And so it begins with a quote from a Russian writer. It’s true what Dostoyevsky states in “Crime and Punishment,” “Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.” Fear has played too large a role in my life in the last few years. I had become so at ease at bemoaning what was wrong, I completely lost sight of what was oh-so very right in my life.
We live in an era of so much choice, we’ve created a host of anxieties for ourselves. We worry about how we are perceived on so many levels. Obsess is probably a better word. Many of us spend hours about talking about ourselves, documenting ourselves, creating a picture perfect version of the lives we lead. Yet, there is little precious information revealed about ourselves beyond the surface. Where are you in this world? What do you want to contribute? Who do you want to be?
It is the American way to constantly talk about ourselves, a theme that rivals the goal of living an authentic life in an era where everything we surround ourselves with in this consumer-driven culture is anything BUT authentic. It is no wonder so many of us are losing direction. Worse, losing faith in ourselves and our ability to cope with the world we’ve built around us.
I was lost. My narrative had become one of self-loathing, delusion and disappointment. I didn’t have courage in reserve despite having a support system of family and friends that couldn’t be any more loving or caring. I didn’t want to listen. It was easier to just smile and “appear” to be okay. Through it all, my malaise was manifesting itself in the most obvious of ways. I ate my feelings and each binge was one more brick added to a fortress of my design, one that would shield me away from the things I didn’t want to deal with anymore. The weight of it all was crushing my self-esteem and, to be frank, my desire to want to be part of this world. I won’t elaborate on that reality. Suffice it to say, it scared me to even reach that level of emotional chaos.
So many of us are moving forward in such wonderful ways. New jobs, new partners, new families, new perspectives. At some point, any despair has to allow for the light provided by the new to illuminate the darker recesses we choose to inhabit. I became tired of where I was living in my head and heart. If my family and friends were frustrated, imagine what I was saying to myself! The time had come to take a new step and utter not much new words, but words of action and change. Ironically, those words were in Spanish.
Leaving my job and going to ELAC was a tentative step forward to a goal that was hazy at best. I didn’t have a clue as to where I was heading. I just knew it wasn’t towards the life I thought I had always wanted to live. Yet, going to that campus in Monterey Park lead me to a new appreciation of my Latino identity. Now it is taking me to Salamanca, Spain to feed a different kind of hunger. I want to binge on culture and language, to be with people and let that restore the fearlessness I’ve let dominate my psyche for too long.
It’s funny. “MediaJor” started off as a pun, but I think it has become a moniker of empowerment. It stands for something personal and real. It is not a brand. It is the voice with which I reveal the truth and humanity about the people we loathe and champion, about the media culture that we love and hate. But I see it evolving as does the narrative I now want to create.
We all have a place in this world. We all have the desire to live a life that is witnessed. Who we choose to witness it, as well as the choices we make for ourselves on the life we choose lead, is a huge responsibility. It is so easy to take it for granted just as it is too easy to choose things based on the perceptions we’ve been taught to accept.
So, what is the point of this little endeavor? I will tell you. I’m a middle-aged exchange student heading to a university in Spain in search of more than just a month of studying language and great literature. I am realizing a dream of having a Great Adventure. Am I nervous? Hell yes! I am going to be staying with a host family that may or may not be surprised to see who the 46 year-old Mexican-American student will be staying in their home for the next 30 days. That alone warrants SOME sort of documentation. Yet, I suspect this entire experience will more than just about sipping a relaxing a cup of café con leche in the Plaza Mayor with a copy of Cervantes.
I have become quite weary about this social media age. The narcissism involved with this public journal is not lost on me. But with manifestos of insanity getting more play in our “If it bleeds, it leads,” media-controlled age, why not offer a statement of positive change? Why not shift the focus away from the circus designed to distract us to something substantial and real? That is the goal of these “confessions.”
Choose to read or not. I’m fine being the sole witness to this story. I want a record of the days to come because this is my way of ensuring a legacy. I may never have kids. I may never be famous. But I have always believed in the power of words more than pictures. To have a permanent written record of this moment in time is irresistible to me. I know I have problems with “letting go.” So, in having this blog, I can leave it all in a safe place, one I can visit whenever nostalgia strikes. Yet, it is absolutely about embracing and living in the now.
Still, I do hope you at least take a peek out of curiosity, maybe even offer a comment or two. Every journey become a bit more vivid when it’s a shared experience. I can’t promise that every entry will be a “page turner.” But, I can promise you the best is still to come.
Saturday, June 28, from American Airlines Flt. 222 to Boston for Madrid.