Starving for Breakfast and Hungry Artistic Impulses
I am experiencing this insane impulse I call hunger to just get out. Okay, so I have been in this identity crisis for the past 33 years. I’ve jumped from one identity to another until I finally found peace of finding my true form in Christ. But what does that really mean as I live my life in this world?
Bombarded by standards day in and day out the Christ-like identity gets shoved in a pile of documents that are marked: first priority. Sifting through them there’s the “Parents legacy before they die” or ”The policy of keeping yourself together at work” or “The first commandment is to respect your elders” or “The first rule to inner peace is keep your passions on hold”.
Hold back. Hold back. That’s what the voices in my head say. They reverberate day and night in ever changing decibels and I have to admit, it’s slowly driving me mad because all I ever knew how to do eversince I decided to follow through true path of faith is to hold back.
Does following Jesus mean holding back? And holding back from what?
It’s a daily struggle because I am fed all these truths that I’m supposed to believe. My parents. My clan’s traditions. My country’s. And then there’s the Magisterium and The Word and the Sacred Traditions. And then there is this little voice that sifts everything from the inside of me wondering confused: what is the real truth anyway?
I’m asking all these questions on a Monday morning not so much to get the intellectual clutter out of my mind but really, c’mon. It’s time I find myself answers. I’m 33 and a high ranking executive in the company I work for. I have finished an MBA degree. But on the inside I’m as lost as an 18 year old could be.
At 4 years old I started my artistic journey by pounding on the ivory keys of my mother’s piano as she played Chopin’s Nocturne. I got myself a piano teacher and by the time I turned 11 I was studying formally in music center at school. Then by the time I was highschool I moved up to a conservatory of music and did recitals and when I got lucky, was appointed to do the finale. I graduated that course with distinction and was preparing for my solo recital.
On the other side I was experimenting with creating my own music with friends who belonged to a band. One of them had total faith in me he asked me to record one of my songs with their band and got it playing on a local rock station. Hearing it for the first time felt like I won the Grammy’s. Soon after that I was offered a record deal. It was the supposed “time of my life”. But the lukewarm support I got from my forebears didn’t make it feel comfortable and worth getting into. I slid back and gave myself some excuse that I’d rather honor my father and mother as they say in the 4th commandment for fear of being hit by lightning because I didn’t show enough respect. I cowered underneath the bold stride I used to possess because it got ridiculed and labeled as egotism.
Soon after I ventured into finding a stable job and worked in my dream company. I was offered 2 promotions but it never pushed through because I lacked the business acumen. I went for the plunge and decided I was going to business school.
That was 2 years of my life of intense training and rebuilding mindsets. My artistic inclinations stunted to give room for the development of my left brain. I would not say I mastered it but I mastered it enough to have passed the program and earned my degree. Somewhere in between I was stereotyped as the class thespian for my abilities in writing and oratory. I found room to breathe in electives that were fortunately developed for people like me. People who wanted to embrace a more humanist path in approaching the trek up the corporate ladder.
That boot camp planted ideals inside me that I still carry on to this day. And none of those ideals are about business excellence. But of character. When push comes to shove, most business decisions aren’t made because of knowledge but of character. And I suppose that’s where I am feeling a little bit shaky.
What is my character? Where is it based on? Do I really believe in all the things I believe? Or do I believe in them because “my parents say so” or “my alma mater say so” or “it’s the company policy”.
I’m not saying they are wrong. They’re not wrong. But when can I say that the belief needs to settle into my pores and pierce my heart so that I can call it my own? If the beliefs are not my own then I am just a mere follower. A puppet. I am not living my own life. But a life dictated. Isn’t true belief an overflow out of one possessed completely by this belief it becomes their life? Weren’t the saints and the martyrs completely possessed by the mystery of faith they walked into boiling cauldrons and guillotines and fire?
I want to be possessed the same way.
There is something unsettling when from the inside of you, you do not know what you really believe in because you cannot hear yourself. Right now I am assessed left and right for the decisions I make, at work, in the family, by the church. And when they call out something, I shift and shuffle. Move to the left or right. Until they’re all satisfied with what I manifest.
I thought faith was a product of an interior life? How can I always be moving because of everybody’s assessment of me?
For the past 5 years since I graduated from business school I have been on a mad-hunt for my authenticity. The jobs that come in my way are avenues. They’re channels that help me find my way. The relationships I have formed can be lost. Some have chosen to stay. And I am surrounded by many different people physically present as well as those watching from a distance. I have reduced my universe to what some may call monastic and some have interpreted anti-social.
But in this kenosis, I have found myself longing for more interaction too deep for most my peers can comprehend. And in this seeming seclusion I have felt the passion to exuberantly reach out beyond the borders of my own perimeter to find soulful connections that are unmasked.
Before that can even happen, I have realized the need to fully interact deeply with myself. To understand my idiosyncrasies and unmask my own illusions of who I am. I cannot go on pretending that I am comfortable with everything around me but perhaps in my own discomfort I will find that I am more peaceful in connecting with my life and reconnecting mine to others.
And the two halves of myself will find integration amidst the hustle and bustle of work expectations and reflective ponderings. Between the rigorous rhythm of boardroom debacles and the lullabye humdrums of writer’s dreams.
One just needs to believe, I will find my way.