Sunday, October 23, 2011


Everyone seems to dislike authority, but at the same time appreciate it as the One Thing You're Actually Allowed (Supposed-to) Hate.
Teachers, bosses, those annoying people in any admin department anywhere who tell you that no, you can't pass Go, and by the way you're going to be nailed into a chair to fill out a stack of paperwork before you can escape their lovely bleach-scented office.

From the age of 0, our parents are our caregivers. They protect us, direct us and implore us not to eat peanut butter off the floor.
At as early as 2-years-old kids can join pre-school, which marks the beginning of a 12-or-so year period of being institutionalized. Meal-times, break-times and assignments are all predetermined. Yes, you need to use your brain, but only within the limits set for you.
After graduating, those same 18 year olds who have been longing for freedom are shoved out the door and off the cliff of childhood, into the world of rent, jobs, or maybe further schooling. That saying that "Freedom restricts; Limits set free" is true. All of a sudden there are 8 million choices and directions to choose from. All of a sudden, no one makes your decision for you. And all of a sudden, because we can't blame our shortfalls on the "institution", life is huge and impossible and filled with people-types you'd only ever seen on TV.

A lot of my friends pursuing the arts express the desire for a mentor - SOMEone who will take you under their wing and direct you through this vortex of unlimited possibilities and directions so that you can keep moving forward, and in the right direction.

Mentors are wonderful. I love making friends with my teachers because they have a crazy set of experiences that I will probably never match, but the strangest part about it is that some of my TEACHERS have expressed the desire for someone to mentor THEM.

Everyone wants to be great, and they want someone to show them how to get there. Maybe the world does work in a crazy convoluted circle where everyone can mentor and be mentored and somehow everyone spirals upward together. However, in my opinion, there are usually a few people who are the most valuable mentors, and those are the people who think for themselves. They continue to absorb information from every source they come across, but they are also the ones who aren't afraid to walk alone. They don't need anyone's approval or permission. They aren't waiting for someone to do it first, or to show them how. They dream - and then they plot and plan and figure out a way to make it work, and then DO, and they follow that dream without second guessing it.

Maybe people like that don't even exist. Everyone struggles with red tape and technical difficulties and stupid systems. Everyone's human. Everyone has doubts. But doubts by themselves aren't dangerous. It's acting on them - or rather, not acting because of them - that makes us lose the will and drive to do the things we are passionate about.

Getting by in life is easy. Get a job. Pay the bills. That's all you really need. But if you want something more - if you want to paint or dance or design or travel or sculpt or write - then do it. Do what you need to do so that you can do what you want to do, as my Mom says. And once you've decided what your dream future looks like? Start working on it. Write more, draw more, invent more, learn more. Even if no one is holding your hand anymore, or telling you that, no, that steak you left out on the counter overnight is probably not healthy.

Michael always says, "Everyone can draw. The more you practice, the better you get." For every 20 pages of junk you write, there will be one page that is brilliant. Get the bad pages out. Get the lopsided drawings over with. Everyone knows how to draw, write, paint, dance, do whatever POORLY. It's because we're scared of taking a wrong step that we don't even try stepping out on our own, but the art Gurus seem to always say "Give yourself permission to be bad."

For anyone that's been forced to play Hungry-Hungry-Hippo 20 000 times, you'll appreciate the fact that you are now stuck with a useless talent and will need to intentionally lose a few times so that you aren't labelled the Hungry-Hippo-Nerd. Now imagine that your 6-year-old sibling forced you to do something you actually cared about 20 000 times. The trouble is, it's hard to find teachers, mentors or family members that will force you toward your dream, especially if your dream is obscure.

So, in conclusion:
To be happy in life you have 3 options.
1 - Invent a robot that will kick your butt closer to your dreams.
2 - Make yourself really really badly want something that is incredibly easy to achieve.
3 - Get trampled by a dinosaur.

Or you could simply reject the options I've laid out for you and figure one out for yourself, because I in no way have any authority over anyone or anything. Including my potted plant Frodo. Can't do a single trick.

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