Giving up the Game before 30
“When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?”
-from “America” by Allen Ginsberg
I gave up sometime after my twenty-ninth birthday. I had been banging my head against a wall for what seemed to be an eternity, and my face was bloody. A decade’s-long journey had brought me to this point and well sometimes, you have to know when it’s all over. I felt like I had been fighting, swimming upstream, climbing an endless mountain, and I kept rolling back down to start again. All I want to do is something that matters, something that’s meaningful, something that’s helpful and each time I tried, the way was shut with forms and forms and conformity to norms. What I wanted couldn’t be had unless I gave up a piece of the dream in sacrifice. What I wanted was to further true change, not just be part of a game. But Monopoly is real. The game of life. I remember them being boring and never-ending and turning friends and family into foes. Woes. Childhood woes and whoa! I woke up and now the game of life is playing me and Monopoly is all I see. An endless game in front of me, endless opportunity to market, property. I’m told I can make a difference, I’m told that I matter. If I’ll only climb the ladder or fill out this form, conform to the very thing I want deform, conform and I’ll be better suited to be the change that I see needed all around me, conform, conform. But if I change myself what will become of me, what will become of my dream? If I change myself to conform to the forms around me how will I change the very forms that will then surround me? If I jump in the water, how will I know that I’ll know that I’m wet? How can I trust that I’ll see the sea as it eats at me? Eats at me, it’s been eating at me. All this time I’ve been banging my head the wall’s been eating me. And now I’m bloody. Bloody and out of money. Do not collect money as you pass go. Go, go, get your head right. You’ve given up on the game, now how do you expect to get right? Get right, I’ll get right. I gave up on the game so now I’ll write. I’ll write it all down as I see it, and you can choose if you want to read it. Or not, it doesn’t really matter to me. I’m writing my own rules now, playing my own game. There are no forms to deform me, no walls or ceilings to trap the dream or eat me. No make-believe or pretend, just the sea I’m swimming through. I don’t pretend I can breathe, I don’t pretend to know the difference. I don’t pretend to be making, a difference. I know what I am, I know where I’m coming from. I’m trying to make things right by writing. I’m trying to write things down without hiding. I’m not hiding from the truth, I’m writing it, I’m not lying. I’m lying in bed when I’m not fighting. When I’m lying in bed my dreams come alive again. My dreams are fighting for air as they swim in the sea again, I see them struggling. I’m not giving up on them, I’m not giving up. I gave up the game before thirty. I’m giving my dreams new life through this writing, after thirty. I’m not giving up on getting my dreams to the surface for air, so they can breathe and fly and have a new life up there. Up there beyond the sea, beyond the underwater forms that we don’t see. Beyond the lie that we’re living except as we’re lying in bed. In bed where I lie so that my dreams can have a new life. I keep writing and righting, I just can’t keep playing. No more rolling the dice on my dreams. No more fighting. Family and friends, no more foes, don’t give up on your dreaming. Don’t give up on your dreaming.