Thursday, December 2, 2010
Der Steppenwolf - About Me
There are many words that could be used to describe me, dozens of metaphors, and thousands of praises and curses. However, one word-a proper noun, a metaphor, an adjective, a curse, and, in some circles, a deceptive note of praise-that I believe best describes me stems from one of the world's greatest literary classics: Steppenwolf.
I could perhaps reflect for hours on end why I feel myself to be akin to one of Herman Hesse's most popular and profound works, but, for the sake of time and energy, I will keep my pontifications brief and concise. To begin I would highlight the similar traits I share with the work's primary character, the individual through whose gaze we take in the depth of Hesse's fictional world, Harry Haller. Like Haller I have often felt myself both a part of and antagonistic with society. I love people, even those who I feel have wronged me, to an extent that I, occasionally and fleetingly, believe in the concept of altruism, and I simultaneously hold a bitter, contentious, and rancorous hatred for them to the point where I am sure my devout cynicism is justified. I understand the need for society and its trappings, but also despise the current modes of living offered to the majority. I hate the bourgeoisie, but recognize that, to a limited extent, I am one of them, and I therefore hate myself. Erudition and savageness often war within me, content to bicker and bite at one another until my dying breath, and my silent contemplations on the nature of reality, life, death, my position in society, my position with those I care for and may come to care for, and the very nature of who I -that perpetually foreign concept- am are often sources of perpetual questioning for me.
I am the son of two stereotypically middle to lower middle class individuals. My father is a social worker and my mother a secretary. I have experienced, at different and varying points in my life, what it is to be working class and bourgeoisie. As a child I spent my youth at first loving my black/browness and then later developing a perverse fondness for my golden brown/yellow complexion and ambiguous features which I felt distanced me from my "darker" skinned peers. It wouldn't be until I became 16 years of age that I learned that I was afflicted with a most heinous and insidious type of self-hatred which often made me feel both inadequate and bitter when I reflected on the truth of my heritage and the fact that some of my features were not so "ambiguous" as to make me all that different. Further, it would not be until I turned 18 that I would realize that my reverse polarity at 16 was just as damaging as my mode of thought prior to it. At 20 I would come to understand the need for balance and indifference in order to survive in a society that I had come to understand was perverted beyond all rational reason.
My childhood is not a subject that I enjoy dwelling on, and, as such, my reminiscence on this topic shall be rather curt. I was a silent child for the most part, though I've been told I had an excellent command of speech bordering on that which is said to be the talent of young girls. I've been told I would often talk at length about subjects that were of great interest to me, but would be rather laconic otherwise. I did not much care for my peers-nor do I still-and I often enjoyed reading, writing, playing pretend, and drawing/painting over playing outside with other children (though I would occasionally play fight, if only because my single best friend at the time was a terrible extrovert who liked to watch the Power Rangers and emulate them-I preferred the Ninja Turtles to be honest).
I'm ridiculously shy and introverted, though around those I know I can be seemingly gregarious for an hour or so before having to sequester myself. I am also sarcastic, fairly apathetic unless the subject is one of importance to me, and have been told I can be rather witty. I know for a fact that I am very tender hearted, not a very desirable quality for a man I've been told, but also that I am more aggressive than I am complacent. Many have told me that I seem to be a very giving and understanding person, though I often jokingly suggest that it's only a cover for my plans to lull them into a false sense of security before subjugating them and taking over the world-after all, kindness kills.
All of these things coalesce into forming the person that I am and how I view the world. Race, Gender, Sex, Sexuality, Inequality, Class, Religion (or anti-religion as the case may be), and, most importantly, Art are all aspects of who I am, but only serve to paint a very shallow, emotionless portrait. I am more than these concepts, as are most, if not all, of the people who exist on this plane.
Lastly, I am an artist, a writer, a researcher, and philosopher who seeks to use these mediums to act against the injustices-racist, sexist, homophobic, genderist (i.e.-cisgender privilege), and classist-that plague our society. However, I also use them to explore myself and who I am and what matters to me. I use them to express love, hatred, bitterness, and amusement. I use them to find my truth.
This is what the Cross Journal is for; another medium of expression for my thoughts and my reality.
Thank you for reading, and please enjoy.