Follow The Yellow Brick Road

8 Jul

How many lives have you lived in your lifetime so far? How many versions of you have there been?
As you sip your morning coffee are you planning an escape from what you have settled into? Have you started buying your “new you” wardrobe, or does the one you already have, serve all the incarnations of you?

I always need new clothes and hair. Sometimes my new path demands a return to a version of what I have worn but my hair is always different. In fact it’s my tell. Whenever you see that my hair has gone from blonde to dark or long to buzzed down so far, that I look like the original Ken doll, you will know that I’m off to find my head.

That’s what we used to call it back in the late 60’s. Only then, we bought an old Bell van and just took off, usually to Vancouver or California. I used to joke that I was off to find my my head, which was last seen going over Niagara Falls in a barrel.

Right now I am doing two things that are setting my feet on the yellow brick road. 1. I am working on removing the contradiction between who I am and what I want my life to be. It’s so easy to get twisted up in the things you have no control over that you stop living and start suffering.

Which leads me to 2. I’m reading “Feel Free” by Zadie Smith. Feel Free is a series of essays, articles etc. that deal with everything from Brexit to Dance Lessons For Writers.
I will admit when I first started reading this book, it produced a sense of panic in me, because it appeared to be in direct conflict with all the zen I was trying to find, so that I could access that sweet creative spot , that gives me such bliss. But I forced myself to persevere because I kept remembering the excerpt I had read from it, that made me want to read the whole book.

And I went from pounding heart panic to a serene understanding. Reading the first section of the book showed me, that what is happening here in North America is happening everywhere. It also helped me to understand why, what the solution is and how to let go of all my angst.

If you are waiting for me to elucidate, stop. I have learned that many times the ahhhh moments we receive, only work because of who we are as individuals. But I do encourage everyone to read this book because she is a keen observer and wonderfully articulate in breaking down tough philosophical and socio-political points.

I recently got rid of my cell phone and am loving the freedom. This of course has caused me to examine my other connections to technology and social media. Zadie Smith covers FB in an essay called Generation Why.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with FB. On one hand I have met some incredible people, who are now my friends in real life. I have reconnected with people I have loved forever and follow pages like “Brain Pickings” that introduce me to books like Feel Free. It can be a wonderful place to receive support when you’re blue or terrible things happen, or great things happen, or it’s your birthday, or you’re in love…

But it’s also a mob, a place where despair, fear and anger is magnified. And people feel comfortable expressing themselves with such narcissistic indulgence that if they did so with the person in the room with them, they would be punched in the face. It’s the place where you find out that someone you respected is in truth a racist. or a misogynist. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of closet misogynists there are on FB that all come rushing out whenever you, as a woman, dare to have a difference of opinion, or take a serious view on something they take as levity. I am talking about personal attacks versus discussion or opportunities to teach.

Which leaves me standing with Ms. Smith (I really want to call her Zadie, because I wish we were friends and could discuss the world over coffee or cocktails) wondering if social media elevates my life at all or hinders me from really living it.

While I am deciding I will be posting less and living more. Having conversations face to face instead of interface. My audiences will be in the same room as me unless I start a podcast or have a youtube channel. I will be putting all my energy into making my dreams come true instead of helping Mark Zuckerberg fulfill his.

Yesterday for the first time in years, I was watching a movie and I started imagining a world for a speculative fiction piece, and it was fun. I felt like I used to when I was a child. I felt like I want to feel all the time.


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