Current Jam: “Distress Signal,” Tiger’s Jaw
Do you ever feel like, if you had fewer interests, your life would be so much easier to construct? If you could just narrow down the things you thought were cool, things that you wanted to try your hand at, you would be a more complete person?
I apologize in advance: this post will come off as manic stream-of-consciousness, much like an insane person blabbering at a cornhusk doll… or maybe a can opener. Since my brain is still technically on the a.m. side of things, I’m treating this post like a batch of morning pages, a la The Artist’s Way.
For a long time I’ve been having, for lack of a better description, a crisis of creativity. I’ve been super busy, not carving out enough time to nurture some self-discovery and imaginative exploration, but yatta yatta yatta – I’m always super busy. I heap commitment after commitment onto my schedule, until I feel like Stretch Armstrong, but on the verge of cracking because instead of staying limber, he’s been left in the blistering heat in the backseat of a black Toyota Camry in Orlando for three months. So it constantly catches up to me. I’m frequently anxious, stressed, unsatisfied, exhausted, and ultimately guilty because I do this to myself.
There isn’t enough time or space or energy to dive into all the things I find fascinating. What’s worse, the second I express a particular interest to someone, I’m usually met with a two-fold experience: 1) oh you are? Well what do you think about *insert commonly known or obscure – how would I know which is which? – practitioner of said craft*, and 2) judgment when I admit that no, I haven’t.
I was helping set up stuff for a local play the other night. I’m not an actor, not much of a live theater goer, but a lot of my friends here are, and why wouldn’t I support them? At one point, Ralph asked me if I was an “artsy” person… not only did I not know how to respond, but before I could stammer out an ineffective answer, Sheryl brightly dropped in, exclaiming that no! Of course I wasn’t! Ralph was simply fooled by my nerd specs and my beanie…
I know Sheryl. She doesn’t mean any harm when she makes comments like that. I think at worst she suffers from a head-mouth disconnect, her foot perpetually skirting her lips. I love her, she’s a great person. Now, with all that preamble shoved your way: what the hell, man??
Ok, ok, I know I’m really sensitive about that shit. I suffer from an insane amount of fragile, barely-held together, pride. But it really made me wonder what kind of facade I present to the outside world. I work at a fucking art museum, for chrissakes, yet I’m perceived as what?
And ok, ok, I shouldn’t give a good god damn what people think of me. Just because I don’t flaunt my poetry, my prose, my doodles, the various projects I undertake or burgeoning ideas for new ones, doesn’t mean I don’t wade in creative juices (…ew…). But, I *do* care what my friends think…. I care what my family, my amours, think. And often, I feel as though I’m surrounded with people who are smart as shit, confident, and simultaneously, incredibly judgmental. Which is messed up, man. Why would I show you anything I try to do? The act of creation is submitting to an intense level of vulnerability, and you’re gonna shower that tentativity (yes I just made up that word), with snarky commentary? Fuck that.
I post on here, but even that tenacity has wavered so much lately that I often consider the point of this thing. What’s its purpose, for me? It used to serve one, but I’m not sure that it does anymore. My albeit brief foray into online publishing (here and beyond) hasn’t yielded much in the self-affirmation department (though I suppose it has – ever so slightly – improved my vocabulary, grammar, and vernacular intent).
Sometimes I’m no better, either. I feel that inclination to judge, and not only do I struggle to quell it, but again I feel guilt because I try to be an empathetic person, and that combination? That critical predilection? It does not bravery make, it does not bravado inspire.
And then I think, there’s more to it than this, just this, this sense of imposteriness. It must be some manifestation of life’s regrets as I make the final lap in this decade (the big 3-0 is right around the corner, less than 3 weeks out). I regret not finding a niche when youth made failure (more) acceptable. Sometimes I look at the wrinkles encroaching on my plump, freckled, otherwise youthful visage and wonder if I’d been less lazy, less prone to fantasy (which seems to yield little tangible fruit), and more prone to action, to swagger, to unabashed self-confidence in the face of limited artistic skill, if I’d be happier, more fulfilled, less anxious. If I’d feel better equipped to lead the life I dream of (in which I’m generally like 5 inches taller and don breezy boho inspired frocks that don’t actually swallow my petiteness whole). If at some point I would have untapped a uniqueness.
Yeah yeah there’s time, 30 is not 40, is no 50, 60, and so on. Don’t worry I’m self-aware enough to recognize the absurdity of this wallowing prattle. There’s limitless hope-inspiring online fodder to quell my very un-unique, accomplishment-dawdling fears (here and here, for example). As always, I just needed to get it out of my head so that I could get on with my day, i.e. be distracted from the task(s) at hand by something else, for a change. (There’s your purpose, L’s!) Yeah… I’m not convinced. *closes laptop on a resigned shrug*