shaman by night

Thanks for hanging in there with me this last year or two. I’ve been delinquent about birthdays and have let the birthday project slide a bit, but it’s in no way a reflection of my feelings toward loved ones and, well, birthdays. I’ve been internally focused these past few years, particularly since June of 2003, and I don’t relate to everyone in the same way. This is a great thing, truly, as I’m not as gripey and adversarial as I was, but I’m still in an inward phase and until I come out of it, I fear your judgment. I am not moving head on into projects, jobs, degrees, plans, elaborate money making schemes or anything else our culture so applauds. I am moving into myself, figuring out the niggly bits that irk me and hold me back. Internal focus is not depressed focus. Worry not. I’m happier and more grounded than I’ve ever been.

No, I’ll not keep in this direction forever. It doesn’t ultimately suit my nature, which leans slightly toward external exploration and curiosity. Yet I’ve discovered that much of my wanderlust was a misguided affair. I sought safety without, from cultures where I found more comfort and acceptance than from my own fast food, Prozac nation. Cultures where in not belonging, I belonged. As a foreigner, not belonging was my place. It was a role that suited me.

But that role had limits and its comforts were, ironically, superficial. Finally I accepted that itinerancy was an attempt to avoid myself and my fears, which tend more toward commitments than dragging octogenarians about Iran. It was easy to pretend I was fearless working and traveling as I did. I also accomplished this less dramatically by delving variously into education, career, family life—any platform to keep busy and avoid my personal truths. At times it seems our entire society is designed with this in mind. Our careers, our lifestyles, our manners of education and communication are all about moving fast and keeping busy instead of connecting or understanding. Keep busy so we can buy stuff and impress because if we slowed and looked at the state of things, we might have to change radically. And that is terrifying. Much better the devil we know.

But the truth doesn’t go away. Ignored, mine festered within mind and body until its poison drew me down and demanded I answer to it. Until I can, or until I understand it at the least, more such plans of photography projects, work abroad, anthropology PhDs or law school will not take flight successfully. Obviously, I’ve got some questions about how and where I fit into this society of ours. Born to a family of black sheep, this should not surprise.

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