I’ve been writing for decades and traveling for far longer . . . .if at times only in my imagination. I’ve kept journals of thoughts, quoted ideas and comments from others and recorded dreams to paper that challenged my understanding and prompted serious life changes.
So it is with increasing frequency of late that my words, my thoughts and my doings have come together in greater force, in stronger standing, in more compelling prose.
I’ve heard that people write because they must. Always a reader of others’ books rather than writer of my own, I found in writers workshops those with the same compelling need to express thoughts, ideas, stories and tales. They, like me, could hardly resist the drive to memorialize what lived only in their minds and commit it to the more concrete realms of paper and, more recently, the digital space. We do not choose writing; writing chooses us. And whether our words sell millions of books or merely sit idly on shelves of a few close friends, these writings must nevertheless be bound.
So while I was writing only for myself in handwritten journals of tiny print, the compulsion has spurred me on, causing me to make public what previously were my private thoughts and personal musings.
I awoke this morning at 4am with the title for this chapter: WHY. While so often stumped as to how to reduce streaming thoughts and multiple offshoots into simple, readable nuggets, I was elated to be presented with a single word that could give rise to the photo I knew would be reason for which to write. Perhaps serve as an introduction to the backward-facing woman whose face, age, even sex, would prove unnecessary to view. To the woman who looks at nothing but a reflecting pond and sees with her mind what others know intuitively, yet deny.
The next thing I heard in bed today were lyrics from Cockeyed Optimist, a song from the Broadway show South Pacific. “For they call me a cockeyed optimist, and I can’t get it out of my head.”
Somewhere in time, I sang that song. I was part of a children’s theater group and I learned it back in the 4th or 5th grade. Yet nearly a half-century later, the same words echoed back to me again.
I am the cockeyed optimist. Always have been. When others have pledged allegiance to what they saw with their eyes, I was the child who ascribed with her mind. While I might not argue that something appeared before me in form, I could not be convinced that a superior substance stood elsewhere.
And that’s where my WHY’s surfaced. In childhood questions. In desires to fly elsewhere. In dreams that imagined a world exceeding the one we were all told to accept as our own.
Why do I write? Why do I travel? Because I know there is something better to behold, to seize upon, to occupy. I know with deep certainty that what presents itself in this world as real cannot actually be.
Otherwise, there would be no God. Otherwise, there would be no Good. Otherwise, there would be no Hope or place for Happiness.
It’s an impossible premise to uphold this world as everything when it is, in truth, a nothing.
So here I stand. Alone. Looking at and for what others would deny and yet hope for in fear and doubt of attaining: a Happy Place in which to dwell when bodies decay and decompose.
Which turns me into a sort of Don Quixote, an idealistic, if not insane, personality waging his sword at nothing more than windmills. For how can I give birth to the reality of a world that physical eyes cannot see, and that the current world system denies.
I’ve waited nearly a lifetime anticipating someone else to blaze the path to where I’ve wanted to go. Someone to serve as leader, pioneer, pursuer of what absolutely and positively must be. Yet in all my encounters, I’ve yet to see the leader emerge who would surrender all for the sake of Truth. For the sake of what’s actually real.
It’s a nasty, rock-filled, rugged road that binds the heart to fear. The path is unpaved, the dirt is untilled, the signs either unclear or unwritten. We all stumble and fall on the way to reaching the true peaceful place of Home that once lived inside our hearts. Money, society, physical necessities and more stand as roadblocks to continuing on our path to Peace. To Happiness. To ultimate Joy and Rest.
And while the inner yearning dwells only as a slight breeze in passing and attests that truly there is more, we are prone to pause in our pursuit of the far greater country we all know is our one and only home.
Instead, we meander aimlessly. We pretend to live where life does not exist and fabricate a purpose where none ever was.
Who can deny that the world here corrupts at every level and who can argue that it all ends up in death? Yet we aim to find worth among tossed-away trash while denying the only thing we always wanted: Our eternal place of common and unfeigned Love. A love that extends for all, to all and through all.
It is the same place where striving stops, where anger ceases, and where comparisons are no longer necessary. This is the world where everyone matters, where there is nothing left to defend and where there is no reason to want. Here is where all the heart has ever yearned for is present, and sufficient, for each member to fully enjoy, to share, to extend.
I do stand. Alone. Yet not really. For how could I possibly be alone when what I reference, what I speak or what I write about is housed in everyone else’s heart?
I am not Alone. Truly, I am Everybody. I am an everybody, a somebody and a nobody all encased in a single frame.
Seemingly, my thoughts daily, regularly, even repeatedly may be argued as those spawned by the village idiot. By the non-conformist. By the idealist who refuses to grow up into accepting the world as it appears.
I am the one who would choose to deny everything the world proffers as real, yet I remain both powerless and unwilling to change my persuasion.
Despite every conflict, cancer and century of time to the contrary, I do believe in a better world, a superior society and a universal love that governs and encompasses all.
Will I make it to my destiny? Will I attain to the only true home I ever sought? Further, will I manifest it for others to view, even while somehow present in this flesh?
That, for me, is beyond my control to contrive. Yet contrive it or not, I cannot be unconvinced of the reality of my aim or the inestimable worth of its attainment.
I am the standing one who asks WHY when no one else will. I am the WHY posing the one question that this world can neither logically respond to nor adequately defend for something that doesn’t truly exist.