Saturday, January 8, 2011

We Tell Ourselves Stories...

We Tell Ourselves Stories…

We tell ourselves stories in order to live. The princess is caged in the consulate. The man with the candy will lead the children into the sea. The naked woman on the ledge outside the window on the sixteenth floor is a victim of accidie, or the naked woman is an exhibitionist, and it would be “interesting” to know which. We tell ourselves that it makes some difference whether the naked woman is about to commit a mortal sin or is about to register a political protest or is about to be, the Aristophanic view, snatched back to the human condition by the fireman in the priest’s clothing just visible in the window behind her, the one smiling at the telephoto lens. We look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.
Or at least we do for a while.

The White Album – Joan Didion.

We tell ourselves stories in order to live. We make excuses to survive. We apologize for things that do not matter. We tolerate people and things because we are so afraid of losing approval. This is our society. And we are co-dependent.

This is what society does. Looks for another way to see things. A justification for everything that is wrong in the world. There must be a better way to see it. Just like the celluloid. Everything has a happy ending as opposed to the reality. In the screen adaptation of reality the man shooting people in a bank becomes a martyr. Spin the truth a little more. It’s still the truth even if we tell the story differently. Then the man becomes a woman. Don’t worry there’s no way they’ll notice the difference. Except in reality there is no spinning truth. The truth is a sharp-edged sword that will find a way to reveal itself no matter how many excuses you make to change what is.

Someone says that it’s necessary to make an excuse to live. You should never make an excuse to do anything, especially to live. Find a reason to live. Need a little help finding it? Look in the mirror. Learn to appreciate what is. It may be hard to believe but there is happiness. And it has nothing to do with magic.
Finding a reason and making an excuse are not the same thing. Excuses are like apologies. The kind of justifications you make when you are late for work, or forget an important date. You make them because you are afraid. Afraid of losing something. Approval. It is sad when you see people making excuses for everything to avoid truly living.

Unnecessary apologies made after choosing to make the same mistake over and over again. If you plan on continuing to the do the same thing over and over why do you make them? In order to make yourself appreciate barely living? What kind of life is that? It isn’t fair to you.  You should never allow yourself to endure a life that is “just good enough” until something better happens to you. Why? Because you will always wonder about more and envy others. By living this “just good enough” standard, getting by becomes your status quo. Your desire for more becomes less of reality because you aren’t making what you want a reality.

Think about what you want. Think of your goals, dreams, and plans. Without spinning the story or making an excuse, is any of it feasible?

At some point you have to break free from the illusions of fame, wealth and power. These are the things that will destroy you. If you are doing something for any of those things… then you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. What you do and say is not all fodder for a reality show or the next big summer blockbuster. That’s a nice American Dream where we all drive expensive cars, flash our cash, look like supermodels, watch ourselves on TV and have great big houses. But that isn’t reality. When will you wake up from the Great American Sleep? There is a life outside of the dream. It’s up to you to reach for it.

It’s okay to tell ourselves stories… but only for a little while. Instead of pretending and making excuses, try pursuing what you want. There is no happy ending unless you let there be one. You can tell yourself a thousand different things but that will not change what is actually happening.


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