The Deep End

Over the past couple of days I have found it difficult to write you any sort of worthy entry because something has been weighing heavily upon my mind. Unfortunately, in a case like this, I can’t write anything else until I get it off my chest. It’s creative blockage of sorts quite similar to constipation, but without the prune juice or strained voice. Fear not, I will be returning with more sarcasm very soon. Until then, you get Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey.

This weekend during my Saturday class, our professor showed a video of some strange Yoko Ono-type artist. Of course I cannot recall his name so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. His paintings and drawings were not what I would consider “artful” and his music was more of a bizarre emotional expression and statement than traditional compositions. For example, at one point in the documentary, said artist was creating “music” by rubbing a feather against a cactus while his long time friend was ballet dancing to the sound it made. I’m being serious. The piano compositions were all structured noises by banging on the keys – something I have been required to do in music theory classes, but not as actual pieces of music. His loud banging was a composition based on the Holocaust, so the distressed noises made sense after seeing the title, although I still can’t figure out why anyone would pay money to listen to it. The composition was certainly a thought-provoking statement, but not necessarily beautiful. I appreciated the documentary in that it was completely different than my perception of art, and my understanding of other people’s idea of art was stretched just a bit farther.

As they talked a bit more about this gentleman, I was suddenly struck by the idea of finding quality in life, in a way that I had never thought it before. Or perhaps the idea had struck me previously, but it had become lost or even drowned out by the hustle and bustle and the responsibilities that come with life.

Since that morning, every day, strange things have been speaking to me about living a rich life and I have been forcibly compelled to re-evaluate my life as it stands now. Don’t get me wrong – my life is good. Overall, compared to many other persons, I have been blessed. But like everyone else, we all make choices based on the different things that have happened to us, situations that we are in, or decisions that lay before us. What I have found is that my motivations and priorities are out of whack – I might even say “jaded”.

Let me explain. As I was re-evaluating my priorities, I realized that I have been immobilized by what everyone else feels is important. And when I say “everyone”, I mean the media and our current culture with its very ridiculous ideas of what it means to be successful and live a worthwhile life. In short, this means hanging on every word of the “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” so we can raise bitchy, worthless children who can appear on MTV’s “Sweet 16”, as we ourselves have become bitchy and worthless with all kinds of misguided priorities. Perhaps I’m not explaining myself clearly. I feel that I, like many others in our generation, have no idea what we really want in life, because we have become immobilized by the general consensus of what it means to be successful and important as a human being. We are constantly being told what we should want, how we should live, what we should strive for – and we stifle our own ideas of what we want to achieve and how we want to live.

I find now that I have lived for many years in a state of limbo, not really living or striving for what I find desirable or important for fear of failure – and I define “failure” as “not achieving the status of what the current culture deems as ‘cool’ or ‘successful’”, and after many years of living under this pressure, I have forgotten what was important to me, or, in short, what will give me a full and rich life. I must throw off the shackles of society and seek out what it is that makes my heart beat, dare I say pound.

Last night, during my drawing class, my professor was showing another professor some of the drawings that I have done over the past few weeks in his class, and they asked me how long I had been drawing for. Reluctantly, I told them this was my first semester back to school in over a decade, and I have never drawn before this. They stared at me in disbelief. An hour later, after the other teacher had left, my professor dragged me outside of the classroom and told me that I should consider a career in art. I laughed and said to him that a very long time ago I had been a music major but dropped out of school because a music degree doesn’t exactly pay the bills. He said to me, “Salary isn’t important. It’s about the quality of life, going after what it is that you enjoy.” It didn’t convince me to become an art major; after all, aren’t all professors supposed to sway you to major in their subject? But it did stop me in my tracks, for there, once again, was the message of seeking out what will give me the quality of life. It is those blatant messages, every day, all week, that are calling me to attend what I have ignored for so long – my own wants.

The only problem is, I have no idea what that is anymore because over the years I have allowed other things to drown the “me” out of myself. My job is great; it pays the bills and it looks fantastic on a resume. For someone who didn’t finish college, I have done very well for myself. The jobs I have had, other people would give an arm and a leg for. And yet, I am not happy doing this. Hobbies and recreation? I feel that in some way, that too has become immobilized by the idea of what I am “supposed” to enjoy.

It’s ridiculous and I am taking my life back. I am going to find out what it is that I enjoy and I’m going to go for it, no matter how afraid I feel. Perhaps that is why my biggest and only fear is the unknown. I don’t know why I’m writing this on the internet, because I’m usually a very closed person – sharing my feelings doesn’t exactly float my boat.

So there you have it; the verdict’s out: I’m insane. Until I can sort out the meaning of life, I’ll be glued to the TV to watch King Peen’s Making the Band 3, since that’s what we’re supposed to strive for. Just kidding.


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