Monday, September 22, 2014

Unexpected Identity Progression

This year I've strayed far from the path of intention.

I meant to write my face off, but instead I've fallen into the performance of identity. I've started a vlog. I've begun the likely expensive and arduous journey towards becoming a DJ, both on internet radio and at local clubs. I've picked up the eyeliner pencil more times this year than the previous 10 years combined; and this year I've done it not out of a need to make myself "presentable" but out of the same child-like creativity that got me to start wearing makeup in my teens.

I started a new job this year that involves working at all the public service desks at the library (circulation, reference, children's, teen, and computer lab). I was very fearful of taking this position, even though it's the exact thing I've wanted to do at the library since I started there ten years ago. At the last minute I took the job after almost turning it down. The position didn't exist before I took it back in March. As the director told me a few months ago, "You're kind of an experiment." Ha. From my perspective, the experiment is going very well. I've taken over programming for Cari, the teen librarian, while she's on maternity leave and I love it. I was able to see the magic of Summer Reading up close through the eyes of the creative force that is the children's department. I never thought I'd work with children, but I generally like working with all age groups now, though I am still partial to teens and the over 60 crowd. I'm VERY happy with my job(s) now. I have always loved flittering about to different groups of people, and the "floater" position has allowed me to get paid for my tendency to wander.

An unexpected side effect of subverting society's tendency towards caution is that (mostly the imaginary kind of self-imposed) obligation has become irrelevant to me, mostly to my advantage, but often to the cultivation of ennui. Depression caused by inertia or no, my determination to commit to the "flow" remains, because this attitude has led to radio, DJing, and YouTube. Had I stayed the path I set out for myself last December, I wouldn't have made a tiny zine instead of the regular expensive one. Had I walked the premeditated course, I wouldn't have said yes to a DJ gig. I would have simply said, "I'm not a DJ..." and that, as they say, would have been that. It had never occurred to me that I could do it. My instincts for picking the right music at the right time have always existed and I've been making mixes since I was at least 10 years old, but I never thought that I could get paid for it. I have now been paid in a DJ capacity, but not because I decided I could do it. I took the gig and did the thing expecting only to endure it and see how it felt. In the moment, it felt awful. I was paralyzed with anxiety and nerves. Only now, three days later, am I starting to come out of the haze of confused adrenaline to analyze the situation.

Most of my adult life I've analyzed opportunities to death, like I literally kill them on the vine by relentlessly talking myself out of them. Life is easier to navigate when the analysis can happen after the experience. I don't know what changed this year, but I've somehow internalized the mantra I made up for myself LAST year:

Do it now. Be ready later.

This affirmation works for me because I've always stumbled through life, whether I wanted to or not. Before my instincts were smashed by internalized societal insecurities, this was how I operated. I just fucked with things until they made sense, and if they didn't I let them go.

Rupaul gives advice that applies in this blog; something to the effect of taking unexpected opportunities and letting the universe draw you to your purpose. People have been telling me for years that I should DJ and I waved my had, "pfffffft"ing the idea away.

I hate to contradict the above decision to analyze later rather than sooner, but I suspect I might be stumbling towards a more actualized self. If I can stay out of my own way, perhaps I'll be a DJ, a zen house cleaner, a librarian, AND a writer.

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