"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be wiht those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
I’m drunk. No, half drunk. In the afternoon. A half a seasonal dark ale. 6% alcohol. I’m thinking about taking out a personal ad: “Cheap date.” That should be enough to reel ‘em in. Would it be a wide sweep of society? Where could I post it? Should I add that I’m educated? Or would that be too much information?
Being lost abroad has it's perks. I'm one of the first Americans to blacken the oval for the first half-black, half-white president. Quite thrilling. I think I'll drop it at the American Embassy in Auckland just to be nosy and check out the place. The last time I set foot in an American Embassy was when I was 20 and Carrie had a flaming red eye in Munich, Germany (in my pre-optometry life). We were looking for a list of English speaking doctors. I remember they had a Coke machine. It was a bit of heaven when we were a little homesick after our rolling suitcase wheels melted off (yes, we were too dumb to have backpacks that time) and we'd spent a few nights spooning under seven wool blankets in "Big Tent". Ahh the days...
"When someone is seeking, it happens quite easily that he only sees the thing that he is seeking; that he is unable to find anything, unable to absorb anything, because he is only thinking of the thing he is seeking, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: to have a goal; but finding means: to be free, to be receptive, to have no goal."
-from Siddhartha by Herman Hesse (an amazing and quick read full of life philosophy)
I was out having a post-clinic drink with a couple students (actually two good friends of mine) and let it slip that I had a blog.
Both exclaimed (almost in unison), "Blogs are so narcissistic! How self-centered to think that people want to read about your life and your opinions."
I faked an angry glare, scrunched up my face, and pretended I didn't care. But inside I wondered, was I narcissistic? And was blogging by nature narcissistic? It was something I'd worried about before I started writing this thing. Who wants to sit around and read about what I think and what I do?
They asked me if I'd read other people's blogs. I said "yes."
"What about people you don't know?"
I said "yes" again. I said that I'd gotten notes from random people reading my blog also. I started writing this because I like writing and I think it's a good way for friends and family to know that I am functioning fine on the other side of the world. When I started this, I decided that I would be honest and real and if no one wanted to read it, well, I enjoy writing enough that it would be a pleasure to write it completely for myself.
Back to the initial question though regarding my narcissism... I slept on it. My psyche would not let it go. While I was running (perhaps that 30km day) I thought, "Do you read literature? Do you enjoy films? How different are they from blogs?" Creativity, whether art, literature, music, or otherwise is deeply connected to the creator: their opinions, their life experiences. So by nature, we are all narcissistic. I don't think I'm much worse than any other.
Yesterday was long run day (dread) and also mileage increase day (double dread), so I’d mapped out a plan online a few days ago. 18.79 miles (30.2km) covers a lot of ground in Auckland. I mentally prepared by sleeping in with dreams of flying (why can’t we do that in real life again?) then procrastinated at the coffee shop until starting my tour around 2:00. I thought I might die a couple times but mostly I was just having a good time thinking, not even really noticing that I was running. In times of desperation, I played the alphabet game in my head- name something starting with each letter of the alphabet - a band, a male celebrity, countries, etc... this can waste a fantastic amount of time. The last 30 minutes, I started talking to myself. Repeating “Rock-Star!” over and over can be quite motivating. I’m sure the people I passed would agree.
After the nice little jog, I had a ridiculously long shower (sorry environment), only getting out after I'd slicked up the floor so much with Origins Salt Scrub that it was a danger to my life to stay in any longer.
Anyway. I survived. And I feel really good about it.
I’m on the fence about everything else in life. I guess it’s good to have one goal to work toward. I can check the marathon thing off my list and then figure out the rest of my life. Right. I’m sure it will just all fall into place as soon as I cross the finish line. Hee hee…
Possibly this is the post-runner’s high causing delusions of grandeur along with other ailments.
circumlocution \ser-kum-loh-KYOO-shun\ noun Meaning: *1 : the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea 2 : evasion in speech
This word was created for me. My friends would agree. If you'd like an evasive answer to anything, just ask me and I'll be happy to oblige. Though I've gotten better through the years at being candid, my first urge is to talk in circles without actually giving any real information out. This is especially useful if you would like my opinion on something that I'm not sure I want to give or if you ask me anything personal about myself or relationships. If I talk around something long enough, no one will realize that nothing was actually said. Or so I think.
"That's our civilization and our education: bring up the masses to depend entirely on spending money and then the money gives out. If you could tell them that living and spending isn't the same thing! But it's no good. If only they were educated to live instead of earn and spend, they could be happy on twenty-five shillings a week."
"He knew that conscience was chiefly fear of society or fear of oneself. He was not afraid of himself. But he was quite consciously afraid of society, which he knew by instinct to be a malevolent partly-insane beast."
Most of you might not know that I've been a fire lover since I was under two feet tall. It started when we lived in Manitowac in our two-story house where the stereo wafted light seventies tunes from the bookshelf on the left-hand side of the fireplace. One year for Christmas, Carrie and I got red and yellow trucks which rested a little too close to the fire overnight and I learned how fragile plastic is in relation to the power of fire.
Years later, we'd rake all the leaves in Minnesota and build a grand bonfire in the woods in the lot next to our house. We'd gather with the neighbors and our marshmallows in celebration of the fall. Carrie had a predictable yearly ritual of melting her sandals, which didn't matter too much since shoes never fit much longer than a year anyway. It was a glorious time, when fall had no negative associations.
My dad showed me how to build a fire using the grate with crunched up newspaper placed just so that it would start perfect every time. More than once, we had a little excitement in the basement when the fire would burn too hot, exploding the glass doors which were meant to contain it, sending glass flying and leaving the smell of burnt carpet lingering in the air.
As an adult in Portland, I'd been mesmerised by candles, for their heat and their grandeur. And under the influence of a campfire in the woods, I can enter an alternate universe where dancing flames lead you to another place all together.
Over lunch today, I was thinking of how people seem to try to straight-jacket me into a mold that never seems to fit. I don't know if it is judgement or just human nature to classify. So I wondered what I could be. A raging river, a chameleon, a waterfall? A fire! It waxes and wanes, sometimes it's large and bright, lighting the way. Other times, it's barely simmering, so it might appear to be going out, but with just a little air and a little fuel and it's back to it's full magnificence.
That is me. I am a fire. Colors of blue and orange and white hot at times. Never predictable, controllable or to be underestimated, but full of life and vitality.