Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I'm not a carpenter.

It’s a difficult place to be, taking stock in your life, knowing you’ve spent so much of your limited time in these immeasurable periods of waiting. A purgatory with no context.There would seem to be an entire decade of my life spent in waiting. I had these milestones I thought were necessary, not unlike a body grows up and out, so should there be measurable achievements in aging. For thousands of years they’ve been marriage, children, and prosperity. Now what?

And if I reject the more traditional roles and goals, then the means of production I do value - independence, art, critical thought - I should have in abundance. Shouldn’t I? Isn’t the goal always more? Aren’t there immutable ways one has value? Beauty? Skill? Health?

But here I am, the same age as Jesus. Nobody seems to ask if he was a good carpenter or not. I do. I hold no real importance to his value as a messiah since I prefer my fairytales with more whimsy. But, what if he was an excellent carpenter? It must have taken years to develop that skill, that's an impressive feat. What kind of tools did he have access to, B.C. (before, Christ!).

Is there truth in the notion that people aren’t moved by your credentials, but how they felt when they were in your presence? She was funny. She was warm. She was nice. She was well-read and interesting. She was kind to me. She saw me. She fed me cake.

I am not a carpenter. I’m employed as a graphic designer. It’s on my resume, and it’s on my current contract. It pays my bills. I spend my days doing little design work, but it’s the title attributed to me. Designer. But what of it? In our culture, we often ask what someone “does.” What we do for a living. What we do to pay the bills. Is this what I do?

40 hours a week to make a living. The rest of the week to carve out a life.

In the past, it’s been difficult to feel I was of any use. I felt so much pressure - self-imposed (?) - to be productive. Of use. Of value. I reject that now. There is a freedom in being able to go unnoticed. I do not want to be the hero of your story, I’d rather lazily stumble through mine.

What kind of world is this? So surreal in its magnitude, as in its infinite minutiae. So much matters. So little matters. Flip a coin. The micro and the macro. It depends on how much you can take in, and your ability to zoom in and out. Are you aware of your point of view? Can you change your perspective?

Looking at myself and my own life can be difficult because I’m just too close to it. On paper, things are such a way, but subtext isn’t always obvious. And whatever skill it takes for a literary mind to craft that subtext into a narrative, a similar craft is necessary in un-coding the layers of your own psyche.

If my mind is troubled with the impaction of years of soot, where do I begin?

If my feet are dirty and my hands blackened, how can I try and keep clean?

And if I reject my deep desire to understand myself and my dilemmas, how can I see outside of my ingrained constructs?

I slept for 100 years, will it all follow me?

If I woke up 100 years from now, would I feel rested?

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