Thursday, July 15, 2010

This reminds me of creative non-fiction class.

I haven't worked this all out in my head yet. I may get to a point as a write, but if you choose to continue reading know that this is more of an exercise for me than something containing an actual point.

Today I was thinking a lot about how our memories of the past are all wrapped up in stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. We forget the pieces that don't tell the stories. Sometimes we remember wrong things. I'm not entirely sure if we can consciously form these stories or if they just happen, but I think these stories help build the pictures we have of who we really are. And both the self-stories and self-pictures seem incredibly hard to hold onto. Like those puffy white clouds shifting in a summer sky. Always made of the same stuff, but never quite tangible and never the same.

But our stories aren't novels. Mine has no pretty beginning, no ending that ties in all the sub-plots and makes it all make sense. As a reader and writer, I keep waiting for the strands to come together. I keep expecting all these little days to add up to something greater. But then I face the terrible possibility that there is no Great Something at the end. No climax. No satisfying conclusion. How many  people walk into the very last day of their life and have no idea what any of it meant? How many people take time to think about it along the way?

I'm not looking for religion. I went that  way once and found it only made me less happy. But I would like a narrator. Some omniscient voice that sees the reason in all the folly. I don't even need the reason, as long as I know there is one.

I can't not-believe in Purpose. I watch youtube videos and join discussions and just SEE some of the ways people work together to make things better. So many organizations and causes and intentions to help one another, to help the planet, to help strangers and friends and it just inspires me. How can there be so much good in the world for no reason? How can I have these moments when I stop feeling like myself and start feeling like one particle of a larger US, if we aren't something more than just human?

I know there is a flip side. I see small parts of it everyday. People that seem to have no regard for other human beings. Selfishness and cruelty and ignorance. Blind, stupid hate and immaturity. Violence. And accidents. Carelessness and disregard. Some of it makes me feel sick inside. Like that oil leak slowly pouring poison into our ocean and we can only blame BP when we all participate in a system that creates the problem. We are guilty too. And I've been the selfish one. The ignorant one. Even the cruel one.

One day at work I tried to entertain my mind (in the mindlessness of repetitive tasks) by imagining the aura's of my customers. What color would it be? What would it feel like? How big is it? Is it light and transparent in a cloud that floats around them, bobbing as they walk? Perhaps it is an inky sickness, leaving invisible drops on my counter that stick to my fingertips and taint me.

And I eventually realized that my own imagined aura had changed from some warm shade of yellow, like those rays of sun peaking though the clouds, to an institutional beige. I let all those negative people drain the color out of me. I let them. And I asked God or the air around me or no one at all to just please let me have one nice person. One.

And there she was. Hers would probably be pink. Like the color of the pink amoxicillin. To me, it always smelled and tasted delicious and I knew it would make me feel better. Maybe pink amoxicillin mixed with a cool breeze. She infected me with her bubbly, innocent, sincere kindness and I couldn't even thank her properly. Then it became my goal to infect other people with good feelings.

Two things:

First, if people DID have auras, I think they would look different to every person depending on how you saw that person and what colors, textures, flavors meant to you. Because while I find pink amoxicillin to a comforting memory, someone else might think it gross. So how could there be static, definite, definable auras? We are all different people to to different people.

Second, I think I was working towards the idea that we all have the capacity for goodness and badness. And there is so much of both already in the world. We can choose to focus on either when we look at the world as well. Maybe our self-stories can shift back and forth depending on what we focus on when trying to form the story?

I think what brought me to this whole line of thought was this:

I used to have the intention and goal of being the best possible version of me I could be, whatever I decided that was at the time. If being healthier would be better, I would be more that. If being kind and joyful is my best me, I would be more that.

But I got distracted.

For a long time now, and I don't know how long, I've been focusing on filling "wants". And that is okay to do sometimes. But that was all I saw. WANT. And how to get there. How to get more.

And looking back over my self-story for the last I-don't-know-how-long makes me feel guilty. And all I can do  is resolve to be better.

My self-picture used to say "I'm Awesome!" at the bottom in bold print. I'm going to get it back that way. Just  you wait and see. Or better yet, go figure out how to be the kind of you you can fall in love with too!

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