out who I was, who I was meant to be. I didn`t realize how much impact other people`s perspectives would have on me or how I would worry about it all-about not meeting those expectations. I almost wish I were an actor-given a set of lines and a character description that spelled the whole thing out-where a character lived and how, where they were coming from, and all their motivations. Sometimes I even want to know the end of the story. But that's not how it works. Some stories may be exciting, some predictable-but when it's your own you still have to live it out to the very end, to live through the climax and make your own resolution.I haven't left the house yet today, so don't know what role I'll be starring in,but I hope it's a good one-I'll make it a good one. Maybe a recurring part that I can come back to again and again.
"Many of us go through life feeling as an actor might who does not like his part, and does not believe in the play."