A journey to San Francisco to become no less than Me. (BLOG REBOOT: Former site of Hairy Legs.)

Archive for July, 2012

HOW TO DRAW

Just read The Primal Blueprint.  It inspired me to go out and buy a lot of fruits and veggies and meat and nuts and essentially assemble a hunter/gatherer-esque diet.  I just threw caution to the wind and spent 100 bucks of my food stamps on these.  I hope to god most of this food gets me through the end of the month.  It probably won’t. 

BUT I figured, if I trusted in fate to get me through, went on ahead and treated my body well by feeding it the right things, then maybe it’ll reward me by not needing as much food in the long run and this WILL get me through.  OR because it’s a lot of fruit and veg, it’ll all rot and wither in a week and I’ll be shit out of luck.  Either way, I’m not that worried because there’s always food banks and stuff.  I got through before I had food stamps, right? 

I’ve been trying to follow my impulses more closely these days, especially the ones that tell me to do positive things, rather than overthinking everything like I normally do and letting my inhibitions control everything.  I’ve been on the verge of a huge personal breakthrough and I think this is part of it.

A huge part has to do with my creative expression.  I’ve been journalling and drawing every day in my sketch book lately, which might not sound too groundbreaking to you, but it’s been months since I’ve been able to write at will, and years since it was easy to draw.  And I think I’m finally getting the picture as far as what’s been holding me back.  There’s something about drawing that’s been making it seem so much bigger and scarier and more important than applying pigment to a paper, for so long.  I think I’m starting to crack the code.

The thing about art is that it’s an impulsive act.  It follows where logic dares not tread and appeals to emotion and aesthetics rather than function.  At its leisurely form, as in a hobby, it isn’t something one does for survival, and it takes a special kind of person to become prolific enough to turn it for a profit. 

For so long, ever since I was a child, I’ve been forced to follow my inhibitions to survival rather than my impulses.  It’s why I dissociated- my impulses told me one thing, and my mother told me something else.  My mind told me I was male and she beat me until I was female.  My instincts gave me a series of actions, and the religion of my parents gave me a series of guidelines, telling me those primal instincts were wrong.  I went so long believing that the only way to live was by trusting restrictions placed on me from the outside rather than what I knew on the inside.  Whenever some kind of stressor arose, my fight-or-flight would kick in with something to nuke my natural impulses as a general mode of operation, and that became so commonplace I would barely even see that function happening.  EVERYTHING is accompanied with overthinking and it happens so fast that it becomes second nature.

I’ve spent this last week trying to figure out what I naturally am, on the inside, without exterior influence.  I’ve been following what I want to do without overthinking things so much in hopes of uncovering a portrait of what I look like without the mask.  And of course, I’ve been following the impulse to draw more, at least 30% of the time.  What I’ve been discovering is that the impulse to draw and paint and so forth comes far more often than I thought it did, but when there’s no “survival” related motivation behind it, i.e., no class grade to work towards, or money to earn, it becomes something I can push to the back burner because it’s a “waste of time”, which is paradoxical because often I spend that time I could be using to draw doing something of even less value, like fucking around online.  (Journalling doesn’t count.) 😛

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Wait, what if nobody gave a shit?

Well well well well well.  I think the little breakthrough I had the other day whilst writing has really had a powerful impact on my state of mind, in that I was coming to the realization that pretty much everything I was doing in my life was geared towards survival and not much else and that’s a depressing way to live.  Also too, I had the epiphany that I’ve been living under this oppressive delusion my whole life, one that was so all-encompassing, I was barely aware of it.

I think we all (or at least we here in ‘Murrika) grow up with the message of “You’re so special and one day you’re going to be a rock star or a doctor or the president” shoved down our throats- a little overacheiving propaganda that I guess is supposed to keep us from being complacent and not trying.  Because hey, if we all try really hard to be the best we can be at becoming some kind of rich famous being, maybe we’ll at least become a bang-up manager at a supermarket, right?  Except the whole campaign seems ill-advised at best, because it also serves this needlessly egotistical way of thinking that if we don’t grow up to do something spectacular to save the world, or at least get famous in some way, then our lives are wasted and the masses will be disappointed.  Worse than that is how stressful that way of thinking gets- like everyone’s just waiting on us to peak at the top, they’re standing there tapping their feet impatiently, and there’s a limited amount of time left to “do something valuable” with our lives, so what are we waiting on?  Hell, I’m 23 and I haven’t even published a book yet and most people who are important get that kind of shit rolling before they even get out of their teens!  Tick tock, tick tock-

