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Catharsis vs. the Naysayers

It feels like this: there’s a pit in my stomach. But, it doesn’t feel bad. Feels kind of good. Like a bunch of thoughts welled up in one coherent thought, in one moment. At the same time, my eyes well up with tears. It’s a physical and mental state, as if the world stopped.

That’s what catharsis feels like to me. All of those emotions and physical sensations at once. You become the moment. The moment of particular clarity when everything just makes sense.

The question begs, how do you hang on to that moment and make something out of it?

Sometimes I share the clear thoughts with others, and the naysayers are quick to show themselves. They don’t bolster you up, the bring you down. They point out all the flaws, all the disappointments, all the reasons why not. Never, never, do they utter why. Later, they might acquiesce and say, no really, I just want to support you. But, that moment is affected.

It doesn’t seem to matter how logical their reasons are, they all go towards bringing the dream down. You have to be a very strong person to hang on to that clarity. To keep it clear, your eyes set on it, to be able to carry out what is now a goal.

This is where I falter. As soon as the naysayers say their peace, and boy do they ever, without an activator in my life, I become weak, and I acquiesce to their so-called pragmatic reasons why not.

A friend chided another some time ago. She was tired of someone close to her always having the next new thing and begging for support. This person, always searching, certainly seemed fickle in their endeavors, not really finishing anything, jumping to the next thing as if to feel the new feeling. But, maybe they, like me, are just trying to find their place in this world.

My mother always told me that everyone beats to the march of a different drummer. It’s so hard finding that drummer, and if catharsis comes in the form of a drummer, all you want is to start marching. And you want your band mates there to march along with you, holding you, bolstering you up as you face your dream.

And the naysayers come. And the band disappears. And you are left, alone, wondering – was it really a Eureka moment after all? Maybe it wasn’t meant to be because the stars didn’t seem to align. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be because you couldn’t prioritize it along side all the busy-ness of life. Maybe we are just too weak to make our dreams come true. Maybe it’s just easier to side with the naysayers, who are also in your inner circle, because it’s too hard to argue, and you have to pick your battles, and sometimes fixing dinner is easier than making dreams.

Let’s revisit Langston Hughes.

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What I Know and What I Don’t Know

Let’s begin with a little slide show. (Skip the ad at the end.)

I am not working on the direct advocacy of educating people on the importance of a sustainable society. As such, I don’t feel like I’m reaching my own goals. So, I have met with various people to find ideas on how I can reach my goals.

She assessed that I talk fast. She thought I was from New York or Boston instead of Michigan. She swayed me away from consulting because I don’t specialize in anything – I’m a generalist. She assessed that I have a problem with authority (though she didn’t use those words or even state it that bluntly). And she surmised that the interviews are the problem for me, not the résumé writing.

I was hoping for the smoking gun answer on “this is what I should do.” But, I didn’t get that. The closest I got was with the hour and a half chat the night previous suggesting start ups.

Here’s what I know.

  • I know that I want to educate people on the importance of a sustainable society.
  • I know that I used mark myself as an INFJ, but now, consistently rank as an INTJ.
  • I know that I do not want to be an engineer.
  • I know that I like to think.
  • I know that I like to learn.
  • I know that I’m not afraid to try new things.
  • I know that I need autonomy to get a job done.
  • I know I work best when not micromanaged.
  • I know that I like colleagues with whom to solve problems.
  • I know that I don’t like other people telling me what to do all day long. (That presumes I’m too stupid to figure it out on my own, and I’m repeatedly told that I’m quite smart…)
  • I know I need regular access to creativity, otherwise I feel vacant or void.
  • I know that I need to be in some sort of environmental or social advocacy, furthering the promotion of my sustainable agenda.
  • I know that I don’t want to be a secretary for the rest of my life.
  • I know that I want to run my own organization some day, and be paid a fair wage for doing so.
  • I know that I want to learn how to build collaborative teams, and learn more about how to keep them together working positively for a common goal.
  • I know that I want to work with a diverse team – younger people for their creativity and energy and older people for their wisdom and experience. (Socio economic, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation all offer important perspectives that aid in diversity.)
  • I know that I want to stop collecting jobs and actively work towards a career, a meaningful career.

I was hoping that would get answers around these pieces of knowledge, but it didn’t happen. So, more status quo with some practice. And, on we trudge trying to improve ourselves and fulfill our goals.