What I Do
TL;DR: Your future self is looking back on you right now and smiling. Greet them with one.
Originally Written: 28-May-2022
Word Count: 2273
Read Time: 20 minutes
Definition: The activities in which a particular person engages; a beating or scolding.
If doing is a thing we do and to do onto someone else in a way that is harmful is to 'do them wrong', then I have done myself the most wrong in life.
For doing is not something we do for the sake of doing, but for the will of wanting.
Intrinsic matters aside, we are all animals with base needs for survival.
When we look for ways to survive life's hard moments, we reach.
When we reach, we reach fast. Fast and true to the nearest thing available to us as a means to deal.
As we reach for what we do, we forge a path in our brain anew.
A highway, nay a trail that starts off bleak.
At least at first, but paved further the more of it we seek.
For if we do not have more than what is available to use to know what to do, how else would one do anything other than what one can?
We can only reach for what options we see are available to us.
For, to us, they are the only options available through which we can achieve 'us'.
If we are what we repeatedly do, then how I do my do is more of a focus than what I actually do.
Which is to say, I will focus more on meta for going about things than actually doing anything. At all.
At one point this phenomenon was due to my anxiety.
Now I view myself as an artist wondering: in which style do I express my vision today?
To what end do I capitulate my case under the guise of utilitarianism or pragmatism?
Or do I venture for something further, nay, even my own?
We are all stuck in Plato's Allegory of the Cave in some capacity, there is no way of truly seeing anything for what it is.
In fact, that is the one thing I've truly seen for myself.
There is no one answer to life. There is no answer to the cause of our being.
At least not in the way we expect things to be handed to us, which entreats nothing but grace in all of life's lessons.
But life's best lessons are those presented to us in the most jagged of ways.
The hardest of pills in life to swallow are those leading us back to the understanding that it is our own fears and mis-issues that frame the problems we experience for ourselves.
Everything ultimately has to do with how we deal with the uncertainty around us.
Thinking errors and gaps in compliance with what would be considered our own integrity come from within.
Misdirection is a thing, but so is self-delusion.
It is truly ourselves who guide us astray from who we call 'me', not others.
We may entreat them as the cause of our lack of agency in life, but it is truly never the case.
We always have a choice in the matter, even if it is to say no.
We are all entitled to the power of the word 'no'. To resist.
In fact, it's one of the first words most of us integrate into our vernacular as babies.
Even if you think you're bad at saying it, you will truly say it if what you value most is put to the matter.
We are all saying no to something, even if it's not what we think we're saying no to.
Processed food, consuming content, staring at a screen. Aligning to a perspective not our own.
These things have a way of being effective at which we get acculturated to, which is to be lame.
Lame in the sense that a lame duck cannot fly.
By electing to make choices related to consuming what society and culture give us over what we are able to produce for ourselves, we conscript to saying no to ourselves ad nauseum.
So much so, in fact, we literally get to points in life where we say we are 'sick of ourselves'.
Sick of ourselves?
Or perhaps sick from the choices we've made to resist what we feel we ought to do over what feels good in the moment.
Mind you, hedonism has its place.
But girl, everyone experiences a calling.
This calling is related to the kind of person we identify as.
As a person who has always identified personally as an artist, I cannot feel good if I do not create.
Create is what I must do in order to feel like I am living up to the calling of being I declare for myself.
When I do not create, I declare myself a loser to the cause of being what I aspire to be most.
For an artist is just that. They are a master in the art of expression.
In fact, all humans are artists.
We are all given a canvas grimly titled 'one life to live'.
The way we choose to live each day is the way we pick up that brush.
The choices we make in our clothing and accessories are but one palette we draw from for inspiration.
Choices are the very kindling and application of ourselves to the canvas we see before us.
When we are young, this canvas is more of a vision we hold in our minds.
As we get older, life begins to turn out in ways different than how we expected.
That statistics + chance, honey.
Perhaps we flicked the brush a bit too hard and now there's a blob of paint in an area we weren't planning for.
But paint on we must.
For tomorrow comes.
And the next day.
And the next.
At some point, life is starting to 'turn out' and we begin to see the picture we created.
Then, at some point, some asshole called the comparing mind comes in and has us put what we've actually created up against what we originally wanted. Then it makes us feel bad.
Usually, if not always, this is the case.
There's nothing wrong with you for doing it.
Comparisons are how we apply logic in situations to make judgment calls about our survival and well-being.
Making the choice to drink from what seems to be the 'cleaner' pond of water may well be the best example I can think of.
However, in the realm of emotions and feeling, comparison is the thief of joy.
An absolute bandit.
To do two of anything is a travesty, for it only invites comparison.
Comparison itself isn't necessarily the problem, though.
In life, we learn the basics of the scientific method through what is called 'guess and check'.
Early in life, we kind of just move through things freely as we guess, guess, guess our way into trouble unchecked.
