Tuesday, 30 November 2010

A Fridge Full of Condiments and No Food

I want to rock.

Somewhere in the vast abyss that is my mother’s house lies a dusty videotape of me clad in black lace and sequins. I am dancing around the couch emulating Madonna’s “Lucky Star” video. I was only two years old, but already had that wild-eyed look of endless possibilities. Even though back then my hopes for the future didn’t extend beyond my next cookie, I yearned for that performance high. I wanted to be the center of attention and found it effortless—toddlers are impervious to recognizing budding narcissism. All I cared about was living in that four-minute-three-second moment of synthesized pop bliss. The shaky camcorder eventually goes fuzzy and dark, and it was time I started growing up.

Throughout school I relentlessly attempted to achieve that same sense of creative urgency. I was Rushmore before Jason Schwartzman was cool. I took ballet lessons, learned the clarinet, joined choir, studied jazz, signed up for acting classes, and started a rock band all in the span of ten years. I practiced tirelessly and sacrificed sleep all for a few hours in the community spotlight beaming from a small auditorium populated by peers and family members. My band Action Figure may not have been signed to Sub Pop, but at least my junior year gym teacher was introduced to Radiohead.

In the end, I didn’t quite make it onstage—thus beginning my quest to live vicariously through my idols using words and envious sighs. I became a staff member of my university newspaper and radio station and was hired at my local record store. I wanted to know what made these Gods of Rebellion tick. Since my guitar skills weren’t on par with Jonny Greenwood, I would instead become Rob Gordon or William Miller—the Everymen of the Obscure and underachieving protagonists of cinematic fiction. If I couldn’t beat them, I would make snarky comments in underappreciated band t-shirts.

So here I am—nearing thirty and no closer to rocking than a sorority girl at a Kings of Leon concert. I am ready for some substance; a lifestyle less creatively comatose and more vibrant with possibility. I’ve been trapped under a pile of uninspired rubble and I’m starting to realize it isn’t all a hopeless blob of mediocrity, but in fact a rather easy life decision to change everything. That spirited toddler is still around; I just needed Him to guide her out (this time with more dancing in the dark).

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