Help! I’m Not Free!
I had a vision.
It was there, in the four-channel common feeder line at Whole Foods, in front of the helvetica-fonted wall of benign-looking homeopathic cold remedies, meditation rocks, and gluten free weight loss lozenges, that I saw myself. Or was it just a reflection? A hallucination? I don’t know. But I will say that I did not like what I saw in that reflection/hallucination.
Because what I saw was awful.
I realized at that moment, as I stood there, cradling my kale chips and juice cleanse, was that I was not free. In fact, quite the opposite: my delightful urban homestead-y world of post-corporate, artisan wisdom, was a prison. The yoga, midday wine brunches, creative nonfiction workshops, and perpetual, but pointless self-improvement classes — these were all just little spinney-wheels in my hamster cage, and everybody knows that spinning spinney-wheels really fast won’t really get you anywhere, regardless of how fast you spin. I mean, it does, but it doesn’t. Not really. Though you can get really good cardio if you just push yourself, you know…
See what I mean? I realized my prison was worse than any ever built, even the real ones, were they tortured terror suspects by playing Nine Inch Nails and Rage Against the Machine 24 hours a day. Because my prison was a prison of freedom. And that made it infinitely more awful than a prison of imprisonment.
But wait — why was I the one in prison? I behave mindfully, I practice enlightenment, and I strive for self-embetterment. Isn’t that enough? Or was I just lying, telling myself all those expensive resources I consumed, ingested, slept in, walked on, looked at, and rubbed all over my body were truly meaningful? Did watching all those documentaries about the environment do nothing for the environment? Did it even matter that every hemp-soled dandy sack I bought from Ardo Lambstead gave one tax shelter dollar for every landmine orphaned by an ignorant child? No. Then I realized. Oh. My. God. Was all this stuff just so much prefuse, no different than downcycled code 6 waste, all destined — along with all the six pack rings and Pringles tubes in the world— for the Texas sized garbage island in the Pacific? Oh, the emptiness! Oh the irredeemable sadness! Black nothingness swallowed me whole, and left zilch for the trash pandas and pizza rats to fight over. Because I was nothingness. I was nobody. Which made me exactly the same as some nameless child, starving in the desert in Africa: nothing and nobody.
I realized that the blessing of not having to ‘work’ for a living was really a curse. Curse my CEO husband! Curse him and his Stanford MBA, I say! Curse him for making me the mutant half-person I am now, this product of internet-age prosperity in butt-shaping yoga pants who has no idea what its like to live in the real world, because I know now that he’s not a ‘real’ person — and dammit, neither am I.
I watch in envy as ‘real’ people drive old PT Cruisers to their jobs, smoke cigarettes, and watch porn on dash mounted Android tablets while waiting for their kids to get out of juvenile detention center. And I plead with these ‘real’ people: take me with you! Save me from this whole grain hell of yogurt, quinoa, and big oatmeal, and I’ll stand right next to you while you fix that toilet, oil that car, shingle that house, witch that ditch or fly that personal jump jet, and I will cheer you on, workingperson, and maybe even help a little. (Though you may want to know, up front, that I haven’t done much workingperson stuff; not for awhile. And I never really knew a whole lot of workingperson stuff to begin with, and — honestly — am a little dangerous around tools, so maybe you don’t want my help; I don’t know. Up to you.)
Which brings me to my ultimate realization: the only way out of this purgatory of idle time is to help somebody, which is why I’m going to become a motivation-speak life-coachperson. Because becoming a life-coachperson is how I’m going to pay it forward. Heck, its how I’m going to pay it forward, backward, to the left, right, up and down. I’m going pay it every which way. It’s going to be like an explosion! Everyone’s gonna pay! Because, dammit — I’m alive, I love myself, and I want to be free.
And I want you to want me to be free, as well.