“What the superior man seeks is in himself; what the small man seeks is in others.” -Confucius
Over the past year I’ve unmistakably taken a much needed break from the limelight. Everyday life was beginning to take its toll on me. Add to that some ongoing health (both mental and physical) concerns. I felt like I was approaching an inevitable breaking point. I distanced myself from all social media quite a bit and realized that I wasn’t really missing much. If I did miss something important, it wasn’t my fault for not stalking a friend’s Facebook to find crucial information that they didn’t feel was important enough to text or call me about. So there again, I wasn’t missing anything… Some concerned friends often questioned why I hadn’t been actively keeping up with my blog. I haven’t really had a convincing reply. Until now.
I recently moved upstate to take a little break and support someone who is on a clearer path. At first I didn’t want to leave Manhattan, but in hindsight, I’ve realized that this little break was much needed. The stress of everyday NYC life was beginning to suck the creativity right from my soul. Even the thought of having to take two connecting trains into the heart of Manhattan to go to physical therapy and my psychiatrist’s office was a seemingly daunting task. These therapies were supposed to be helping my mind and body but it was little comfort from the daily grind of everyday city living. I felt like I was losing my passion and the whole reason I moved to a bigger city in the first place…
After moving away, my current mindset wasn’t an instant realization. I went into a complete state of hibernation and just watched the outside world from the comfort of my new environment. At first I was feeling lonely and secluded. I felt sorry for myself and started to envy my friends shuffling from one crowded train to the next during rush hour. There is something exhilarating at times, when being crammed into a small subway car with 200+ strangers, pushed up directly face to face with someone you wouldn’t normally come within ten feet of under any other circumstance. It’s hard not to feel “alive” and connected to the world in those situations, weather you want to be or not…
What connected me to this way of life in a benumbed unashamed way of self promotion? It was my need to feel validated.
I would scroll through Facebook posts and Instagram photos inspecting a sea of half to quarter clothed “artist” friends looking for attention in any way possible. Some pushing their art-form to the max through sexual expression in seemingly desperate screams for recognition. Some fully clothed but stripped naked by their “truths” and in-depth psyche declarations shouted in short bursts through introspectively witty blurbs. Then one day the question arose: “Was I like this at some point in my life, and why?” What connected me to this way of life in a benumbed unashamed way of self-promotion? It was my need to feel validated.
After this realization I decided to make some conscious changes with the way I viewed the world around me, and let me tell you… life’s been a breeze. I no longer crave validation. That’s not to say I don’t still have dreams and passions. I still have goals and desires. I just don’t care if anyone else knows about them or gives a shit. If I kept living my life that way I was going to forget who I was entirely. My self-worth shouldn’t be equated to a certain acceptable number of “likes”. I don’t need to #hashtag myself into popularity through the meaningless social networking arena. I just want to create for the sake of creating. I have no desire to flash my pearly whites, expressly coupled with a glimpse of impeccable abs, for a chance at some sorely unneeded recognition that has absolutely nothing to do with my standalone art-form. I want earned success through creating something meaningful and worthwhile from behind the curtain.
Part of my current self exploration time is spent simply playing a PlayStation game called “Destiny“. I spend countless hours reflecting, exploring the future ruins of vast wastelands with a clan of like-minded guardians. To each other we are only as our avatars portray us. Our voices and words, the only actual physicality attaching these futuristic warriors to our current day personas. There are no judgments or prejudices, just a singular commonality of temporarily escaping our everyday lives, protecting our allies, and fighting to once again claim this land as our own. It might seem like an under simplified and sheltered state of being. But in fact this new veiled form of socialization has given me the greatest feeling of contentment I’ve ever known.
My “clan” consists of a vast age range of members that hail from all over the world. I’ve found brothers and sisters that I would have never known any other way or under any other circumstances. These in-game relationships have even extended to the “real world” in many cases. I see myself in a lot of the younger generations that I associate with as well as my peers. I try to instill a sense of worth and achievement in these younger guardians. I know what it’s like growing up and possessing these amazing abilities and talents that no one will ever recognize in their everyday life. They seem like social outcasts. That was my entire childhood. I guess that’s where the origins of my deep-rooted need for validation stemmed from. Growing up unnoticed and under-appreciated really sets the stage for the future. I’m trying to spare others from all of that.
So anyways, there you have it. That’s what I’ve been up to. It might not seem glamorous to anyone but it’s my life and it’s given me back my sanity. I’ve regained the ability to create unspoiled by society’s unrealistic and demanding standards. I’m relaxing, creating, rejuvenating.