Lion in winter

While you might not think it to look at me, I'm quite possibly the most optimistic poor sod you're ever likely to meet. Not one to comment on the glass as half-full, but rather someone who peers through the haze of adversity and disappointment with the mindset that something good will come of this. I approach, endure and leave every situation with the underlying assumption that it will work itself out for the best in the end, because after all, I'm never driven by any other force than the desire for the best possible outcome. How could this marriage of piety, auspiciousness and faith ever fail?

Insert laugh track here.

Still, this naive belief functions as the propulsion that keeps me moving from this day to the next, even though I fight not to let it transform into a concious thought with tooth and nail. It exists as the frayed edges around my view of the world. I expect the universe to meet candour halfway and reward purity of thought, even if my actions are sometimes worhty of little more than a slap on the wrist. Sometimes I catch myself wondering if I'm really just pissing into the wind and mistaking the spatter on my face as a gentle offshore breeze.

Admitting such face value naivety makes me shiver first, then smile. This is who I am. For better or worse, this is it.

Unfortunately recent times have forced me to question if I've been foolish enough to once again put a considerable amount of time and effort - not to mention heart and soul - into ventures that will, ultimately, wither away into obscurity and leave me counting the days I could've spent working on something other than sand castles. I'd like to kid myself that every loose end will ultimately find a purpose, but that's hardly realistic. Expectations have been imposed upon me as a sort of ultimatum, filling the dead air with negativity and halting the advance of creative freefalling, something I consider an essential lifeline for any worthwhile undertaking. This has inspired me to yet again weigh my options with a heavy heart while trying very hard not to instinctively resort to my worn-out party piece - abandoning yet another collaborative endeavor. Yet I keep wondering how I'm supposed to prove myself to warrant a leap of faith in others without having to break my back to instill faith in that it's an exercise with merit.

Such foolish notions should have little power over me, as I'm far more self-reliant than most creative minds in my position and collaborations tend to be more of a welcome diversion from enterprises closed off to others. Yet this fresh set of visionary clashes has confused my compass enough to leave me spinning in circles for the time being. I know it is but an eyeblink in time, a blot of ink on the canvas as it were, yet I can't restrain my thoughts from wandering and question if I was simply too blinded by a desire to succeed to realize the futility of the effort. I tend to grow quite angry at myself if and when the cold shower of wasted time washes over me and hindsight transforms into a finger pointing at the undersigned for not picking up the signal sooner.

Peering back to make sense of the greater scheme, I feel I might've tied my hands with the rope of an illusion of setting very restrictive bounds for my creativity for the betterment of the end result. The truth being something of a mirror image of said perceived achievement. A bittersweet revelation; one that hides the wisdom it has to offer very, very well. I've been down this road before and confess to being none the wiser as to what kind of lesson I'm expected to learn. Ego has a part to play, I suppose, but I've never picked up the guitar or pen to glorify myself and I would never admit to having made creative decisions on the basis of pride alone.

As a strange counterforce, experiences like this serve as reassurance and strong reminders of why my best work has always stemmed from a singular, uncompromising vision with very little breathing room for anyone else's voice. It's a lonely existence and not without its daily challenges, but I wonder: could anything else truly be as fulfilling?

My fingers caress the fretboard and I feel her skin on my fingertips. She is equal parts flesh and smoke, a mirage of a living human being. My concentration shatters into pieces with but a thought of that smile. I get lost in her eyes. I laugh, shake off the visions with a shrug and convince myself yet again that allowing myself to revel in such imagery is a complete and utter mistake with no redeeming quality. And that, my friends, is indeed the inconvenient truth. A romantic mirror image of the creative whitewash I've just transcribed. She fills my thoughts and my hands fly wildly from side to side like I'm trying to kill a wasp. Away with you!

These are strange times. Everything flows into a great big pot of strange surprises, draining setbacks and happy accidents, making it an impossibility to distinguish between each ingredient and how they contribute to the end result. Trying to be pragmatic or philosophical about it is like asking the boat's anchor what its take on the nature of the storm is as the rain sweeps over the ship.

It can get quite taxing on one's psyche when the good and bad intertwine to the point where it's a delightfully fruitless exercise in hit-or-miss to even begin pondering what to take away from all of this. I am a hopeless explorer of hidden enlightenment and revelations, as my internal clockwork is wholly incapable of processing such patterns as shit happens. Yes, I am indeed very much aware of this, torn only between calling it a quality or flaw.

Often I forget if I am supposed or expected to play the protagonist, antagonist or simply an extra in a given situation, not to mention if my intended role was the one I ended up playing. Hard to explain and I'd imagine it's even harder to understand. I'm paraphrasing as usual, mainly because I'm more wary than ever of accidentally disclosing any information that has the potential to backfire in any way whatsoever. I can't change people's exuberant willingness to misinterpret, draw misshapen conclusions and find excuses to get offended, so I'll rather just keep my tongue on a short leash.

I won't deny that it would be a welcome change for things to unfold in a slightly less dramatic manner, if for nothing else than for the sake of variety. It does keep things in fluent motion broken by the occasional abrupt turn, which I suppose is a positive note. Disharmony is an enticing entity, very vibrant. Still, the occasional downward slope would do wonders to break the monotony of this constant uphill stride. My legs are getting tired.

But I didn't choose this path to scour away for even a momentary breather. Though more strength and resolution is demanded of me than I could've anticipated, I am grateful for the barrage. It is a sobering thought to realize how thick your skin truly is when the rocks start flying.