Greatness

For those of you who do not yet know Maya Angelou a great writer, poet, activist, etc, died today at the age of 86. She lived a long and crazy life for those of you who have read any of her literature you already know this.  It just got me thinking…

I’ve thought and said this about photography as well as other things, but I’m going to put it out there in terms of writing. Any idiot with a camera can take a picture, but not everyone can make it great. The same goes for writing. Any idiot with a writing utensil and “paper” can write, but not everyone who writes can do so greatly. I’m sitting here in my mediocrity right now.

Society today breeds mediocrity. We don’t allow people to take extra time to make things truly great. We need things done yesterday and a million dimes in our hands or we don’t care. Look at movies and shows, they are all remakes or reality bullshit. Some remakes are awesome because of technological advances, but NO ONE has produced that next best original piece of writing. Harry Potter is definitely an amazing piece of writing and I will not bash it, but I don’t know if I’d call it truly great writing. Yeah I know who am I to talk. I’ve read all those books, I enjoy them, but there’s something about it that just falls short for me. What I mean is – poetry, meaningful soul and gut wrenching writing, epic adventures, crazy plays that have withstood the test of time… We have every little bit of information in the world at our feet and yet we make no nevermind to the things we can accomplish and the places imagination and creativity can take us. Instead we stifle anyone outside “the norm” with medication and self doubt.

The world doesn’t allow for “crafts” anymore. Things like writing, sculpting, playing an instrument and painting are very much things of the past and it’s a damn shame. There are museums all over the world with some of the best paintings in history that took such skill and precision to craft. And here we sit taking them for granted by snapping selfies with our camera phones and tweeting what we ate for lunch.

We no longer let people learn and hone their skills. We resort to calling them hobbies and only those with “talent” we deem good enough succeed in the pursuit of these things can survive. But those that became great had to start somewhere. They weren’t just amazing from the minute they were born. The world has become a lot smaller of a place since Homer and the Odyssey or even Jack Kerouac and On the Road. The ends of the earth no longer unknown. We now know what’s out there but we control what we deal with and what we want to see. We’re more open and close minded than we’ve ever been. We don’t allow people to fail unless it’s at a great monetary cost. We don’t allow anyone a chance at success without a similar cost.

Where are all the greats? Where will our legacy lie if not in the history of our great writers? Those that documented stories and shared their experiences in movements that lead to change in history. Those that shared so those who weren’t there can feel and try to understand. I’ve said to my grandmother years ago that my generation has never understood being a part of something “great” no matter how devastating the effects were. We still don’t get it. Anyone can be a writer. Anyone can share their story. Will you make yours count? I don’t think anyone really anticipates greatness when they set out but why not? The world is at your fingertips how will you make and leave your mark?

We think we know but we have no idea

Okay so we all say that there’s things in life that we want – right? Of course. We all want to be happy, we all want love in some way, success, wealth, health, fun, the list goes on eternally. But what does that even mean? Everyone defines these things differently. I know I want to be happy, but I can’t put a label on what that means. I know what I want to be successful, but I have no idea on where to start with that either.

I’m not trying to pin point what it is that things should be, but rather what it is that I think I want. I know the generic words for the things that I want, but I don’t know how to get them. Everyone has their own battles and everyone has their own moments of happiness. I’m trying to make my current battle – easier. However, in the situation I’ve been stuck in I keep coming up short.

It hit me that because I can’t really define what these things mean, I can’t figure this stuff out. I know it’s a personal journey and I know life is a work in progress. No one has all the answers, but wouldn’t it be nice to have some? We don’t need to stick like glue to the definitions we create for what it is that we want, but shouldn’t we know somewhere inside our minds how to define what it is we think we want? Just a starting point. Whether we find out we were wrong or right doesn’t matter. It is in the journey but where do we begin? I’m pretty sure the dictionary can’t help me with this one. I know I just think too much about too much, but I can’t be the only one out here driving myself crazy.

Loving and losing

I apparently spend a lot of time talking to friends these days. I’ve needed some consolation in some parts of my life and my friends have been kicking ass in terms of listening to all my shit. After a conversation with a few people I’ve started to think about love again. I’ve still been fighting myself and my own – let’s call them – heart strings – in terms of what I should do about my former best friend.

Now that I’ve come back to the area I’ve had to face whether or not we’re going to be friends at all let alone let each other in like before. It was a crazy relationship and I spent most of the last year trying to move forward, let it go, forget how I felt about them, you name it. I ended up back here and had to stay despite my best efforts. I couldn’t go anywhere and not run into or anticipate running into this person. For months I even ignored them completely. I fought myself and almost everything around me. Do I keep this person around? Can I let them in again? I knew how I felt but I didn’t want to feel this way anymore. I did everything I could to push this away because I was sick of it being so crazy. I was sick of trying to keep and hold onto something that always felt unreachable.

A few weeks ago I finally just let the conflict go. We ran into each other and ended up alone in a bar in the middle of what was supposed to be a birthday party for a friend of ours. We spent more time together that night than we had since I moved away. I woke up the next day and for the first time in months my head and heart weren’t at war with each other. I finally felt “right.” If that makes any sense.

After the other night talking to my friend she told me that she lost who she deems to be the love of her life years ago. We’re both in our 20’s and she’s a few months younger than I am. I’m thinking years ago?! What were you like 12?! But it made me think that my former best friend to me was and still feels like the love of my life up to this point. We had far from a typical relationship and as much as we drove each other crazy we couldn’t help ourselves but to be near each other. I have so much love for this person and as much as I loved and hated what we had I’ve never felt the way about anyone else the way I feel about them. I was driven so crazy because we brought out the absolute best and worst qualities in each other. It was a roller coaster ride that both of us just needed to be on at all times. I admit this makes it sound like I’m an idiot for ever caring but you don’t always choose who to love or have feelings for. From the minute I saw this person I was drawn to them. We just had this magnetic quality. We needed to be in each others’ presence. We talked though all hours of the night. And the only reason this effected me so was because I cared so much and I invested so much time and effort into this other person. It is hard to watch someone you spent most of your time with walk out of your life, let alone someone you love and care about.

Well I talked to a few others and they all kind of had the same story. Everyone has someone that they deem to be the love of their life but everyone seems to have lost them. So why is that? Why is it that no one ever seems to end up with the so called “love of their life?”

To me this person is the one that changed you, the one that meant so much that was so crazy, but who you would have done anything for because of your feelings. The one that you just felt “right” with. The one you would go to the ends of the earth for or with. That as much as you wanted to punch them in the face at times you could never stay mad at them more than a half second. The one that fueled the flames but also kept the balance.

Is the fact that feelings that are that strong are just not meant to be stable or kept? Is unconditional love the problem? Are these feelings so volatile that you’re doomed from the start? My best friend and I were both so scared of losing each other we did everything we could to keep each other at some what of an arm’s length but we were still closer to each other than to anyone else. We needed each other then. I can’t go back and change the last year of my life. I don’t wish to relive the past, but how do I deal with having this person around if I constantly feel like I’ve lost them even when they’re standing right in front of me? Yes people change, needs change, but something is still not right here.

Why does someone who has such an impact on you, yourself, your memories, your feelings, everything, never stick around to enjoy the ride with you? Is it because people are so volatile in their own feelings, emotions or insecurities that we never truly let ourselves be happy? Does it take losing this person to really understand what love should be? Does the shattered hope of a future with someone you invested so much in make you figure out what is really important?

Questioning who you are

So I’ve been having a bit of a dry spell when it comes to creativity lately, but I do have two questions that sort of relate to each other from a “who are you” standpoint.

Question one: Do we ever really live to see ourselves become someone other than our fifteen year old selves?  

