Friday, October 16, 2015

an absolute nobody

There's a quote by J. D. Salinger that I *heart* and it goes like this:

I'm sick of not having the courage to be 
an absolute nobody.

At first glance, this might feel like a negative. The idea of being a nobody seems like a bad thing. Aren't we all more? A child. A parent. A loved one. A someone.

But for me, this quote speaks to that inane human need we all have to be somebody - not just to the ones we love but to the world at large. We want to seem bigger and better than our circumstances: to hang out with the popular people, to be apart of the in crowd, to put our mark on the world. All these desires persist throughout our lives. They drive us to want to be bigger and brighter and better. And that's not a bad thing. But what if ...

... I was just me?

Me: the girl with no connections. Me: the girl without an important last name. Me: the girl without the fancy degree. Me: the girl with pimples and dandruff and hairy legs. Me: plain and simple.

It's hard when we're surrounded by the importance of other people. The places they go. The things they get. The people they know. With social media, we are bombarded with how special they are and how unimportant we are in the grand scheme of things.

But what Salinger is suggesting is revolutionary. A complete departure from the social norm. The idea of being sick of trying to one up everyone else. The idea of accepting that we're just us and just us is pretty freaking swell. 

Just me with my no connections is good. Just me without a fancy degree is worthy. Just me - pimples and all - is just right. And I'm making my mark, but in smaller ways. Little ways you can't always see. Tiny ways that appear to mean nothing. Unknown ways that are irreplaceable. 

It's hard not to compare ourselves to others. It's hard not to want what we don't have. It's human to feel jealous and bitter and compare our lowly status ...

... which makes embracing it courageous.

To have the courage to say, I'm a nobody. To embrace the extraordinary in the ordinary and find peace and contentment. That's what Salinger is talking about.

And can you imagine 
all the things we could get done
 if we stopped trying to be somebody
 and focused on being the best nobody
 the world has ever known?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Perspective: It's a funny thing.

Sometimes a clarinet falls off a bookshelf, lands on your head, and forces you to hit the pause button on life.

Just such an event happened to me this week. I was minding my own business, while I was putting away a multitude of books I'd pulled down to ogle, when from out of nowhere - BAM - I took a clarinet to the head.

Now, I know what you're thinking:

What the heck?! 
How did this happen?! 

Both are valid questions, but not the purpose of these ramblings. Just know I'm me, and I can always find a way to hit my head. Daily. Painfully. Always.

We're off topic. This post is not about the clarinet or the concussion that I'm currently managing (did you know your face and hands can tingle when you're concussed!?! It's a THING.).

No. It's obvious this random, out of the blue post - the first post I've been inspired to write in goodness only knows how long - would not be merely about a ninja clarinet jumping out of the sky and attacking a helpless human. Nope.

And it's not about how unpredictable life is or how we have to deal with the unexpected and not allow ourselves to give up in the face of adversity. Nope. Not that one either. So what the heck is this post about?!

It's about perspective.
Let me explain.

See, the clarinet whacked me on the head, and I immediately sat down on the ground, put my head in my hands, and thought: Good gravy, that's a thing that just happened.

Then I got to thinking as the dizziness set in and vomit started to rise in my throat: You know, Ang, compared to publishing a book this is WAY worse. 

While I'm on the mend and feeling exponentially better, this whole incident could've been disastrous. I know disastrous. I've seen it first hand. We all have. One moment life's just plodding along and we're all "ho-da-hum" when BAM - life halts us in our tracks. Most the time, we think about persevering. Most the time, we're so busy experiencing the moment that we can't take a step back and compare and contrast. However, this time I did. This time I sat down and processed the moment. 

I thought about the knot of apprehension and anxiety that's been plaguing me the last few months. The constant worry and feelings of inadequacy I've been lugging around on my back. How I've been suffering from daily panic attacks complete with my heart try to escape my chest and my lungs forgetting how to breathe. And why have I been feeling this way? Why have I been on the verge of a mental breakdown? Over publishing a book. 

It's important. 

The clarinet could've killed me or damaged my brain. That might sound dramatic, but it could have. Publishing a book? It wouldn't kill me. I mean, it's going to shave a few years off my life. It's going to leave me feeling weak and lacking. Hell, I'm already feeling all those things plus some. But it will not kill me. If anything, it will make me stronger. 

So what if it fails?
So what if you all hate it?
So what if I'm not worthy?
So what if I make a fool of myself?

I'm alive. I took a chance. And for the first time in my life, I'll get to hold a book with my name on the cover. How cool is that? 

It's a funny thing.
And sometimes you've got to take a clarinet to the head to find it.