Seasons come, go, and roll around again. The tides rise, subside, and meet back to their designated places. Just as any flower, we bud, grow, bloom to our peak and slowly decline and wither. I say this simply to say it's amazing how time pushes us all onward to never meet the same day twice. This is the time, place, and the moment we have. Another is not promised, for better or for worse, this is what we are given.
Back in April I celebrated my 31st birthday. I'm still unsure what to feel about my early 30's yet, but a voice in my head is telling me I'm not as young as I use to be. This slightly scary notion has been a constant companion of mine since it first occurred to me not long before my personal celebration of birth. When thinking about what I've accomplished in life or what I have yet to do, I know there's something in me that wants more. There are so many things I'm grateful for: my wonderful spouse, a good job, great family and friends, etc. Yet there is a feeling.. a longing to leave a deeper impact. Lets call it a living memorial: a famous painting.. or two, or a hundred, a great novel for the ages, founder of an invention that positively changes the course of everything for years to come,or find a cure to take the fear out of some deathly disease! Maybe though, I'd settle for just one person who would tell who I was and not simply leave me to be buried too deep by the sands of time.
Longing to be remembered after one's passing is something aligned with our finitely mortal selves yet it can not be guaranteed to last or even occur. I think of a sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley entitled Ozymandias,
"I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away."
Whenever I read this interestingly human piece, I am reminded how silly and futile such goals of remembrance are. I begin to think of goals more in my direct control. When pondering more attainable feats, a list rolls. It rolls through my head and in my imagination I can see them all like a full horizon all around me full of rolling hills and a few daunting mountains.
I see some easy to obtain hills ahead.. even trekked over a few recently, yet then there are those mountains. They seems to hard to attain, can be unforgiving, unrelenting, even wrathful if I take a wrong footing. My mountains are the hardest, heinous, challenges. I'm reminded of the evil mountain in Mordor only some of mine are more dark, scary, 10 times fuller of more monsters and ghouls ready to track me, find me, pull me down, and ensure I never reach the top. One of the most sinister peaks I call self-deprecation.
A friend recently told me that self-deprecation is much less attractive than being egotistical. I was slightly struck back by this interestingly true statement because I am my own worst victim and abuser. After a moment of pondering what she said I smiled at her and told her I'd try to watch what I say. Yet it's almost been a week and her comment has clung to me. I don't know the beginnings of my self loathing yet I do remember having these strong feelings of worthlessness as a child. In my earliest self-deprecating memories I think of times when I'd get scolded from my mom. I'd not blame her, my sister, think that the fault lied somewhere else. I would become angry with my own flaws. I was the problem. I was the reject. I'd run in my room, cry into my pillow, telling myself how stupid I was. Full of anger, poisonous thoughts seeping, tainting my inward image. So when kids at school would reject me, my step-father would tell me how dumb I was, people I cared about walked away, it wasn't their fault either. They were so right. The mess up in the equation was me.
Having such a long history of self-anger, self-doubt, self-pity (?) even, it's so hard for me today to see past the dark fog to form even a less distorted image from what others around me think of me. Truthfully, I believe myself. I believe and even magnify my short-comings and even now I've turned this into more of a self loathing blurb. My outlook affects every aspect of me. It hinders me in my art, my performance at work, my love life w/my spouse, friendships past, present, budding, or future. I am truly poisoned.
So the question I ask is, How do I purposfully overcome this