Saturday, January 29, 2011



I recently ran across a couple of things that sucked me straight back in time. One was a list of tapes (as in cassette tapes - here's a link in case you've never seen such a thing) I wanted to buy. I tracked down the songs and discovered that my tastes used to be eclectic and raw and mindblowingly good. Now I mostly listen to whatever's on the radio. Also mindblowing, but for different reasons.

The other item was a few minutes of video that a friend and I produced our freshman year in high school. It was for someone's Russian or English or AP Puppetry class. It was balls-to-the-wall creative, and I have no idea how we put something so intricate and hilarious together in a single afternoon with no discernible skill, a crappy script 2-page script and a 20-pound VHS camera.

I watched it, and I thought: I wouldn't be able to do that today.

Not for lack of time or resources. God knows I had plenty of the first but none of the second in those days. But back then I was all opinions and no obligations. I was a pint-size dumbass fish in a small pond who thought the world would give her whatever she wanted. So I put together a list. (That's the kind of thing I do these days. Spreadsheets detailing the decay of my once-soaring imagination.)

I wouldn't be able to do that today because:

  • I know how it feels to expend every ounce of energy I possess and still crash and burn
  • I know how it feels to wear embarrassment/shame/despair for a week straight
  • I've learned to learn from the follies of others
  • I've found my place in the world
  • Now, I must maintain a nice family
  • Now, I need to make others happy
  • Now, I need to make a good impression in the community
  • Now, I don't want to put effort into anything that doesn't yield tangible rewards

I'm not such a good storyteller that I believe my own lies. So *ahem* fuck that list.

I would totally make that video again. Except this time it would be digital, and we'd probably set something on fire. I've got the same dreams and the same set of (figurative) balls I had as a kid. They might even be bigger now. Also, I might be slightly less of a dumbass fish now.

I also know what it feels like to expend a massive effort and be successful. I have experienced joy so intense it warms by bones. I also know that I deserve to be happy.

Watching life close up on the people around me like the rings on a tree, stiffening and freezing them in place where they will eventually die, doesn't make me want to be like them. Now, please excuse me. I have to go relearn the lyrics to songs by PJ Harvey, Morphine and Tilt. And you - don't you have something awesome you'd rather be doing? :)

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