Tuesday, March 7, 2017

We're Gonna Need to See Some ID

Your personal universe is one where being ignored is a better alternative than Go fuck yourself, the former the better decision than the latter. Ignoring is a result of having other interests. The latter is based in rancor, a quality you are still at pains to divest yourself from.

The You you've become, no stranger to rancor, is too busy trying to process things he either missed earlier because of rancor or being unaware of them.

You are nothing without an identity. Even were you to inhabit the identity of others, you'd be something. Not necessarily you. Nevertheless more than a void. A perilous example of multiple identities can be found in some individuals who are so crammed with identity that they are at a loss to determine the one to whom authority is delegated.

When you were much younger, well before teen years, you favored an ice cream flavor known as tutti fruiti, first of all because you liked the way the name sounded. As luck would have it, you asked the right person what tutti frutti meant, although you already had an idea, merely from looking at a slice of it at your then favorite restaurant.

"Italian," the person said. "All fruits," the person said. He also told you there was no accident in you liking the sound because, he said, many operatic composers wrote in Italian. Of all the Romance languages, he said, Italian sounds as though it is having the most fun, even when feeling sorry for itself. Spanish comes close, he said, and the Portuguese of Brazil brings a special color to the language.

Then and there, you resolved you would some day learn Italian because, even then, you saw the value of having fun. And now, here you are, half, perhaps even three-quarters of a life away from those tutti frutti days, with a small parcel of Italian at your disposal beyond the minimal Italian any English major should know (Lasciate ogni 'speranza, voi chi entrate.) But you are closer than ever to having an identity that is your own as opposed to the one-size-fits-all of tutti frutti.

Getting to here from there was not an easy task, nor has your experiences along the way made it any easier to achieve. So many individuals, including those whose life began and ended before you arrived hers, left legacies of identity which you thought to somehow distill into your own. Parents, a sister, teachers, and random-but-memorable adults came your way, causing you to admire and wish to emulate, or dislike and wish to avoid.

In the course of your growing, you reversed course on some individuals from the past and present, shifting them from your personal Valhalla to your personal lower levels of the Inferno. There was no Purgatorio for you; regard and identity were still black and white, reminiscent of the old Western movies you watched with such rapt attention. The good guys wore white hats. The other guys didn't. No one wore gray hats. And always in the background, the women were home, baking biscuits, preparing man-pleasing meals.

At some time in the process of getting from the there of then to the here of now, you began consciously making choices, throwing out the aspects of Culture you no longer wished to keep, researching and living the aspects you wished to incorporate into the Youness of the You that was to emerge into a truer identity.

You set forth with some deliberation to become the thing you'd been culturally warned about in high school and university classes, the outlier. One afternoon as you strolled the UCLA campus, affecting the role of flaneur you'd come to admire, you saw an attractive person whom you began to follow, thinking desperately for some stratagem to introduce yourself to her in a way that was not only devoid of threat, it had some measure of interest.

At length, she entered a class room in Royce Hall, whereupon you thought to enter as well, sit next to her, then follow your plan of introduction and, you hoped, interest. She had other plans, including the one of being the instructor for the class she'd entered. Thus you became enrolled in Italian 1, fulfilling the opening premise of your early resolve.

You are something with an identity, but not all you might be without your own identity. Why would someone, such as the attractive Italian teacher, be interested in you when she could to greater benefit to herself be interested in the truer, closer things you sought to emulate?

A good deal of the identity you seek for yourself seems to have presented itself to you through the discoveries of musicians as well as writers. Each set of individuals sets forth in life being educated into a culture which she or he has to detach her- or himself from in a manner resembling the removal of a strip of adhesive tape from one's skin. Rip! Ouch!

You need a way of looking at yourself that takes in the concept of you as a drop of water in relation to an ocean. You need your own calculus of what makes sense and order to you in order to distinguish the behavior in others that does not make sense to you. You need to be able to say I love you in as many languages as possible. You also need to know how to say fuck you in as many languages as possible. (A native of Italy, one Blaise Melaragno, taught you how to say fuck you in his Italian dialect.)

You need to know what you wish to say and when you are serious and when you are not. You need to be able to interpret the responses of others to your work and ideas without being guarded, deferential, or defensive, the better to understand how much of you they are getting and what leaves them bewildered.

However Quixotic your vision turns out to be, you must learn to follow it, content to accept the consequences, what ever they might be--including complete disregard of your vision and you. 

Those who disregard your vision and you will, accordingly have no interest in your Existential Log Line, your obituary motto, thus you are pursuing it for you, not them. He had a vision and followed it.  Seems pretty good to you.

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