I need help in refocusing my attention.
My sense of purpose and preference for a life I dreamt of as a teenager is kind of on my mind since I spent some time updating my resume and submitted to www.externalassessmentsummer.com today. I want to have a more artistically robust life I think, maybe one in the art, design, or fashion world. I need to think about it more. I’m 23 and still figuring out my life. Things are going to be fine.
I’m reading about abundance vs. scarcity mindsets right now, and I need help removing bits of myself that have become mired in a scarcity mindset. I feel historically like I’ve been very much attuned to an abundant mindset, I’m pretty noncompetitive, but recently I’ve found that my ego has been so fragile. I don’t like having to make decisions, I don’t like talking in a group setting, I don’t like performing because I have to cling so hard to a narrative that I constantly forget. An abundant mindset is not defined just by what it’s not. It’s collaboration over competitiveness, and I do find that distinction hews close to but a few degrees left of my more basic operative mode in the negative. Non-competitiveness
- Victory means success at the expense of someone else.
- Difficulty showing happiness for the success of others including family, friends and business associates.
- Difficulty sharing credit, recognition, power and profit.
- Difficulty being a team player because differences in opinion are perceived as disloyalty.
Maybe I’m going out too much and projecting. Doing things out of love, not for love. Gratitude and grace as cures for one’s jealousy – jealousy defined as a projection onto others. A lot of abundance seems to come easily to me when I adopt a childlike wonder. Imagine a world of abundance
I also need to remind myself that it’s okay to want validation. Maybe it was the effects of physical, social, and psychological silos in quarantine that made me more sensitive to the burst of life this summer. It’s been wonderful to see everyone doing amazing, but you know. It’s also the awareness or self-perception that I’m not doing as amazing. Or that I could be doing more and that perhaps there’s something critical that I’m missing. Writing it out makes it seem silly.
Related to this anxiety around not doing/being enough, I’ve been reflecting on The Nap Industry’s posts on social. They promote rest, less work, more naps, not using the word “lazy” derogatorily or at all, etc. I feel like I’m very much into all of that, so it makes it a little hard sometimes when I compare myself with people in my age group who are doing so many things when I sometimes forget to do basic things like…laundry. I feel sometimes that the more I see people doing things, the less able I am to do those same things. Like a “too many cooks in the kitchen” cognitive distortion. That feeling of redundancy is paralyzing. I have this narrative of myself that sort of distorts the past as times gilded with greatness–great potential, great intelligence, ability, tact, skill. The future conversely feels so self-corrosive, or more accurately the potentiality of self-corrosion is so closely felt that it ends up becoming so. It’s that to venture out I’d be on inevitably diverted paths, ill-equipped and un-self-aware of what I need to re-correct. So I end up not venturing out at all. So I pull from what I feel like I’ve lost in a self-pitying way to paint my present as deficient in one manner or another. It’s a bit cyclic.
A pure example of this is my understanding of high school when I juggled so much “productive” work with relative success. Everyone existed on close rails and it was easy to understand hierarchy (grades) without the need for projection. In high school was when I began creating and carrying myself apart from the baseline priority of grades. I still did well in school. Exclusion was an easy way to experience an another/adjacent form of exceptionality. Self-directed exclusion made me feel a bit more in power. I don’t know what to say about the immigrant imperative to make no trouble for others, being closeted, not being white, and what it meant to be good at school. I am editing, qualifying, and refocusing my experience of exclusion as being self-guided to a large extent. I wonder what America as a land of perpetual adolescence means in this reconsideration. I’ve been reading The Topeka School by Ben Lerner. American perpetual adolescence is my symptom. My distortion of my past as a time of great potential. This conflation with my need to tap into a childlike wonder to think abundance. Oh.
Sure, so I hyper-fixated on growth in my adolescence, was prematurely trapped within an idea of what I could know and what I could never know. I recently told a friend over bad Viet food, “my base of knowledge is too small.” So, American perpetual adolescence (APA) as a lens through which I understand my increasingly scarce mindset.
Victory means success at the expense of someone else | Defeat means loss at the gain of someone else.
Another neuroticism: the need for exceptionality in arbitrary measures. If someone is typing, I am not typing. If someone is on their laptop, I am not on my laptop. It’s a paralyzing fear of redundancy. A deference built from negative modes of operation rather than the grace of abundance. We can only exist together if we can both accept our own uniqueness and others’ and see them as strengths. This is all we need. Scarcity is an illness of over-individualization. Everyone matters! It’s not you or me. It’s not us or them. It’s all or nothing. All as in the all in queer liberation for all. All as in the all in we are not free until we all are free. All as in the all in we are all worthy of love.
Redundancy brings up the idea of uselessness and usefulness. I hadn’t considered that. I usually think of it as a way to balance. If there’s no need for balance, then I can remain useless. The cumulative effects of passivity on my identity? It’s deleterious toward identity. Remember, I forget to remind myself of my narrative. This is scarcity.
What are its roots? Masculinity and its making? Pg. 160, the father Jonathan: “unmoored by the absence of someone who needed me” (Lerner). I feel closest to the character of Jonathan. He does not react aggressively when Adam does, which makes Adam more aggressive. He says the above line^ and this: “Maybe I was only relaxed when I was with someone who wasn’t, when I knew it would be useful for me to be calm, calming?” – which is often an experience I felt I had as a kid. If my sister was scared watching a horror movie, I wasn’t. And then I experienced so much of my life alone with art in a sort of mutualistic relationship. Reflections, attention, words for new catalysts, for more enrichment. Jonathan has that trip. He makes that film of a play. Adam describes the texture of a memory. It reminds me of an instance of depersonalization in 10th grade. Waiting for the bell in the cafeteria. Feeling reality shift into a filmic dimension. And then the texture of a memory, shoes up the ramp. Repeated hundreds of times and coiled now from the unconscious into a conscious touchstone that’s less textured than when I first recalled the memory of shoes, ramp, looking down. Language as synesthetic? A quote from the documentary Fantastic Fungi. A tactile memory, and memory relating to language. Yiyun Li. History. It’s starting to not be useful. Relevant (redundant).
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