Of all the challenges that burn me, time and again, getting started on what I’m supposed to do, is by far the most persistent, and the most problematic. In fact, even as I type this, I’m not starting what I’m supposed to be doing tonight.
I want my time to myself. I want my life back. I don’t want to have to devote my time and energy to other people’s business. I want to have my own thing going.
I don’t want to have to do laundry. I don’t want to have to work late. I don’t want to have to register my car before the end of the month. I don’t want to have to watch what I eat.
I want to sit around and eat pie and drink coffee and watch Seven Samurai over and over and over, till I know all the words by heart – in Japanese.
I don’t waaaaaanna have to answer to anyone else, anytime, anywhere, any-how. Boo f*ckin’ hoo.
Thing is, people pay me to part with my time and my autonomy. They pay me to do things for them that they can’t do for themselves. They compensate me for my sacrifices, and they make me a part of their little tribe, in exchange for my almost-mad eagerness to dive in, pitch in, and Make It Better.
I once heard that Lady Gaga sometimes wakes up in the morning and she doesn’t know how she can get out of bed. Then she thinks, “But I’m Lady Gaga!” and lo and behold, she’s UP.
Get up, Trinity. Get UP.
Now, I’m no Lady Gaga (what a sight that would be). And that Trinity chick would probably snap me in two if she came across me in the Matrix. But I get what they’re saying. We create these personas of ourselves. And we become their agents, their servants. We become the minions of our invented selves. And that’s alright. We all do it. No shame in that — unless, of course, you craft a truly shameful persona for yourself (Jared Loughner comes to mind).
We all have our schtick. We all have some personality we project into the world — a collection of habits and characteristics that suit us and work, on a certain level.We become Survivors. We make ourselves Victims. We become Rebels. We turn ourselves into Martyrs. We serve the gods of the facades we parade before us in the world, as though that were truly US.
The other night I stumbled upon a PBS special about the Stonewall Uprising in New York City — the start of the modern gay rights movement in 1969. One more thing to be grateful for: that I was not a homosexual male living in the 1960’s, when police officers were making appearances at schools, warning children away from “choosing a homosexual lifestyle” because WE WILL FIND YOU. YOU CANNOT HIDE. WE WILL FIND YOU.
Lord, but it must have sucked, to sit in a classroom in school, having this bespectacled, pompous, white, heterosexual male preaching at you about how you should not “choose” something you already knew you were… and had known since you were, oh, about six… and looking forward to a life of hounding and serial incarcerations.
How happy I am to live when we live… in this Very Different World.
But I cannot help but think about the effect that messages like “Don’t be a queer” and “We will get you” would have on someone’s persona… their perceived place in the world. I cannot help but think about the queers and Gypsies and Jews and kids born different, whom the Nazis singled out for extermination. I cannot help but think about the rape and incest and molestation survivors who have to piece together their lives from the shattered pieces of what was once whole. I cannot help but think about the left-handed “sinister” people of the once-upon-a-time world who were literally considered evil, if they were not right-handed. I cannot help but think about all the people who have been on the wrong side of “right” — whether by choice or biology or accident or fate — and what that wrong-ness made of their own personas.
I wonder if it made/makes them tougher, smarter, meaner… different than how they would be, if they were more like everyone else, without those unnameable or unspeakable hidden aspects of themselves.
I wonder if my history of TBIs and all that I’ve been through as a result — whether it was the names and the insults rained down on my head by an impatient, disgusted, verbally aggressive father… or my mother’s tight-lipped disapproval that simmered a long-suffering while, until she just couldn’t take my shit anymore and grabbed me in a vice grip, digging her claws into me to get me to “be-have“… or the kids who hounded me and made my life a living hell for the duration of 5th and 7th grades (different schools, same types of rat-bastard kids)… or all those people who loved me so much, until they found out that their imagined version of me wasn’t very real at all, and it was all my fault for letting them down..
What-ever. Bottom line is, this is my life. And despite all my whining, I do get to do what I want with it. I get to decide for myself how I carry myself in the world. I get to decide how I interact with others. I get to decide how I walk through life, if I smile and shrug, or if I start swinging. I get to say how much of my time I spend on what, knowing what the consequences will be — for good or ill.
I get to pick and choose how I handle things — if I bitch out the woman on the phone, who screwed up my car registration form, or if I stay cool and just explain that by the time the mail gets delivered to me with her corrected form enclosed, it will be too late for me to re-register my car in the lawful timeframe. It’s up to me, whether I blame her for the problem, or if I remember that I’m the one who waited till the very last friggin’ minute before contacting the insurance company for that blasted form.
My life. My choices. I get to choose where I want to go. And I’m getting there.
Time to get back to work.