What are your most attractive qualities? Describe them as a separate character, limit 500 words.
She wasn’t classically beautiful, but she had a kind of pretty that came from smiling too much and laughing too loud. Someone once said that her eyes were always sad, no matter how gleeful the rest of her was. Perhaps that was true, but it wasn’t something that she had any intention of changing – she’d earned her tears, fair and square. She was short, a little on the thin side, and she would sit for hours, listening to other people – but only when they weren’t looking. When she had your attention, she would spin tales and tell stories, seeking to entertain and justify every moment you spent with her.
She always made room at the table, no matter how little she started with. “There’s always ways to stretch it, if you’re hungry.” She was the kind of lady that put off replacing a worn-out pair of jeans so that she could buy a new monitor for her son’s friend, since he didn’t have a computer at all. She made every excuse in the book to not get mad at someone, to understand their perspective, because it made her feel tired to be angry all the time.
And when she found something or someone that quieted her mind, that kept her from thinking of a thousand things at once, she held onto it and defended it with her life.
This word has been used recently, and it’s bugging the hell out of me. Mostly, it’s bothersome because it shows a distinct lack of observation on the part of the people using it – which is only vaguely understandable in some cases – but I think it bothers me more because it shows a tendency towards judgment, and you know how I feel about that.
Permit me to defend myself this once. I don’t do it often – it’s not normally my business what you think of me – but I’m getting the impression that if I don’t, further misconceptions will proliferate.
I am not directionless – I have many, many directions. I could no more sit down and only ever do one thing than Leonardo Da Vinci could – and if someone had made him focus on just one subject, what kind of world would we live in? He studied (and developed!) aeronautics, anatomy, mathematics, art… invented things and had ideas that have directly shaped our entire society. Can you imagine him in a modern-day college advisor’s office? “Hey, Leo, I get that you’re all into all this stuff, but you’ve gotta pick just one, man. Medicine? Physics? Math? Engineering? Painting and sculpture? You’re not going to graduate until you’re in your eighties!”
<sarcasm>Yeah, and he totally didn’t get anything done with all the “lack of singular direction”… </sarcasm>
I do a lot, it’s true. I get into a lot of things: natural medicine, energy healing, alternative attitudes, neurology, genetics, anthropology, physics, mathematics… I love to draw, ink, tattoo, sculpt, repurpose, write… I work with plastic, eggs, canvas, yarn, fabric, food, clay, latex, electrons and photons… I explore heartbreak and heartache and love and joy and sorrow and grief and forgiveness and silliness and horror and embarrassment and confidence… Sometimes when too many things catch my eye, or when the balancing act of life gets a little lopsided, projects go ignored for a while, but they’re never forgotten.
I did not go to college back in the day for a lot of different reasons, but I’m going now because my majors are perfect for the fact that I will not do only one thing for the rest of my life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. Learning more about entrepreneurship and marketing is a great way to make sure that, no matter what my current obsession, it becomes an enriching experience instead of a drain. I still want to build costumes, and I have half a dozen ideas for new screenplays. I will put together my clever resort, and I will no doubt invent something else that’s kind of silly and utterly useful. I will write stories and I will draw on people indelibly and I will paint on weird things and I will take things apart and I will put them back together “wrong”…
And it strikes me that the people who mutter words like “directionless” are the ones that have spent so long stuck in a rut, buying into the idea that staying in one place is the only sign of virtue or strength, that there’s really a core of jealousy to their statement. Yes, you may have lived in the same house for twenty plus years, but how many stories can you tell around a campfire to entertain complete strangers who have no context of you or your life?
How many adventures have you yourself been on?
How many lives have you saved?
How many have you lost?
How many horrible mistakes have you made?
How many times have you saved the world?
How many scars will you bare and tell the tales of?
How deep is your well of sorrow?
How high is your sky of joy?
Mine are enormous, and they get wider every day.
But in the reverse, I do not snort at you in disdain at your “stable” life. Gods, I really wish sometimes that that could have been me, that I was not currently residing at Address #51. (I’m completely not kidding.) And then I come to my senses, not because I think that your lifestyle is terrible but because I recognize that it’s not for me. Stability has to mean something different to me in order to have value – and maybe it’s time for you to think about what creativity is, too, in your life.
“What about the children?” What about them? I’m not pretending I’ve ever been a perfect mom, but my love is true and genuine. I’ve done more, sacrificed more, with clear conscience than most “sentimentalists”. I’ve done what was right, even when it tore me apart. And everything I’ve done – from working jobs I hated to locking myself away for hours to maybe write a best-seller – was for my kids in some way. If I did write a best-seller, think about the time I could spend with them, being able to schedule time only once instead of stealing it away at the end of the day. And what kind of a horrible parent would I be to deny all that I am and pretend to like your version of “stable”, to avoid the creative so that the dishes could get done faster, to pretend at a type of saccharine sentimentality I don’t have? Answer: A bloody terrible one. Because it started to happen.
I will not have a traditional career not because I’m not smart enough or not focused enough but because I don’t really want one. I do not like saying I am an artist or I am a writer or I am a salesperson. I am none of those things, those are just things that I do with what I am.
I am creative, passionate, loving, calculating, emotional, quirky, personable, weird, normal, non-traditional, neuro-atypical, short, slender, grumpy, happy, hurting, smiling…
And if I choose to explore all of these things that I am by doing lots of different things, you have no right to try to put me in your context and judge me as “directionless”, because what you really mean to say is “a waste of potential” or “without purpose” or “too scattered to be useful”. How can a person who is always in motion, who is always exploring, be called “directionless”?
Doesn’t it make more sense to attach “directionless” to the one who doesn’t move at all? Who is moving in no direction?
So, I kinda got a little frustrated with the WordPress upgrade not happening for over a month, despite trying nearly every day. I even did the “work-around” to get the upgrade folder to do it’s thing automatically, but that wasn’t so great, either. Finally, I just blew it all away, and for whatever reason, Fantastico decided that I didn’t need the database either, even though I tried to tell it that I did.
Now what we’re left with is an import that I finally got to work from my LiveJournal account. Holy crap, can you believe that I’ve been using LJ since January of 2005? Yeah… I’m deleting a lot of stuff. “Pruning”, it’s called.
And now for the rant…
wait… not really. I just realized that things that bother me are not things that can be discussed in public because they involve words that make some people blush. Why would I shy away from things like that, you might ask? No, I’m not mellowing in my old age. I just like saving the ZING for the right moment. “Never let them see you coming!”
As I come up for air, I dare say I should be sharing with you that which has kept me from you lo these past long weeks. Gentle reader, it has not been neglect or disinterest but rather a more noble pursuit, of which here shall I share with you a snippet of that which has plagued my near-every moment: