I find myself in a box. One that I made for myself. One I have never thought outside of, and so, the one I never acted outside of.
I have been ambitious all my life. My ambition has made me serious to a fault. But my ambition was and has not been a gamble. My thoughts for my future have been as far from gambling as anything I could possibly conceive of or pursue.
I have bartered. I have bartered with life.
I found myself in a world with no place for myself in it. I saw only suffering in my future. The thought of working—a horrifying fate. Of working. Adulthood. How would I live? When I saw all around me the half-dead people driving their cars through the weary moments that led them to the slaughter of their spirits on five of seven days of every week?
I had no help from my parents in anything except housing and sustenance. There was no one else that I thought to ask for help or advice. Having never had any, it did not occur to me to seek these things. In any case, there was no one to ask.
I fell out of the nest, and struggled horribly.
And so, I came to bargain with life. I created a mathematical equation that balanced expectation and the lack of it. I asked, if I religiously adhere to every possible limit to my expectations, could there be a certain way to have a small life of success, one that did not slaughter my spirit?
Here I am, so many years later. And I find myself in a box. The small little life I have fashioned for myself.
I struggled. And so I have tried to manage my liabilities. I cultivated an extreme form of doubt that I hoped would keep me awake. I felt the terror of an endless array of possible cul-de-sacs that would mean defeat for someone so alone, with such poor prospects.
I would not let myself be enslaved by my circumstances, those that I observed and feared, in my family, and those around us.
Addiction. I would not be taken down by addiction. Like my mother, my two sisters. Somehow overcome by my father.
Children, and the single parenthood that would inevitably follow an inevitable divorce. (I knew as a child I would never have children).
I went to college, undergraduate, then graduate school. I tried to choose and to create a career for myself that I could tolerate, where I could save my soul from the horrors of the working world.
I chose to study Psychology, then took a Masters Degree that led to my anticipation of a career as a therapist in private practice. This was not the right choice for me, for many reasons. My limitations as a person interfered with my career, and though I had made a start, I eventually abandoned it.
The BA degree was precious to me, for it made up for growing up in Salt Lake City, in those days a backwards and horribly asleep and limiting place in which to reach adulthood.
And so. This box. It is fashioned from the doubt I cultivated to keep myself awake, and the low expectations I cultivated to focus on a humble path, modest and meager, from which I tried to generate a little life of success.
Here I find myself. My constant companions are doubt and fear. Not because I choose them, except out of stubborn habit. It has been a lifetime since I chose them, and they have served me all my life, for better and for worse.
The three measures of my box: doubt, fear, and tempered expectations, the bartering of same.
I doubt myself in all things, so that my magic is run through with it. I am in constant fear of defeat, and so in constant fear. I am constantly looking for where I am going wrong, and trying to somehow make up for the debilitating effects of my fear, which shuts me down over and over.
Sometimes I seem to escape the debilitating effects of my own enslavement, by choosing abandon in forms that only promise freedom, but rather lead to regret, self-questioning, more fear.
I can almost see all of this now in one sweeping view of my predicament, now become my great challenge. For I now conceive of myself as something beyond what I have thought I am. I know myself anew, for my subtle being is much greater than my body, greater than my assumptions about what is real, greater than my physical sight of the mundane world.
I am cultivating the subtle vision I have of myself, revealed by magic, by the entities that are my patrons and sponsors. Azazel has taught me. I see with my subtle eyes, feel with my subtle body, touch the subtle world with subtle senses. To feel the boundaries of myself to be permeable, without the constraint of a certain beginning and end.
I see myself, and I see my little box of habit and self-inhibition, and I wonder: What is outside of it? Who am I outside of this? Beyond all that is known to me?
How very strange. I do not know. I do not know.
But I am hopeful. Immensely hopeful. I keep looking at my prison, trying to see outside of it, past it. I know I will see beyond it. I will grow beyond it at last.
“Expectation is a prison.” —Robert Fripp