Mental clutter creeps in at times when I find myself focused on serving others but neglect my own nourishment in the process. My own nourishment, however, escapes me when I find myself lacking in my efforts to achieve the very ambitious goals that I set for myself. Incremental growth has rarely appealed to me. This has been at the core of my contention with the world.
But contemplating such contention is what leads to the mental clutter. My concern with how I am perceived or received by others too often feels like a necessary evil. This is especially true when I consider that this path that I have chosen in recent years has increased the need for collaboration and interaction with others rather than prompted me towards my ideal of living as a recluse.
Being reclusive is a luxury in a messed up world, albeit a luxury that offers peace. My convictions, however, will not allow me to indulge my needs while growing painfully aware of the slide of society towards the abyss due to the selfishness of those who are blessed with resources to change its course. Too many assume those resources to be wealth and influence, while the truth is that anyone that has value to offer must offer it if it is ever to amount to anything.
In that lies the rub of many of my contemplations. The easier path was always one of quiet living. Keeping to myself and minding my own business. Yet, each time I attempted such a lifestyle I found myself attracting those, even in that space, that needed to be freed from a burden that was wearing them down. But like I’ve said in past brain dumps, there are many who, after they have been uplifted, would prefer to avoid the source of that upliftment because it reminds them of their moments of weakness. Then there are others that would rather not scratch open the festering wound that is slowly poisoning their soul. Their wound grows to define their significance so deeply that any attempt to clean it and heal it is met with seething anger.
The human condition has always been a fascinating one. Especially my own. I flit between offloading my cluttered thoughts and lecturing the world. Between confusion and pompousness, or doubt and narcissism. It’s so easy to cross those lines, and so tragic to see how many assume themselves to be above such crossing.
A brain dump once offered much therapy for a mind as cluttered and crazy as my own. Therapy has morphed over the years. At one point it was a flirty glance, and a whispered nothing. Over the lifetimes that followed it changed to become a knowing smile, or a familiar embrace, both of which have been elusive. The brutal honesty with which I considered these changes has left and been replaced by a measured expression. The problem with being measured is that it never allows a release of the truth that holds us back, or keeps us distracted.
In the absence of such expression, clutter normalises and focus flees. Apparently using alliteration is discouraged for authors. I suspect that’s only for authors that lack the wit to appreciate it. Oh yes, the brain dump. I entertained, in recent months, the naive notion that those for whom I maintained a measured expression actually paid attention to my ramblings. The naivety of my being always provided a source of morbid entertainment for me, and this time was nothing less. However, age old jokes tend to lose their humour as we progress through the years that shape us…occasionally we try to shape them.
Listening to Milli Vanilli in the background, I’m reminded of the frailty of the human ego. I’m reminded of how many would sacrifice their own authenticity to find acceptance at almost any cost. Some, at any cost at all. It’s the sight of such sadness that always leaves me unsettled. Looking into the eyes of those that court acceptance and seeing the emptiness behind it. Seeing vulnerability in the eyes of another has always been a torturous taunt. Ah, that damned alliteration again.
Vulnerability is strength if expressed sincerely, but disheartening if exposed unwillingly. There is too much weakness in this world. Even the statements of rebellion that occupy my social media timeline are cries of pain disguised as an obstinate protest. Thankfully the playlist moved on to Tracy Chapman now. A story of self-doubt and raw beauty. She actually thought she would be mocked if anyone heard her sing. Thankfully someone convinced her otherwise. How many of us are waiting for someone to convince us that we have something of value to share with this heartless world before we dare to expose it to the light?
So much is lost in the doubts that drive a wedge between who we are and who we’re willing to allow the world to think we are. Genius, beauty, creativity, artistic expression, passionate protests and so much more are all hidden from the world because of the hideous consideration about what society would think. If only we recognised that we normalise the prejudices of society when we afford it merit or virtue. Many a great nation was destroyed because they grew to worship their traditions and taboos more than the principles that established the value that underpinned it. Tradition and taboo are two things I’ve rarely respected. It always seemed like an unaffordable indulgence in light of the suffering souls that succumbed to the expectations of the flag-bearers.
To be normal in a distorted world implies distortion of the self. Whether or not the world is distorted is all about perspective. But then, what isn’t about perspective? If I find the world to be distorted and another doesn’t does it make my perspective invalid, or does it call into question their misinformation…or perhaps mine? Defending the truth is a tricky endeavour when such truth is so open to being bent. The more aware we are of how it can be bent the greater that distortion.
We seem to have reached a stage in human history where our eloquence is so pervasive that the most uninformed opinion can find support and a seemingly valid defense. Life itself is a distortion of the reality of death. But alas, who wants to contemplate death, despite it being the only guarantee we have. Such morbidity is reserved for those that are foolish enough to believe that they can challenge the traditions and taboos to break the yoke that weighs us down.
A chuckling sigh is all I can muster at the thought of that last statement. A chuckling sigh indeed.