being special

by john

today i was painting the underside of a wooden house with mark when he started talking about where we are going. i told him – we all want to go to different places, but in the end we all end up in the same place.

it was the type of job you only do if you had to do it. we were crouching with no height above our heads in the fading afternoon light. we were spreading wood preservative onto the beams of a house. the paint dripped onto our skin and it does not wash off (it is basically tar mixed with turpentine). large spiders and chicken shit surrounded us and mosquitoes buzzed around our head. it was raining. the pitter patter of rain surrounded us.

for some reason we started talking about ourselves. i think it’s natural. he told me “i’ve accepted that i am completely normal and not special at all. the more normal i become, the more myself i can be, and in that way, the more special i become”.

these words had an effect on me. for a while now i have struggled with “being special”. what do i mean? i mean that i have trouble accepting the fact that i am a completely normal human being. i will likely never be very wealthy, i do not have spectacular genes or physique, i am not particularly smart or intelligent. i am not particularly handsome and i am not particularly talented at anything. i’ve always struggled with this. why am i not talented? why am i not original? why have i not created anything that is spectacular? why have i not composed fifty sonatas and fugues? where am i going? why am i here?

from now on, i will try to accept that i am completely normal. i will not try to do anything “original”. i look around and see many things and read many things. it seems that everything has been written about, everything has been drawn and all the music has been played. how do you even compete against the masters of the past?

i think now that it is not about competition. i know but a fraction of the history of mankind along with all its knowledge. i will quit being special, and just do what i like without any concern as to whether i am original, whether people will like what i do or what other people expect of me. i am tired of worrying about how “good” my work will be. fuck, just making work is fun enough already, why worry about what other people will say?

the process is the reward. may we all live wonderful and productive lives.