Now THAT was quite an introspection. I even felt the melodicity in it, going like a waltz! I have some more accurate ideas to decompose your stages of this all and categorize the next phase, but Ill be getting to those later on during this post, as the rest of your message is just too juicy not to take a dive in.Something I found myself writing today...
I feel it is important to write this down now, even though my hand is killing me and the journal it is set to go in will not arrive for a few more days.
In my last journal, I left off with the assertion that I can no longer be an artist that works towards the goals I initially had, because my experience of the world and desires will not enable me to do so from a position of integrity.
That may sound sad, and to some degree, it is for me, but --after so many years of feeling like I have lost my sense of direction, of confusion that I seemingly don't know what I'm doing-- I am somehow relieved to finally be in a position that does not seem forced, where I think I understand (better, at least) what has changed in me and why I have found things so difficult.
The past two days I spent turning my living space upside down, searching for all the loose writing and journal entries that I know I had left spread out through more than 10 notebooks, sketchbooks, folders, scratch paper, receipt paper, and on my phone.
Initially, it was simply me fulfilling an urge brought on by the resurfacing of too many memories, and the simple fact that my journal, started in 2011, finally had no room left. 9 years of writing sometimes every day, yet there was a ridiculous gap between about 2012 largely up until present day. But I knew it was all somewhere (I tend to reach for whatever is on hand, regardless of where I am), so gathering them all up needed to be done. Later, I realized the abstract thoughts running in my mind, unvoiced: Where did that person from back then go, who is more familiar to me than this woman I am now? You probably know already that this is a recurring question for me. Many times asking, many times answering, but this time seems more significant.
Suffice it to say that what began as an attempt at organization appears to be revealed as a subconscious attempt to reconcile my past and present existence. What was I then that I feel so distant from now? Why have I struggled expressing myself and why did I stop? Specifically, through the expression of art, but also where had my appreciation gone for the world around me? The one that I see around me everyday, not some abstract concept of the world at large. The appreciation which I so frequently demonstrated in my sketches, nothings on twitter, and even photos I shared on instagram. Where I shared it did not matter, but the fact that I could not help myself before, and for years now, there had been almost nothing I wanted to share. Was that uncontrollable desire, the ease of it, perhaps a product of youth, taken for granted? Had I simply lost sight of something I had no idea required maintaining? Or... is there something else that I want now in life?
I may not know the answers to any of these questions any time soon, but, it seems I may have found a hint today, as I was transferring to the journal intended for all of those loose papers (a stack nearly as tall as my calf) two letters from my high school teachers recommending me for attendance and my own statement of purpose (all submitted to the college I was applying for)... from almost 10 years ago. I was 17 when they were written, and am 27 now.
Anyways, it's a bit difficult to verbalize, because I truly failed to live up to my teachers' high praise, almost right out of the gate in college. I know I must look beyond that right now, at the uncomfortableness that is my 17 year old self talking about the 'wonder', 'light', and 'joy' that she, at some point, came to believe adults had mostly lost and greatly needed reminding of.
It's such an emotionally... unfamiliar taste to me now. Mentally, I even feel rather sickened just reading what I had to say at that point about living. But... behind that grossness... I wonder if I feel like I have let my previous self down-- not for the lack of concrete success as an artist, but for the fact that not only do I not hold the same things dear anymore, the same values, but that I cannot even acknowledge them anymore. I don't recall what such a perspective feels like, and I even see it as an apparent denial of reality. I do not believe it was denial then, but it would be for me now. Yes, yes, I know everyone at some point comes to believe different things than they did as a child. What needs to be understood is that I am talking about the longest lasting, deepest motivation I had had while everything else about my being changed around me like a merry-go-round that never reaches all the way around. Until one day I looked back and it was not there at all.
I believe my 17yr old self would say that I have succumbed to fear, anger, anxiety, self depreciation, and worse: that I -allowed- myself to lose hope, joy, or wonder. Whatever that thing was. While I do not feel or know those emotions that I used to know, I still have the memory of how deeply I valued them and wanted to share them as an artist at the time.
I do feel sorry to that past, that I did not keep hold of those ideals and those emotions-- that I never ended up sharing them in my work the way I had wanted.
But now that I am here, in this place and time, due to having my hopes dashed one too many times... due to having to learn how to face the harshness of a life where luck and an early start are not enough, where I must sacrifice much in order to live as an adult with unceasing responsibilities... in a reality that I did not comprehend the extent to which power dictates something as seemingly untouchable as the air that I breathe. . .
Well, It happened. But all this was a side note to the parts of the letter where I said how dearly I wanted to 'reach the next stage' in my life, to 'keep learning'-- the passion that I had to express what I have learned to the benefit of others. These things I have done and kept, while not having happened in the ways I could conceive of back then, and I believe if I take a good look at what my experiences are telling me --now--, then perhaps I can begin to gain again in this life, instead of continuing on the trajectory where I felt to seeming ad nauseam that my soul had been snuffed out. I once believed that a candle, insignificant is it may be, could and should be re-lit. I took for granted that a flame was never something I had to build for myself, and only in that aspect. I had thought keeping such a thing, or letting it go, was a choice.
It doesn't matter whether I was right or wrong, whether I chose or chose not to. It happened to me, and I want to take what I've become and find a new way of living. In particular, I want to learn how to be positive again, without denying my experience of a reality that has been full of pain, difficulty, shame, and defeat. I want to understand how to move through life with a knowledge that there may not be a happy ending, and that nothing is so concrete as to allow for only one possible future.
Surely, there is still value in pursuing the possibility of a future that I cannot find the hope for?
I want it to be true.
I do not think it is true.
I am willing to try and see, and perhaps never be proven wrong or right.
It could be a trick of the mind now-- the will of my DNA to continue itself. But it's what my life has carried me to, at present, and I see little value in being greedy beyond that.
A pleasant thought that... just maybe... in another 10 years, I might conceive of existing or moving in an entirely different way than either now, or how I thought at 17.
If I HAVE kept anything until now, it is probably the desire to someday see the unknown.