You have an obligation
Just because people are queuing up for it, just because they charge money for it, just because it’s on a hundred thousand billboards doesn’t mean we need it. Just because they say it’s good for us, bad for us, worse for us, just because it’s on the evening news and pop-up ads doesn’t mean it will ever fulfill us.
We are born as reasoning, deductive creatures and we spend our lives being taught that the narrowest, most well-trodden paths are the best to travel. We’re taught that some doors should remain closed. We’re
taught that diamonds are a girl’s best friend but did we ever stop and ask ourselves–why?
We’re taught that we were born halves forever seeking to be whole, and we’ve been to a thousand bars and clubs and parties and networking sites throwing ourselves into a pursuit we’ve always been taught is going to be external. Every price tag should come with the disclaimer that its purchase does not come with happiness.
We’ve been taught that up is up and down is down, that we can’t breathe in space, that symptoms are more
important than causes. We pay lip service to commercial canticles and ask ourselves what can I do? We take the roads most traveled because we have been taught to ask why not instead of an infinitely more powerful why? We do the things that make us happy because we are told that they’ll make us happy, even if we sometimes secretly wonder why we’re not feeling it.
Maybe we’re not doing it right. But we keep on going through the same old motions because practice makes perfect, and maybe it’s just easier to stop caring why it doesn’t fill us with fire instead of trying to strike a spark of our own. You should be angry.
You should be furious. You have been made to feel like a leper at the first breath of a question, and you should clench your teeth to breaking before you take another spoonful of what they’re trying to feed you, no matter how seductive or persuasive the airplane noises they try to coax it down with. When they smile and try to shake your hand to steal concessions from you, make your hand a fist.
Make sacrifices, but not on the altars of a system that needs to poison itself into oblivion and forgetfulness just so it can keep grinding its own gears down to rust and pulp. They will always be quick to condemn you, belittle you, tell you it can’t be done just to shut you up, because there’s a tiny little part of them that still screams to be heard that recognizes that yours is a voice made to end worlds.
They have tried to make yours a life of thoughtlessly accepted obligations; of education, of degrees, of marriages, of children, of mortgages, of pensions, crises and deaths. Set fire to their contracts and write your own terms. You want to spend your nights counting the stars? Count them. Lose count. Start over. You want to forgo the canvas and toss buckets of paint into empty air? Hand me one.
Invent a new language. Graffiti forgotten catacombs that no one will ever see. Dance like a moron. Write love letters to strangers on the backs of napkins, playing cards, your own hand, just to let them know that there are wholes out there, sculpting their own dreams on their own terms in their own time with their own hands, their eyes set on distances far beyond the shuffling of their feet over gray, uniform sidewalks.
When they try to feed you their symptom-driven, reasonless terms and conditions, you shouldn’t just shrug your shoulders and accept just because everyone around you has accepted. You should be outraged. I know I am. Your only obligation, ever, should be to yourself and that bright spark that burns deepest that they will do their very best to turn to ash. Make them burn their hands on you when they try.
Happy Labor Day, indeed.