There comes a point when you need to stop making excuses and realise that This is It.
The one shot at life you’ll get.
Your one chance to be the best you can; to develop your unique, individual self to her fullest; to push all your ‘wild’ dreams & ‘crazy’ ideas (so they say), & the creative energy needed to make them come true, to the brim so they spill right out and all over.
So there is no longer any distinction, any separation, between your everyday self & your real self; so your everyday consists of doing what you believe needs to be done & not what you are told should be done; so you have the opportunity to bring to the fore what you previously believed couldn’t surface because the everyday kept getting in the way; so we can be our whole selves.
We make excuses not to pursue our ideas; follow our heart’s pull; devote ourselves more fully to the execution of our talents and practice of our principles; to make a difference; to realise what we truly can be.
“I don’t have the time”; “I can’t get there”; “I can’t afford it”; “It would take too long”; “I don’t know anybody else”; “no one would notice/read/listen/watch/engage with it anyway”; “it won’t make any difference”; “I’m too tired”; “I have to be up early for work tomorrow”; “so-and-so might need me”; “I’m not good/interesting enough”; “I tried before & never got anywhere with it”; “no one else can be bothered, so why should I?”
This is what we say when the hands of the everyday grip us round the neck and suffocate our souls; when the tangled webs and heavy chains of gender/race/class oppression have paralysed us into silence & self-doubt and snapped from our hands that which we need to move; when ‘just getting on with things’ becomes the only mode and mantra of existence, whether by necessity or habit; when we cease to look at the bigger picture.
The bigger picture is that which consists of who we really are and what we’re really interested in; what needs to be done to change things for the better, for ourselves & others.
It’s that place where our oppressed selves are replaced by our liberated selves. Where we are allowed to give more of our time, energy, selves, to that which we really want to do, and dare to dream of doing – art, writing, activism, caring, community work, educating – but which we dare not realise, for our everyday selves and situation take over.
We have to go to our jobs, put ourselves away & present false, conform & perform to fit what we don’t reckon with, our time, energy & souls being sucked away… and hence come the excuses.
But there comes a point when we realise that this isn’t good enough. It can’t continue. A life of split selves, wasted weeks, too much compromise, of just making do, of resignation, of always dreaming, but never getting round to actually doing, changing, realising anything.
We can find a way.
We must find a way.
Mix things up a bit. Shift priorities. Put our foot down and ourselves first.
Take your idea, your dream, and sit with it. Break it down, bit by bit. What steps do I need to take to make it come true? Counter the excuses. There may be more ways than you think, ways around and about, a perceived obstacle, if we dare to think & dream beyond the everyday.
See? It could still happen, there is another way, and you do have the chance to make your dream come true, to realise your full self, to change things, to live. Stop making excuses. Just get on with it.
It won’t be easy. It will ebb & flow, stop & start, fall apart and need to be built back up again. Participation in the everyday, with its monetary rewards, will still be essential to an extent.
But if we dare to make our dreams come true, dare to declare the importance of pursuing our interests & making our voices heard, the prickly everyday need cause us to itch no more. Because we finally realise what is important. What needs to be done. What life is really all about.
For those outside of the centre – women, BME communities, queers, anti-capitalists, punk rockers, the disabled, those with heads full of mind wars & wanderings, who never fit in, in the school playground & still don’t in the office, idealists, and so on – this is imperative if we are to survive & be happy.
We can’t realise our true selves in the everyday, that which forms the centre from which we are shunted. If we want in, we have to switch off and over to another self, compromise our creativity, dilute our principles, pipe down our voices, wear proper shoes.
We may kid ourselves into thinking we can get a place at the centre and play along like everyone in the everyday. So we sweat, scratch and spill tears in our efforts to fit in and find our niche.
But you don’t.
You just end up compromising yourself, diluting what made you & your work so great in the first place. You twist yourself into a position which will allow you to get a foot in the door, but you just end up bending yourself so out of proportion, that whilst you may have got in, once there you’re so completely tangled up in someone else’s standards, having untied the knot of your true self at the door.
It’s important to remember what you’re really about, where you & your inspiration come from, what your passions and politics and personality really stand for, and find another way.
Your own way. Doing It Yourself.
Because no one else will provide you with the forum to express who you really are.
Because no medium exists which will tolerate, or take on board, your form of expression.
Because at the centre, in the everyday, they expect you to be some neat tidy monolithic package, easy to label and sum up in a sentence, when in reality you’re wide open and all over the place, full of messy confused contradictions, myriad passions & politics, between which you have formed your own individual connections, but you do you really expect them to get it?
Because you can’t work to the everyday’s schedule, can’t dance to its beat. There’s nothing there to dance to.
Because you can’t live up to their standards, ‘the standard’.
Those outside of the centre need to Do It Themselves, to stay true to themselves, to create their own space, products and politics so they can say they exist as laws unto themselves & not just to fit some everyday mould.
They’ll be no thank you from on high for going this way; you’ll be told what you create isn’t good enough and what you’re saying doesn’t make sense; it won’t make you rich & famous; maybe what you do will go completely unnoticed…
… but despite all this, Doing It Yourself promises a greater sense of empowerment, fulfilment, self-realisation, happiness and liberation. A more real, centred, true to yourself existence can emerge from making the decision to take the plunge to pursue your ideas, projects, dreams and plans. You can revel in the fun a self-determined life on the margins can bring. Relish the deeper world view it can help flourish.
You can live with the knowledge that you at least tried. You didn’t spend your life just dreaming and posing ‘what if’s?’ to yourself all day at your desk- the consequence of making too many excuses and not waking up to the importance of just Getting On and Doing It Yourself.