There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. … No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.
In my head I dance through life. And life is the host that changes dance floors and music whenever it pleases. Everyone in this world is dancing with me, in this room or another, and we each find our own style & groove to whatever part of the music that resonates with us. Eventually, we become more comfortable with ourselves while learning more moves, and finding new people to dance with.
And if I dance through life, dating is like finding the ideal dance partner. Of course, someone catches the eye, and if things work out the little compromises lead to a great partnership that makes the experience better for both. And both styles work together, but are different enough so each learn from the other. And I had the privileged to experience that for a few months.
Recently my music changed to a new tune that I haven’t heard before, and I got scared. Instead of tuning in to feel this new beat, I started reacting too much to my dance partner. I lost confidence. I lost my own style. I lost my sense of give and take. I became possessive, passive-aggressive, and looked to other people for reassurance that I was dancing the “correct” way. I became so focused on being a good dance partner that I forgot how to dance on my own.
So, your jennytang is dancin free and solo for a while to learn a new life beat. And man, I am so so excited to experiment and make a fool of myself once again. And on one glorious day I’ll be able to work it like this guy- seriously, watch and weep in admiration:
I graduated exactly a week ago. People say “congratulations” while I think the more fitting words are “good luck.” True, we survived 4 years of Berkeley where a system is established to be one of the most challenging in the academic world. True, surviving Berkeley required discipline, intellect, focus, and strategy. Yet, at the same time, the university is still a system where where both success and failure is defined, each with its proper celebrations and interventions.
And of course, breaking away from this system was what gave me the most thrill. Withdraw a semester to go to Spain? Sure! Running around the library in a cape during dead week? yes please! Grades? Psh. All of this was lighthearted fun because there was something to return to in case consequences get scary. Breaking away was also playing with my own version of success, where investing hours in networking events instead of homework was my way exploring, but I always have the option of being an academic if I ever fail. Maybe that’s why my parents always called me rebellious?
And now I no longer have one. There is no more status-quo to define what my success is. Income? Impact? Community? When I experiment, the risks are higher because there is no more safety net. The rebel is also simply the explorer with the luxury of a GPS and a “return home” option, so you know, in case I got lost. But now, I actually have to explore without a safety net.
Sure, I can define my legitimacy again by plugging myself into another career track or institution. But part of me laughs–you know that’s not going to happen, jennytang. Getting a stable 9-5 job for the next 5 years of your life? heehee. But other days I get scared and say “yes please”, and on the even more interesting days I want to smile, and present a raw and unpackaged “fuck you” to all those saying I’m holding my own expectation of life too high.
I recently watched the movie Big Fish: “She said that the biggest fish in the river gets that way by never being caught.” Maybe its the same with settling. I might not want to become the biggest fish out there, but I sure as hell still want to grow.
The difference between the human and a robot is that while the robot purpose is to serve a measurable, accountable purpose, my goal is to express love in the fullest manner. Through, breathing, talking, doing, everything.
I’m perfectly ok with leaving this earth forgotten, as long as I pay back everything I took from the world and repaid all my damages.
…And no one ever said that the human goal should be a permanent change. The changes we make might be temporal, but then again, so are our lives, and everything around us has are created and destroyed.
Except—an idea. Maybe that’s why I sometimes do things more for principle than impact? If I want to leave any footprint, I want to help transfer to the future generations an idea. Instead of handing them an inheritance of physical progress, Perhaps I want to empower them with an armor called hope and a sword called vision, and thus be able to fully embrace and face a world that will be then theirs and theirs alone.
Who knows, one step at a time, lets work on being sustainable by sustaining myself, eh? Forward jobsearch!
He doesn’t tell me what I want to hear for the sake of comforting or reassuring me.
And yet, the lack of BS and respect for truth has somehow done a better job at making me feel safe than any babytalk ever will. Maybe its something to do with giving me the courage to return the gaze of life’s uncertainties in the eye, and to give that powerful shadowy figure a slight nod of respectful acknowledgement–
instead of always turning to run away on man-paved paths.