3.14.2009

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?

3 Comments:

Blogger Big Poppa said...

Corey, it has been very interesting to read your blog over the past year or so, it has been a great help to contrast your journey with my own. I find that I have many of the same sentiments as you in regards to our culture, but I differ in how I react to it. I have lived on the road, if only for a few months, and found that I need more community than that life provided. I have a feeling that the journey you seek is more internal than external, which is usually the way it works. Circumstances don't count nearly so much as our response.

I don't know that your home is the community that you are looking for, but it is a place to start and I imagine that there will be many who will welcome you home. Just remember that it is not the end, only a new beginning. Plus you can always move again.

Expectations ruin everything. They also make everything great. Learn to love the tension. Most of all, go home and learn to love your new community. They have more to give than you can imagine. As my late grandfather loved to say,

Peace be with you,

Aaron

8:40 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Corey-
Many years ago I meet you at what was once the Grey house in the Udistrict in Seattle. Now years later you have gone your way and I mine. my way has been learing and teaching while you have the journey of adventure. I will be thinking of you while you make your move back to Georgia. Remember to drink some fancy sweet tea for me.

4:31 PM  
Blogger Kemo__Sabe said...

Corey,
I have a couple of diverse (opposite) perspectives for you. One of a co-wanderer (from your perspective, maybe not)who journeyed back to the place of my upbringing, the other a contrasting perspective on the 'place' you describe as your next destination.

I was raised in northern Maine, moved to Georgia, found a wife and had 5 children, then moved back to the homeland. I found the only 'place' remaining for me was the family to which I returned. Any semblance of the hole that I had left many years before had long-since closed in the vacuum of my absence. You will find that everyone and all of those intricate social circles have moved and reshaped to exclude you. It is not necessarily bad, but maybe was not as I expected. Probably no expectations would be safer than any expectations you may conjure.

As for your sad depiction of the 'place' of your youth, I find it odd that you see the South, Georgia, 'Traditional values', and God, (I infer from that the religion/Christianity/the Church you grew in, which is me) as scary. Your description of the whole, I find to be VERY inaccurate and quite unfair. That is not surprising to me, except in the context that it comes from you.

I have to go, so I can't elaborate and probably don't need to anyway. I would like to encourage you. Maybe you should try not to paint with so broad a brush. I love you and your family and I hope that you can find 'home' and some peace. Unfortunately, in this life there is little peace, except as one finds consolation in the peace-giver. I think you know where that is.

God bless you,

Kim

9:48 AM  

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