vostoklake: (emo)
I'm not sure whether my childhood belief that I had a Mission In This World was simply a reaction to the constant bullying and abuse from family, teachers and peers telling me that I was useless and worthless because I didn't fit in. Of course, that's what all the TV programmes and books marketed at my demographic wanted to tell me - that That Little Kid Who Nobody Liked would one day save the day because of hir speshul sekrit talents. It's an interesting myth.

But perhaps it was just that - given my cognitive abnormalities and social "special needs" status - I knew that I couldn't succeed in This World unless I accepted the mores of this world. Don't be different. Fit in. Don't talk about things that confuse or scare other people. Don't draw attention to yourself. Above all, do what you're told even if it's stupid or the people telling you to do so are evil.

So, out of the combination of all of the above - and a fortutious layoff - I went freelance. How wonderful! Don't have to leave the house when I don't want to! Don't have to talk to humans for days on end if I don't want to! I can turn down any work which is morally offensive or just inconvenient! And - most importantly - I am no longer tied to one place or one timetable! So, when the heavens open and the Angels descend and tell me what my Mission In This World is - or if I just find a more interesting project - I'll be able to get right onto it with a minimum of sacrifice.

... yeah. Minimum of sacrifice. Should have thought about that one. "Minimum of sacrifice" means not having anything in the first place. Being independent means being totally responsible. No-one's going to help you market or tell you what to do. So you're stuck at the limits of your own personality - the only way you can achieve your goals is to take responsibility and go out and bust your ass to achieve them.

And at the moment, I absolutely hate it. Oh, the idea of a "portfolio career" - a bit of indexing here, a bit of translation there, hopefully someone pays me for my weird music or my abstruse communist cultural-studies ramblings - sounds enticing. But when you declare independence from the Prince of This World, that means this world ceases to care whether you live or die.

As Tony James found when he started Sigue Sigue Sputnik, telling the mass market that it's run by the stupid, the greedy and the plain sociopathic, is not a recipe for success in the mass market over the long run. The idea that freedom is freedom to starve, and success means accomodating with the Powers that Be, is still scary for someone who was brought up to both hate and fear conformity and power.

So I'm precisely where I've always wanted to be - free. But that also means poor and excluded. It means not being able to consume those delicious leisure commodities that all your peers are, unless you make a Faustian bargain with the Demons of Credit. The problem is that some people are tough enough to go into the belly of the beast and survive - to work for The Man and make money for him while still building up revolt in secret. I'm not. My skin is still too thin.

My response to confrontation is still the response of the hypervigilant, abused child - either hide, run away, or scream obscenities until they drag you away. I'm the kind who has to live in the woods outside the village rather than pay fealty to the local landlord. And being Robin Hood isn't so much fun when you don't have a crew of Merry Men.

I have to find some way that I can re-engage with the world on a level where I can keep my integrity and yet still be "inside" it. "Working in the market place but refusing to live by its dictates", as Robert Fripp put it - "in the world but not of it", as I think Paul of Tarsus put it. Either that, or accept being the crazy guy in the corner who no-one talks to, forever.


 

vostoklake: (joss)
If there was no struggle - if the world was fine and people were happy and we could do what we wanted - I would be a composer/performer/singer/songwriter, especially interested in musical drama. I mean, I'm fascinated by cultural studies and socio-economic research, but that's not really what I want to do. I just thought I "should" do it because it would be helpful to The Struggle.

I think I've got to get into the habit of doing things for one of three reasons: (a) because it really is my Bliss and my Passion; (b) to keep a roof over my head, food in the fridge and little treats appearing occasionally; (c) to make the world a better place for everyone. If I think of getting back into academia/writing, it would be for a combination of 2 and 3, which is the same reasons I do indexing. The question really boils down to a financial one.

But in the meantime, I have to impose a discipline of at least doing some songwriting/composition every day. And eliminate the secret reason (d): to control my anxiety by doing things to make other people like me.
vostoklake: (lesbians? in my spaceship?)
It's 2 am.

Yesterday, I bought a DVD player and a backup drive, spent most of the afternoon playing BACKUP and spent most of this evening playing REFORMAT. (The crappy firmware in this shitty cheap DVD player requires that any USB drive you stick in it needs to actually be formatted by Windows, and no, FAT formatting in Linux doesn't count for some odd reason which wasted a bit of time. Then, I repartitioned my hard drive to avoid the bad sectors, a process that took hours. I passed the time by watching the first 8 episodes of Nurse Jackie.)

I also bought contents insurance yesterday. Yes, I'm doing a lot of "stuff" - stuff I should have done a long time ago, but always had too much "work". This is what to do when there is no indexing work. There will be, pretty soon, but "pretty soon" can't be narrowed down to anywhere near "within the next week or two".

I have some more "stuff" lined up - making my professional website prettier, and rearranging my files. Then after that... I dunno, I suppose I'll plug in my keyboards and start rehearsing for ELECTRIC SALON II - ELECTRIC BOOGALOO. All those things I couldn't do when I was snowed under with indexing.

I've got to learn more about this "executive function" stuff. If, as seems plausible, I'm mildly Aspie, one symptom of that is that I have problems either starting or stopping stuff at appropriate times. I refuse to stop a job until it's "properly finished" - even though keeping going is making me physically or emotionally sick. When the indexing work comes back in, one thing I'll have to do is mandate regular break times, and stick to them. Break times not only to do stuff like admin, or the dishes, but to look after myself. Perhaps I should start taking a proper lunch break, and outside of the house. Go and sit in a cafe in Ponsonby and watch the world go by. Avoid the Stir Crazies. Maybe meet people.

I just about killed myself in the first month of self-employment, mainly because I have been much harder on myself than any boss could ever be. But that's because I have always been used to somebody watching over me, taking responsibility for my well-being. What if the whole process of becoming self-employed means that I have to create a whole new kind of personality, that can not only do the job but look after myself?
vostoklake: (KATE)
... to roll out of bed and spend eight hours or so in a day composing/recording/writing, instead of indexing.

But the world needs indexes and is prepared to pay for them. The same cannot be said, at this stage, for arty-satirical electronic music or cultural theory. And at least indexing is useful labour which doesn't require me to do anything which makes me hate myself.

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July 2015

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