Mar. 14th, 2011

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"Listen! I will be honest with you. I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but I offer rough new prizes." -Walt Whitman

That last video post I made basically has to do with something I'm actually very fervent about, which is that Life, as unfair and messy and (sometimes even ghastly) as it is sometimes, is beautiful, and that the darkness and shadows make the colors brighter, like in a Caravaggio, or some other chiaroscuro Baroque era painting.

Lately, I haven't been that in touch with the chiaroscuro of life, though. Things have been conveniently pastel.

I'm not quite sure why this is.

On the phone, at age 18 to a minister I had a crush on (but who was also sort of counseling me):
 

Minister: "Well, how are you doing?" (Are you feeling good enough I can hang up soon and get rid of you)

Jenny: "I'm okay...sort of. It just goes up and down."

Minister: "Well, you know, in my life, I find that there are good days, bad days, and blah days. But ya know, sometimes the blah days are worse than the bad days."

Hmmm. Thanks, Rev. As bad as you were sometimes at dealing with my teenage crush on you (citation: "I love you too, Jenny"), you really hit the nail on the head sometimes with advice or pearls of wisdom here or there. That day was one of them.

So what's missing, right now, I wonder? Why are things a bit blah?

I guess it's partly that I've figured out I can survive the ups and downs (even the eventual fading of the mirage of the reverand's supposed love for me) , which takes away some of their old zingy melodrama. But I think, for the most part, this is a good thing. It's good to feel safe. And yet...

Ya know, right now, maybe things are too safe.

Maybe it's the germinating, the sitting on things, I've been doing the past year. Maybe the seed is getting tired of sitting in the dark. Maybe decision making time is approaching.

Perhaps I'm approaching one of those moments ala Anais Nin: "And then the day came when the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

I'm not sure.

(Family drama this month. An uncle of mine fell and hit his head, had amnesia surrounding the fall, and is having some problems getting his cognizance back together. This has spurred a lot of (abnormal) levels of sociality and activity on my mom's side of the family, and has given my mom, my family, and me more than a little stress, since this uncle--despite his forgetfulness of birthdays and fondness of the bottle--is my favorite on mom's side. Getting him to go to a hospital to be evaluated again (and perhaps weaned of the alcohol) is turning out to be quite a to-do...But this, again, is not my drama. I'm just sort of sitting at the sidelines, cheering on the people who should be cheered on, and patting people's shoulders. It's hardly any sort of blossoming.)

I'm giving up perfectionism for Lent, because I think, sometimes, perfectionism holds us back -- it prevents us from doing anything, sometimes, because anything we do is going to be much less than perfect. There's a reason that the Narcissus, who froze staring at his reflection, is the symbol for narcisism: we all have a tendency, sometimes, to freeze in that "perfect" stance. Worried that the next step we take, we're going to--on some level--be made a fool. 

But then we can't get anything else done.

I know, in my writing, that perfectionism is one of the chief hold ups. I want what I write to be Good. The problem is, I'm not allowing the writing to have its own chinks, its own imperfections and shadows which embolden the colors. I know the art of chiaroscuro in theory, and can even work it out consciously, but I don't allow nature itself to do it through me.

Each step we take involves a falling motion, and then a catching just before the fall.

My rising sign is Sagittarius. One of the themes of Sagittarius is a certain willful naivete. You know life is not perfect, that there are risks (it's not like Aries--who laughs at danger like baby Simba, because that's sort of what Aries is), but you make that leap anyway and hope the net materializes. The Fool Card is a good analogy.

I haven't been feeling very Fool Cardish lately. I've had more of a 7 of pentacleish case of the Hanged Man. My feet are tied to the tree, and I know none of my choices are precisely, exactly what I want. I think inside I'm really sort of steamed about this. Maybe that's why I haven't been making a decision. I know, wherever I land, it's not going to be perfect. And the sad thing is, even though I was pretty confident (in an Aries sort of way) a while ago that I knew just where I had to go to be perfect, I have now not even the foggiest notion of how to bring about a state of True Happy. I have parts of True Happy, but there is that subtle, pastel and fluffy suburban discontent.

I'm hanging by a thread, and I've got a pair of scissors, and Iknow I can make the cut whenever I'm ready to. I just haven't been ready yet. I don't want to be a Hamlet type, unable to ever act, but I just haven't gotten around to making the swipe. I keep waiting for the net to appear.

But I think in a little while I'm going to have to make the cut.

I  may be pretty perfectionistic. I may be a bit embarassed about the fall. 

But at least, so I learn, if I fall too hard, there is amnesia.


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