Saturday, June 26, 2010

Born Alive, Living Dead

Take your colors back.

So here's the deal.

Right at the beginning, you know? Like right there, when you're all fresh and wet, and you have just been pulled out into the bright, cold, hard noisy world and you don't know anything? That's it. Right there.

You are most alive.

A beginner. A rank, sloppy, completely undisciplined amateur. You can't even control your own backside. Just that capability alone is at least a couple of years into the future.

Yet despite all that, despite the crying and being wet and hairless and freshly pulled out of your mother, and being unable to do anything at all that could be described as productive work, that's it.

You are directly on target. You are most creative, most artistic, most wise, most human.

You were.

Not now, not any more, but you were, once.

Here's how it goes.

At first everything is possible. Partly because that's all you've got, and partly because it is, really. At first the only part of you that counts is the possibilities part. For a long time all you can do is eat and cry, nap, and poop. So it can only get better from there on out, productivity-wise.

Cuz it can't get worse.

Before too very long some things happen.

You learn to feed yourself. Dress yourself. Control bodily functions. Speak. Read. Do fractions. Remain silent until spoken to. Look down on others. Forget to dream. Become a cog. Do the daily grind. Bore everyone.

Be absolutely predictable.

Be a data point.

And then one day something happens.

But you don't notice.

Because you are now a productive member of society and you have no dreams. Not even in monochrome. And no soul.

And then one day something doesn't happen.

What doesn't happen is that you fail to be yourself.

Let's rephrase that. You fail to be "yourself".

You become unproductive. You gaze out the window. You sit, and do nothing obvious. You think about becoming a fireman, a ballerina, a pirate, a supermodel.

Or all of them at once.

You have a dream. You don't understand what's happening. Then you have another dream. And still you don't understand.

You start to do something though. You find the loopy drawings you did with crayons when you were six. You look at them. You don't think much, you just look.

Then you grab a crayon and play with it. You draw. You don't care what it is, you just like the drawing of it all, whatever it is. You touch life once again.

You think about writing a book, about becoming a professional birdhouse architect, about feeding the world. Or something else.

You begin to go crazy and continue being unproductive.

You wonder what would happen if you stopped worrying. About your pension, your mortgage, your standing in the community, your chance of making it, of being respectable, of being hard to fool, of making a decent living, of fitting in. You wonder what would happen if you did nothing but scribble with crayons for an entire year, and then burned it all. What would happen if you hitchhiked around the world blindfolded.

You wonder what would happen if you became yourself.

If you try to be someone because of what you expect is wanted from you, or if you try to live your life or run your business based on guessing about what is average or what is accepted or what is ordinary, and if you judge yourself by how well you roll along that old straight-and-narrow groove, and you fear change and delight and random serendipity and those all-night, full-color dreams about being a pirate ballerina, you've lost your chops.

You don't remember it (no one does) but back at the beginning when you were wet and small and helpless you were a lot braver. Better organized. More decisive.

When you were hungry you ate. If the food wasn't there, you called for it. Lights too bright, too dim, your back end too messy? You acted. If you saw a dark fuzzy blur you grabbed it. Kitty had to cope with your urge to know all, be all, create all. And so did everyone else.

It made you what you are.

You handled it then, as a naked and helpless infant, as an absolute beginner, when all things were possible and you couldn't even begin to conceive of a limit, let alone of self-consciousness, let alone self-censorship. Let alone failure.

Try it again. Pull the cat's tail. Chase a housefly. Scream joyously. Start a business. Just for fun. Failure is an option.

But only one of many.

What else should you do with your time?

What else, really?

From buznutt


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