Earlier this week I observed an Instagram celebrity’s birthday.
Because this lady is also an influencer with thousands of followers it was quite an event.
It made me think about my 23rd ride around the sun.
Condensed milk… A tin from the ration pack was a special treat on my 23rd birthday.
From myself to myself.
“(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams was in the top 5.
Late that afternoon I received an envelope from the battalion’s admin office.
“From the Colonel Commanding and the Unit. Your commitment and service are recognized on your birthday.”
It was something to that effect.
I finished the tin of super sweet decadence and wished I had another.
In the center of a heavy metal song beats a human heart.
Mastodon’s “The Sparrow” serves as a eulogy for the wife of the band’s accountant who passed away due to stomach cancer.
There’s a single repeating lyric within the song.
“Pursue happiness with diligence.”
This phrase was her motto.
Late at night, when the lights are low,
When the kids have been put to bed,
That’s when Emma wakes…
When Emma embraces her Weird…
They talk, they dance … They travel to France
They stroll down the Champs-Élysées,
wearing yesterday’s summer clothes.
There’s wine and water with pretentious names
and lovers that flirt while the day still burns.
And ere the night is over she hugs her Weird… and remembers…
The living and the loving
And all and everything…
And nothing, and something.
And here in suburbia is a picket fence.
White and bright.
Coated in Weatherproof Deluxe Stellar White.
Here is where Emma gets to walk,
and look at her Normal
whenever he lingers
I wrote this a long time ago.
I might as well dedicate it to everyone who defiantly refused to conform to the illusion of conformity.
I’m like that, I tell myself I need to wait for some or other divine inspiration.
Once I receive that inspiration I will create miraculous works of art.
The exact opposite is actually true, once I simply start doing things, creating things…
That is when I find inspiration.
Once I start creating art, I find it easier to continue creating art!
This was my project for today’s commute…
This drawing has the inspiring name of “artflow_201907042005-1.png”
That’s as good as any other name I suppose?
The drawing took shape between stations and manifested into the “final version” after dinner.
Tomorrow I’ll do something else, if only to maintain momentum.
A few years ago I hit rock bottom with regards to my career.
I was stuck in a dead-end job with a sadist for a boss.
On top of all that the systems we worked on were so dodgy that they required constant maintenance.
I was miserable each day.
On weekends we pulled constant overtime shifts to do standby.
The pay was good!
If ever someone tells you that money covers a multitude of sins, I can testify it doesn’t!
My childhood synonym for “power” was “Superman.”
The red tights and cape didn’t really inspire me as much as the ability to lift a mountain with
one hand while holding Lois Lane with the other.
At least Superman wasn’t only a muscle-bound knucklehead.
Many of the stories pertinently emphasized his superior alien logic.
I often think that society teaches us that power lies within the ability to generate explosive force.
Movies and stories about powerful beings feature lots of action and pyrotechnics.
That is definitely one interpretation of “power.”
Power can be subtle.
Occasionally we tend to forget that power only becomes apparent after centuries.
The river can carve up a mountain although it takes centuries for a valley to form.
Trying to define “normality” often becomes a challenge of dodging personal perceptions or emotions.
“It all looks so strange!?”
“I don’t know anything about it?”
“Would our Priest approve?”
She told me I needed to be rescued.
When I couldn’t be lifted up, or carried,
I would be dragged.
I held on as long as I could,
and managed to save an angel.
I doodled this in 2018, it still feels relevant.
Not all who drag us down are demons, not all who gift us with wings are angels.
The Moon can’t really eclipse the sun.
It’s all an illusion.
Our imagination often paints these two celestial bodies as enemies.
Suppose they were to cross swords?
That insignificant arid ball of dust would be eradicated by the god Helios within seconds.
But the Moon is still close enough to Earth and far enough from the Sun.
It can escape the fiery wrath for now.
However, when the conditions are right, that little sphere creates the illusion
that it hid the mighty Sun for a short while.
When confronted by the vastness of the Universe we occasionally feel powerless to effect any kind of change.
The complexities of the world make us numb.
The way we perceive our environment can make us feel powerless.
The deluge of disturbing images, hateful words and seemingly inhuman actions we observe each day burn us.
We can’t ever convince the Sun to behave differently.
But what happens whenever we avert our gaze away from the blinding brightness?
We might notice someone standing close to us.
Someone in need of shelter or assistance…
There where we DO possess the power to eclipse the sun!
Happiness isn’t your “default” setting and I’m sure you know it.
It isn’t mine either.
In fact, “happiness” is a fabrication, a fake word designed to motivate people to take expensive holidays to utopian holiday destinations.
“Happiness awaits you the minute you set foot on golden beaches and dance to the pulsating rhythms of the greatest adventure you’ll ever experience!”
Sure, it might be true but that adventure will shake your pocket!
Financial woes after the holiday will kick you right back to where you were before the trip!
Happiness is the motivator that you always prop up in the fudged-up recesses of your subconscious to justify most purchases.
Just wait, when you get that Mustang you’ll be happy!
Reality is harsh mistress though… One that constantly strives to kill your illusion of happiness!
While you were on that beach you stumbled and dropped your cocktails on an unsuspecting sunbather.
You didn’t see any of the sexy people they paraded around in the seductive advert.
The kids were bored because they didn’t have their tablets with them and you were still worrying about a missed call from the office!
Before you decide to wallow in despair just consider the age-old concept of “awareness” for a minute!
You can actually make that fake word called “happiness” work for you.
Despite the embarrassment with the drinks, nobody got hurt.
The chat you had with the victim was quite pleasant.
His perspectives about the island made you notice things you would never have seen otherwise.
You relaxed, you laughed, you took notice of the balmy island breeze and the texture of the fine sand underfoot.
If you combine those elements into more comprehensible languages you can stitch them together and you’re
actually experiencing “happiness.”
What was your morning like today?
Cold, too hot, stressful?
But you had a nice coffee, didn’t you? You enjoyed it.
I really hope you did!
Life’s too short to have bad coffee!
Your office chair was quite comfortable.
It’s not something you really think about!
There’s enough money in your bank account for buying a pie at lunchtime.
Ok, before it sounds like I only pursue “happiness” through eating I’ll stop there.
But you do get the gist of the above.
Make a pastiche of the positive words in your day… “Enjoyed, content, satisfied, comfortable, fine, looking forward to something!”
When strung together in context those words push you towards the elusive idea of happiness.
Ever so often I get the idea that we’ve taught ourselves to think that the negative cancels the positive.
That’s far from the truth.
They actually exist in an eternal symbiosis.
But just like the way you rephrased “happiness” you might consider rephrasing the “bad” as well.
Spilling your drink wasn’t “bad.”
It was unfortunate… An accident, a mishap!
The word “Bad” is abstract.
“Mishap” sounds manageable.
And when you start using proper sentences it all clicks into place… “If you hadn’t cooled off someone with a ludicrously expensive drink you might not have experienced one of your more memorable holiday moments!”