When I looked inside, the person I wanted to be had never existed, I had to create him, not find him.
*A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories of distant places or of existing or imaginary historical events. Although minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. The Modern Minstrel observes the world around him and shares it with us as lyrical story. This series was inspired by Luke Davis, whose eye for story and ear for lyrical prose are featured here.
Find yourself, find the path to happiness, think positive thoughts, ask and the universe will provide, let your inner child free and just be yourself. I see these memes, I hear them said and I can’t help but think there is something I am missing. These sayings come across as so empty, bubble symbols, they look so pretty and rainbow hued on the outside yet so fragile when they meet reality and completely empty when they burst. I tried to live in a world where those sayings were true but life kept busting those thoughts faster than I could construct them. Yet life required my presence and I needed another way. You see I didn’t find myself, find a path or positively think my way to a brighter future. I had to create myself little piece by little piece and it was hard, damn hard. Like Yin and Yang light had to be merged with dark to spin, not grey, but a person of vibrant color.
I had to create a child of contradiction within myself. A kid of immature maturity, a kid who can see the fun in life yet see it between the moments of seriousness. To strive and capture and create those in-between times of gleeful abandon. A child who believes in the fantastically real, a child that sees dragons, knights, spaceships and magic in the world around but yet knows this is all created in my imagination. These things are my dreams, my creations and my stories just begging to be told. A little one who exists in a moment between forever’s, a little one who can be lost in the present but doesn’t forget his past nor forgets to look to the future. I created this dear child of mine and in the contradiction I have created I now grow.
I had to create a youth of paradox within myself. An adolescent with goalless purpose, an adolescent who set aside the goals society deems acceptable and become driven by a single burning purpose. To wear that purpose like a comforting cloak. A teen with calm passions, a teen that can take turbulent troubled waters and create the most serene mountain vista in a story of wonder. To show the world that there is still beauty in this world. A young man with naive idealism, a young man who can look at the world around and see its darkness yet also acts to change it for the better one little piece at a time. He knows that that the world is worth saving. I created this energetic youth of mine and in the paradox I have created I now mature.
I had to create a man who is an enigma within myself. An adult who is an unassuming giant, an adult who quietly achieves all he sets out to achieve yet does it for his own gratification and not for the approval of others. A grownup who is a negative optimist, a grownup who sees failure as a step on the road to success yet can coldly evaluate all that did not go as planned. Unrestrained negativity or unbridled optimism will lead to unrealistic expectations but tempered together they create a path of growth. A gentleman of roguish honor, a gentleman who has principals but will set them aside when the world requires it but he will always honor his word, especially those said to himself. I created this solid man and the enigma I have created I now become wise.
I had to create a conundrum of an elderly man. A graybeard who is an uneducated scholar, a graybeard who carries more wisdom than most ever learn yet understands how little he knows. An oldie who faces forward to look at his past, an oldie that uses his past as a map to things he has yet to see and experience. Because how can you find the unknown if you don’t know where you’ve been. A worn out man who is a defenseless fighter, a worn out man who has been cut down so many times yet he knows deep in his heart that he never gives in, never gives up and he will always grow taller, stronger and wiser because he doesn’t rely on strength, no, he relies on resilience. I created this elderly man and the conundrum he represents is my masterpiece.
There is a furnace that burns in the space between contradiction, paradox, enigma and conundrum and this is my guiding fire. I use this furnace to forge myself anew and create a person of wonder and beauty. I chose this path but it is not an easy path. Those fires, they hurt. For every day I must face my deepest fears, burn them away, and as those fires burn I am left with no protection, naked and vulnerable to the world. Yet as I stand naked, singed and blistered I see the world differently. No longer do my fears and insecurities obscure and cloud my vision and what I see now dazzles my eyes. This is life and oh boy is it worth living.
Photo: Flickr/Martin Fisch