Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Promise of Javier Bardem was the only thing that kept me watching that egotistical ATV ride through other cultures they called "Eat Pray Love"

(Heather, releasing some tension at the tail end of the 2011 Mardi-Gras extravaganza in the Episcopal church of Salem. And yeah, she pretty much fed 80 people in one manic swoop.)

First of all, I want to apologize to my blog for a record-breaking period of neglect I've inflicted upon it. Not since my home in Gambia was broken into and my computer stolen while I was sleeping next to it have I gone so long without posting. Shit, I posted more often when a computer was a 20k bike ride and a bribe away with a 50/50 shot of actual connectivity. When I look through the past six years of blog action, I see a few gaps, usually during the times of intense transitions. These usually fall in the fall for some reason- Peace Corps training in 2005, the homelessness/computerlessness period of 2009, not to mention a certain Ramadan ('07 I believe) where riding my bike to the ferry crossing and taking the dusty road to Ferrafenni to beg some guy to spark up the generator for a an hour of internet that mostly consisted of my trying to log in while six guys stood behind me felt like a bit too much trouble to bother with when a perfectly good nap on a concrete slab felt like creative expression enough.
The thing with transition (transformation?) is that we can't really see ourselves. We are just kind of selfing our selves around like we know what that is, but I don't think we do. That's the problem with being ourselves. If we are truly great, it's hard to see (and what a spoiler if we do.) And if we suck, well, it's hard to know. Seeking self consciousness also seems a little arrogant, no? Isn't there something on Hulu instead? People tend to bounce certain notions off of us (you seem to get along with Patrick, I like the way you handled that catfight, you make killer dumplings, etc. ) but that's no mirror, really. It does weird us a little, and feedback probably keeps us in line to an extent, especially those of us who've inherited even a molecule of the McHugh people-pleasing gene. You want dumplings? I'll give you dumplings. But it doesn't change an innate thing about us, not that we'd be able to tell anyway.

Before I get to the "lesson" portion of this dispatch, I share with you two possible rules for self-consciousness, really the only consistent ones I've heard. Unfortunately, they are generally not applicable, as you'll see. I can thank my friend Blair via her dad for this first nugget:

1. There is a Michael Scott in every work environment. If you don't know who it is, you should probably be worried.

2. If you really, really, really have a strong urge to run for public office, don't.

So yes, I must be done pupating for the moment. A lot has gone on this year. I'm halfway through a master's, off to Ghana for the summer, excited about a bunch of things that I never actually share in this format as my 3-8 dedicated readers well know, and I am stressed with the good stress of, you know, learning.

As usual, as per my experience several times in the past, as I wiggle out of my crusty old chrysalis with the anticipation of whatever me six months in a bivouac of my own spiritual goo might have produced, and as I hustle to the mirror, (the metaphorical Wonderland/Narnia/Never Ending Story, Harry-freakin-Potter kind of mirror) I am kind of shocked to discover that I am still a stumpy green caterpillar. Same yellow spots, same undulating love-handles, same little suction-cup feet. Obviously this could piss me off. I could kick up a really tiny bit of dust, get mad, get drunk, demand a refund.

But, if you know anything about me at all, you know my narrative form. I tend to reject the Hungry Caterpillar/Ugly Duckling/Cinderella/Karate Kid plotline in general. I don't get to become exceptional just because it's a story and that's how story characters learn to love themselves. And I don't have to. I suspect, even though I can't see myself, that being a stumpy green caterpillar is possibly great, and at the very least, innocuous. I mean, whatamIgonnado? Eat a leaf? It becomes a comfort, a relief even. I suspect I'm a slightly improved caterpillar, a little more sensible, more apt to listen, etc. Maybe. Can't really spend much more time reflecting on this, because I'm hungry, and the leaves are way up high, and I've got stuff to do.