Friday, June 11, 2010

different, but the same

before i continue with my series on dismissal, disregard and disgust, i wanted to write about some thoughts i have been having about differences. while it might seem like i am focusing on words that start with the letter "d", i assure you that this is not my intent. but as i think on it, i will admit that "d" words do carry a certain allure for me. let's face it, there is no way to tiptoe through a word starting with the letter d. and when that word is a descriptor (another d), then it is especially delicious to spit out of the mouth.

but we were going to write about difference, yes?

difference. it is perceived, more than actual (isn't everything?). and yet, as i like to say, "what a day a difference makes". difference is one of the key motivators in changing anything at all--we want something to be different. but here is where we mess it up--because difference is more about changing the inside than changing the outside. you know the old saying: "wherever you go..."

so as i spend time thinking about the places i have been recently and how life would look were i to live there, i have to frequently pull my ass out of the clouds and check what i am looking at to make sure that i am seeing it with my feet on the ground. this is because there are two considerations for me as i decide where i should move to: how different do i want this place to be; and, how different do i want the experience of myself to be?

thinking about the east bay, and even portland to an extent, i have noticed that in both those cities, i was able to recognize myself. the surroundings were not so different that i did not feel, in part, like i could be at home, albeit a smaller, greener home with better coffee. there were still people on cell phones, there were still cars, there was still bad service, sunshine, and bad dance music. but there were also lots of bikes, and helpful people, and bookstores, and people who walked, and lovely rain, and art. these were the differences i noticed. you might argue that all of the things in both lists can be found in los angeles, and you would be right, but what i am talking about is proportion. the proportion of the first list is greater in los angeles, while the reverse seems true in the east bay and portland. the question i have to ask myself is: how different does my potential new home need to be? but then in the same breath i need to also ask: how different do i need to feel there?

the mistake that is often made is assuming that a change in self will accompany a change in place. sometimes this is true. but i did get the feeling that, at least in the east bay, i could sort of "resume" being myself in this different place. i mean, it is still california, and people speak english, and they have whole foods markets and even an ameoba records. i could imagine setting up a cozy apartment much as i have here, and blogging just as i am now. would it be different enough? or would i move there and find, one day, that i have just "changed the wallpaper" in what is otherwise my same life?

i checked out edinburgh, scotland, the other day on the web. my friends from florida, darren and al, live there. they speak english in scotland, but it sounds so different (al says "arse" instead of "ass"--i like it--sounds like he is referring to a pirate's ass). i also know that they have the edinburgh fringe festival there every year, which sounds pretty groovy. all in all, europe as a whole is certainly different, but is it too different? i have been to europe--specifically spain and italy, and as i recall, i still recognized myself in both of those places. hmmm. that gets me thinking. perhaps the change i seek needs to start from within. i have to tell you, i can't believe i am writing that, it sounds so new agey, which is SO not me, but if, as i said earlier, that change is perception, then maybe it is not such a mystical statement--maybe it is a neurological issue. but if that is the case, then what would i change inside? what, in my way of thinking, would i alter? what, in the way i perceive things, would i want to be different?



  1. Why do you have this desire to be different? That's what I would ask myself if I was you. Acceptance is a good goal to have....both of yourself and your situation. If you can accomplish this, then maybe you will be content no matter where you are.

  2. my niece lara says that if you plant roots where you are, you will grow and flourish, or something to that tune. so that is the acceptance part you talk of, jabacue. why do i desire to be different? there are only some parts i want to change--namely the part that is an asshole or the part that views people as threatening. those parts don't make me enjoy life, but they are a byproduct of living in a huge city, as well as my innate temperment and development. an artist, i am always interested in change--acceptance does not necessarily exclude the desire to change. :-)