Except here’s the thing.  Nobody’s keeping tabs on me.  Few people are even that aware of my existence.  The ones who are probably aren’t expecting that much out of me, just that I keep on being awesome and stay out of jail.  Nobody’s really waiting on me to have any kind of breakthrough to fame and fortune and nobody’s going to be disappointed if I don’t publish that novel I’ve been thinking about.  Hell, most of them probably couldn’t be bothered to read it anyway.

I don’t know why this way of thinking never occurred to me before- it seems stupidly simple now that I’ve got it- but it’s like a thousand pounds of pressure off my back just to have the thought, “wait- what if nobody gave a shit?”

I’m essentially supporting myself now, I have a way of making money, and sure, maybe I’m not doing anything superimportant, but I’m no burden on society, either.  If my existence doesn’t have any negative impact, the world is definitely not going to come to an end if it doesn’t have some massive positive impact, either.  I’m not sure who I thought I was trying to impress all these years, but it’s always been this thing of mine that I had to be the best at everything I tried, and now I’m realizing it’s all really not that big a deal.  Now that I’m truly an independent, free agent, I should do things because I want to do them, not because I think they’ll make me important.  And that was a lot of what was getting in the way of working on my art and doing things that I actually enjoy.

I felt like, whenever I was putting my pencil to the paper, there was this huge burden of only working on things that would eventually further my artistic skill towards something that would make money, some kind of project I could publish, something marketable and entertaining, something that would eventually amount to something.  So much joy was getting sucked out of the work that I choked up every time I went to draw because none of it was good enough and it all just felt like a waste of time.  That supposedly “productive” delusion of working towards fame and fortune was so strangling that it paradoxically killed all my motivation to work.

Now I’ve realized, hey, maybe I can just draw because it’s fun, now that I have a way of supporting myself.  Maybe I can take art classes because I enjoy them, in my free time, and because I’ll be able to afford them, and maybe one day I’ll be good enough to sell some work, but there’s no time limit on this, you know?  I have a job not only that I can use to support myself through all this but actually colludes with the lifestyle of an artist- manning a front desk late hours into the night where we’re expected to do nothing to keep ourselves awake for hours except maybe reading or doodling.  Well, I’ve got a sketch book now and you can bet your ass I’ll be getting in plenty of practice time on the job.

The philosophy of “Wait, what if nobody gave a shit?” applies to other areas too, like:

  • “Oh god, I just tripped and made an idiot out of myself on the bus in front of all these people! …Wait, what if nobody gave a shit?” or,
  • “Wow, I’m looking really fat, I wish I were all skinny and buff and sexy. …Wait, what if nobody gave a shit?” or,
  • “Hmmm, sushi for breakfast is kind of a weird choice.  …Wait, what if nobody gave a shit?”

I’m truly entering a phase in my life where I’m doing things just because they make me happy, no other reason.  It really feels good to finally have control over my life- being somebody “unimportant” seems a little scary to me at first but it’s also ridiculously liberating.  If I plan on doing something important, it’s because it’ll make me happy to do it, not because I feel obligated.  And I’m sure I will eventually do those thing, because I do enjoy giving back, but for the time being, I’m just going to stretch outward and feel what life has to offer me without feeling pulled in directions that nobody’s actually requiring me to go.

I’m not saying that people need to give less of a shit- a lot of people really should probably give more of a shit, but about things outside of themselves.  What I’m trying to do here is to let go of the needless egotism, the inexorable need to be important, the delusion that everyone cares about every move I make, and discover what fun really is again.  I believe our god given right is to enjoy and observe life to the fullest.

Like one of my friends said, “I think my parents will be super proud of me if one day I can just pull rent on my own.”  They’re the only people who give half a shit and their lives won’t come crumbling down if we don’t become president- they don’t ask for THAT much, just that we don’t wind up fucking our lives over.  Oh- and I’m pretty sure they also wanted us to be happy.

