Sometimes you cannot survive the beating. Sometimes the infraction is small yet the beating is too much and you don’t survive it. And sometimes the beatings come one after the other so that eventually you don’t survive one of them. Sometimes you are convinced that you are not worth the gift you have or the one that falls your way or anything at all you may have acquired. That none of it is deserved and that all you are is worth nothing unless it is given away. As quickly as possible. And it takes on a quality, a metaphor of the self. The talent, the opportunity, the loved one, the body part, the money, all of it to be given away. None of it deserved. All of it undeserved. Someone else deserves it and needs it and the fairy tale continues. It is a way one can beat oneself to death. With the unending help of a voice telling you always that you are only a good person if you continue to sacrifice yourself to your community. And what is my community? Who are these people who tell me to give my small gifts to others because I am not the one who needs or deserves; that there is a bigger need in others less fortunate and the finding of them to give myself to them is the better path. Who are these people? What is their philosophy? What were they trying to accomplish? Am I really to believe there was care toward an individual somewhere on any end of the gift? Or is it philosophy? Or is it dogma? What is it? There is always a way to strip yourself of a good thing and toss it away. There are charities. There are individuals. There are friends. There are watchers and waiters. What is a good deed? When is it a good deed? When does it look like a good deed but the truth of it is something else altogether?
When I was a girl I had a gift. A small gift or a great gift; who knows what it might have been and what it was for; and I was beaten and it was taken away and I participated in all that. I said ok to it. I said ok, you are right, I will give it away and someone else will have it, I don’t need it as much as someone else might. They will do something more worthwhile with it then I will. What I want and have is no good no good no good no good. What I give is the great worthwhile.
But there is a grace in receiving; in accepting that which is in your hand. It is already there and perhaps is already worthwhile in just that simplicity.
You have a child with a talent and it is his and he is deserving of anything that may come his way that could support his talent and the possibility of it. But someone could come along to convince him that his true value lay in the sacrifice of all the work it takes to keep that talent; and he could spend his life chasing the tail of it instead of living in the middle of it; and the unfortunate difference is that the world did not get the greater potential. And the unfortunate world is full of this tragedy.
So be careful what you harass others for in regard to what they should or should not do with a fortune; with their fortune; their small fortune; a small thing that is their fortune; their luck, their gift, their opportunity, their promise, their talent, their body, their energy, their life force. You have your own self to make these demands on. Your own self is enough and if there are limits to what you can do there certainly must be limits to what someone else can do. Certainly the insistence of what is right in another person’s choices that are not illegal or cruel is fundamentally wrong. Certainly that conundrum is workable if you simply remove the insistence. It is simply corrected simply by that extraction. Done. Done. Done.
I simply found a bill on the street and told you about it and it has become this large thing for us to figure out between us. It is resonant to me of a time when there were voices everywhere who told me what to do all the time with all of myself. Many of these voices were inside people I assumed had my best interest at heart; and the interest of the world as well. But I have discovered the wrong in this philosophy and now I’m awake to it.
You have done a good thing by wanting me to take this 50 and give it immediately away. You have helped keep me awake. I will take this 50 that i picked up out of the snow and dried off and I will save it so that I can use it to pay my modest way in the world while I continue to do what I want with my life which is make art and live in a way I believe in. It is truly all I ever wanted.