Monday, September 6, 2010
Hiking through this particular jungle of mine, I decided to plop down and rest my weary bones. I want to set up camp, eat a meal, and maybe sleep a little. But mostly I want direction. I NEED direction. I crave it. So like an addict quietly shaking in a lone alleyway, I reach for my map. It's somewhere around here, I know it. Ah ha! Underneath a smashed grilled cheese sandwich is the Guide to My Life, the parchment that is supposed to tell me exactly what I'm supposed to do and where I'm supposed to go. It's been folded over so many times, the paper is discolored and holes are appearing. There are coffee stains, some ashes and what I strongly suspect is a glob of Nutella smeared along the bottom. None of it matters though. Now that I have the key to my destiny, I am set for life.
I spread it out along the ground. I can see where I've been, but where I'm at gets harder to see. I'm having a hard time pinpointing my exact location. Damn coffee stains! All I know is that there's jungle everywhere, and worst yet, I have no idea where I'm going. None. There's nothing to tell me exactly which way to go and how to traverse the wide expanse of land that waits ahead.
I kick a nearby tree. This is such epic bullshit! I need guidance! I need answers RIGHT NOW. It's not fair. I'm starting to get really scared. I'm running out of time and for all I know, I'm going around in circles. How am I supposed to get to where I'm going if I don't know how to get there?
Hey, where the hell am I going anyway?
I stop. I let my tantrum ebb a bit while I go back to Mister Tree and apologize for my hasty act of violence. I still feel pouty, but unlike all of the many times in my life that I've allowed my anger to get in my own way, I decide to use it as a tool and look back to see where I've been instead. There's been a lot of stops on the way to my present incarnation. Some of it was tough terrain, like the School Years, the ones that helped instill an awful lot of the neurosis that I currently carry along with the rest of my camping supplies, but it also gave me the empathy that I'm equipped with as well. The Horrible Boyfriend stops also cause me to wince, but I had to go through that fire to forge the genuine value of myself.
Heh, this is where the path starts winding around all crazy-like: There's the Jack of All Trades path that I took, such as my days at vocational school where I learned autobody and welding. I don't do much with that stuff now, but I think that some of those skills could come in handy. Maybe. I will admit that I'm a notorious packrat as well as a collector of random skills, so I tend to keep these things close at hand. You know, in case I have to wield fire or do some other bad ass shit. There's the years I spent working on refinishing a yacht, selling eyeglasses, being a barista, my ONE day of waitressing, working in a tattoo shop, and other quirky career paths that I probably can't think of at the moment. Yes, most of this stuff basically led me to nowhere but in their own indirect ways, they did lead me to where I'm at now. I'm happy to say that I no longer attach any feelings of failure to any of my past endeavors. There's too much that I'm grateful for at this moment to be too upset at a couple of dead ends.
Looking at my recent travel log, it begins to occur to me that everything may be okay. My travels have led me to belly dancing, a wonderful outlet for my creativity, as well as the catalyst for what is now an incredibly large wardrobe. I'm most of my way through earning my Associate's Degree, which helped to reinforce the fact that I am an artist and a writer. Maybe if I work hard enough, I can be pretty good at both (Goddess, that's a topic for another day). Top all of that off with a love for yoga, henna, amateur beat boxing, and my recent interest in the harmonica, and my current course becomes just a bit clearer.
I still don't have an exact destination in mind but now I realize that I have something that's almost as good: a vessel. Everything that I do, everything that I have in my life that nourishes me, all of this will carry me forward. I can put it all together like nails, wood, and glue in order to create a ship that can carry me wherever I like. I might still get lost, but as long as I have my hands on the wheel, I'm ready for whatever.
So it's time to pack up my things and set sail on my brave vessel. I'm now better prepared for the journey that is still to come. In the meanwhile, I'm going to keep at what I'm doing (namely playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow poorly on the harmonica) and trying to come up with a name for my magical boat.