Passing the Message
I’ve never felt older than today when I started to put together a TikTok video.
There’s something about advertising that has always felt pretty sleazy. Using apps on my phone to promote myself also feels kind of gross. Why is that? It got really weird when our friends joined Multi-Level Marketing sales teams. Suddenly we developed a social awkwardness unlike any that had ever been experienced before. People that we hadn’t spoken with since high school approached us as we sat in our bathrobe at home. They engaged in a conversation with us and made us feel like we’d been missed. Then, when the time was right, they launched an offer to join a magical team of money-making hustlers. All one would have to do is pretend to sell products while roping in more of their friends to the scheme. As soon as everyone caught wind of that rot, nobody wanted to have anything to do with that kind of manipulation.
Well, if I’ve learned anything from meditation and shadow work, it is that whatever I see in the world is a reflection of me. If I think that something is icky, I think that very same thing about some part of myself. After coming to this realization (from a talk by Peter Koenig), I started to explore what that might be. There’s definitely a question of worthiness here. I wonder if I deserve to receive attention, and yet this sentence does nothing to convey what that actually means. I have allowed myself to believe that everyone that speaks has a reason that is justified. Somewhere along the line I began to believe that the things I say are not worth being heard. Whether or not anyone has ever actually said that to me, its the ultimate thought I reach when exploring my reaction to creating social media content.
For Collective Journaling, Peter provided three quotes.
“If the young are not initiated into the tribe they will burn down the village just to feel its warmth.”
— African Proverb —
“Philosophizing is learning how to die.”
— Montaigne —
Qui n’a pas lutté n’a pas vécu.
— Leon Daude —
This is why I try to make a TikTok and also sit with my parents and grandparents through the pain of dying; the first and second quotes. I feel it as somewhat of a duty to pass on knowledge to the younger generations. I want them to feel included in their own future decisions without having to burn down everything they have before them. It would be so foolish to destroy what has been built for them. We as the elders are tasked with finding a way to communicate with the young people. We have to make the effort so they know that they are loved. We have to bring them the warmth of nurturing care. All to learn how to die gracefully. It is true, we are here and we will die. If we love fully and deeply then this life has meaning. If we choose to die in fear and isolation, that is simply another way to do it. Ultimately, we all go. The young people will learn this and when they do, they may be scared. They may feel hopeless or nihilistic. If, however, they are loved and the life changes can be described to them before they reach them, then we have the ability to change the course of their life. We can influence them to building great things with the few years they are promised. We can encourage them to chase their dreams and be the change they wish to be… but only if we meet them where they are.
Which leads me to the final quote that translates to “Who did not fight did not live”. I fight this fact daily. Things repeat, life carries on, and I’m aware in the middle of it all; just sitting here stuck in a loop. This is a very real and normal experience to have but two years ago I thought I was losing my mind. I had no one to advise me otherwise. I now have a role to play as that person for other people. I have no expectations of being able to help anyone any further along than not feeling crazy; or perhaps feeling crazy but being okay with that. I can get people to the realization that maybe crazy is actually sane. Maybe the people that have received the ‘normal’ badge got that from some completely ass-backwards committee. It feels weird to talk about the things I am interested in and to attempt to attract people to me that way. That weird feeling is a good thing, it means I am marching to the beat of my own drum. In order to live a beautiful and creative life, that is something we could all do a little more often.
Originally written in Collective Journaling at The Stoa