Narcissit? Who me?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sometimes I like to wax philosophical.

So just a few moments ago I was digging through a ball of wax and it got me to thinking about life. In life we have to make our way blindly, much like I had to when I was scooping bits of hardened wax with a nail clipper looking for the wick at it's center- just as in life we are searching for illumination (or sometimes just the beginning of it)

The ball of wax wasn't actually a ball of wax. It was actually a candle and I had lost the wick when the candle burned incorrectly and instead of digging the wick back out immediately, I instead put tea lights on top of it, and on top of it until there as a few inches of wax on top of where the wick was.

Now, I as I am digging through the wax -the wax was white because the candle was white. I once had a Halloween candle where it was a pick sort of candle that was shaped like a hand and when you lit it the wax ran red- like blood! But anyways, it was white, and I am looking through this candle and I keep seeing bits of match sticks that I left inside the candle, and they are all burnt up and look like wick so I keep thinking that I've found the wick. But I hadn't. I kept having to dig deeper, I kept having to get to another level of wax. I had so many layers and I saw so many bits of match stick that I was sure, every time, that I had found it, but I hadn't.

Just like so many times in my life I was so sure about things that had come my way, and how every time they came along I was certain that they were the real deal. They were what I was looking for. That this was the right job, that this was the right person, that this time it would all work out and every time it turned out not to be: I don't get hired for the job I was sure I wanted, the people I like don't feel the same about me, the book I wrote get rejected, or the end result of all my hard work isn't what I had intended. But I just keep at it. Just like when I was digging through my candle looking for my wick. I am looking for my wick in life. I am looking for the one thing, person, job, story, word, or pair of pants that brightens my life, and gives my ball-of-wax-life purpose and meaning.

So I am digging through my little candle with my nail clipper, and I am scrapping off layer by layer, and all these thoughts are coming at me. About how my life is like this candle and this bit of match stick was So-and So, and this bit of match stick was "A Boy and His Bed." and this bit of candle was was my university years, and this layer was high school and on and on. And I was getting tired, you know, and the nail clipper was not ergonomically designed for digging through the candle, so it was kinda hurting my finger and I couldn't seem to find the wick, and the wax was real hard. So I gave myself an out. I said, Self, I said: "Self, you can quit anytime you want. It doesn't matter -we will just put a tea light in it again and it'll do."

But I didn't quit.

I just kept going and digging through this candle looking for the wick. And it was hard work and my finger hurt and I could've quit and just found a tea light to put in it and then just eventually just bought another candle. But I didn't. See. Because I was this candle. If I gave up on my original wick and just put something else in it's place I wouldn't be using the full potential of the candle. Just like if I gave up looking for the right person, or the right job, or if I stopped writing stupid poems and children's books, or buying pairs of pants I wouldn't realize my full potential. Sure, I could pick just anyone, any job, be conventional, wear sweats, and put something else in all of these places to complete my life immediately and it would still light my creative, emotional, and spiritual needs for a while, but eventually it is just going to be a pile of wax on an unburned candle of unrealized talent, and love, and hope, and elasticized waist-bands. And I have all these thoughts and all of these ideas, and this candle was me, and I would never give up on all my hopes and dreams and wishes . I wanted to keep looking for my"wick" so I certainly wasn't going to give up on this candle.

So I continued scrapping knowing full well I had a choice to stop. I had a choice that if I wanted to I could, at anytime, put down the nail clipper and put a tea light in this candle and continue on with my evening but I didn't. I kept scrapping.

Now I had scrapped off a good inch of wax off the top of this candle and had thought some of the most intense thoughts, and sure, some of the thoughts were a bit of a stretch, but I was happy they had come and now I was determined that I had to find the wick. I had to be getting close, it had to be near. This is where the doubt set it. I was unsure if the wick could be found. I had been searching for a while now and had no sign of the wick. I began to get worried because what if I had gone in the wrong direction. I mean it was a candle and the basic direction in wick locating is fairly simple - DOWN. But I thought what if I had missed the center of the candle?what if the wick was off center? What if I was heading in the wrong direction? And, even worse, what if one of those bits of match stick was actually the brittle, susceptible beginning of the wick, and I had broken it off and ground the wick into nothing-ness? Never to be recovered!

Are you making the connections?

You see just as in wick-finding, I have anyways went along head first, guided by nothing more than intuition and good vibrations,and set out blindly into the world, thinking that without a doubt, everything would work itself out. I would find what I was supposed to do. I would find the right person (and they would like me back.) Things would work out for me, and I would live the life I have always imagined. And so I went on for a few years confident that I was on coarse and would soon find my "wick" (ie. person, job, fame, success, pant sale.) But then nothing happened. Years went by and rejection came (in various forms) and false starts were made, and there were trips and fumbles, and bits of match stick, and there was no "wick" in sight. This is where the doubt set in. What if I was wrong? What if I was going in the wrong direction? What if what I thought I wanted was wrong? What if it was impossible to achieve? And, even worse, what if I had missed the opportunity? What if I had done something wrong and messed everything up and I would never find my "wick"?

But what choice did I have? Should I abandon all hope in finding the wick? Should I just put a tea light in it's place? Should I give up and not really get what I wanted? Should I admit defeat?

I didn't give up. Although I had the choice, the opportunity, and the option to simply stop looking, I didn't. Sure, it didn't make any sense to keep looking for the wick in a five dollar candle if the wick was impossible to find. Sure I could have instant gratification and the soft glow of a tea light. But then I would just keep adding layer of wax to layer of wax and let the candle get farther and father away from it's true potential. And I couldn't do that. Me and the candle had done too much together. I was invested in this candle, and it was the only one I had so I had to make it count ( that part isn't actually true but it makes a great parallel!)

So I kept digging, and I had gone down, oh, about another inch. I had gone through doubt and I had gone threw false hope and match sticks and I was sure I had gone to far. There weren't even any match stick this deep and nothing was happening I was just scrapping layer and layer of flakey white wax away in the general direction of where I thought the wick would be.

And there it was.

After I had scrapped away a layer of wax and dumped the flakes into the garbage, there was the wick. Poking out of the candle, just as perfect and white and simple as you can possibly imagine. And unbeknownst to me when I was doing it I had scrapped out a little deeper all around the wick so it had room to burn and breathe. I was so surprised and shocked and happy when I found it, I couldn't even remember the doubts I had, or the reasons I had for quitting. I had found the wick.

Now, as I am sure you've guessed, I would like to find my "wick" in the exact same way. I want to stumble upon it, them, whoever or whatever. I want it to be there one day and for me to see it, and I want it or them to be a surprise and make me happy, and give my life meaning; a purpose and utility. I want to find my "wick" poking right out at me, just where I thought it would be. I want there to be room enough in my life for my "wick" to burn and grown and light my creative and spiritual fire. I want there to be light when I find it.

I want all of this because now, as I have lit the wick at the center of that big ol' ball of wax, my little candle if burning brighter than the rest. And that is what I want for me.

...Now can you imagine the thoughts I could think if I was ever exposed to great art, life, people, and places? I got all this from sitting down and scrapping hardened wax for 45 minutes!

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