Monday, June 14, 2010

The Hole in Me, The Hole in You.



Doughnuts.

Some people say that the reason they have holes in them is so they are able to cook fully and not become too doughy in the middle. Another theory goes that there was once a sea captain named Hanson Gregory who had difficulty eating his fried cake on a stormy night. He speared his fried cake through one of the spokes of his ship's wheel, which allowed him to get a better grip on it. After that stormy night, Captain Gregory instructed the galley cook to continue cooking his fried cakes with a hole in the middle for more manageable eating while steering the ship.

There are most likely dozens of other reasons, folklore and functional, as to why doughnuts are made with a hole in the center. Doughnuts find their strength through what might initially look like weakness. How can the absence of something that WE WANT (a.k.a. warm, doughy goodness) be an asset? This hole, this absence of material, this vacant space is what makes the doughnut uniquely delightful and adored.

Just like a doughnut, I've got a hole in me. You've got a hole in you, too. I'm not talking about those holes, get your head out of the gutter. These are metaphorical holes.

Unlike doughnut holes, human holes are initially hard to spot. And their function is never as basic as something like providing a better grip for chowing down.

Human holes do not have the charming facade that the middle spaces in fried cake batter possess. Human holes appear to be deficits, deficiencies, deformities and demons that require patience and wisdom to appreciate.

Even though these holes sound like crap in comparison to the cute little spaces in Doughnuts, I am going to argue that these human holes are just as handy as the hole in Captain Gregory's fried cake. Thus, our lives do not blossom by our strengths but by our weaknesses.

Human Strengths = Sprinkles, Frosting, Peanuts, Coconut Shreds, etc.

We are not defined by our sprinkles and frosting. Instead, lives are formed around the spaces that lack, the spaces that are not filled. The unfulfilled spaces.

Lack of money defines a life
Lack of love defines a life
Lack of control defines a life
Lack of health
Lack of security, food, freedom... 
I am defined by the lacking holes in me. You are defined by the lacking holes in you.

(Once I put music to this, look for it on You Tube. I'm gonna make this into a nursery school song like Ring Around the Rosy so that children get a sugar-coated version of the miserable state of the human condition drilled into their soft curly heads good and early.)

If you think about it, the intrinsic need for "survival" (which now be can translated into responding to your alarm clock and getting up to go to the office for a paycheck but was once upon a time chasing a Wooly Mamouth through the woods while wearing a leather g-string and waving a sharpened stick overhead) is essentially avoiding the lack of essentials we need to continue life.

Once the hierarchy of needs are attained, we humans move onto loftier goals like passion, success and... fun.

All the while, we are driven by the things we want that we do not possess. It's the lucky hopes in playing the lottery. It's the thrill (and agony) of chasing after the love of your life who is always just out of reach. It's the drive to climb the corporate ladder for the corner office or the freedom of a boss-less life.

As frustrating as the struggle to attain these human desires may be, at the end of the day, it is what makes us go. If I had the money, if I had the love, if I had the freedom... (hold on, let me just close my eyes for two seconds to picture what that would feel like)... Okay,

If I had the money, the love, the freedom, I would have absolutely no need to create. 

If I had what I wanted, I would lose this drive to suck up life, swish it around in my mouth, and then regurgitate it out to you at 4:00 AM in the morning on a Sunday night. I only write when I am emotionally vomiting on the inside as a result of one of my pesky holes. You will not see me whip out my laptop while lounging off the coast of Brazil in the arms of a strong, handsome fisherman who only speaks Portuguese.

I created this entire blog a year and a half ago in an attempt to impress a boy. Oh, ya, sure, I SAY that the reason was because I was raging after drinking spoiled milk that I had just purchased from the grocery store. That story is, of course, true, but let's be honest about what motivates people to sit down and create shit. Michelangelo didn't even like painting, but agreed to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel  so that he would win the extremely lucrative contract to sculpt 40 statues for Pope Julius II's tomb. Even geniuses gotta chase the greenbacks.

My goal in writing through these holes (– and this is no news for you, I know, I know, but lemme just hear myself say it – ) is that I am trying to do some good old fashioned self-soothing to fill the hole up. Yes, I know that my entire thesis here is to embrace the fact that our biggest challenges fuel the forward movement of our lives, but, you gotta ease the pain, Man! I mean, some of us smoke, some of us drink, some of us go into a vegetative television coma, but none of these methods work as well as giving yourself a good workout at whatever it is that you do best.

For me, I write.

I am not saying that I am defined by writing about my life in a blog. I am saying that I am defined by the shit that leads me to write because...otherwise... I would have no need to write! It's the shitty stuff that leads to the success.

Shit = Success

So, no, we are not defined by our strengths (our sprinkles). We are defined by the areas we lack because our holes are what bring out our sugary greatness.

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