My friend Luckey came to visit a couple days ago, and both of us are feeling this, this persistent feeling like from deep within "Just keep doing what you're doing, just keep doing what you're doing even though you have no idea where it's going."
Man, it's hard to persist in uncertainty. But it is so important for transformation; it is the cocoon state. I'm rereading a favorite fantasy fiction series, Robin Hobb’s Madship Trilogy (Although I’d recommend starting with the Farseer trilogy.) One of the concepts in this series is that dragons evolve from sea serpents. The sea serpents swim up a magic river, coccon themselves in mud and after sufficient magical baking and laving in memories, they finally emerge as Lords of the three dominions: earth, water and sky. But the cocoons are mislaid. And earthquake buries them deep in the earth, where they are found by pioneering humans, who think the cocoons are logs, logs that when sawed into planks create magical living ships… And as the magical ships are created and make the humans short term Rich dragons are exterminated from the world.
Are you following me? I am not saying that I am turning into a dragon.
But I am saying that long periods of uncertainty are so unacceptable. And also hard to explain to hot young men who might possibly want to date me.
At least my friends think this one does…
You see, one of the things that I must do with my uncertainty is find as many things as possible that will keep me inspired while standing up I cook a lot. I go for walks a lot. And last night was the first Thursday of the month, which means all the galleries put on special shows and give out wine and are filled with impressive young people who certainly do not look uncertain to my 44-year-old self.
This I must tell you. Uncertainty takes a toll.
But I love art. My mind works in pictures and when I look at art the right art, it explodes the possibilities. It makes me feel happy. Happy!
And we were on our, like, eighth art gallery of the night. The downstairs was filled with cartoon-like images of the Lord Ganesha, and elves, and gnomes. Great colorful things, not my cup of tea but enlivening to the soul nevertheless. There was a flight of stairs leading upstairs to a second gallery but I looked upstairs and from what I could see the walls were covered with muddy depressing uninspired shit. I waved up the stairs and looked at Luckey “Let's not bother going on up there’” I said. Luckey nodded and drifted away. Just then a fellow appeared at my elbow. Slightly taller than me, wavy hair blue eyes and a nice face. Probably 10 years younger than I. Or more. Grinning.
"You should check out the upstairs," he said.
"What?" I said.
"I saw you waving up there and saying there's nothing worth looking at. But you should check it out," he said.
I looked him in the eye. Bright, light blue. Smart. "Okay," I said. "Go upstairs with me and tell me why you think it's worth looking at," I said. And walked up the stairs.
I could hear him following me.
And he was right, as soon as I got to the top of the stairs I saw a brilliant painting, A vulture in a tire clutching a Corona bottle surrounded by cactus skeletons. I know, it sounds awful, but it wasn't. It was deft and beautiful and delicate and funny all at the same time. I told him so. He nodded, pleased. He was standing quite close to me. He pointed to a modern piece with the digital rendering of the Mona Lisa’s face overlaid by a graffiti monkey and some tagging. Hideous.
“What do you think of that piece?” he said.
“I hate it,” I said.
"Why?" He said. Sparky eyes.
“I don't like the digital rendering of the Mona Lisa’s face…Um, that’s the Mona Lisa, right?” (I was a little drunk.)
“Okay, well I don't like the ombre effect on her. I don't like the mixing of that classical piece with the modern pieces, I think you can mix classical and modern elements, but this is not working."
He looked at me for a long second. Then said, "That's a very valid critique,"
"Have you heard of Banksy?"
And then without, you must trust me on this, being patronizing, he gave me the context for this piece, which is a fascinating montage of street artist, rogue documentarian, artistic plagiarism, controversy and rapidly escalating art prices.
"Are you the artist?" I said.
"No, I’m the gallery owner," he said.
A man who had interrupted us once before came up again. Josh (that was blue eyes’ name) looked at me apologetically.
"Would you wait here for a minute?" He said.
"Sure," I said.
But a minute later, Jamie came looking for me. I had probably been talking with him for 20 minutes. She and Luckey were done. "Let's go," she said.
And because I just am not that interested in dating, because being in a cocoon as like being fertile as being asleep is like having an orgasm – sexy dreams notwithstanding -- and because I don't know how to explain what I'm doing with my life to someone who owns a gallery, which seems aggressively accomplished for someone so young, I said “Okay.”
He caught up with me as I started out. "I'd like to continue our conversation," he said.
"Okay," I said. "I'll stop back by,” I said, and then left.
Jamie and Luckey think that I would be crazy to not go back there. “He followed you! He sought you ought two times!” Jamie said.
But I just don’t quite know how to explain what I am doing to a new friend. (Although clearly that is not stopping me from explaining it to the interwebs.) Also, refer to aforementioned non-sexy feeling of the cocoon.
The period of uncertainty proceeds the threshold. The other day Ravyn said to me, "Sometimes the initiation isn't completed. Sometimes the person turns back from the threshold. Those are not the stories we hear about though." It's so easy to want to force arrival at a destination now. Want to chop up the cocoon into a product that looks good in a cocktail dress on a first date... To not keep persisting, listening to my intuition, healing, growing, ripening, not knowing what's next, becoming…I miss having a job. It's such an easy definition of self-worth. But I am persisting in faith. I sat for four and half hours without pain on Wednesday, which hasn’t happened for two years. But still. I don't know where I'm going. My intuition says “Keep doing what you are doing. You are not ripe yet.”