A Meaningful Existence

When I married my second husband I entered into that space in time with very open eyes. This was not my first time at the rodeo and I was determined to enjoy myself. I put down a lot of projects that I had carried for a long time. I placed my radio show on an extended hiatus and withdrew most of my Internet existence as much as I could. I knew I did not want to disappear but for once in my life I wanted to see what offline face to face life was.

I spent a lot of time within my new relationship. There were all of the things that people do together and more. There was a lot of time spent determining who I was without an Internet presence. I found myself in a large void of nothingness. I had no idea who I was without being constantly connected to my friends, fans and family on the Internets.

Any poet will gladly tell you that you must remove something from your life to learn how much you want it. Let it go and if it should come back, blah blah blah with it. We humans do that all of the time with every single thing. We always want for people, places and things until we get them only to want something else.

We used to walk up to the top of the mountain late at night and stare at all the city lights. I remember feeling so empty and confused about who I was within while going without. I think the most disappointing feeling was thinking that without everything I did I wasn’t much of anything. It’s like a person going outside without any makeup on and realizing they’re not their makeup. My artist life and all the projects under my belt was figurative makeup, but who was underneath and what did he, she or it enjoy doing with a clean face?

I never stopped to think about that because I am a go-getter. I want to run in the race and more importantly I want to cross the finish line. I want to do and do some more. My genes dictate that I must start and that it is very important to finish what I start. I must rush through with quality, but I must rush to get to the end of another fabulous achievement. Who has time to think about taking a day off and reading a book when there are races to be won?

It was suddenly very important to figure out who I was without everything I do. The problem was that I couldn’t find anything I enjoyed doing for me. My husband would ask what I wanted to do for me and there was no answer other than read books, watch movies, eat good food and take long walks in nature. That was always my answer, but I never thought it was good enough. I always felt that was an empty void of an answer. It was probably a voided feeling because society tells us we always must be doing something epic, making life matter.

I find this still just as complicated a question now as I did then. We will take a moment to remove the Internet and all of the things we “have to” do. We can subtract any day to day jobs which people go to. Take a nice long nap, feed and bathe yourself; then look around and tell me what’s left. What is left in your life when you remove all of the distractions and social or economic responsibilities? At first there is probably nothing left at all! When I unplug from the big things I find myself in a vacuum of blackness. There’s nothing in there to do but sit and think that all of me was all of these things. I discover life as I knew it was pancake makeup and lip liner. The lip liner of life. The lip liner is life.

It’s the greatest mental breakdown you could give yourself. It’s the great mirror held up to your own face to check on who you really are. If there’s any glimmer of hope within then you will begin to find what you enjoy doing to celebrate your being. There is a chance that if you aren’t too terrified then ideas will start to form for yourself instead of for things of distraction. You will see there is a world of stuff you enjoy without all of the things you have been made to enjoy.

After I unplugged some six years ago I slowly started all of my projects back at a steady pace. I realized I needed them and wanted to do them. What do I like to do when I’m not doing things? Well, I like to read books, watch movies, eat good food and take long walks in nature. The answer hasn’t changed because that is the answer. The only reason I didn’t think it was the right answer was because I thought it needed to be validated. It does not.

It doesn’t matter what you do on your own time as long as you enjoy it and don’t think it’s a waste of time. All I can figure is that we are who we are when we are alone, when we are enjoying all of our private vices, and while we are doing all of the projects that we love to do. We are all of it. You are not just your art, but your art is part of you. We should strive to take some time to find out what else we are, but in conjunction with everything else. The parts of us that exist when not creating art or rushing towards a finish line. The parts of us that sit under trees while reading a book as ants crawl down our pants. It’s critical to take some time and know you exist without any makeup.

Artist D's New Orleans

Artist D in New Orleans, June 2009

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