In the last two hours of my day, I finally come home and sit down in my apartment, looking at all the trap around me: the projects unfinished; the media unconsumed; the radios unpowered; the music gear untouched. And I wonder what to do tonight to make it alright.
But there’s only these two hours left until I have to retire.
Where did the rest of my evening go? Why home so late? Worked late. Then Epoch. Then Workhorse. Then a walk. Then an errand on the way home. Same program nightly. And now here I am, doing less and less with my time, doing fewer things that have durability, impact, and worth. My works are crowded out.
By what? By being Out There in the World, trying to find my people, trying to figure out what works, trying to fill my life with meaning. That comes from connecting with people. All my hobbies and passions spring from one unquenchable thirst — to reach out, to belong, to be full. And yet there are fewer fulfilling connections in my life, fewer people overall in my own little world.
At the end of the night, I travel home, spent, to stare at my stuff and wonder where it all went awry. Now there’s no time left to put myself into my pursuits and speak through them to amplify my reach. Nothing left but these two hours. Nights are now empty Calories, sweet but inducing hunger.
Social media has perverted and supplanted my ability to express myself artistically, literarily, philosophically, poetically. The things I used to say, things I want to say from the back of my soul — in the front of my mind is now installed a filter, a tuned circuit to impedance match and pipe that natural, raw sound inside into the echo chamber to get maximum resonance. To get more likes. To get more comments. To incite reactions. And not exactly for my own good end, either. Social media doesn’t actually benefit me, or you, or anybody; its sole good is for the benefit of media itself. The platforms I use have insinuated themselves into my thinking. This is death of self, really.
I had something I wanted to post 10 minutes ago, but I stopped myself. Why? Because of the reasons stated above. I can’t keep going down that straight one-dimensional line; there are so many more dimensions to this world. There’s depth and space. If I can’t see that, and remember that, and try stretching out, to find the meat, to see where the people actually are instead of where they want to be seen, then my life is shallow. Meet me somewhere, or call me out of my stupid rut. I dare you.
I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something I’m just not doing, or finding, or finishing. Satisfaction hasn’t shown her face in my door in a long, long while. I must find her. I must find you.
I feel like I’m pushing against the air
empty hands, hollow, and holding back the wind
just slips through and blows past me,
leaving me behind.
trying too hard
trying to run so fast, I thought I was the breeze itself
hoping at least to maybe feel the wind’s resistance
hoping it would burn and keep me warm
heat upon my skin, looking to warm my bones
and that maybe I can catch her, the summer breeze
but she eludes me. I jump at the shortest draft
slips by and curls away
no heat, no warmth, no company
just running away from me to hollow —
whistle comes from my chest,
just blows right through,
through this — cavern
full of air, but hollow, like a ghost
I can hear her spooks and groans
not like an abandoned house
where the breeze blows the shutters closed, then opened
then closed again
but like a canyon
where she blows all the time
just flows and shrieks
and keeps dust in my eyes
I speak out to her, I try
I urge for the run
but she only carries echoes back to me
echoes of me
of me (of me)
more hollow I become.
empty hands, hollow, and holding back the wind
but she just slips through and blows on by,
leaving me behind
so, now, I feel like I’m pushing against the air.
“You are responsible for your own experience.”
From what I’ve been told, this statement is posted at the front gate of any Burning Man event. It is supposed to be an admonition to seize your own destiny and craft the kind of life you want to lead.
To me, it feels like an after-the-fact, regret-filled I-told-you-so. If I am not living as I had hoped, then the burden of blame is laid squarely on my own shoulders. I mean, by this logic, who else can possibly be at fault?
If my own nature casts me as happiest when I am alone, but my desire leaves me unhappy at being alone, then how am I to reconcile this inherent disconnect between nature and desire? Which of them should I lose if they can’t be made whole? Who am I if I can’t rise above this struggle and do something about it?