As 2017 began the year ahead seemed like a single mass, dense and empty. It was like looking into the sky or deep, deep water – distances perhaps close or far, impossible to judge, impossible to know how to feel, to act.
I feel so tiny, and so average, at this point of time. Any notion of unique living and original thought crowded in by the army of ways I follow the rulebook of the masses. For minds capable of vastness and greatness our ideas and plans are so small and mild.
Experiences both sacred and cataclysmic, such as falling in love, or birthing a child, are relegated to commonplace. Stories co-opted, power diluted, or never told at all. I peaked so early, this year. When I had Wylah, for that day, everything aligned. Action and intention. Hope and reality. Challenge and strength. I was…Well, I was.
That’s dismantled now.
2016 was a year for confronting the ego. A lesson in the ways I am not needed. Nothing needs us – when we step back, everything carries on. Even that which we create carries on regardless, sometimes, painfully, better off for it.
It was a year I was not present, despite my sharp awareness of every day’s passing hour. Lengths of time reaching smooth and regular, abruptly crumpled, distortive and truncated. In this sense it’s a year I will hardly remember.
It was a year to attempt to relinquish control. But also to take control. There’s a dichotomy. To let go yet take hold. To do away with constructed realities and go back to one narrative. Not that there’s been much time for dreaming, anyway.
I got told more than a few times to surrender. And more than a few times I wanted to give up completely, although what I meant by that I’m not entirely sure. The thing was I needed to keep going, towards a glint of what I might become. It’s a hard thing, to pack away your idea of self based on the past, to look through your loathing and beyond the worst you can be, drawn out by circumstance, and set sight firmly on the person it’s all shaping. To trust that you can’t disappear, even when you feel that you already have.
This year I determined some key truths: I love, and need, people. People who form and challenge ideas and understandings. People who are curious and hungry. People who talk. Who let me tell them long-winded stories and then tell me theirs. People are always amazing, but sometimes, they astound. Deep connection comes from unlikely places.
I need to read, and I need to write. The more I read the less intelligent, more poorly educated and more naïve I feel. For which the only antidote is more reading. Writing is, for now, the only means I feel I have to make a connection and a contribution, to be useful. Writing is the only thing I believe I am good at.
I still believe in art. Despite everything. Watching the sector from a distance this past twelve months or so – the various entanglements, those who ‘win’, those who ‘lose’ – an endless, pointless saga into which I’ve thrown my voice, too.
But I’ve got evidence to know there’s creative force that goes beyond these eddying pools. The art that we make, that we seek, that comes upon us. Art that is art to us alone. Art that never leaves the mind that fruits it. Taking root the cracks in normalcy, hiding and thriving, even.
So I keep making it. I’ll keep finding it, and helping it be found, all the while keeping my eyes open. Reaching back into the past and pressing forward. All the while paying close attention, even while living low.