You see that black box in my truck window with the red light? That’s a dual facing camera. It captures nearly everything I do. We’re supposed to believe it protects us as well as the company but it rarely feels like it. It mostly feels like an unwelcome intrusion.
Especially on days like today because today I am feeling overwhelmed and would like to yell and cry a little but, with Big Brother observing everything I do, including tapping this out on my phone, I find myself holding it in instead.
You see that green outhouse in the picture? That’s where I’ll go to shed a few silent tears for now. The yelling will have to wait until later because it can raise eyebrows in an outhouse.
There’s no particular reason I feel like this. Just life in general. I sometimes feel like I set myself up to fail. Or that for all my good intentions I keep missing the mark. Or that the changes I’ve made in my life after awakening are just too little too late. Or that my body is betraying me. Or that I will never be “good enough”.
Today I feel a combination of all those and more. I know it will pass, and I’m grateful for the insights I gain from exploring these feelings, I just wish I didn’t have to hide in an outhouse to do it.
The wind in my face on a hot day
While I strain and swear
Wrench in hand
Making repairs on those things
That seem ever broken
Because my wallet doesn’t weigh enough
To spread the wealth
The salty sweat as it touches my lips
The water that tempts and taunts
The icy brew that lightens the load however briefly
The sun behind the limbs
Of the giant pecan tree
That gave up the last of its nuts and leaves
Yet still provides
Even in its final days
Shade and shelter
The sound of music
Through the abused speakers
Of a radio new before cell phones
The phone I tap with fingers calloused
From too many hours
It’s bright screen repeating my words back to me
Scribing the love I feel
That makes me smile or cry
That drives the words that escape me
While listening to songs I don’t know the words to
Wrenching on broken things under the shade
Of love itself
Carried by Moonlight
and distant planets aligning
the song of my heart
is sung upon a thousand shores
by a thousand winds.
The words of the song are One:
Recently, I was introduced to the term “imposter syndrome” which is defined as “a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud.”
Since I don’t feel like I’ve actually accomplished anything yet I argued that it really doesn’t apply to me (“that’s the point” she replied in silence). I am, however, quite intimate with the “fraud” part.
There’s so much I want to say. So many things I want to write about. I have a passion in me that has been ignited in a way that is impossible to extinguish. Nor would I want to extinguish it.
But the words won’t come.
Instead all I hear is:
How can I write about those things I feel and the lessons I have to share if I am unable to create and maintain them in my own life? Why should anyone listen to me? Why do the people I know continue to come to me for advice? I have had no success in love (or in life, really) to point at as an example and what I have learned I have learned painfully.
Rather than expose myself as that fraud I have written nothing but in doing so I prove that sense of failure because what I write about most often is hope and gratitude.
Some time back I read an article in the Buddhist review “Tricycle” by the Zen monk, Shozan Jack Haubner, who says:
“The only thing worse than trying to look younger than you are is trying to look wiser than you are.”
So I remind myself that my only failure is in thinking I’d be wiser by now and forgetting that I am only as wise as I allow my experiences to make me.
It is the suffering that has taught me the things I write about and though I don’t write about them in a “woe is me” manner does not mean I am pretending, it simply means I am learning.
Today I recommit myself to sharing what I have learned and to expressing the fire that burns in my soul because to hide it, or to hide from it, would truly make me a fraud.
As Shozan says, “…we all must commit wholeheartedly, moment after moment, to the life we have…”
This is my life. I will live it to the fullest. Even if that means pretending a little.
I live a simple life.
I have spent years disincorporating the trappings that most people suffer from. I have no bills. No material needs. No responsibilities except to my dog, my self, and to those that I love. Because of this I have been able to live without judgment or expectation or hurry. To focus only on those things that matter most to me; love and gratitude. And I am free to love. Completely.
While this may sound ideal, even Utopian, and so long as I was single I must admit that it was, these traits, the very same traits that attracted the woman I love, can be detrimental in a relationship.
Example: I have no credit. Until very recently I literally had a non-existent credit score. Not a bad score. None at all. I paid cash or bartered for everything I owned. Before making my move South I owned all the same things anyone else might own; a boat, camper, motorcycle, car. All without credit. More than others, I owned my home. Yes, it was a cheap home, but it was mine, debt-free. I created sacred space there. Free from all negative influence. It was comfortable. Peaceful. It was my retreat.
Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It is. Very. So long as I was single. Now, not so much.
Living like that has it’s benefits but it is not an easy way to live. It left very little room for savings and none at all for mistakes or accidents. It is a way of life that is very hand-to-mouth.
In the last few months I have rejoined the world, as far as is necessary to be in a committed relationship, and I now have the credit score of a teenager. Not bad for a couple months effort but not so easy to buy property like that. Less easy to reassure my Beloved of my financial responsibility when I can’t even afford to take her out for dinner.
How strange to find myself diving back into the material world after spending so much time dissociating from it. Especially so late in life.
Things will change. They must change if I am to have a successful relationship. So I am back on the grid again. Doing so has taken much time and effort and caused more than a little stress and is the main reason I haven’t written much lately. This is not a bad thing. Not at all.
I will maintain balance in this change. I will never become attached to material things but I know that I must admit them into my life if I am to coexist with my Beloved. I will push myself to those limits I know exceed others because I know that in doing so I will provide a life that my Beloved deserves. Desire, other than the desire to make my Beloveds life better, plays no part in this decision. That is how balance is maintained. What I do, I do for Love. Same as ever.
So now I am like a horse that spent it’s life at the gate, ready to run but without a race to run in. There, at the gate, I lived quite comfortably. I had nothing to prove. Nowhere to go. One might grow fat and lazy living like that but I never lost sight of that gate. I remained prepared, I learned the course and the wind and the best days to run behind the sun or chasing the moon because I always knew that one day the gates would open and I would have to run like the wind. I have never doubted for a second that I would place.
Such faith and hope, the same I so often try to convey here, is also utopian. It is beautiful in word. Passionate in poem. But in real life it requires that my Lover also have faith and hope, and in the world she lives in, the world you live in, faith and hope are things experienced only briefly in flashes or desperation. They are ephemeral. Intangible.
For me, they are a way of life.
So I will run.
I hope it’s fast enough.
Image: “What’s Left of Utopia” by Julien Mauve
I have given so much
I’ve been bled dry
By bill collectors
The legal system
I have given what I couldn’t spare
More than I could afford
Too often more than I had
To jobs without potential
People without appreciation
Religions without faith
Hearts without atonement
Souls that swallowed me whole
and left me for dead
In all the years of giving
All I received in return
Is a cornucopia of lessons
Most of them painful
That I carry
Grateful for having learned them
All I have left to give
Are the words of my song
The breath in my body
The beat of my heart
The heat of my soul
All I have left
I give it to you
Image: unnamed by Teresa on Flickr