I’ve learned a few techniques in interacting with others that involves asking questions in order to connect. Rather than just posting on my feed, “I love to eat clams”, I ask the community, “what are your favorite foods” and the answers that I get back are astoundingly honest and interesting. In using this technique applied to doing any kind of research and in connecting with people deeply, I noticed, that rarely do I answer my own questions.
So when I asked my community a few months ago a tough question, I thought to myself, maybe it’s time I start answering honestly.
I asked my readers, “are you leaning into your vices, or abstaining from them?” online, and I got back a mixed bag of fascinating answers. I don’t even know how myself could honestly answer that, because it’s a lot of both in reality.
My self control tends to come and go as she pleases, without proper timing or reason. I freeze in the most gawd awful dream scapes, and when I awake, what’s left in it’s wake isn’t always pretty. I often shake my sense of self control silly, and oh boy, is she witty! She can talk herself out of any pity party or throw her own damn ball when called upon, real pitiful. Willfully, only sometimes reliable, but who’s counting wrongs or rights? She’s a fighter. She’ll cut her teeth on a short knife, and then blame it on her inner freak’s wife. She’s is also weak, my self control. She’s been known to blow her whole roll right away just for show, because yes it’s best to blow your load early then not at all right? Except in maybe in hindsight. Whatever I did last night, sometimes I don’t even want to know myself. My self control coulda shoulda woulda got drunk and drove straight to hell, speeding down the lonely streets of inside my mind. For the hundredth time, I tell you, my self control has come and gone out of line be design. And honestly, I don’t mind a bit. That’s some true shit.
Funny things about playing with fire and creativity, is that is you don’t always know when creativity is going to strike, like lightening, fleeting in the night . Capturing the quantum can be incredibly risky. Going out on a limb, isn’t always safe. And whistleblowing, comes with a price if you’re not cafeful.
That’s part of this new paradigm we live in, adjusting to the now, and the immediate hours before us. Our lives have been reduced to a day-by-day mentality. Where as we used to plan for weeks, or months or even years out, we now are a slave to our daily routines. “What are you eating today” is a big concern, and “what food do we have for the next few meals? What project can I realistically tackle? What emails need to be checked? What conversations need to be had? What does my soul need to thrive?” Hopefully these questions are being asked and answered regularly for tou. Planning for your wedding, or next month’s vacation, or next weeks drinks and dancing, has become obsolete.
As service industry employees are struggling to make themselves essential by switching careers or adapting resources such as food, alcohol and needs of the community, others in simple positions such as gas station attendees and grocery store employees suddenly have the most crucial role in society. The working from home crowd is overly taxed and full of guilt for complaining about it, while the unemployed continue struggle. Everyone is hurting.
Really not much has changed: The poor are still poor and miserable. The rich are still ignorant and thoughtless. Meanwhile, anyone who isn’t tied to their zoom screen all day such us retirees or stay at home moms suddenly find themselves with more learning opportunities virtually then ever before, an introvert dream. Are hair salons essential, or are bowling alleys? Who’s to really say? And where does the line of “essential to mental health” get drawn? To each his own, and a nation is divided even more.
And then theres the artists, who are all drooling at the mouth to make themselves relevant and prove themselves worthy during this pandemic, if not on the interwebs, at least to themselves. It’s the artist’s job to interpret a crisis and make it palatable someone once told me in a dream. Someone compared being an artist in their reality to the likes of trying to paint a masterpiece while on spin cycle. Lots of hot air in blowing off steam. The limitations in art of improv and freestyle is that statistically it is half genius and half terrible. Hit or miss is what you get when you’re being real, and in a culture that values snap judgement short tempered attention spans, it’s become nearly impossible to succeed. But by whose standards?
The artist is merely trying to connect it’s viewers… to something outside of them selves, something bigger than any one person. What do we do when our art that is designed to unite starts to divide? It’s like we are all looking for a reason to disagree and prove a point wrong.
What is this human drive that facilitates our strong need to be right? What’s wrong with being wrong? Nothing. It’s forgiving the wrongdoings that is are the hard part.
What do we do when we can’t forgive ourselves let alone others?
We make art. We take the negative and turn it at the least into something palitable and maybe even interesting, if not something beautiful.
Professor Nightlife Jones taught me that we each make a choice… to be an artist, or to be a cog in the machine of the rat race. If you choose the path of the artist, you will never be a cog, and you will spend your life trying to entertain cogs and gears so that you can eat. It will be challenging, it will be grueling, it will be rewarding as hell; you will be anything but bored, and at the same time, you will remain underpaid and overworked most of your life. If you choose the life of a gear in the machine, you will spend every working moment miserable and bored out of your mind. You will work 9-5, 40 hours a week plus overtime to then spend every free waking moment trying to forget and tune out the monotony. You will rely on the artists and athletes who choose the other path for your entertainment, to make the machine bearable. It will be challenging, it will be grueling, and hopefully rewarding as hell at times. Both have definite pros and cons of all works. Both are a destiny.
From the Bible we can infer that the original sin was actually learning how to sin itself. We are all given the choice… do we want to eat from the tree of knowledge of good an evil? Or do we want to remain in paradise where everything is easy and simple. Do we want to understand the nature of ourselves, or is it too hard?
We’ve come full circle. Nows the time to choose for yourself. Both lifestyles carry equal weight. We need both to survive and if we are lucky, we may even be able to take turns someday.
The only thing constant is change these days. Shape it.