Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience, I see a life filled with moments I could define and describe in relation to other moments. With logic and reasons, every movement made could be analyzed and mined for lessons, to use for future decisions — but I know my future will come on its own and there is doubt whether my active participation has ever changed the outcome; so all that lesson gathering might just be me hiding from the truth of my own powerlessness. Even to line up my life seems too geometric. Rather I’d let it fall and cascade upon the earth, beneath my feet where I’m now standing.
These are all texts that begin with the phrase “Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience.” I wrote using this prompt for 50 consecutive days.
Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience, I see that sometimes I was bored. But I never actually stopped and asked what was behind the boredom. Instead I looked for things to excite me, or things to do next. When I told people I was bored, no one ever advised me to stay bored. What would happen if I turned to face boredom without moving away?
Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience, I see how I blamed people for my problems. And by blaming them, I was saying that they had power over my happiness. This was a clever way for me not to actually do anything about changing myself. Today I see many people blaming political figures for the problems of the world.
Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience, I consider my lack of formal education an unexpected (and completely unearned) gift. My own self-destruction led me to drop out of three universities before the age of 22. I was forced to learn many things on my own. Because I was self-taught, I became intensely familiar with being stuck without an answer to a problem. When confronted with a problem, I had no heady storehouse full of facts and information and memorized strategy, no education to fall back on. I had to wait in that raw, anxiety-riddled pocket of the unknown, until an answer revealed itself for trial. Most would think this awful, a clear argument for formal education. However, without formal education, answers always came to me too. And when the answer came, it came clean and carrying no prejudice. It came sudden and immediate. Perhaps if I’d had a thousand books in my head to wade through, the answer would have come slower; I don’t know where my library was. My answers seemed to come like morning sunlight atop the head of a dumb praying monk. I spent a lot of time in the darkness of ignorance (a place we occupy more than we realize, no matter what we tell ourselves), and perhaps I fear that darkness less because I spent so much time there. Being stuck is not such a bad thing. It’s a necessary stop before new realization.
Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience, there are friends I lost connection with along the way. Sometimes, what kept me from reigniting the friendship was my doubt whether I could do what it took to be a good friend. Or so I thought, until I got over myself and stopped being such a selfish ass.
Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience, there was a time when I fell in love with rules and protocol. I was teaching myself how to create websites, and my days were filled with guidelines, strategy, best practices and what others said made great art. It became religious; I almost came to idolize the rules and became urgent in finding more. But my design never seemed to improve. Almost it seemed the deeper into the system I went, the more strangled I became. Until, almost, I could barely move without questioning whether I was doing it the right way. It wasn’t until I dropped the rules and became my own explorer, however terrified and insecure I was, that my designs found any quality. Sometimes, rules are added after great art is made, by the people who are too scared to let themselves go. I was following those rules for the same reason.
Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience, if I could revisit my past self during the times I felt most hopeless, would I tell myself everything would be ok? I’m not sure I should. Because those times were the closest I ever came to accepting life as life really is, that there is no solid ground, that peace doesn’t come from possession or Other. Those times were when my beliefs, which had protected me from these truths, were proven false. The feeling in that moment is always hopelessness. Eventually I always created another belief, and new hope came with it; until one day that belief was eliminated too. Maybe Hopelessness is what’s written on the welcome sign to Acceptance, (not soft-crap-let’s-hug acceptance, but real oh-god-throw-god-out-the-window Acceptance). I don’t really know; I never got past the sign.
Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience, there were many people who said hurtful things about me. Of course, I was only hurt because I believed what they said was true. They didn’t even have to say anything. However, if they hadn’t said anything, I probably would have never known how I really felt about myself.
Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience, truly my greatest battles were always within. But maybe so much war wasn’t always needed.
Looking through the keyhole at my tiny experience, I see the world reflecting me. Once I knew a young woman who was the angriest person I’d ever known. At first I judged her, thought her wrong, and believed it my job to show her a better way. But this did not work. Eventually, my own anger began to rise and I found myself screaming and shaking uncontrollably. I had always thought myself someone who didn’t have anger. I saw then that I had only denied my anger. I had feared anger my entire life, and fearing it, I tried to control it. Without this young woman and her behaviors that upset me terribly, I never would have seen this in myself. I try to remember this today. When the world upsets me, I try to find myself in the world. In this way, the worst days hold the most potential, and the people I think the worst are the most helpful. Maybe by doing this I can be the example the world looks to.