Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Sixth: To Drin...

My mother has been in AA for almost six years now. A couple times a week I hear her on the phone giving long lectures to women with perpetual hangovers about devoting themselves completely to honesty and working the program for a year, or some other mind boggling amount of time. She says how the only way to succeed at something you know is good but you think is too tough to do is just to fucking dive into it with no stops allowed. No incremental moderate bullshit, just pure living for something you believe in. I love that idea, and at times I wish I was a drunk so I could try it out for myself.
The last six months or so have been a time of distilling all my thoughts into a few core beliefs and desires. Now I can see them in front of me, but how to get there is a blur. My plans get confused with all sorts of logistical hang ups, often resting on the basic conflict between my view of life and my imagined obligations to everyone else's view of how my life should be. That sounds kind of confusing, it feels that way to. But maybe it's just easier to blame my lack of action on other people. Like mom always says, any excuse will do...
I feel like all the things I'm doing are all comming too soon, the so called responsible things anyway. Being in college, getting a job, planning my financial future, in other words settling down all before I've even shook things up. In my heart of hearts I want adventure. I want to scrape by on the skin of my teeth, but because of my own choices. The same force that pushed Thoreau to the woods is what rages within me. He said in walden, "I did not wish to live what was not life....I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion." How can I begin to live my life properly if I don't know what life truly is, or who I truly am?
It's hard to live "Sparten-like" in this day and age. There aren't many woods around anymore and they certainly are far out of my price range. The comforts of american life are overwhelming and ever present. Being poor in a U.S. city has little to do with the life of a woodsman. The life of a slave is a much closer approximation.
The life of a traveller is what I crave. I want it more than anything. It terrifies me. On one hand, if I tried it the obligations to everyone else's view of how my life should be would be totally shattered. What then would happen to our relationships? On the other hand, this impulse is strong, and if resisted might manifest in other ways. I could end up sabotaging this responsible life of mine. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened.
When you're new in a place you have a view of it that's rare. Fresh eyes see beauty in what others take for granted. You live in the moment because you have to, because you have no learned responses to what you're experiencing. Also, if you're a traveller you can be honest without much fear of future repercussions, you'll pick up and leave soon enough anyway. It's such a learning experience. Viewing many different people and lifestyles in rapid succession gives you a chance to compare the similarities and differences while they're still fresh in your mind. And it's a challenge, scraping by, packing light, adapting....
Perhaps I'm romanticizing it. I've read too many books, seen too many movies about travellers. Regardless, I need to find out.
Thanks for your blog. It was like reading my own thoughts on paper, thoughts I haven't really wanted to write down myself. I don't know if I took it all the way you meant it, I'm sure much of it got lost in translation, but yeah, thanks. It meant a lot last night.

1 comment:

imbrilliant said...

I understand you, and you seem to understand me.

I sometimes feel like I romanticize that type of "just go" mentality. I know that type of life has little glamor to it's name, or at least little glamor in the purest sense of glamor.
However, my idea of glamor seems to fit it. To me, glamor means waking up to a new place with new people and new adventures. It means not having the time to get tied down.

I'm searching my brain for something to compare this to, but the only thing that I can come up with is a stupid, semi off the mark comparison having to do with photography. I can't seem to remember the exact quote I was going to use but I'll attempt to summarize it. Basically, my favorite photos seem to be the uglier ones. The ones people would dismiss as mistakes. I sometimes feel like other people might look at my life, at my choices, my hobbies, and they might dismiss them as exactly that: mistakes. But to me, they're the bane of my existence and I think them to be beautiful. I look at my friends, and I look at the places that I frequent, I look at the music that I love, and now matter what emotion each one evokes in me, no matter how angry or sad these things are, I still find them beautiful. I know there's more things out there that I could feel that way about, but I just need to find it in myself to wander my way towards each one of them.
I can hope it's gonna happen, or I can make it happen. That's the difference between my future now, and what my future is going to be.

I'm rambling.
But I'm glad for your understanding.

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