Suggested Listening for this Column: #41 by DMB
1. Waking up
When you’re in a dream, it’s hard to wake up.
You cling to it. You want it to go on forever. I had a dream like that. That dream has been the first twenty years of my life. It’s a conceited, stupid dream, full of bald-face falsehoods, arrogance, and debauchery. It’s a pleasant dream, but a dream that has to end.
When I was younger, I was a Christian. I’ll make no claims to it now, as much as I’d like to. In my young age, I learned of sins. There were seven of them. Wrath, Lust, Sloth, Gluttony, Pride, Greed, and Envy. I was aware, with the passing of a few years, that I had fallen to a couple of these… Lust and Gluttony, definitely. That’s just how it goes. But I swore the others weren’t there. Not on this soul. So I grew a little older. Looked around a little more. Something happened… and suddenly I was angry and hurt. I grew tired. And I knew then that I had fallen into the trap of Wrath, and Pride, and Sloth. So there. It’s not terrible. Everybody makes mistakes. “Hell,” I said, “I’m better than most of these people.”
So I took a trip to Texas. It wowed me. The smell of money was in the air, and the happiness it could buy. I could go for that. I could go for a house full of luxuries and beautiful things. I needed nothing else. I fell into the trap of my own Greed then. I acknowledged it. Who needs anything when you have money? With money, you can have everything you want. You can make up for all the lonely nights, the dark mornings in the shower waiting to go to school. With money, you could live! And I have the talent, I told myself. I’m better than this state I live in, better than the people I surround me. I have nobody to envy. Nobody. Nothing. Damn everything else.
And then, this evening, I went to a university gallery and saw a few works of art by a friend of mine. I felt my spirits drop. With no power-hungry motive, no greed, no force at all, she had invented amazing things. Delightful pictures made for no reason other than the artist wanted them to be made. I knew that feeling that was in my heart at that moment. It was the realization that I had lost myself, and replaced the innocent thing I once was with some power-hungry, lusting, alchoholic ghoul. At that moment, I didn’t know if I wanted to blow my brains out or praise whatever’s out there. I didn neither, really. I just stood, their, quietly, awake for the first time in years.
2. Getting moving.
I remember something this friend had done for me, a long time ago. She had tried to teach me to respect myself. I took this lesson and completely ignored it. I became a living cartoon. I was always full of one-liners and snide comments. I was hurtful on more than one occasion. And it felt good. It was just like a sophopia (I honestly have no idea how to spell that word)… so delicious, but still empty. And when I ran out of people to make a fool of, I could turn back on myself. It was all about me, really. I didn’t have to stick up for anybody. In fact, on more than one occassion, I made it so that somebody else had to stick up for somebody, just to stop me. But it felt good, man. I felt powerful for once. I could build myself up on others. I wasn’t myself anymore, but who liked that guy? He wasn’t anything. This new guy was awesome, though. He flipped off people when they honked at him as he crossed the streets. He got into fights. He swore. He drank. He was me. I made him. I can’t try to victimize myself by saying that this personality is something seperate from myself. It was me, just older and ‘wiser’ in the ways of the world.
Oh, which isn’t to say it was all roses. I got hurt now and then. I got so down it seemed I couldn’t get back up. I got so angry I contemplated terrible things. Until a few hours ago, I felt I was justified.
Then, looking into these brushstrokes and penstrokes, I realized that there was no justification. No reason for any of the lies, the backstabbing, the hate. Everyone is born innocent. We make ourselves guilty. I could create things just as good as this, someday perhaps… but I had traded it away for hurt feelings and ill will.
3. Getting Done.
So, from now on, just call me Bryan. It’s a name I used to hate, but it’s who I am. I’m not some jive-talking guy, or some raving, anger-spewing lunatic. I’m something better than that today. Maybe I won’t be one tomorrow, but as for today…