Tuesday, January 5, 2016

LIVE FERAL OR DIE

  1. 1
  2. :  of, relating to, or suggestive of a wild beast <feral teeth> <feral instincts>
  3. 2a :  not domesticated or cultivated :  wildb :  having escaped from domestication and become wild <feral cats>


I was driving into the sun. That low winter sun that is somehow brighter and more intense than anything you've ever seen. And I felt that tightening in my chest. Like my ribs were doing everything they could to stop my heart from exploding. As the blue deepened and the clouds morphed from white to pink to ochre, it overwhelmed me, as always. This expansion of myself. Past the petty interactions of my day. Past the wheels I'd spun into ruts. Past all the things I'd spent too much time on and that ultimately meant nothing... and far into the things that would mean everything if this was the last time I ever saw that burning orb set.
The life I live and the life I want. The things that stand in the way. The things that don't. The people who enrich it. The regrets I would take into the ground.
Knowing that tomorrow I'd likely get lost in ruts again... in day to day chores and tasks and rituals and niceties. But for the moment, basking in this feeling of... compelling conviction. Conviction that if I don't chase the life I want... it will never happen.

Yeah. I'm always turned up to 11. I've just come to accept that. So should you.

This time, as my thoughts were fueled by sky...I found myself circling this idea that had popped in my head on my last ramble.

It started as a seed. A malapropism. A thing I'm not particularly good at, but play all the time. Swapping out words to make new meanings. Sensical nonsense.
I'd awoken with morning light just beginning to pour into my rear windshield. And with bleary eyes, I read the words that were painted there.
Like the bells that chime in the van everytime I take a turn or hit a bump, they were a remnant of the previous owner. Not something I'd have done myself... but somehow appropriate. Or ironic. Or...not. So I kept them.



Live Free.



Not that it's a sentiment I disagree with. But more that it's just so... twee.
So in my head, I changed it. Live Feral. I chuckled to myself, but felt something stick inside and take root.
For the many hours that I rode and drove over the next few months... the seed grew... and I found myself circling this idea... cautiously... but also with unbridled curiosity. Like a wolf.

Live Feral.

On one level it's the same nonsense I deal in every day. A t-shirt slogan of glib pith. As meaningless as it is meaningful.
But these days, more than anything, it's almost as if that's our language. Like some bastardized kanji. Symbols and phrases with multiple meanings depending on the inflection or context.
These are the abstractions we use to communicate simply about complex feelings... abstractions we use to understand the world. Like a god. It's not real... but for some it's the closest our primitive mammal brains can come to approximating those things that make our eyes cross when we think about them too hard. To approximating that tightening and lightening of the chest that the setting sun impels.

I've never warmed much to poetry. Which is surprising, considering my love for some fluidity of words and meaning. Maybe it's the smug faux-earnestness that follows it like a dog. Or maybe it's just my own general poorness at it as a medium.
But as much as it makes me squirm... I get it. I get the power in cryptical obscurance. In terse coded sentiment. In telling grammatical laws to go fuck themself and saying what you mean in ways that aren't readily accessible.

Live Feral.

Feral: having escaped from domestication and become wild.

My own stint with domesticity ended...badly. Maybe badly is the wrong word. How about... dramatically. I didn't just escape...but chewed out of my cage, tore up the house, bit a fuckton of people, and basically shit everywhere. (Everywhere.)
And while I can't recommend people go about things the way I do...ever. I do recommend they fight tooth and nail against the things that oppress in their lives. Be it mundane and suburban. Or sweeping and global. Private and stifling.
The feeling of despair and despondence that overwhelmed me when my ex and I went shopping for a new dining room table, almost 12 years ago, is still palpable. Like the overwhelming despair you feel in 2nd grade when the crushing realization that you have at least 10 more years of sitting in desks getting yelled at by unhappy people for having a head 1000 miles away hits you. We didn't need a new table. But there I was. Following along. Thinking this was where I needed to be. There was some expectation of where our lives went now. Living in a house had to become owning a house. Living happily together in that house had to become marriage. Marriage had to become having a baby. Having a baby had to become getting jobs that we probably didn't want. So that we could afford new dining room tables. That we didn't need.

Live Feral.

It isn't reducing to instinct. It's not plunging into self-absorption and ignoring roles and relationships and responsibilities. It's just examining the ones that matter and the ones that don't. It's letting go of that expectation. The expectation of what you do next. The expectation of how you live.
And it's about taking that fucking table, chopping it up and using it as firewood somewhere outside. Under some sky.
Not under a prefab roof in a suburb where the only way you can discern your house from others is a number.

Live Feral.
Or die.

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