in my head in my head

Yesterday I watched a doc. called, The Planet. I know I shouldn't watch this stuff because invariably I get totally funked out and want to not be a part of humanity. I get overwhelmed and frustrated, annoyed at people who have kids, buy things, basically anyone who lives. (that includes myself)....and that I know is not healthy.

Why blog about it. How does this have anything to do with art? In my little head it has everything to do with art because I am choosing to try to live as an artist instead of a massage therapist. Instead of a taxi driver. Instead of the office worker or cog in the big rusty wheel of life that is seemingly spinning out of control into an inevitable doomed disaster. As I sit and glue my puzzle thing, one piece after another, day in and day out, listening to music and eying the outdoors my mind wanders. It wonders outside of the now. The now is usually filled with okay. Outside of the now is usually worry, fear, anger and no sense of peace.

So I'm thinking about purpose. Not a day goes by I don't think about purpose. Having none. Mostly I have no purpose since purpose is something we make up anyhow. Real purpose I guess is when you don't even know what you do for others but do it despite yourself. And that brings me back to this documentary. I ache to have a purpose and at least be in touch with it without stroking a single hair of ego. I think art and me have yet to meet on common ground. When I look out at the world I mostly feel a total disconnection with nearly everyone and everything. I know that is to a large extent why I drank like a fish, it helped buffer the hideous screaming in my head as I failed to understand what the fuck everyone was doing. It's all madness at times and it still only makes sense when I have that one on one connection. When I connect with myself through art or with you guys or the rare occasional real life connection when I'm out there buying groceries or actually decide to do a cab ride or whatever else odd thing I might do that day. Maybe I will never know what purpose I have served on this aching earth. It makes me crazy not feeling able to just accept. Accept that maybe I will just toot through life with nothing much happening. Sometimes I don't even know what I want to happen. Art in an of itself doesn't mean very much. If I were able to just crank out art day in and day out and sell it to people I know I wouldn't be happy. I think it would feel very empty honestly, to have strangers buying my work in galleries and never meeting them or having them know anything about me. So what do I want then? I drive myself crazy with this.

The documentary on the planet detailed our over-consumptive debt to nature, to the planet ~ which is a far greater travesty than our financial debt will ever be. How do I fit in, how do I make any difference as an artist? Can I? Should I? What would that look like. I sometimes feel like god just let me get through whatever time I have left on this earth and let me be done. I want out. I'm tired of playing the game called life. But maybe I'm just tired of the rules I've chosen to play with. Maybe we can only do what we do as best we can and to put the onus of saving the world on our shoulders would cause anyone to go mad. How do you rectify the selfishness in just doing what you want to do....make art, verses making some difference. And who am I? Who are we to think we know what will or wont make a difference. And will we ever be able to be objective about that anyhow? Why is it not okay for me to just do what I want to do? Maybe that Irish Catholic DNA of martyrdom is lodged in my temporal lobe for good and I just have to learn how to skirt around it like a dangerous abyss. Maybe I need to keep searching for my people. Maybe I need to keep going forth into the thick blanket of fear that I'm ever aware of in front of me, instead of standing there frozen. Maybe I shouldn't watch documentaries about how much shit people buy and how much shit people waste and how we repopulate ourselves as if our lives depend on there being MORE of us. Interesting how I get angry. I guess I feel helpless and useless. As if my making art solves anything. Helps anyone but myself.


sarala said...

I have to head to work in a minute so I cannot do this justice but you persist in undervaluing art. You aren't religious I know but think of art as something like a soul--the thing that separates us from being just a bag of water, carbon and miscellaneous minerals. It is a connection with the deeper meaning of life which is making something unique from the materials that are there for you to use. Whether it is literature, music or any other art it is necessary to make us transcend the crap you talk about--the waste and greed and carelessness.
Besides you're my friend. That gives you a purpose, doesn't it? Not to be egotistical or anything but you make my world a better place for what it's worth.

Angela Recada said...

I can really relate to how you feel helpless about the environment - I struggle with this a lot, too, and want to do something (writing, art, anything)to help educate all the people out there. But I now realize that I can't save the world by myself, either. Each one of us can only do the best we can. Never underestimate the power of lots of people making a few good choices.

