i don’t want to be someone who lives her life always yearning for something, someone else. want is something i’ve been struggling with particularly in the last year, want that has often twisted into resentment fueled by fear that i will never find what i want, fear that in turn paralyzes me and locks me into place, paralysis that becomes sadness over how simple they seem, these things i want — home, a person to love who loves me back, space and time and means to write and travel and publish.
if you follow me on instagram, you’ll notice i recycle words sometimes.
maybe that reads like a contradiction to some of my previous posts, but no one says it’s easy. it’s easy to put some of these words down, that i don’t want to be that person, to tell myself some of these words sometimes, but the struggle lies in taking these words and believing them, in living them. i don’t want to be that person who’s never content in the here and now, who’s always looking for escape. i don’t want to be that person because i was that person — no, i am that person.
it’s no secret that los angeles and i aren’t friends, that los angeles (and california at-large) is not where i want to be. it’s no secret that i want to travel, that i want to spend my life on the road. it’s no secret that i want a human being of my own, someone to love and be loved by. it’s no secret that i miss new york, that i miss brooklyn, that i still consider and will always consider it home. it’s no secret that i am still looking for that way home.
however, i don’t want to be that person who muddles up goals and ambitions and dreams and lets them waste into resentment and future-thinking. i was that person who lived her life for that one day — one day, i’ll be thin enough to date, to travel, to get that job; one day, i’ll be thin enough for everything — and i hated it, and i hated myself. i still hate that i lost my twenties to that.
and, so, in iceland, i think that it’s time to stop this bullshit. i already know that it’s time to start figuring out a way back home, and i have an idea of next steps — taking my GRE, applying for grad school, finishing my book, submitting essays, networking. and i think it’s time to start living in the present again, to enjoy this time i have with family, to use this time in los angeles to heal and recuperate and finish this book. it keeps coming back to that: finish the book.
and that takes us to …
on the road, we listen to hamilton over and over and over again, and i like a lot of the points the musical raises. amongst them is the idea of legacy, of story, of how we're remembered, that we have no control over this, and it’s worth remembering because it’s so easy to get lost in this, to chase it so obsessively our lives devolve into vanity and futility.
(vanity, vanity, the writer of ecclesiastes says. all is vanity.)
and it reminds me of the need to do the work on the ground, of the need to remember why we do the work in the first place, not for glory or legacy but for urgency, for need, and i think about this constantly in iceland, too, because we talk about creating, about what it means and what it entails to choose a life in pursuit of this. i realize that i'm that asshole who dispenses advice without being asked for it, and i think i don't like this about myself — i don't want to be one of those people; i want to listen and give counsel when i've been asked for it.
i think a lot about what i'd say about creating, though, if i were asked. maybe none of this makes sense because, yes, i write, and, yes, i write seriously, but, no, i have yet to be published. i don't do this "professionally," though i hope to. do i have anything worth saying? does this idea of "qualification" even matter?
i want to say no, not entirely, because i think that's kinda bullshit, so here are a few things i find myself saying over and over again, things i might say because these are things i've learned over the course of the years.
01. do the work. write; cook; paint; dance; draw. and not only that, but also read, eat, see, watch, observe everything. do the work. don't just think about it; do it. do it obsessively. work is useless when it's just an idea in your head.
02. maintain a sense of curiosity, of wonder. i kind of hate the word "inspiration" because i kind of hate the idea attached to it, this implied dependency on inspiration in order to create, which forgets how fucking hard it is to generate inspiration because you can't just sit around, waiting for these flashes to come — you'll never get the work done then.
the thing is, if you walk around with your eyes wide open, even in your banal everyday shit, you'll be surprised at how much you absorb and process and how much you can bring to your work. you don't have to live in some exciting location, and you don't need to pursue adrenaline-fueled adventure. you just need to be curious. curiosity doesn't cost anything.
03. take yourself, your work, seriously. no one will take you seriously until you take yourself seriously. respect your work, and respect yourself. you can't expect others to regard yourself so until you first expect it of yourself.
this is the last planned iceland post, though maybe we’ll get something later because there are still so many photos, so many words, so many thoughts being processed. thank you for following along! it’s been fun!