I’ve talked about “the version of your 15 year old self” before, but I ask this because after having a conversation with a friend of mine after a few drinks – insecurities and self doubt started to play a role in where the conversation went. My friend started talking about her parents and high school and other things that bother her and get under her skin. She says that regardless of how much time has passed, when people say or do those things (friends or parents), she reverts to that 15 year old girl who has little faith in herself and many insecurities. She is now in her 30’s and has come a long way since then but still her reactions to certain things and feelings that go along with those things revert to that 15 year old. I can say that I’ve felt like this many a time in life and I tend to continuously go to that point because I think that’s just what I know and what I’m used to. But I never really thought other people looked at it that way…

They say that we are shaped not by what happens to us but how we react to things. Well if something happened to you consistently at a certain point in your life let’s say 15, won’t you react the same way at a later date? You don’t always have control over your reactions. Events and people shape your life. When you’re 15 you’re learning new things and becoming less of a child. You start to question and fight authority about things (pick a topic). You are growing and learning and there are a lot of new things going on in life, but high school and people around you are usually anything but helpful. You can find out at this point that you’re on your own. You can find that now, whenever you feel happy or excited or down and depressed that you revert to what could be considered your old ways. Well I know that all the craziness of emotional issues and angsty teenage behavior set in around 15 for me. I’ve never considered myself a rebel, but I’ve always kind of found a way to do whatever it is that I want (I don’t really mean criminally) and this still tends to be the case today.

I mean think about it – we grow and change yes, but after a certain point aren’t we all set in our ways? Aren’t the things the bothered us then still effecting us now? People in our lives, the way they do things or react, make us do or react in a certain way. Because of where we’ve been and how we’ve existed can we ever truly leave the past behind in terms of ourselves and our own processes? Does my other random thought really play a role in this too… that to know where you’re going you have to know where you’ve been… Despite learning and growing as a person and into an adult or even just past that angsty teenage phase, can we ever truly leave that person behind?

This leads me to my second question: What if life is a process of continuously losing yourself and your way?

We aren’t the same people at every age but certain things can continuously have their affect on us. Our reaction can be the same, the feelings the same. I’m sure we can all say that we’ve tried to figure out what we want in life from time to time and things have definitely changed despite maybe feeling set in our ways. Face it life never goes where you think, want or expect it to go. It just doesn’t. There are always twists and turns. And even if we end up with everything we want at some point, eventually it won’t be enough because we’ll want something else. Change is hard for people but we all have to do it at some point in our lives. And sometimes change doesn’t give you a choice whether you’re “set” or not.. you have to deal in some way. When you fail, when you realize that what you thought you wanted is no longer what you want now, ending relationships, friendships, moving, any life altering change can make you lose yourself. Love can make you lose yourself. Not knowing what you want can do the same, how can you find your way if you don’t know what you want to attempt to get? But eventually we have to “find” ourselves and our purpose or goal. What happens when we do? Do we just “become found” or “less lost” how does it work? The saying that people never change is very seemingly true but change is also inevitable. So how does that work? How do you find yourself when you’re lost? It isn’t the same process each time but how can it be?

Is it that realization that “…if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.” Yeah another movie quote, but think about it. You feel lost so what do you do? You look within. You go through what it is that you had. You read things, you Google the most random things. You think about times you were happy and how you can get back to that. What can you change to go back to that state… time is fleeting. Time is lost the moment it’s found. We are who we make ourselves out to be, but we’re not the only ones that cause a reaction. People shape us. Events shape us. Life is only linear in terms of time going forward. However, we have the ability to regress and fall backward in millions of ways. Are we zig-zagging through life in hopes of finding something we maybe didn’t achieve the first time or do we keep getting pulled back into places that we need to learn more about or be reminded of?

I’ve been lost for a longer time than I ever initially thought. But I can’t remember where I really lost myself. I always seem to go back to that 15 year old person and use that as a starting point. Everything after that is a blur. College was fun and crazy and I learned a lot about myself and about the world from traveling through it, but I don’t initially revert to college when I try to figure out what went wrong in life or for a different way to say it where I lost my way. I was always scared to let people in after a certain point for concern of losing myself in those I care far too much about (think relationships). Truth is that happened anyway. Life after college has been a blur as well. I can’t say anything after college was what I expected it to be, nor was it what I thought I wanted. Blurred lines are everywhere. Is it because I have a crazy intuition and tend to sense what people need if I actually pay attention? Do I get lost in them because I have the ability to help? Or do you really attract those in life that are most like yourself therefore I can relate because I actually have been there?

