for what it's worth

You’re in the dark, shuffling your feet, like a mole. There’s a little red light guiding you and you smell hyposulphite and acetic acid in you hair and clothes. Your eyes adjust to the light. You wait for something to appear, an image to settle, something to tell you that you’ve done something right. Anticipation and and hope fill you up and you’re ready to start again.

I think this is how I see life (as I know it). In a darkroom.

I was having a conversation with a friend and asked him, “Did you ever think that you’d end up doing what you’re doing now? Or is this what you’ve always wanted?” I realized I was asking myself the same thing. He said no. He had always wanted to be a pilot, an architect or a Lego man. He sucked at math and that threw his pilot and architect dreams out of the window. Lego man? Well, practically, it just didn’t seem like a ‘grown up’ thing to do. 

Then, last year he read about three guys who dropped everything to work with Lego. 

Everyone wants to be somebody. That’s why we steal hotel towels, bathrobes, slippers and conveniently slip the airline cutlery under the blanket when the stewardess walks by to clear your table. So maybe you’ve never stolen. But you still want what’s worth in your life. You tell yourself that if this is all you’re getting, you better get the most of it. We believe we’re worth more than we know.

I’ve also found a weird sense of joy in reading nihilistic literature. Here are some excerpts from Andrew Boyd’s Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe.

The supermarket of life:

In the supermarket of life you can choose your religion like toothpaste; you can test-drive spouses before you buy. You can go anywhere, be anyone, consume anything. Giddy with the possibilities, you fill your shopping cart to the brim. But a time comes when the sheer quantity of choice leaves you numb. You ache for something deeper and more potent, something you cannot find on the shelves. Slowly, item by item–extra-soft, reduced-fat, double-ply, and super-chunky–you must empty your cart. With nothing chosen, your conscience, visions, and gods can now choose you, until at last–your cart empty and your heart set free by a single burning necessity–you breeze past the other shoppers stuck in the checkout lane of life, and head for the door. I choose to be chosen.

On loving the wrong person: 

We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. And it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems–the ones that make you truly who you are–that we’re ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person–someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”

Let our scars fall in love.

–Galway Kinnell

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8 comments

  1. my jaw dropped reading the two excerpts.
    i want that book.
    where can i get it from?

  2. wow.

    all of this is beautiful.

  3. steve

    i must say… that out of the dozen or so blogs that I actively follow, yours is by far my favorite. i wish that i could be as articulate and insightful as you are with your words and images. as always, thank you for sharing your thoughts…

  4. varalas

    Beautifully written. Also, are there still seats at Selina’s wedding? :/

  5. Anna

    I love that first quote.

  6. andrew boyd is very cool. and true.

  7. dave, you can get it in borders.

    leon, yes! are you coming back? it’s on september 27th… i’m sure you can crash :)

    thank you all. someone should make a movie out of the book.

  8. Those two excerpts are so powerful, Rachel. I have copied and pasted them into a word document to read. re-read. re-re-read. etc.

    Thanks for sharing those. Truly.

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