Please Kill Me,
We live in trying times.
Society is trying to grapple with the uncertain future, while individuals are trying to make sense of tomorrow. Employers are trying to “optimize” their new working environment, while employees (/ex-employees) are trying their best to stay engaged without losing what’s left of their hope.
Creatives are trying not to lose their sh*t, while the drooling maw of capitalism forces us to make madness-inducing compromises—just for basic survival. I’m trying to write this post, while the bottle of gin beside me convincingly argues that being drunk at 9am is a good idea.
It’s a sh*tstorm. But, that’s not really news. We’ve been caught in this craptastic hurricane for months. Some of us even longer.
As of late, I’ve been doing my best to maintain my standards of living and semi-morality. Writing, as it’s wont to do, has been like pulling teeth from a meth-addicted bear while battling the shakes. For that reason, and some others, it felt like a good idea to take the summer off and focus on a more consistent revenue stream. (That’s right, boys and girls, Uncle Sip-Sip has a day job).
Lucky for me, my current line of work centers around writing as well. Unlucky for me, the day-job convolutes my understanding of the craft. But that’s neither here, nor there. Rather, the contention that I’m most interested in involves the internal dialogue. The creative vs. The pragmatist. The inner-child vs. The semi-formed adult. Stability vs. Risk. I’m sure that some of you can relate to those battles of insecurity-driven disfunction.
Simply put, while my rational-brain has been primarily focused on finding and maintaining stability—by way of employer’s approval and subsequent job security—my creative-brain has suffered a somewhat tremendous blow.
At first, I didn’t really notice the dying vines of imagination as they splintered into useless mulch. I didn’t see the effects of desperately clinging to the workload as a means to an end. I didn’t realize that every moment of encouraged “Job Growth” was dragging me nearer to a creative aneurysm. That is, until I tried to write something for myself, with the intent of eventually passing it down to you…the Reader.
What I found when I dove back into the once infinite river of pure creativity was not what I remembered. Instead of crystal-clear tides and fascinating ideas, I found the sewage of the work week. Instead of unbound self-assurance, I found the tethered criticisms of irrelevant (at least, in this space) others. My gorgeous ocean had been polluted by waste that wasn’t mine. Worse yet, I wasn’t sure how to start cleaning all that sh*t up.
I don’t mean to go on some diatribe about how sh*tty my job is (though, it can be). Neither is this some “feel-good” story about how I overcame the dreaded 9-5. Instead, this is a realization of sorts. A diagnosis that I’m not entirely sure how to cure. To be fair, the trade was honored—semi-financial stability in exchange for the most important parts of my psyche. Seems a little sinister when put that way, doesn’t it?
Anyway, to be fair, it isn’t just the workplace that’s got me down. I’d be a fool not to include the current state of our social, economic, and political affairs. Though, I try to stay away from making any direct remarks on these types of things, some things need addressing. These things need addressing, if only to get them the f*ck out of my head. Not that I need to explain that to you. Just venting.
It would seem that we’re further apart, the deeper we sink into our self-righteous ideologies. One may also conclude that we’ve eschewed the promise of open and receptive conversation in exchange for a reinforced wall of infected beliefs. It’d also be fair to accept that there’s no fixing this. At least, no time soon. On a macro-level, healing will begin when it does. However, I believe that as individuals, we aren’t too far afield from resolution. Maybe, I just need to believe that.
I think that a good metaphor for our society at the moment, would be one of a too-quickly descending airplane. The stewardesses do their best to keep us calm, as the air-masks drop, and the pilot booms on the loudspeaker to brag about his skill and how sh*tty other pilots are (*cough* “Trump.” *cough*). All the while, we the passengers, are left with little more to decide than whether to panic or just put the f*cking mask on and pray….
*glances out window*
*looks at you*
“PUT THE GOD DAMN MASK ON!”
…anyway. My point is that sometimes, we have to think of saving ourselves before we worry about much else. At the end of the day, we may crash. We may not. Most of us have no say. Moreover, some of us don’t even have the leg room to crash in comfort. Instead, we just have to do the best we can with the pieces we’re given. Suddenly, financial-stability seems like a fruitless concern (…particularly if we’re going down in flames).
So, I suppose this cathartic rant postulates a question. Perhaps three.
A. Who will we be in these trying times?
B. Who were we before the current descent?
C. Will either of those iterations be sustainable once we finally land?
I have no answers. I don’t pretend to. What I can tell you is that IF we’re going to crash and burn in a blaze of glory, I’d rather do so as a version of myself that pleases me. Even if we survive the mess, it may still be important to keep that idea in mind. We can’t always control the trying times. However, we can control how we get through them and who we will be on the other side.
I choose to be me. I choose to be happy. Creativity makes me happy.
Everything else is just another wave of turbulence threatening our well-being. We can either give in, panic, and lose ourselves. Or, we can put the mask on, sip some gin, and enjoy the view upon our fast-paced descent. Morbid? Maybe. But again, I’m just venting.
Happy Labor Day,
– Antwan Crump
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