Collected Perspective

I feel like it needs a name, but what name to give it? How do you name something that is more a feeling or an inkling than a concrete piece of matter or evidence you can point to and say “ah, yes! I know exactly how to describe that thing. I know just the name it should go by.”

This sounds like gibberish, I know. Bear with me though; it’s been a few weeks since I’ve written anything. The “thing” I would like a name for, or if not a name than at least some insight into, is my near inability to see the forest for the trees. Move those damn trees, and then maybe I could see the forest beyond it. Oh wait, the trees are the forest you say? How can that be? It looked so different in my minds eye, in the recesses of my imagination, in the culturally ingrained perspective I project onto everything around me, including myself.

Idealism has always been with me, and I hope it will always be so. For the most part, idealism has been more than a welcome companion on this 28-year journey of my life. But that’s changed lately. I’ve found myself frustrated and demoralized with the clash of the idealistic world I’ve envisioned myself living in and the world that I actually wake up to every morning.

Expectations can really fuck everything up. I’ll give you an example. Let’s take poverty in the U.S. Now, being poor in America is obviously very different than being poor in a third world country. Even the poorest American has more readily available access to modern conveniences than a poor person in Africa or India. But, someone living in poverty in a third world country has something the poor of America know very little about: solidarity. Poverty in America is tough not only because of your limited means but also because you are poor in a country that expects much of its citizenry in the way of material wealth. The expectations for what is considered the American dream are much higher (and more unreasonable) than those for someone in a relatively impoverished country.

And this issue of expectations goes hand and hand with the idealism I am trying to find a happy medium within. I’ve always had my eye on next destination. The green grass withers away far to quick. The ability to be content with the space I currently inhabit, the town, city, state or country I happen to be living in at the moment has been held at arms length most of my life. A place to call home has always eluded me. I’ve moved often and loved less with each move.

If I know how to do one thing well it would have to be moving on. I’ve tried to turn my nomadic ways into some sort of story that others might envy me for, something for them to define me by (and something for me to be defined by). But unlike the nomads of the past I have no traveling nomad community to carry me along when I grow tired of journeying. I might meet another journeyer along the way, but those are too few and too far between to give the life sustaining community that humanity is meant to be a part of.

Expectations in themselves are not necessarily a hindrance. It’s when you’re expectations make it near impossible for you to enjoy and be grateful for the life you are living that they become poisonous. Unrealistic expectations have a way of destroying you slowly, from the inside out.

And now I stand at some sort of crossroads, at a point where I recognize the desperate need for deep community that has always resided within me. This time I’ve chosen to take the road that leads to the closest semblance of a home and community I’ve ever really know; that being my friends and family back in Georgia.

Yet this trip back to the South
is not without great trepidation. For me the South holds my family and friends but not much else beyond that. I see the southern states of America as some sort of bastion of traditional American values. Traditional American values like thoughtless allegiance to some perverted version of a god that if it truly existed would scare the living shit out of me (and does scare the living shit out of the many who believe in it), blatant and outright racism toward anyone besides the white race and the small town, backstabbing gossip that demoralizes everyone who chooses to swim in it’s cold, muddy waters.

But perhaps the South isn’t really all that bad. I mean it’s just my perspective, right?

And that’s what this whole thing called life really boils down to; perspective, expectation and the idealism one chooses to deploy in an effort to create a world around him that currently does not exist.

Thoughts, anyone?