(Note to self: you are not, repeat, NOT Jay-Z).
So, I know what you're thinking: "where in the bloody blue fucking hell have you been you slacking son of a bitch?"
Reasonable question. Well, I moved back to Tuscaloosa in October, and due to shoddy internet connections and a busy work schedule, I really haven't had time to keep this updated daily.
But, beyond that, I just haven't had anything to say. I suppose it all relates to the reason I came back to Alabama in the first place: I just needed to do some soul searching.
Searched I have. Baltimore -- as much as I owe and love it -- is not for me. It doesn't fit my personality, it doesn't hold my heart, and most importantly it does not inspire my writing. While I will always be a Baltimore Boy, I will always have a Southern Soul. I feel more at ease, more at home in Dixie.
So here I am, in the Heart of Dixie. What has my searching uncovered? A lot.
For the 17 months between my graduation from the University of Alabama and my return to Tuscaloosa, I thought I was unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. I couldn't have been further from the truth. I know without a shadow of a doubt what it is I want to do with my life: this. I want to write. I want to pour my soul out through my words. I want to share my opinions, my views, my thoughts and my imagination with the world.
So where have those words been you ask? They've been brewing inside, waiting to ferment, if you will. I always wanted this site to be a forum for me to express my opinions and such in the journalistic manor I studied in school. What it turned into was an assignment for me. I felt obligated to churn out something, and that never leads to quality writing. I thought I had a few solid pieces here and there, but when I got here I took a look at what I wanted Livin' to be and what I thought it had become -- and they just weren't the same.
Now, this doesn't mean I haven't been writing and brainstorming and the like. I have begun my novel, and I have crafted a shit ton of ideas for numerous other projects. My mind has been cultivating these ideas, rather than half-heartedly spewing them out in thoughtless blurbs.
I read an interview in Esquire with Tim Burton, and one particular passage really stuck out to me:
I sometimes meet people who say, I’m going to be this and I’m going to be that. You feel kind of bad for them because they’re limiting themselves. It’s different from having an enthusiasm for something and seeing where life takes you. I feel lucky to never have planned to go into what I did. I always just said, “All I want to do is make things, whether it’s drawing or writing.” If I’d said, “I’m going to be a director,” it probably wouldn’t have happened.That is what I believe. I have a great passion for my words, but I don't want to limit myself to any one thing. I want to do many things -- write a novel, write a movie, write for an HBO show, write for a major publication (Rolling Stone, ESPN, something big), have this blog become well-known, hell even starting a band is still in my head. And those are just the things I know I want to do. This world is filled with endless possibility, so I'm sure there are new things I will want to try somewhere down the road.
As for the present, I am here. I enjoy living where I do. I enjoy working with some of my best friends at a job that isn't all that bad. I have all I need in life right now: money to pay the bills, money to buy the booze, good friends, and myself.
It is the last of those that was missing in Baltimore, it is what I have found here. Funny thing is, I didn't know I needed to be found. But lo and behold here I stand a renewed man.
I realized that while I wasn't sad in Baltimore, I wasn't as happy as I thought I was either. I had fun, had wonderful new experiences and met wonderful new friends -- but I feel like I wasn't truly me. I felt a certain disconnect from life, something that prohibited me from emotionally investing myself in anyone or anything. Life wasn't life to me, it was a process. And I never want it to be that. I don't want to get into any routines, because I am not your routine person.
I can't nail down what it was that made me that way, perhaps I'm not supposed to know. I just know certain details. I know that those new friends didn't get to know the real me, and maybe that's why I felt that disconnect. I never felt truly in touch with them, almost like they didn't understand me and I couldn't help them do so. Sometimes it got to the point where I almost convinced myself they weren't really my friends, that I was some joke to them -- some slacker, some big-talking, no-action taking bum who would dream of what-ifs until the day I died. I secretly resented them for this, yet they did nothing resentful.
But now I have come to realize that their purpose in my life was to show me where I needed to be. We were miles apart philosophically, yet we worked so well as friends because I needed that opposite to keep me grounded. You see, they were of the group that feels the need to grow up fast. Get your career, find your love, have kids and into your nice family home with the white picket fence -- and do it all before 30. For them, this works. They wake up before 10, eat breakfast, go to work/school, and finds things to keep them preoccupied until bedtime at 9. And that routine is what makes them go. Their lives are motivated by goals set by them -- they make challenges to themselves and strive to accomplish them.
I, on the other hand, am simply motivated by life. I do not need a morning latte, I do not need a set schedule. I map out nothing because I do not want to limit myself to anything.
But, at the time, I didn't remember this. I knew it, but I didn't live it. I became a pawn in a game I never wanted to play: the so-called real world. The world that is supposed to hit you like a brick once you leave college. You get a job, you pay bills, you move on to the next step in life. You keep moving on until death. You ask me, this sounds unpleasant.
Life to me is a forest full of beaten and unbeaten paths -- not a staircase. And just as so long as you know where you are -- be it on a path, up a tree or in a bush -- you are doing just fine.
And now, now I know where I am. I am here, and living life, and that is all I can ask for. While living life, I have learned many things about myself, and some about the world.
I realize how one could think the idea of me considering myself Southern to be absurd, because I grew up in Baltimore and am really nothing like your prototypical Southern boy. However, I am comfortable with this because I know that's just the duality of the Southern thing.
I fully understand what Henry David Thoreau meant when he said, “How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”
I still don't see the big deal with The Lord of the Rings.
I truly believe in Free Love -- and I don't mean that in the 60s hippie sense. Free Love is not a ploy or some justification for me to get laid. Rather, it is the belief that as humans we should love one another simply because we are brothers, sisters, neighbors, fellow humans. I believe we should find love in everyone we meet, and everything we do.
I don't believe in organized religion -- it divides people and it serves greedy, political purposes. But I do believe in faith, and that we all should believe in something we can't see. I believe.
I know my my vices, and I acknowledge them. It is through that acknowledgment that I am able to overcome them. My biggest vice? Women. Simply said, I have been in love with every girl I've ever met -- be it for two minutes or for two years. I know there are always three girls in my life: the random bar girl, the girl I have mixed feelings for, and the girl I am very into.
I know there is one girl has recently inspired me, yet I have no idea how to tell her how I feel.
I smoke cigarettes when I'm drunk, and I have no idea why. I have no desire to smoke them sober -- in fact I am for the most part repulsed by them.
I believe I have a message to the world:
In the grand scheme of things, life is short and we live on borrowed time. There are things in this world well beyond our control, and there is no need stress yourself out on the rat race. Let it be. Don't busy yourself trying to find true love, because you might not be there when it finds you. You will find a career -- just make sure it is one you love. Too many people fall into careers they don't enjoy. People, for fuck's sake read this twice: 25 is not old, neither is 40. Enjoy your life, every single day of it. Let the good times vastly outweigh the bad. Toast on every drink. Smile every day, laugh every hour. Break the rules and challenge authority. Go against conventional wisdom and the popular consensus.