What are you fighting against?
Is there anything in your life that doesn’t come easy but you fight for it anyways?
Fighting and opposition is all Ive ever known. I’m mean and angry for no valid reason… At least no reason that is valid any longer.
I had a reason, back in the day, when I first decided to be angry as a defense mechanism.
I guess you can say that I hold grudges. It’s a habit at this point and one I’d like to break.
Back in the day, I was fighting against so many causes. Causes I felt were important but as I get older I realize that they weren’t important at all because they don’t really factor into the big scheme of things.
Now that I’ve “matured” I dont have anything to fight against.
I guess that’s why its hard for me to get things going with any of my projects.
I dont have any barricades to prevent my progress.
When I was younger I fought against racism and oppression.
Racism, classism, stereotypes, gender roles, homophobia and financial hardships….
I formed my artistic expression around deficiencies and things I fought against. I made what I lacked, one of my strengths, as I made “something out of nothing”, artistically.
It was fun and everyone in that art scene made some major moves and touched a lot of people.
That was decades ago and now things are considerably different in my life.
There was a scene in the movie “Basquiat” where he goes to visit the character played by Gary Oldman after years of displaying their art in galleries and parties for NYC elite.
I marveled at what a “successful” artist looked like in later life and hoped and aspired to become the same.
Most of the artists and musicians I followed had tragic burn outs before they were old. Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison etc….. Bright shining stars who burned out on the celebrity scene. Most often ending up penniless and destitute and all but forgotten for what impressions they made.
I wanted to shine bright but last. I didnt want to burn out, even though I emulated the burn out habits of drinking smoking, sleeping very little and constantly tapping that artistic vein.
It turned out that I was my own opposition. Lusting after artistic fame and fortune despite my aversion to catering to the public and the status quo.
I took clean and clear slates and fucked them up. I approached every situation with a sledgehammer instead of understanding. I wanted to smash and destroy, remaking the world from the ashes of my destruction. I wanted change for the good, so bad that I would do evil to get it.
Now that Ive ‘matured” I dont have the same inspiration for opposition. In fact I feel no opposition, outside of myself.
So what now is my inspiration?
Ive been “re-building” my Harley for a few years now as most do with an old Shovelhead. When I first started I had no money to do it with. I had blown my motor and got a loan for the repairs. I repaired the parts I removed. Cleaned and replaced them all without spending tons of $$. Somewhat out of principle…
Nah!! It was all out of that old school ‘use/re-use, dont make waste” kind of mindset that inspired me to do it. There were enough greasy bikers online to show me how they rebuilt their Shovelheads to keep me inspired all throughout.
No hate on that mindset. I excelled at that way of life, and have for years.
As a “mixed media / found object” artist, I made it my mission to ONLY scavenge and re-use materials for my work. Dumpster diving and “junk reclamation” aka trash picking, were the initial ways of acquiring materials.
Inspired by the industrial artists of the past, I took jobs or became friends with those whose jobs lead to more artistic materials.
It was a gas!
We worked hard, played hard… wash rinse repeat. It was the best time of my life with some of the best people.
Broken, yes, but they all had the souls of angels and expressed it through their art.
We all chose our particular oppositions in the lives we lived. We willingly chose the fights that fueled our fires.
I was opposed to opposition. Animal oppression, domestic oppression, gender…. You get the point. I fought for the little guy. I fought against the big guy taking advantage. I was a social justice warrior fighting for those who dont have anyone to fight for them.
I see now that all that has changed is the approach to the same ideal.
I still want to help people and advocate for the little lonely guy. Inside I still feel like that little lonely guy so I project that onto the world and cathartically seek out the wounded parts of me in the world around me.
If I heal them, then I heal myself… right?
I fight for the little people, but now I dont immerse myself into the misery in order to help people. I dont focus on the negativity or become negative to align myself with them.
Now I want to amplify joy and find pleasure in everything. If it ain’t fun then I ain’t about that life.
Ive spent so much time sacrificing my happiness to help people feel better. All that has done is make me bitter and angry. Now I want to amplify my joy so that I can be a happier beacon of light.
I can’t save anyone, but I can show you a groovy path to follow to get up and out of the muck.
Just like when we ride together, we all have to ride our own ride. Whether fast or slow, when you’re in your saddle, twisting your throttle, you’ve got to be in YOUR head and ride for yourself.
Otherwise you will die.
Once you start riding your own ride. Doing for yourself. Making yourself happy. You realize how much more of a difference you can make in the lives of others.
It’s infectious anyways. Once you start striving to brighten your own glow, the others around you also feel inspired to do the same.
We all want what our friends have.
It’s not jealousy, its appreciation. Our friends drive us to be more like them… and if they’re actually friends they drive us to be better!
So…. Yeah it feels good to feel bad. Misery loves company so there is no shortage of “friends” when you’re low. But…
It feels way better for much longer when you amplify the good feels. We’re inspired to seek joy. It’s in our nature.
If you’re not doing what makes you happy then you should. Even if you start small. Find something that brings you joy. Do that thing obsessively until it overtakes your life and becomes everything about you.
Keep striving to find that thing that makes you feel full of light and in turn you will heal those hurting around you.
…and yeah, we’ll talk about the semantics of “feeling Good” another time.