I don’t have the answers to these questions but I’d certainly like to hear what people think. In your core values despite outside knowledge or education do you ever really lose that inner 15 year old? And is life a process of losing yourself and your way and then trying to find it again? Thoughts…

 

Aside

Image

The die is cast the spell is gone
I’m slowly learning the right from wrong
Paths to take and follow through
To places unbeknownst to you
Forge ahead, let it ride
Life is not for choosing sides
You’ve hurt yourself for long enough
And now’s the time – let go of stuff
Let feelings soar about the skies
No dream for now still paralyzed
By life’s decided fate and who’d have known
You’d build yourself a personal throne.
For the time has come to travel on
Let past be past and future gone
Into the midst of future’s gates
Only here to await your fate
Still you make but your own destiny
I’m still myself who I’m meant to be
I come fourth now to turn the tide
To leave this here, to choose my side
I stand alone and always will
It’s much to swallow- that jagged pill
to hope there’s more beyond this wood
I will find out whether I could
use help or not despite your plan
Or does the secret lie in my own hands?
Life is a sweet unknown for certain
Nows the time – unveil the curtain.

Bursts of Random Inspiration Come in Many Forms

I know I tend to be long winded but I’m going to attempt to keep this one brief. I was watching a movie last night that I hadn’t seen before. It was based in 1930’s France. It was a time that held many hardships in the world, but people still seemed to find a way to live their dreams. Seeing how I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking what it is that I want in my life, I keep exploring dreams, success and failure. I try to take inspiration where I can get it. To say the least this movie brought out a lot of things within.

Time is proven to be against us. All we have is time and how you spend it is what makes your life – your life. Not to continuously bash the world we live in today because it is certainly so much easier in terms of doing most things than it was in the 1930’s…but let’s take it back to a simpler time. A time of no cell phones, personal computers, desktop/laptop/tablets.. an age when technology didn’t reign supreme. This movie had a quote that kind of hit home for me… It was

“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason. And that means you have to be here for some reason, too.”

This movie was proof of an earlier time that things were so much harder on a day to day basis in terms of what machines were available and what was available to whom. The world is like this and so far from it today. We all have dreams. We all have our chosen purpose and our unknown purpose. We all have unlimited access to information of any kind. Sometimes we lose sight. Sometimes we get caught up in the crap that surrounds us. We look for the things that drag us down whether realizing it or not. We stay in comfort zones whether we’re meant to be there or not. We look for things that make us feel how we think we should. We can get reinforcement from anyone at any given moment. But we lose sight that we don’t have to give in to the technology and the machines of today.

Man is not machine. Man is so much more. If we each have a purpose then there are billions of purposes coexisting at this very moment. That is a powerful thought. We all have our reasons for being and our reasons for doing. Money makes people do a lot of things. Money is the power of the world. Back in this time period money wasn’t solely what ruled. It wasn’t even faith – I don’t mean religion – I mean a belief in accomplishing something. Ideas. Inspiration. Inventions. Dreams and possibilities were the way of the world. Yes, people did things for money, but they made things with quality. They invented things that have never been thought up before. They wrote movies that we still watch. They endured world crises. They started world crises. They lost lives and goals just as we have but they did it in an age that no one tweeted about it as it was happening or five minutes later because they thought everyone should know. They wrote it down. They wrote books and stories. They wrote history.

The time has come to take back some of the simplicity and try to do things because they bring quality to your life. Unplug for a minute. Find your purpose in the moment. And if the only purpose is to enjoy that moment then do it. Live your purpose. Know that you’re here so you’re supposed to be here. When life kicks you in the ass, kick it back. Find the inspiration. Watch a movie, write a poem, draw a picture. Anything. Go outside and walk through the woods. Take the random inspiration from anywhere. If it makes you feel and evokes drive or emotion or anything within you then it has to be part of some purpose. Think simply about things, about dreams. What is it that you want? How can you get it? Yes everything can turn complex, but start simple. Let yourself be open to things around you from the past, from your present and create your future.