I find myself writing letters to ghosts when my mind wanders and my soul feels ill at ease. Ghosts of memory and past and of things lost or misplaced and in hiding until the time is right for them to reappear. We all have ghosts that haunt us, things in our past we wish we could change or do over with the knowledge of our past mistakes fresh in mind so that we don’t cock them up like we did last time. It’s all day dreaming, mind you, but the essential sort of day dreaming you need to do once in a while. Soul searching, I believe, is what most people call it. It’s when you become very deeply immersed in who you are, who you were and who you want to be. The problem is that I’ve discovered while I have a clearly defined and often times nauseatingly glib past, who I currently am, who I know myself to be is a mystery and until it’s solved will pose quite a few problems with figuring out my future self. I’m taking steps, mind you, looking at things that as a man I need or want. I’m doing everything from reevaluating my career to looking at who I am when it comes to personality and principles and the fundamental building blocks that make you a human being, not just another part of the nameless herd of mankind that scrabbles across the planet in a monotonous, bland existence. I want to be more than just background filler, more than just the set dressing in another person’s story but in order to do that I first have to know who I am.
Nosce te ipsum. Know thyself.
It’s why I write letters to dead relatives and lost loves and imagined friends from dreams I had when I was a boy. I’ve thought I’ve known myself in the past and, looking back now I can clearly see who and what I was but seeing who I am now is hard to do. I need glasses for my soul, something to help bring into focus the man I am trying to become. I make no resolutions when the new year starts. Never have. I don’t work well with deadlines that are laid out for me, even if they’re deadlines I set for myself. Yet, a week and a half into 2014 and I find myself wanting desperately to have an answer. Who am I as a man? Who am I as a spiritual being? What do I stand for and what do I believe in? What are my values, my beliefs, my passions and my goals? How can I take my dreaming and make it a reality? These are all questions that everyone has, that I’ve struggled with for years but that never seem to get answered when I ask them. Now, 11 months shy of my 30th birthday, I feel a sort of biological clock ticking away inside me. My art, my passion truly is for the written word. Nothing separates mankind from the other life on this planet more so than the fact that we can take our traditions, our history, who we are as a race and pass it on to successive generations through oral and written tradition. My grandfather would play his guitar and tell stories about his childhood and life to my sister and I as we grew up. I never lived on a farm, never worked a field or walked barefoot to school, but I can tell you about it, about the experience and the emotion and the feeling you get from growing up with the love of close family to make even the poorest man be richer than a king. My grandfather could make you smell the honeysuckle on the vine as you walked a gravel path down to a creek bed in the August heat and by the time he was done you’d feel as if you’d just dried yourself in the sun and relaxed on the green grass by the creek bed with him.
Passion. I’ve got it. Lots of it. But direction and cause, a modus operandi is still lacking. Even with that plan in place, there has to be more to me than just a pen and paper. I love horror and science fiction movies, I love day dreaming and good books that make you feel and good music that lifts the soul but finding who I am at my core isn’t going to be in those things I enjoy and have passion for. I’m a father and while I find an inconceivable measure of love, pride, joy and hope in my son’s eyes, one day he will be a grown man and a father himself. While he will always need me to an extent, he’ll have a life without me and will have to grapple with his own search for identity and self. In that regard I have to be a teacher, a sign post that says “this way” or “that way” to help guide him. I won’t be able to walk him down the road same as my father couldn’t walk me. I can only point him in a direction and hope it’s the right way. Knowing who I am, knowing the struggles and the things I had to endure to become who I am will help him… as soon as I figure out who I am.
Rambling again. I do this frequently. Journal entries and blog entries and conversations with friends and family all seem to start out with a clear and well defined path and end up with me rambling on and on about things that aren’t quite on topic. So, I’ll conclude for tonight, I suppose, by saying that the journey is long, the road is crooked and difficult to navigate and, at the present time, the path is unclear. I don’t know where I’m going or who I am or will be but I know that for the first time in my adult life I am clear headed as I try to search, try to find myself in this world. I write letters to ghosts to remind me of where I’ve been, to say “hello” without ever going back. Forward momentum is what I’ve got now and while I may send a post card to the past once in a while, there’s no reverse now. The adventure is already in progress.