Fale.

Would spell that rght but mssng a seres of eys on my eyboard.  Should have ths fxed by tomorrow. Wsh could wrte and have been thnng of topcs all day long.  Goddamn t.  Maybe the gods of wrtng are tryng to tell me somethng.  Maybe shouldn’t wrte.  What’s the use.  Every tme get the nspraton to wrte somethng gets n the way of t.

Nevermnd.

Writing for the sake of writing.

For some reason, as anyone who gives a shit might be aware, I haven’t been writing for a very long time.  Part of it’s to do with not having a computer, except I’ve written during computerless times in my life before, so most of it’s to do with the worst creative constipation I’ve ever had.  When I lost my computer, I lost everything I’d ever written over the last 9 years and it was a bit of a suckerpunch to the gut.  But that’s not everything either.

I guess the thing that’s been scaring me off from writing for so long is that every time I touch the keyboard, there’s so much to update from last time that I just get a little more overwhelmed each time I try.  So in the interest of my mental health, because I’m so FUCKING tired of people constantly asking me how I am, what I’m doing, where I’m living, and so forth, I’m going to keep the update section as stunted as possible while not making you stupidly curious.  The details are unimportant; just know that I’m safe.

  • 1) I’m now living in an apartment. WOO
  • 2) I have a job and it involves making money.  WOO
  • 3) I’m on hormones for 4 months now, my name has been changed for 3 months now, and I guess you could just say all my transitional care is up to snuff.  WOO

Now that you no longer have any concerns about me dying on the streets or anything, I guess we’re good.

I’d like to get back to that state where I’d write about the things that concerned me as a cathartic way of processing my viewpoints and figuring out just what the hell was going on in my little world.  Writing was always a good way of figuring up from down, and having lost it I really feel like I’ve lost my most important point for reference.  If I can just get to where I’m writing about one pointless thing at the end of the day again, not for the sake of anyone else’s entertainment, but just to grease up the cogs, it might do a lot for my mental health.

I do miss the feel of my fingers running over the keyboard; it feels much the way I’d assume a concert pianist feels, except hundreds of people aren’t watching me type, and also you can’t exactly backspace a misplayed note, so I guess it’s really nothing like it in the end, so dismiss that sentiment.  The point is, it feels good to put your fingers to use doing something you’re objectively “good” at.

I have to be up at 6:30am to go to work, and it’s 1:30, so I guess it’d be better to go to bed.

I guess the main demon I’ve been struggling with lately is the feeling of utter emptiness.  The feeling that there should be SOMETHING stirring my passion, something I should actually want to do, somewhere I should want to go, someone I should want to be with, something I should have some kind of opinion on, something I should say, or do, or create, but really, there’s just NOTHING.  I can’t come up with anything worth saying that isn’t just some mindless, pointless, overplayed tripe that nobody’s going to care about.  There’s nothing in this post worth reading and I get that feeling that I shouldn’t even have bothered writing it, except for the sole purpose of loosening up my fingers. 

 I miss getting stupidly excited over dumb things, developing pointless fixations on t.v. shows or book characters or events I was going to go to, trips I was planning, costumes I was putting together, silly things like that.  I miss hobbies.  I miss having that feel that it was okay to pursue a dumb hobby even if it wasted a bit of money, because hey, if I waste a bit of money it’s not as if it’s a life and death situation that will put me out on the streets, right?  Except that’s now the life I’ve been living for half a year, and it’s tearing me apart.  It’s taught me the value of a dollar in a way I never wanted to learn, in a way that makes me afraid to spend money on soap and makes me feel guilty for taking my partner out for breakfast when we could have just spend food stamps on corn flakes and ate at home.  It’s making me afraid to waste any resources, or time, or effort, on anything unrelated directly to survival.  And so when I spend any time thinking about things that could just be fun, a STOP THAT mechanism kicks right in.  

I’m unable to feel.

Huh.  And I thought sitting here and just freestyle writing wouldn’t turn up anything of value on the first post.  I’ve already had my first revelation- how homelessness completely destroys your ability to enjoy anything ever again.  Somber.

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