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My poem is better than your poem.

February 18, 2011 \pm\28 6:55 pm

It seemed like a pretentiously middle-class America thing to do, presuming to apply Taoist principles at a corporate job but I tried it as part of an attempt toward a larger, general peacefulness and it bore fruit so whatever.

Far as corporate jobs go, it was a good job. The outcome not being directly tied to the money allowed creativity and experimentation within boundaries. If you had a feasible idea, it could become bigger than you. There was a sense of possibility which is unusual at the lower levels of the machine.

But I kept having trouble interacting with and relating to co-workers. Basically I hated them and felt like they hated me. I can be dramatic, it was nebulous, but it was definitely more like hate and less like usual working life ennui.

My misery was partly because I wanted my ideas to be only mine. I felt like I’d worked hard at them and no one else understood how they could be implemented, no one understood their ‘greatness’. Instead I felt people were judging me, maybe for unrelated things, for my young age, for being a woman, maybe even for not being pretty enough which is nothing to do with anything, I was just (and outside ‘professional life’ I still am) a sad little sack brimming with insecurities.

For this and many things, a friend suggested a bunch of books. She knew I liked to read. I started with The Tao of Pooh and in an unstructured sort of way over a period of time we would talk about the principle of detachment and she would become a kind of mentor, though that word seems strange to me.

I’ve never been too good at discipline or practice. I rarely played sports and I never played an instrument. I’ll digest and internalize what suits me until it becomes nature, or I won’t do it at all. I don’t meditate, I sit around quietly sometimes, I think a lot of nonsense. I mostly only write in extreme moods.

Somehow through reading and reflecting on detachment along with the other concepts I was learning about, I was able to separate from my work and let others in, and I started to like others, or at least be able to relate to them differently and my work life improved. I stopped feeling attacked when someone pointed out reasons how one of my ideas wouldn’t work, and I felt like a productive part of a whole when one of my ideas collaboratively made success.

Clearly I am far from ‘enlightened’ but I’ve realized that subconsciously, detachment forms part of my overall view of ‘the creative endeavors of humans’. A painting, a woodshed, a book, a website, a child, to me these are all entities on a level, meaning I may write the book, admire the painting, code the website, use the shed, birth a child, or I may not. Whether I made it or used it or liked it doesn’t change its intrinsic nature as a thing—an abstraction or an object or a person—that exists in the world beyond me.

The phrase ‘your poem and my poem are poems’ seems factual to me. Assuming we agree on the definition of ‘poem’, it implies equality, non-judgement. The reason my own poem feels different to me, more important, is that it hurt me to write it, I spent ages on it, it says things about me I never told anyone, things I probably didn’t even mean to write or things that scared/excited/awed me, etc., it affects me directly.

But all suffering is suffering and all poems are poems. And if the poem is grand in my life like ‘my life’s work’ or something, it is still a work of a human, an existence in the human world, something that can be experienced in any way by any other humans, yet something a negative review cannot invalidate nor likewise can it be justified by praise: it just is. Like how I am a person, independent of my mother, whether she likes and accepts the fact or not.

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5 Comments
  1. February 18, 2011 \pm\28 8:42 pm 8:42 pm

    Love, love, love this.

    What can I say? I’m a sucker for baring insecurities and the agony of the creative process.

  2. Robin Elizabeth Sampson permalink
    February 18, 2011 \pm\28 10:55 pm 10:55 pm

    hear hear!

  3. February 19, 2011 \am\28 11:14 am 11:14 am

    thanks you guys <3

  4. February 19, 2011 \pm\28 4:25 pm 4:25 pm

    This is brilliant.

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