My world changed after I received a phone call from Tesco inviting me to an interview. Why? Was it because I can’t wait to change the world with my unique toilet paper stacking techniques? No, it was because this was tangible evidence, beyond faceless confirmation emails, that I have at least some competency in selling myself.
I don’t doubt that I have the skills to be a shop assistant; most people do. But I struggle with “Who am I?” questions. What skills make you suitable for this role? How have you displayed excellent teamwork? They can seem like surface level enquiries, but for me, they challenge the fabric of my personality. How can I condense all the vapours of my reality, my experience, into lexiconic characters so that it catches the attention of a skim-read? Words are a compromise of any feeling or emotion; as Florence sings in All this and heaven too, “The heart is hard to translate, it has a language of it’s own.” But now I have to box myself in so that I can perform one of the most basic human functions, to become independent and self-sustaining. This feels like an impossible choice between survival and liberty. It’s a matter of conveying self-awareness, a talent which society is fond of, and I think can sometimes tend towards narcissism (that is, an obssession with observing yourself).
I find it tricky to explain even the most integral parts of my life, such as my musicality. Asking the question, “Why am I musical?” The reason I started playing the piano was because I was (forcibly) encouraged by my parents. There came a point where I started to enjoy the practice and playing, but this raises a complication. Am I musical because of my parents’ decision, or because of my change of heart? Also, there is the question of why I started enjoying it. Was it because I subconsciously submitted to my parents’ will, realising it would be easier to comply than resist? This is a heartless explanation which I don’t believe, which leaves the trigger of my mind switch unidentified.
For me music always falls in between these two categories: discipline and enjoyment. I don’t take a casual approach to any music I play or listen to; always focusing on what a sound represents, how it could be played better, if it is perfectly placed. On the other hand, musical is a mystical form of art that taps into every human existence at some level. It appears as a foreign language to those on the outside, but to me it’s the very fuel of my existence, as important as food and sleep. So I am always torn between two schools, the scientific and the artistic. This is intrinsic with my worship to God, which exists in the tension in between. I know he is pleased with me, not watching out for any wobbly notes, but I’m constantly aware that I’m playing into the spirit realm; hardly a trivial matter.
It’s possible to ask all the why questions in the world, but sometimes I think, “So what?” A lack of self-awareness needn’t be a limiting factor in life; in fact, it can sometimes bring incredible freedom. Of all characters in literature and film, Peter Pan in the least self-aware I can think of. This goes hand in hand with the fact that he never questions why. His contentment allows him to remain in Neverland. He doesn’t care about his past, and growing up is something he never wants to see in his future. This attitude comes with side effects of extreme selfishness and stubbornness, but Pan has the main ingredient in life: fun.
When did “because it’s fun!” stop being a valid answer to any question? A child does not need to understand their motivations, the laws of physics, the whims of society, or anything else that people can carry around as an illusion of confinement, to have fun. To be honest, adults barely ever do something just for pure enjoyment. You may say, “I really want to study at university!” But are you thinking about the sheer enjoyment of your conscience being exposed to previously unimagined experiences, flung down untrod paths, or of a larger potential salary when you graduate? To this day, I still don’t understand why I went to uni. It wasn’t for a larger salary, more technical knowledge, or to get stinking drunk, all of which seem acceptable reasons in the eyes of society. However, it happened, and it was fun, so maybe I don’t need to know.
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules? “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.