I have a number of friends who decided not to have children because of the state of the world. I waited a long time to finally start my own family. My daughter learns foreign languages like the rest of us learn the lyrics of a favorite song. She's amazing and wants ot use this talent to work all over the world for the good of humanity. My son is going to major in environmental studies at college and wants to be an environmental defense attorney. They, too, get frustrated at the world they are inheriting.

You inspire me with your passion and openness and your amazing creativity

Sorry to be rambling, but please don't feel that what you are dong isn't important. It is to me. It is to lots of us.

Angela Recada said...

Sorry - that should have been "doing" not "dong" oops! I shouldn't rush when I type - I stink at keyboarding. . .

self taught artist said...

sarala, i know what you say is true...i still dont know it in my bones though. i'm not there yet. i dont know how to get there, hearing it over and over doesn't seem to make me assimilate it, even if hearing it over and over reminds me each time and is good. you know i know books save my sanity....i know that type of art is valuable but how does something hanging on a wall blah blah blah. i hate it when i get like this.

angela....thanks for not being offended. i dont mean to imply that children are awful, i like kids....(i do wish the government would give childless people tax credits though because so far people seem to be only rewarded for populating the world but thats another rant). i know future generations can have a great impact on the planet, good AND bad. i get upset when uneducated screwed up people all over the world just keep plopping out babies when they can't even take care of themselves. ya know?
i thank you so much for letting me know your thoughts. both of you. i dont want ugly here [on my blog posts]...but sometimes i have to release this stuff or i will explode.

Angela Recada said...

I wasn't offended at all - no worries - I feel the same way you do. I just have to have hope that, despite all the stupid things people do, things will turn out OK. Hope keeps me going. Take care, Angela

Ellen said...

shoot Paula, you've got that random, pointless guilt thing down. Do not watch those documentaries! I've been itching to read the book, "A World without Us". It theorizes how nature would reclaim back the world if all the people were gone. I'm not going to read it, because I know it would be like heroin to me. It would reinforce my sometimes negative view of humanity and what's the point.

Sense of purpose and connection aren't the same. You're right, purpose can't be know, but connection is all people really want. Connection happens best when your in the now.A world worth saving is one with joy in it. Go for the joy, not a joyless sense of duty. You've already done some good, donating money to Kiva through your art, promoting other artist like Kim, spreading a little happiness. It's all those little positive actions that multiply around the world that give life purpose. And you've already been doing that, can't you see? Give yourself a break already!

Maybe you need to switch gears, set aside the puzzle project for a bit and recharge with a new piece and take pleasure in the process again.

Karin said...

Hi Paula, I am new to your blog (found you via Deb Eck's) but I have a feeling I'm going to be a frequent visitor as I can relate to pretty much everything you've written about here. Struggling with purpose, finding a place on this crazy planet, frustrations with humanity... What I have found is a great sense of freedom in accepting that I can only have control over my part of how the world is impacted, but in my letting go, the ripple effect is immense. I have chosen to remain childless - it was a prerequisite to agreeing to marriage; I'm a 20 year vegan; and a life time artist who tries to work with as much integrity and honesty as I can. For my own sanity, I have to avoid documentaries most of the time - as visual beings the impact is really tough on me, and you sound pretty sensitive. Sounds also like you are experiencing some major transitions in your life as a *seeker* - perhaps a bit of the "dark night of the soul"? which is painful, but so rich - your art and life are deepening, I'm sure. I know - who is this stranger saying all this?! Just a stumbler along the way! As corny as it sounds, it might be helpful to consciously work on a gratitude list when you find yourself in this kind of place - sometimes when I remind myself the sound of a bird I'm hearing is a good thing, just that helps.

self taught artist said...

i know ellen...i know....i really shouldnt have watched that doc. i know better but it was fascinating.

karin, thanks for letting me know you dropped by and aren't horrified by my ranting. i'm thinking half of this is pre menopause and the other is my own mental illness rearing its dying head. sometimes it bubbles up, and yes i do the gratitude thing and jolt myself back slowly to appreciating what i have now. sometimes i just indulge in the ick and this post was one of those indulgences. off to check your blog out!