i wish i knew, i wish i had a way – to take you away from yourself.
the tricks your mind plays.. the sadness. the darkness. it’s hereditary. maybe.
i remember when you told me, that night in the car – i hope that doesn’t happen to you.
i never even realized you thought about those things.
and i told you i’d fight it, fight the darkness, but you said – you can’t. why do you think i can’t work?
so every day, i guess – i’m fighting. for both of us..
and you don’t even know it.
28 years later and i’m still trying to scale your walls.
– excerpt from THE WILD PAPERS
the darkness has crept up on me recently.
it’s funny how we get so entrenched in our own situations, worlds, societies, histories, genetics, pre-dispositions, habits, etc. that we forget it wasn’t always like this.. and we don’t have to be bound by it.
this is a strange time to be alive – one in which my heart tells me to be wild. but everything else pokes and prods at me – to stay connected, update my status, check my notifications, my messages, my comments, my likes, my invites.. share, share, share, check, check, check.
the mind has a fantastic capability.. that has been whittled down to infinite scroll and obsessive checking, reporting, observing, comparing.. everything. i am specifically talking about facebook/social media and i am specifically talking about myself..!
i made the decision a week or two ago to quit. for anyone who knows me and how interconnected i enjoy being, especially as an extra-visible media person/artist/party animal/scribe – this is strange and drastic. however – i feel my mental state was far stranger and more drastic.
i have lived on the internet since i was 12 or 13 years old. what about us internet kids, coming into our identities as early teens at the BOOM – we grew up like this, yet we have enough of “life before” to make us wistful.. is this always why i feel like i’m living in two worlds at once, pulled by both? and what about “kids these days” – who have nothing to compare it to? you’re born with an ipad in your hand.. my friend’s baby knows how to tap and swipe and she’s not even 2 years old.
there’s nothing wrong with the internet. it’s a beautiful thing. i’ve been connected to friends from all over the world – some of which i’ve still never met in person. you have a myriad amount of information at your fingertips. the ease of sharing moves at lightspeed, like life itself..
i remember fondly the days of AIM chats and ICQ, angelfire and geocities. message boards, RPG’ing, and writing stories. teaching myself HTML, the satisfaction of skinning a scrollbar or making a photo into a clickable button. endless xanga entries, lyrics, photos, and chat excerpts. all the zillions of ‘about’ statements you write as you grow, change, get older.. myspace. collecting internet friends and comments. and now facebook. and all the rest. we grew up with the rise of the internet. we remember the excitement! the addiction. all of a sudden – everything is meant to be documented and shared, and easily. there’s a whole other WORLD that exists out THERE – in internet-space. and there’s nothing in us – or in me, specifically – that knows how to turn it off.
“If science could see freedom, what would it look like? If it wanted to find the will, where would it search? [George] Eliot believed that the mind’s ability to alter itself was the source of our freedom.”
i started reading a book i found tossed around the apartment – “proust was a neuroscientist” by jonah lehrer. i didn’t start reading it until now, and – like many things in my life – it arrived when i was ready for it. sometimes you need a reminder of our inherent ability to learn, change, grow. literally the way we’re wired.. literally the way we evolve. the randomness. the chance. the mistakes. the oddities. the way we sneak out from under the thumbprint of concrete rules and regulations.. to be this strange being that was made to change. inherently – we are made for freedom.
this invigorates me.
to look back into history and see people emerging from their ages of anxiety. twisting and turning through theories and speculations, what stuck, what didn’t.. to be reminded that everyday – we have a chance. we have newly born parts of our brains. we can create new pathways. new patterns. and break them. and make them. again and again and again.
“…human freedom is innate, for we are the equation without a set answer. We solve ourselves.”
i guess what i’m trying to say is – it’s beautiful to be human. this freedom i am constantly grasping for – freedom from my habits, my patterns, my addictions, my anxieties – is literally in the fiber of my being. for me, it’s come through resolving to stay wild and keep away from the things i feel are WASTING my brain cells. scroll, scroll, infinite scroll – and endless DISTRACTIONS. i want to read books like these. i want to climb trees. i want to live without documenting every single moment as it happens. i want to live without so much STUFF. and i want to feel – like i have lately – that there are no longer four walls encasing me. that there is more than constantly having to keep up. more than constantly feeling like i’m missing something. more than the knee-jerk reaction to grab my phone or open up a tab for facebook or figure out a filter for instagram at every spare moment, between every task..
yes, this is our world. our gorgeous and troubled age of anxiety, our age of everything and nothing, our culture of scarcity, our over-information age, our over-stimulation age. but this is also me – having grown up with the internet, being prone to anxiety and distraction, having a past of OCD and fixation.. letting my patterns get out of control.
“Eliot was fond of quoting Tennyson’s In Memoriam: ‘There lives more faith in honest doubt,/ Believe me, than in half the creeds.’”
we fall into these pits so we can dig our way out. there is no other way. there is no learning that comes from walking on a straight road, straight into nowhere, knowing it all, seeking nothing. the learning comes from the sweat and the dirt under our fingernails. the blood and bruises. the ache. the digging. the getting up. the walking on.. the doing it again. and doing it differently.
our so-called “mistakes,” our contradictions, our doubts, our duality, our paradoxical nature, our “reckless swings of animal will” (i LOVE that phrasing).. it. is. part. of. us. the blessing of chaos and the randomness that literally allows for our evolution..
the fact that “the mind ‘is not cut in marble – it is not something solid and unalterable’ […] As Eliot wrote, ‘we are a process and an unfolding.’” this is seeming so absolutely riveting and electric to me right now. the fact that – not only is this okay.. it’s how it’s supposed to be.
i think i love this idea so much because it’s literally saying, in science, in our very BEING, our very BODY, written INTO US – is hope. we are malleable. “the soul ‘may be rescued and healed.’”
i am being reminded – by words, by nature, by my contemporaries, by science, by art – that everyday we have a chance to decide. it is MY responsibility to rewire myself, rewrite myself. that a possibility for something ELSE exists every single day, every single moment – and it’s not just new age gospel or self-help fodder. not just in our souls. but inherently – in our bodies, in our blood.
“To accept the freedom inherent in the human brain – to know that the individual is not genetically predestined – is also to accept the fact that we have no single solutions. Every day each one of us is given the gift of new neurons and plastic cortical cells; only we can decide what our brains will become.”
only WE can decide what our brains will become.
“…to be alive is to be ceaselessly beginning.”
and let us never reach the end.
ps: i picked up a four of clubs / four of wands on the street the other night, and now i know why. (ever find cards on the street? google them. playing cards translate into tarot meanings..). four of wands?
getting out of an oppressive situation
breaking free of bonds
opening to new possibilities
escaping unhappy circumstances
letting go of limitations”
“If you feel trapped or restricted right now, use the energy of the Four of Wands to launch you into freedom. Do not be afraid to claim the open vistas that are rightfully yours…” [more?]