Contrary to what we collectively conspire to believe, there’s no expiration date on achievement.”
“Who the f#@k are ‘you’ and why should we care?” The reader will immediately ask if you employ the dreaded ‘I’ and write about yourself.
Today I stumbled on the Aristotelian three principles for successful rhetoric. But don’t let the next paragraph scare you off. It’s less brainy than it sounds and will attempt to address the above question, which is incidentally the only place you’ll ever see me substitute ‘f#@k’ for ‘fuck’.
My laptop displaying Aristotle’s Ethos, Pathos and Logos was a timely accident that coincided with my “How do I get people to read my damn blog?” pickle. Briefly, Ethos is the appeal through the character of the speaker where she has to prove her credibility or authority on a subject, Pathos is the emotional appeal, and Logos is appealing through reason by way of words. Pathos is easy and organic in discourses about the self, as selves are given to emotional emission. But because in your eyes I am nobody, I have to derive my Ethos (character) through Logos (words).
What am I claiming to be an authority on? Dreaming of greatness while sitting still. Make no mistake, this is a more involved field of expertise than you might imagine. It takes years of practice. But I will encapsulate it for you in one sentence: When you don’t back up all that dreaming with doing, even if opportunities fall in your lap — because sometimes they do — you’ll let them pass by since you’re so comfy sitting still.
Going about everything all wrong can be great fun. But on a whim, you might decide to change your field of expertise and learn to become an authority on how to actually get somewhere. And suddenly, you have a journey, maybe even a process you can share — which by the way, does not include visualization.
Obviously, keeping objectives clear in one’s mind is useful, but that isn’t the same as dawdling with visualization as a means to an end. Right now, I’m giddy with my new communication enterprise in which I blog about my personal baggage, hoping to glean worthwhile conclusions.
My objectives are to publish writing, make films, and be a well-rounded human being who is healthy, kind and doesn’t suffer from poverty.
It happens that writing on these topics serves as a mental generator. Writing, unlike virtue — because they really lied to us about that one — is its own reward. My mind is awake and bouncy because I’m actively engaged, instead of passively wishing. And while not directly related to whether or not I book my next audition, this nifty mental generator is decluttering my psyche so that maybe next time in the audition room, I might be more present.
Adults invariably ask kids: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As a willful little girl under the rule of parents and teachers, my response was usually, “Free.”
You can see where this is headed.
So what’s doing everything wrong?
I smoked cigarettes under the bridge by the East River by the time I was in the 5th grade. I didn’t finish High School. I didn’t even finish Junior High School. My literacy has more to do with devouring books off the shelves of my parents’ extensive library than formal education. I’d run away for several days at a time and bring my hapless parents to tears. Too bad I’m not a rapper with my tales of the street.
But I was an innocent rebel, less participant and more wide-eyed observer, so I didn’t get too caught up in runaway activities. I opted for a High School Equivalency Diploma and started college at 16, but then I didn’t finish college. I accumulated 120 units of mostly Incompletes.
I spent a decade sleeping until 3 pm, because in New York, nightclubs kept going until 4 am. Of course at 4 am, it was time for illegal after-hour clubs, and I was a devoted Club Kid back when it was a thing.
On the other hand, I visited twenty countries around the world by the time I was twenty. I lived in Iran, France and Italy. I hitchhiked and smuggled myself on trains and across borders without entry visas through whole countries and adventures I wouldn’t trade for High School trigonometry.
Later, I didn’t have trouble finding regular jobs: I was as hirable as I was fireable. In a five block radius in SoHo alone, I had seven jobs in two years at a gallery, a restaurant, a movie theatre, a shoe store, a real estate office, a design shop and an art glass store.
People kept hiring me, even those who fired me, often rehired me. Apparently, I was a lovable fuckup with excellent manners.
I don’t advocate a jobless, pseudo-vagabond life, but what I wanted out of life, out of a career, was monumental in comparison to what I perceived was within my reach. So I figured while I smoothed out the kinks in my work ethic, it was just silly to forgo adventure.
I could toil later for my larger-than-life share of meaning.
Recognizing we live the life we choose keeps us free of regret. I sure know my life is the sum of choices and not circumstance. The good news is, contrary to what we collectively conspire to believe, there’s no expiration date on achievement.
But even as a teenager, I knew to scold myself: “You’ve got to get your shit together. This stuff won’t be cute when you’re old.”
Naturally I didn’t listen.
Now that I’m ‘old’ and wild and free, I catch my breath no less than before at my expansive dreams. But I do wonder if the dreaming ever goes away, if one day we wake up and think, guess I was wrong thinking I get more.
I don’t know what I want the answer to be in these two scenarios: the one where we die dreaming, versus the one where we realize dreaming is for suckers.
I guess between the two, I dream of — no, I demand — an appealing third option. I want to reach into my very dreamscape and pull out the prettiest possibility and re-plant it in reality.
Maybe that’s the dreamiest way dreamers tell themselves it’s time to work their ass off.
Let’s see where all this poetry gets me in a year’s time. (continue)
- Whether you do things right or wrong, you can only do them like you, and being you requires no apology. (Assuming you’re not a malevolent asshole aiming to hurt people, and if you are, remove yourself from society and land in custody.)
- Regret, as you’ve heard, is useless. We are where we are because we consciously or subconsciously chose it. That means at any point in life, we could choose something completely different. (Unless you’re in custody.) How lucky and exciting to be able to choose our lives.
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