Wasting My Life

I am a bright, gifted, gorgeous, brilliant, capable young woman. If some people knew how much time I spent doing nothing, they would be appalled.

Let me back up.

I’ve done many somethings in my life. College. Performances. Notable social engagements. (Keeping myself busier than shit so I wouldn’t have to feel the gnawing ache inside for something I could not explain and fill it Ben & Jerry’s watching late night TV.) Traveling abroad. Respectable job at a publishing company. Owning a music studio. Touring as a singer-songwriter. (Do I have to go on?)

DylanDon’t get me wrong. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of those things. They were my truth at the time. I loved them and did them with my whole heart and soul. (Therein lies the problem!) Anyone who takes the hero’s journey knows that, when followed all the way through, every amazing something leads to nothing. (Oh my god! Just kill us now! Why should we ever go on!?)

I dunno. Something about realizing that the other side of everything is nothing freed me in unsuspected ways. I stopped basing my decisions on expectations, shoulds, and preexisting paradigms. My inner world grew and my outer world became a helluva lot simpler. (A whole lot less became a whole lot more!) I fell so deeply down the rabbit hole, so deeply enchanted with the mystery of my soul and worlds beyond worlds that I started spinning my life around this strange, yet oh so right, internal axis.

So when people at family gatherings and acquaintances in the post office line say things like, “So….what are you doing these days?” (Laced with meanings: You make no sense. You quit your music career, turned down marriage proposals, have no ambition for typical things. And your ovaries are not getting any younger! For fuck’s sake, what are you doing with your life?), most of the time I just have to sigh and say, “Nothing, really. Nothing at all.”

Because how do you say the unsayable? How do you speak about the life of the soul? How do you describe the worlds that unveil themselves when you strum the guitar just so? How do you convey the alchemy that happens through late-night soul talks with partners and friends Vital 2and lovers? Or how you’ve seen the sun set a hundred different ways from your favorite rock up in the hills. How the trees have things to say and the sky does too and how “to live is so startling it leaves no time for anything else” (Emily Dickinson). How everything “in here” sings through everything “out there” and how that song is all you care about? How do you explain how much of a something that really is?

You don’t. If it looks like nothing, it’s wasted breath trying to convince anyone that it is something.

If it looks like all I do is wander in the hills and write and ramble poetry and spend endless hours in the kitchen concocting delicious meals for this dinner party of one, or tinker around on the guitar and stare off into space over a cup of tea, then that’s all it is. If it looks like I’ve wasted my ambition, my career opportunities, my potential, my birthing hips, my talents, and my life, then I have. Indeed, I have.

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Cover photo © Tyler van der Stappen

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