No sarcasm. No snide remarks to mask the sting.
It’s 7:48 in Cairo. I have a few days off work. And after pulling 80 hour weeks for the past 6 months, you’d think I’d be running around like a highschool quarterback on spring break in Fort Lauderdale, both arms raised, hands in a V-shape, screaming , ‘wooooohoooooo!’
Turns out, not so much.
Listening to Florence and the Machine’s ‘Shake it Out’ (the acoustic version), the lyrics have cornered me into facing what I have worked so hard not to face.
“And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but it’s left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn”
As her voice reverberates, it echoes hard through the room. Though it hasn’t shattered the glass vases, the glasses windows or the ugly porcelain ashtray I made when I was 5, it has shattered my ability to fight facing me.
A CEO of a major company, I can face.
A guy with an ego extending from Zeus, I can face off.
Anything opposing me, people…
I can face.
What is it exactly that is so horrible about me that I cannot face? Unfortunately, it’s not a Freudian demon spawning from not being breast fed.
I wasn’t breast fed. I’m okay with that.
It’s not my terrible failure at a career. Been there, done that, got the titles.
Turns out career titles are like book titles.
They’re just titles.
It’s not achieving success. Been there, got that.
Turns out success is like a beautiful woman.
They’re sexy for about ten minutes.
It’s not having found ‘my other half’.
Anyone who is looking for that has a bigger problem- if you are half a person, you should be out looking for your own other half.
It’s not nasty relationships. The men in my life were not assholes. Truth be told, they could never ‘do anything to me’, because I never allowed it.
They just didn’t work out. I wasn’t ready. They weren’t ready. What bonded us together was no being ready. You can see why it only worked well for a limited time only.
What I have to face is much harder, harsher and remains the most infinitely unaccomplished quest in all of human history.
‘What do I want?’.
Being a coward of proportionately stupendous arrogant levels, I circumvented this quest by a process of elimination- yes, I flipped the quest on its head and did a Yoda, asking myself,
‘Want I what not?’.
See, the idea is by filtering out and saying no to everything you don’t want, you arrive at what you do want.
In reality, you end up saying no to so many things that you aren’t traveling light, you are traveling weightless.
And there’s a difference.
Because some of the things you weeded out and threw in the ‘not want’ pile were threads that lead to other ‘not wants’ that lead to other ‘not wants’ that one day, lead to ‘oh, my God, I want it!’
But, I didn’t realize that until now. So, I’ve got a real conundrum on my hands. How the fuck do I figure out what I want when I don’t have any don’t wants lying around that may lead me there?
In physics, the laws of the universe and nature, something cannot come from nothing.
I’m no physicist, but I’m pretty sure they’re right. After all, if they weren’t, I would be cornered right now.
I love many things- and each one of them gives me something I want, and each one of them ignites a passion within me- a happiness that is beyond being expressed by metaphors, similes and literary devices used to prostitute emotions.
Cooking, singing, painting, writing, exploring, traveling, philosophy, economics, discussing God, debating politics, anaylizing the complexities of simplicities- from the commonalities of human universals, to the idiosyncrasies of individual cultures…
Centuries ago, there was something called ‘the Renaissance Man’- a Francis Bacon, a DaVinci, a Jefferson- men who didn’t have a ‘specialty’, but diversified their talents into both science and the arts, into the psychological and physiological, into the abstract of the art and the preciseness of science.
I don’t know how they did that. Of all the manifestos and essays they left behind for us to study, the one thing they didn’t leave behind is ‘Becoming a Renaissance Man for Dummies’.
If I wasn’t at such the ridiculously mature age of 38 (mind you, the age is mature, I don’t claim the girl wearing it is anymore befitting of it than a 5 year old playing dress up in her mother’s stiletto heals), my quest would be well justified and tolerable. It would be rational, healthy and a step closer to self-actualizing my being.
But at 38, it’s one of the most embarrassing diseases known to society. A mid-life crisis.
At this point, I’d be more comfortable to admit I have crabs or chlamydia.
What’s even more bloody sick, is that I still have hope. I do, honestly. It’s a bit worn out, but the soles are still in tact. I can still walk in my hope without too much blistering.
Because that’s all I can do now. Walk. Even when I’m sleeping, I’m walking. When I’m eating, I’m walking.
But, as I do walk along, when I come to an intersection of choices, I am not going to choose one by process of elimination. I am going to choose one because I want to go down that path.
Not because I want what is down that path.
But because what I want is somehow connected to that path.
If that doesn’t make sense, it might have to do with the wine I’m drinking as I write this.
Don’t worry though, it makes sense to me. And that’s really the only one who has to get it.