To me, that's unabashed self-expression of thought and feeling.
Then we learn to check ourselves, mind you, and shit starts to change.
Maybe we say something for the first time in public we haven't said before and get teased.
Perhaps we try to go for a job role or some opportunity and someone else got it instead.
Awe shucks, we say.
But then what we take with us from that is a story.
A story about a time when we failed to be good enough in a moment.
These stories accumulate into a perception of ourselves that seeks to avoid these moments as 'bad'.
To be wrong is to be a failure and this world has no place for failures.
But that, my friends, is where we've gone wrong in the first place.
For to be wrong is the first step on the path to being right.
Maybe not right later today.
Maybe not right tomorrow.
But right one day.
In fact, so right one day that I myself may prove myself wrong.
Wrong about what it's like to feel so right about feeling so wrong.
Now that, that is some magical stuff.
That's some full circle shit.
To understand so much about the world and yourself that you look back on the person telling stories to themselves and others about how they weren't good enough and just smiling.
Smiling because you know that person is you.
That person was just doing their best with the means they had.
Just like now.
Just like tomorrow.
It is my opinion that the basest form of privilege is to wake anew in a day where we are benefiting in matters more than what we could experience in the day before.
Therefore, it is a privilege for the healthy to even wake with the ability to walk after days of being bedridden.
It is a privilege to speak your thoughts freely when what once left your mouth was just desperate pleas for help.
It is a privilege to take steps in a day preceded by nothing but crawling.
It is a privilege to have a job we hate if the job we had yesterday was to look for one.
It is a privilege to have the problems of tomorrow brought on by the choices of today.
Because it is a privilege to be able to even bother.
It truly is.
If you've never been depressed, then you don't know what the gray scales of life look like.
If you've never worked on yourself, though, then you do not know that it is actually possible to add new colors to your palette.
Even new brushes are out there for us to paint with. Hell, there are even airbrushes!
Some folks spend a lot of their time trying to put light and focus on the areas of their canvas that they want people to focus on.
Look at me, but this way. No, not that way, only this way. Now look at me more.
Now look at me but don't judge me the way I don't want you to judge me.
Please, please don't judge me.
In fact, pet me. Pet me more. Pet me right... there!
Yeah, that's it!
Wait, now what?
What happens after the post's window of opportunity for maximum like-age is gone?
What am I left with?
Just me and this canvas I'm painting.
Too bad I don't like it, otherwise I wouldn't feel the need to portray it any differently than what it is.
When we throw filters, fillers, and hype onto our posts and lives, we are marketing ourselves.
Marketing of a product is done to bring attention to potential buyers.
I'm going to give you a hint: humans are not a product.
We are a process.
A process of learning, living, laughing, loving, and alliteration.
When we are attempting to solicit buyers, all we are doing is convening a charade of bullshit.
Capitalizing on one dimension of ourselves as a means for drawing others in.
It is easier to get attention for what is visible.
It is harder to get attention for doing the invisible.
It is validating, yet unsatisfying, to seek validation.
It's invalidating, yet quite satisfying, to seek growth.
Growth requires us to be wrong by giving way to the realm of chance.
Growth requires us to let the seeds actually try to sprout and face the light of day.
When we plant seeds, not all are going to take.
It may be the soil, it could just be how it was watered.
But fixating on reproducing the valor and splendor of another's abundance will always cause new ideas to wither and fade.
Because we miss the weeds springing up in the gardens of our minds as we pay attention to others.
Every second of our time is a choice of attention on a matter.
Every second spent doing something is giving your power, your energy, to it.
When we fail to spend enough time on ourselves, it shows in what we have to show for ourselves.
When we give time and attention to who matters most in our lives, they benefit.
When the person benefiting from our choices is also ourselves, then we generate what is called self-love.
Self-love is the product of the process of being human to ourselves.
Which is to say, self-love is the outcome of the work of pulling the weeds that pop up in life.
While we run the rat race of painting those canvases called our legacies, we must till the soil in the gardens of our minds.
Pulling weeds and removing thrush is how we allow room for new growth.
Life is a zero-sum game and getting what we want is a constant exchange with the universe.
The universe does not give a shit about your money, your looks, or your clout.
It gives a shit about the time you spend on yourself and others as it relates to what you want and need.
Mind you, there are also other factors at play that cannot not be mentioned in this essay out of fear of being tone deaf.
Privilege is privilege, honey.
Though I may say it is a privilege to just be able to walk today, imagine what it is like for others still crawling in ways you now fly.
People of different color, creed, sex, gender, orientation, expression, faith, and wit.
Everyone comes into this world with a completely different ball of life untangle for themselves called their destiny.
Let's not make it harder on each other to fulfill our own.
We're all learning here.
The most we can do is recognize that it's all we're ever really doing.
Maybe then, maybe, we just may understand.
At least in my mind.
That we are all the same.
Thank you for your time.