This is my view right now. It is a terrible picture of an idyllic scene. Not relatedly, I’m pissed.
I am very unused to acting as a protagonist, let alone actually considering myself as one. Secondary characters have actions determined by their primary counterparts. Not consciously, maybe, but they generally don’t have an agenda of their own.
Which is often true, but only because fiction is flat. The real world is a million storylines interleaved in impossible-to-track ways, because there’s no such thing as a protagonist.
I’m pissed because my husband is in the bedroom sleeping off some minor depression inspired by my colossal lack of aspiration.
When we met, I was as free as I’d ever been. Professionally, romantically, financially, socially, all those other important adverbs. Things kept working out. I always figured they would. (That’s an important part of why they kept working out, I’m pretty certain — is tantamount to running constant visualizations.)
Now, I’m .. I’m still free, I’m writing this from a fucking beautiful patio in fucking Wellington overlooking half the city with the surf undulating happily at me from the coastline, but I haven’t been thinking like a free agent. I haven’t been thinking, Oh, I have more possibilities in front of me than I can possibly wrap my consciousness around, so having realized that what’s the best direction for me to stumble towards. Or even, What fascinatingly weird thing can I add to my storyline, what’s the twist that leaves the reader thrilling in the dim light of their phone screen. Instead, I’ve been almost completely not thinking at all, and have reduced myself to a reactionary spreadsheet optimizer.
So I’m pissed. I can do better.
Someone emailed me out of the blue a couple of weeks ago, having run into Locksmith accidentally, and then run into several other of my things more intentionally, and this someone wanted me to know that they wanted to see more of what I had to offer, in word and in deed.
BECAUSE I HAVE THINGS TO OFFER AND PEOPLE CAN TELL.
But it’s safer hanging out in the back of the room, waiting until probability eventually gives you a chance to call the shots.
Fuck you, you who have only stepped into leadership when there was an actual gaping vacuum. You who have only put yourself out there in the safe cocoon of anonymity, or meta humor, or self-deprecation. You who cringes whenever someone looks like they’re trying, because it reminds you of when you try and people can see through the seams of your perfectly papered-over effort to the gears grinding below.
You tried to blend in, took comfort in being enigmatic at best and absent at worst. But, and you know this, your playing small does not serve the world, you who have only ever claimed to serve.
It’s been said (by someone, at some point) that inspiration is largely optional for the creative process. They (whoever it was), tried the act of creation with and without inspiration, engaged in science to figure out which one had better results, and emerged with a tossup.
I am sick of starting and not sustaining. And I say this as someone who could claim to do otherwise, because I have the evidence, but it wouldn’t be true. Not properly true, not deeply true. My creative history is full of starts and stops. Which is fine, except for this:
The arc of my creativity must reach for the sky. This is what I am for. And because of this, because this application of my existence is more important than how pissed I am right now or how inspired I may be tomorrow, the curve of that arc must be powered upward by choice and execution. And when I stumble into some inspiration along the way, that’ll be a reward, not merely motivation.
Don’t die with your music still in you. This is a thing that Romeo quoted, while saying some other things, like these:
Stop settling for less than what you’re worth. Stop settling for less than what you’re capable of. You were created for something bigger. You were created to contribute in a major way, and you playing small does not serve the world, and I invite you to move in a bigger way, because there is something great within you that we need. The world is going through a lot right now, the people around you are going through a lot right now, and the things within you, the ideas, the gifts, the projects you want to move forward on, it’s there to shift the world, put a dent in the universe in a greater way.
I will not die with my music still in me. I will die with my music in you.