This is a reminder not to stay in a place because it's safe but to continue challenging myself and to pursue new opportunities and to continue being the beginner in whatever project I decide to pursue.
An Invocation for beginnings
Don’t call it a comeback, I’ll have hair for years.
I’m scared. I’m scared that my abilities are gone. I’m scared that I’m going to fuck this up, and I’m scared of you.
I don’t wanna’ start, but I will.
This is an invocation for anyone who hasn’t begun, whose stuck in a terrible place between 0 and 1.
Let me realize that my past failures that follow through are no indication of my future performance, their just healthy little fires that are gonna’ warm up my ass.
If my FILDI* is strong let me keep him in a velvet box until I really really need him.
If my FILDI* is weak let me feed him oranges and not let him gorge himself on ego and arrogance.
Let me not hit up my Facebook like it’s a crack-pipe, keep the browser closed.
If I catch myself wearing a tutu (too), too fat too late too old, let me shake it off like a donkey would shake off something it doesn’t like.
When I get that feeling in my stomach, you know that feeling when all the sudden you get a ball of energy and it shoots down into your legs and up into your arms and tells you to stand up and goto the refrigerator and get a cheese sandwich – that’s my cheese monster talking. And my cheese monster will never be satisfied with cheddar, only the cheese of accomplishment.
Let me think about the people that I care about the most. And how when they fail or disappoint me I still love them, I still give them chances, and I still see the best in them – let me extend that generosity to myself.
Let me find and use metaphors to help me understand the world around me, and give me the strength to get rid of them when it’s apparent that they no longer work.
Let me thank the parts of me that I don’t understand or are outside of my control, like my creativity and my courage.
Let me remember that my courage is a wild dog, it won’t just come when I call it. I have to chase it down and hold on as tight as I can.
Let me not be so vain to think that I am the sole author of my victories, and a victim of my defeats.
Let me remember that the unintended meaning that people project on what I do is neither my fault, nor something that I can take credit for.
Perfectionism may look good in his shiny shoes, but he’s a little bit of an asshole and nobody invites him to their pool parties.
Let me remember that the impact of criticism is often not the intent of the critic, but when the intent is evil that’s what the block button is for.
And when I eat my critique, let me be able to separate out the good advice from the bitter herbs.
Let me not think of my work only as a stepping stone to something else, and if it is let me become fascinated by the shape of the stone.
Let me take the idea that has gotten me this far, and put it to bed. What I’m about to do will not be that. But it will be something.
There’s no need to sharpen my pencils anymore, my pencils are sharp enough – even the dull ones will make a mark. Warts and all.
Let’s start this shit up.
And god let me enjoy this, life isn’t just a sequence of waiting for things to be done.
- FILDI: F**k It Let's Do It
Originally from Brainpickings
“Live as if you were living already for the second time," Viktor Frankl wrote in his 1946 masterwork on the human search for meaning, "and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!" And yet we only live once, with no rehearsal or reprise – a fact at once so oppressive and so full of possibility that it renders us, in the sublime words of Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska, “ill-prepared for the privilege of living.” All the while, we walk forward accompanied by the specters of versions of ourselves we failed to or chose not to become. “Our lived lives," wrote psychoanalyst Adam Phillips in his magnificent manifesto for missing out, "might become a protracted mourning for, or an endless tantrum about, the lives we were unable to live. But the exemptions we suffer, whether forced or chosen, make us who we are." We perform this existential dance of yeses and nos to the siren song of one immutable question: How do we know what we want, what to want?
Czech-French writer Milan Kundera examines our ambivalent amble through life with unparalleled grace and poetic precision in his 1984 novel The Unbearable Lightness of Being (public library) – one of the most beloved and enduringly rewarding books of the past century.
Because love heightens all of our senses and amplifies our existing preoccupations, it is perhaps in love that life's central ambivalences grow most disorienting – something the novel's protagonist, Tomáš, tussles with as he finds himself consumed with the idea of a lover he barely knows:
He had come to feel an inexplicable love for this all but complete stranger.
But was it love? ... Was it simply the hysteria of a man who, aware deep down of his inaptitude for love, felt the self-deluding need to simulate it? ... Looking out over the courtyard at the dirty walls, he realized he had no idea whether it was hysteria or love.
The woman eventually becomes Tomáš's wife, which only further affirms that even the rightest choice can present itself to us shrouded in uncertainty and doubt at the outset, its rightness only crystallized in the clarity of hindsight. Kundera captures the universal predicament undergirding Tomáš's particular perplexity:
We can never know what to want, because, living only one life, we can neither compare it with our previous lives nor perfect it in our lives to come.
There is no means of testing which decision is better, because there is no basis for comparison. We live everything as it comes, without warning, like an actor going on cold. And what can life be worth if the first rehearsal for life is life itself? That is why life is always like a sketch. No, "sketch" is not quite the word, because a sketch is an outline of something, the groundwork for a picture, whereas the sketch that is our life is a sketch for nothing, an outline with no picture.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, it bears repeating, is one of the most life-magnifying books one could ever read. Complement this particular point of inflection with Donald Barthelme on the art of not-knowing and Adam Phillips on the rewards of the unlived life.