I have always wanted to be a countercultural icon. A rugged individualist who defines his own position in the world. Not dependent on licenses, state regulations, bosses, boards, companies, customers and governments to make a living. A man who has made his own way, possibly the result of natural talent.
I have the natural talent but lack the recognition. At least I think I have natural talent but I know that I do not have the recognition. Nothing is happening for me creatively, outside of my own solitary creative process. My computer is filled with my writings and my studio is filled with my art. Outside of this, there is nothing happening for me. I am just another ordinary guy.
Today I have to reply to several emails. I have to make a payment on my financial aid. I have to call back several potential clients. I have to meet with eight clients, for an hour each. I also need to water my plants, meditate and exercise. The dogs need to be fed and I think a few other bills need to be paid. It is Monday morning, the beginning of yet another work week. What could be less countercultural than this?
Instead of a countercultural icon, I fear I have become the status quo. I have an office. I own a home. I am married. I have five dogs. I have a camper van. I have a hot tub. I have lots of Danish Modern furniture. I have a backyard garden. All of these things are wonderful. These things unto themselves do not make me status quo. What makes me status quo is that I have to work at a job that I do not like, a job that is not really an authentic expression of who I am, in order to have these things. (What I mean is that I have to pretend to be happy about being at work, I have to pretend that I am into my work and this is often a main indicator that a person is not being authentic.) I would be happy to have the things that I do if I earned an income doing something I at least enjoyed (writing, making art). The fact that I have to earn money doing something that I have to pretend that I am interested in (or force myself to believe that it is not so bad), there is nothing countercultural about this. This in fact is the norm. There is nothing more status quo than feeling stuck in your work (job) because you have to support your lifestyle.
A countercultural icon is someone who has broken free from the status quo. They have been able to make a living (earn money) from what they are naturally talented at. They make strange things. They express outrageous thoughts and people buy what they have to say. Other people like what they are saying and their words and images spread like a dry grass fire. My words and images have done the opposite. They do not seem able to ignite (my grass remains damp). They stay confined to my computer and studio. Like my wife said, “No one is buying your stuff.”
So maybe I am not naturally talented. After twenty years of trying, maybe I must come to the conclusion that I am no good. Or maybe my “stuff” is just too strange or too something. Maybe at this point in my mid-life, wanting to be a countercultural icon is as stupid as wanting to become an alcholic. Maybe I have reached a point where this desire to be a writer and artist is actually ruining my life (preventing me from being able to enjoy anything). Maybe I need to let all of these ridiculous daydreams of countercultural fame go and just embrace the status quo. Maybe countercultural icon status is just not for me. Maybe it never was.
I need to go feed the dogs. Then I must exercise for thirty minutes. Then I need to go get dressed and get myself to work. I have a nine hour work day in front of me. Fuck. I have been fighting with my wife because she keeps acquiring things and this makes me mad. She doesn’t understand that with each new thing she buys I feel more trapped in the status quo (she recently came home with another dog). I need her to slow down but she does not seem able. She finds a great deal of happiness in things, so it seems. I like my things also, but I can not help but see the amount of hours that I have to work at a job that is painful for me, in order to keep these things. With each new thing we acquire, I see the loss of my countercultural dreams. Is this what growing up is all about? The only thing that will be countercultural about my work week is that I will be walking to work (car is in the shop).