Vacations. Filling up space in your head- and what are you taking a vacation from? Your life? The one with the furniture and the job and the house and the bills? You think you will find the space and time to just ‘be you’ so you fill it up with dreams of all-inclusives so that you can feast 24 hours a day, you buy clothes for that vacation version of ‘you’ that you plan to be when you are ‘on’ your vacation. The perfect beach towel, because you’re going to need a beach towel. And then the swimsuit…you need to lose weight, really you do…otherwise you won’t be the vacation ‘you’ when you get to the beach, you’ll be the regular ‘you’ that you are now. And then the story of ‘you’ on vacation will be FUCKING RUINED. So here comes Desperation in the nick of time, ready and eager to help you freak the fuck out over the vacation so now you’re stuffing Ho-Hos down your throat while also frantically scrolling all the quick weight loss diets that google is helpfully offering you. Telling you that, yes, yes, eat everything today because tomorrow, tomorrow, the sun will come out tomorrow and you will be ‘disciplined’ you. A you that apparently lives under the bed in a shoe box most of the time, growing weak and dusty with disuse, but one that you confidently bring out and set on the kitchen counter as a reminder in the morning of tomorrow that THIS (or is it ‘that’?) is the moment to bring out “disciplined” you and drink that weird yucky cayenne thing that Beyonce is supposed to down? If she can do it, you can too you scoff to yourself (the one that has now moved on to the remaining Oreos that were in a zip lock bag in the back of the pantry where you’d stashed them so that you wouldn’t ‘see’ them but never really forget they were there and thank god they were).
Then you think to yourself that planning a vacation is exhausting. So you start clipping pictures from magazines to do a ‘mood board’ that will help clarify your desires to yourself and help you create a more orderly and rational approach to the whole ‘vacation’ thing. You rapidly move on to Pinterest, that wonderful colorful black hole of other people’s imaginary selves. Shopping for the ‘you’ that ‘you’ want to be. From there it’s a short walk to a glass of wine because, really, what better accompaniment to scrolling than a glass of wine? And that’s what everyone in the imaginary Pinterest lives is doing so you’re all now just keeping each other company. Isn’t it delightful? And on through the afternoon you go, not even noticing the light fading, looking up with a start hours and a bottle and a half later and deciding to get up and flick on the light switch because geez it’s getting dark and then understanding in some dim small back corner of your brain that you are too drunk to move. So you carefully slump down in the chair, let your head hang back, jaw slack open, and doze off. ‘Thankfully’, the last conscious thought tells you, ‘thankfully, we live alone.”
Vulnerable. Just me, the surfer of life at work. Waves come at me and I try to not go under. The view is beautiful, sometimes scary, not sure if there is a meaning to it all, I just know that I’m doing it and getting a bit better as time goes by. Sometimes I get a glimpse of the shore and wonder what it would be like to be there, sitting in stillness, not girded for the next wave. All of the craziness of this job is people-created and we then live in it. Same goes for the wider world. Why do we consent? Do we realize we consent? Or do we…maybe the question should be… do we think we’ve consented when we’ve never been asked? A lashed together jumble of a raft, made up of old refrigerators, car parts, driftwood, water bottles, dreams, talking, commercials, furniture, Ikea dreams, and Tigerbeat magazine covers, all hurtling down the river and we all lunge to jump on board, lashing ourselves to the shakiest of beams, convinced that this is LIFE, the way forward.
What next, butterfly? To be in the stillness, the wild, the stillness. I’m in it all the time, of course, but only glimpse it through the noise and dust of movement. We look for a vehicle to take us there – the right job, retreat, marriage – the thing through which we will find IT. That’s choosing a different sort of noise, not actually stepping out into the stillness which is all around. It is in the letting go, the stepping outside of, the STOPPING., that we see it/feel/be. We still do have to pay the rent and buy food though….
So much of what we learn about ourselves comes from other people – and they have only the vaguest notions of who we are yet have a stake in owning their interpretation of us. Whoever said that ‘no man is an island’ was wrong. We’re all islands – with rocky shores, dark forested interiors, and wild tribes with wild rites. How could anyone sailing along that coast and merely looking have any understanding? How wonderfully joyous to realize that and set out to explore the rocky coast for myself – to own this space of my life and feel its shape for myself. No interpretations from outside needed.