On the topic of resetting and being reborn, I was reminded of an old post from 2013, called “Phoenix Complex.”
The best way I can describe my emotion is, I have a phoenix complex.
Some people wish they had no emotions because it’s too much. This is not the case for me. I enjoy it, I love it, I feel alive. I get off on the act of overcoming it, facing it. To me, the way out is through. I don’t run from my emotions. I embrace them and indulge them. I work through them. I face every emotion, every weakness, every wound, and bring it to the surface to look it in the face. And I conquer. The phoenix gets more and more and more fiery until finally it EXPLODES in some form of catharsis, release; music, a novel, a workout (depending on the depth and buildup, the catharsis can be long or short) . Then I am born again, innocent.
I also talk about this on the very first page of my website. My biography describes a process of writing music for the sake of cathartic release, clearing myself out and gaining perspective on the situation. In a larger way, long-term art projects and cycles I go through in life, allow me to rise from the ashes of hardship, again and again.
This process is quite central for me. I grow, but I also stay the same. The way I view the phoenix, it is not a completely new animal, but rather, a fresh version of the same bird, with the colors of its past woven into its feathers. The rebirth is not about starting completely new, but rather, pushing through to the end until it’s all over, and then rising in the aftermath with a fresh state of mind.
That said, I don’t care much for novelty when it comes to perspective. If I have an opinion about the way things are, I can trust that this ‘sense of things’ has arisen from experience. The same patterns tend to repeat, ad nauseum, and I trust myself to figure out what those are and to know what to expect. Nobody is going to convince me that they fucked up three times, but the fourth time will be different. My political, interpersonal and artistic views are quite set; my artistic process is set; my relationships are set. I know what type of people and projects tend to work for me, and any time I ignore my instinct and ‘try it anyway,’ I end up saying “my instinct was right.” So, I’m not a big fan of forgetting the past or wiping the slate clean when it comes to perception. After 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, I expect 6, and I have no shame about that. If I get 7 instead; so be it – then I will reconsider my stance. But I am not particularly ‘open minded’ to alternative perspectives about what is happening, has happened, or will happen. Experience may change my mind, but I’m not particularly fond of random new experiences either. I like what I like, I hate what I hate, and it takes a long time for me to budge an inch away from that.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the idea of ‘newness’ puts a sour taste in my mouth. Life is short, and it makes the most sense to hone the skills and interests that I already have, so that I may attain mastery. It’s important to me to do what I do well; to make a difference in the world for the better; to occupy the archetypal space that I cut out for myself. In my younger years I did some soul searching to figure out what that space was, especially since I lost my singing voice in the midst of my life-long pursuit of a music career. I was forced to wipe the slate clean and look at my life differently, and I redefined my very same identity: I am not merely a singer, but a vessel through which passion emerges. In the absence of my voice, I sought new ways to give this passion ‘form’ – artistic mediums to express myself. Since then I’ve honed those skills, just as I used to do with my voice.
I don’t see the point of ‘considering alternate possible avenues.’ My past choices occurred for a reason, and my future choices will ultimately lead me back to the same place; so I’d rather find a way to stay on that path. Giving up is weak and unconscionable. I’ll beat the odds senseless. This is why I sang lead through my whisper until I really, really couldn’t anymore. I never surrender without a fight.
The idea of seeking new possibilities is foreign to me. If I can’t master who I am, why should I even exist? I will fight for my highly specific journey if it’s the first, last and only thing I ever do. May my passionate will burn me alive.