I began this blog with the hopes of achieving a lofty goal, to use the life within me to beget a more creative life. A move toward being the most authentic possible version of myself. To foster my creative energies, to develop and focus my talents. Indeed, it may be said that I’ve learned a great deal about myself here on The Used Life. I’m discovering a real direction for my interests, allowing myself the freedom to play, to experiment, to connect with others who share similar interests. All of that brings me joy. Yet, I am still very much grappling with the one thing–the single, most important thing–I came here to discover. What my talent is.
I have one. I know it. I’ve always known it. Ever since I was a little girl, it’s been my difference. In my mind, I refer to it as “that thing I do.” When I articulate an idea that instantaneously charms me with its depth, its level of insight, and the aura of profundity in which it seems to bask. Those smooth, simple phrases that alleviate me of the burden of understanding. Lush, cerebral, and hazy. “The essence of the feminine is creative.” Oh, my, did that come out of me? But, it did. It popped into my mind while I was sitting on the couch one afternoon. Another seductive phrase whose meaning partially eludes me. A sentence that, for all intents and purposes, may as well have been written by someone else. It’s just a sense. A sense from which I must work uphill. Pitting logic against faith. Patiently, diligently chasing clarity. Utility. An ever-increasing burden.
I often feel as if my inner world is too close to the surface. I see it with a far greater exactitude than anything on the outside. My familiarity with the nuances of feeling. My gaze is disproportionately focused. It is a peculiar way of thinking that I’ve yet to find a use for. That, in my younger days, I worked very hard to conceal. And, that I still keep under wraps in my professional life. It brings me a great deal of joy to express it here now–to develop it on this blog. I have the dim sense that it’s my greatest gift. Introverted intuition? Is that what they call “that thing I do?” That thing I at once love and despise. I am speculating. Based on a description I recently read of my cognitive type, INTJ, however useful that kind of information is. I don’t know what to call it. I don’t even know if it has a name.
At times, I get discouraged. I devour psychology books. Carl Jung. Otto Rank. Karen Horney. Rollo May. Jordan Peterson. I look to Nietzsche. Kierkegaard. Paz. Nin. I’m not just following my intellectual interests. I am searching for wisdom. For insight into the human condition. For an “aha” moment. For something–anything–that can help me figure out–for God’s sake, what do I DO with this THING?! Because I am facing the possibility that I have been given a talent that is useless to the society in which I live. I am a hyphen. A blur in the lines. A poet-psychologist-philosopher-connoisseur of sexy little things. (The fourth role being, clearly, the most fun and the most charming.) In a world of sepcialists, toiling in the gaps. But, with a drive, with such an insatiable drive to express it. The hyphen. Whatever it is. That manner of thinking that makes me view nearly all other kinds of thinking as dreadfully one-dimensional, uninspired, or lacking in life.
All that unused life. This is the stuff of my existential crisis. Can the world use what I can give? Does it matter? To hell with the world? Is the work itself not enough? Should it be? What sacrifices do I make to preserve my uniqueness? Do I even have another choice? I’m not a one-woman island, even though I think I am. At bottom, do I only want to be understood?
To be clear, I didn’t write this because I expect any of you to have the answers. I am not looking for you to lift me up. (I’m fine. And, in real life, I am not all that “feel-y,” anyway.) I wrote this post because I had something to say. I wanted to be realistic about the pangs of a struggle with which, I suspect, a number of creative thinkers can empathize. The prospect that some of us will never be able to actualize our potential according to our hearts’ desires. That we’ll have to make peace with some concessions. Short of giving up. The eternal optimist in me never permits that thought to cross my mind.