…And Flint Struck Steel

For the last two years I have been drowning in a perpetual state of inaction, and (unsurprisingly) I have been suffering the consequences and the staggering pain of that apathy first hand. If I had to describe it… it’s not really a particularly violent pain, but rather it’s a quiet numb that creeps over you. It’s so slow that by the time you realize what it is doing to you, you’ve already grown accustomed and – even worse – indifferent to its presence. You find you’ve grown too content with the secure (albeit frequently monotonous) lifestyle that lays sprawled out before you to even summon the willpower to break free from its influence. This is a threat that we combat every day, and every day it finds new and exciting ways to afflict us. Yet, there is no sudden stop on this slow spiral downward. There is no rock bottom with this particular vice – there is no point where you hit the ground so hard that you bounce back and begin to look at the road to recovery. There is no discernible moment where you wake up one morning and realize that you’ve lost it all, and there certainly isn’t a life-changing epiphany that follows soon after to swoop in and save you.

Well.

Maybe it’s because you never really “lose it all” so to speak… at least nothing that’s really physically quantifiable, I guess. It’s more like an idea, a kind of spark, or even a dream. Things of that nature are usually hard to measure, and harder still to notice when they’re dying behind-the-scenes. What I do know is that what you end up losing by indulging in this vice is far more valuable than money, pride, or the latest in luxurious French amenities. And make no mistake, to call it anything less than a vice is one of the most dangerous things a person could do. True, it may not have the therapeutic effects of tobacco or the artificial relief that comes from alcohol, but it’s just as deadly and much more deceiving. No, the weapon of choice here is subterfuge; it specializes in double-edged swords like comfort, familiarity, and a sense of commonality to hinder and stagnate rather than to empower and evolve.

Every day I am wracked with guilt and reminders of my own failings – it seldom takes more than a passing glance at my environment these days. My conscious keeps screaming at me to stop this self destructive behavior, to realize what I’m becoming and to fight it. But I don’t know how. I don’t know how. Admitting ignorance does little to bring me lasting relief – as if it would be so easy – and I can’t help but obsess relentlessly over the mystery. I know I am talented, why can’t I put my brush to the canvas? I know I can create, why can’t I put my pen to paper? I know I have a gift, why can’t I manifest it? I’ve stopped asking myself these kinds of questions lately; right now my mind is more focused on buying more time to be able to keep asking these questions for at least another year. I’ve got an entry level accounting job next summer that seems like the next logical step for me, yet I can’t help shake the distinct “I told you so” feeling that the path I’m walking today may have never really had my name on it to begin with.

One Method

So I fight internally with this unconquerable, undefinable, debilitating adversary that seems to firmly anchor me to the ground. And the most stomach churning part of it all? Slowly, I can feel this burden get lighter and lighter the more time passes. My situation remains the same – my environment still stagnant – yet I find the weight on my shoulders is slowly decreasing over time, making it easier and easier to shrug them. And that realization is horrifying to me.

At least Icarus fell reaching out for the sun.

- Eric
February 12th, 2012