Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Being the sideshow in the circus of life
I grew up in a small town that accepted, or at least tolerated, character. I am not talking about chivalry, loyalty, honour and that kind of character. I am talking about the old drunk at the end of the street with an undisclosed and unmedicated disorder who talked more or less incoherently about women and farm animals and pissed on the side of the local theatre in broad daylight. It was great.
We are a society that is all about empowerment and independence. Our notion of that seems to include a lot of conformity, denial and lack of acceptance. “You can be whatever you want!” Uhm..no you can’t, in fact, what you do will more than likely be mediocre or slightly above average. ( All the super cool people, with super cool results, were just this. They were just really good at focusing their energy) If this were not the case, we would all be living our dream, and a lot of people aren’t and those who are, had to alter their thinking or views or dream to some extent. Dreams include nightmares and living one has it’s fair share of them, it is called life. Even if your dream was to be an astronaut or a doctor and you are one, you probably are not the best one or the greatest one. Someone is, but it probably isn’t you. And if you are one of these things and you are living your dream, you have seen death, and rejection, and pain as well as life and awe and wonder. But I bet you think a lot about changing all the things you hate about your dream, how to stop the nightmare.
Part of this is because you don’t get acceptance or practice it, or both. Acceptance means you stop resisting what is happening right now, where you are, what is going on, hating it, cursing it, resiting it. That takes up a lot of energy, energy that could be used towards being the best or at least better at whatever it is you seek to create, do, become or cope with this moment, this situation, this experience.
Maybe I am anxious crossing bridges, maybe I am afraid I will panic and shit my pants. I could spend a lot of time trying to resist and change how I feel about shitting my pants on the bridge. Or, I could just say, “ Dammit, I feel like I am going to shit my pants. This fucking sucks but there really isn’t anything I can do.” Oh well, if I shit them, I shit them, fuck it.” And that’s it. That took 30 seconds of energy as opposed to the anticipatory thoughts of how to not feel that way prior to crossing the bridge, beating myself while I am on the bridge and hours, days, and years afterwards avoiding bridges. Accepting what is, makes it easier to change your reality. It’s positive reinforcement as opposed to negative reinforcement, which is not a good long term motivator. It creates avoidance and avoidance is good sometimes but not a lot.
Conformity is not acceptance. It’s denial. If your doing what everyone else is doing, then nothing can ever be different. For all that we spout about individuality and independence, we are a pathetic group of conformists. We LOVE to bash people who do things differently and I think this has a lot to do with our own insecurities and needing to feel approved of among our peers. We hate to admit that we are possibly one divorce, perceived failure, or death away from a trip to a liquor store and the nearest back alley . This need for approval is a normal social human being need. I don’t believe though that it is necessary to hide all aspects of yourself in order to meet this need. I know lots of crazy fucks who are well regarded and even respected despite their eccentricities. This is because they accept their weakness, neurosis, brilliance etc and because they accept these things as well as their current situation,experience, etc.. they have more energy to gain the regard and respect that they have. They aren’t spending hours contemplating their craziness, they are spending hours on what is important to them on their journey through this life. And you know what, they make your life, my life more interesting as a result and just the fact that they are who they are with no apologies, makes it easier to not be a conformist. All of a sudden you don’t feel so alone and approval is out there, there is someone who is as crazy as you. Letting your freak flag fly is a service to all of mankind. So, let all that wasted obsessive energy go and save the world, piss on the side of a building, whatever it takes.