Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spotlight on the Table

Panic pulled me awake last night. Dreams are elusive, but I think they included bits and pieces of the script I had to memorize for my new work selling insurance.

The real issue for me was that earlier in the evening, after a time studying to pass the exam and a week focused on the rote memorization, I had witnessed my mentor make his own presentation. Watching him adhere to the script with which I could nearly mouth along, the magnitude of my change was driven like a spike into my heart.

Back home, there was no urge to play music, no compulsion to take up this pen, little desire to visit my friend. My son and I have recently been escaping into episodes of a TV show on Netflix and this provided enough distraction to lull my weary self into a dull sleep.

The dreams, however, do not allow escape. Daylight reminds me of the different schedule and dressier clothes I must wear. Appreciating so gratefully this luxury of time I have been granted to recover and pursue my creative interests, the need to support myself now supersedes my “indulgence” in the expressions of passion.

My fear is that counter to all that I have written in these past three years, this job will dull my heart and deplete my energy. For thirty years, I wanted to sing and write, but rightfully placed the obligations of support that comes with family and let construction work occupy my attention. The business of food on the table mattered more than the integrity of fulfilling dreams.

Unwilling to condemn myself as just a poor businessman when things have not turned out well, so many of my essays extol the purpose of passion and excuse my failures as a function of not living true to myself. Discounting many fine homes rebuilt, my process was faulty, I argue, because my heart was not truly focused on the joy of my occupation, but impeded by the desire to be doing something else, no matter how deeply I tried to convince myself those dreams had been put to rest.

Now I see myself on a darkened night spotlighted at a kitchen table before a skeptical couple, trying to convince them to spend even more hard won dollars on an elusive, intangible and unromantic need. The argument that I wish I had been so covered at the time of my accident is tainted by my lack of sincere belief that this particular insurance is really worth the cost. More importantly is my life-long prejudice that this unglamorous work is even further away from my dreams than transforming homes physically.

That it pleases my father so immensely, who has written countless checks both in support and disappointment, is some consolation. He may soon go to his grave satisfied that his son has finally begun to live up to his responsibilities and earning potential. Some pride is being restored even as I understand how much I am succumbing to his pressure and judgment.

The integrity of my actions is a key component to living well. I know to be successful at this venture, I need to find the perspective that embraces the change, not sabotages it. Lack of excitement to greet the new day is a serious concern and will affect the tone of my voice at the kitchen table, facing that couple.

That dullness of soul will also dampen the attraction I exude for the lover I crave. It could finally discourage the support of so many who have held faith in me as someone so much deeper than the bumbling, inept dreamy man as I have too often appeared.

This morning, shoving the panic aside, I pulled out a handful of the envelopes thrown unopened to the side of my desk, ripping them open and taking account. I wrote out checks with the very confidence so long conjured in my mind. That important bit of life a little better organized, I make the time to write this essay before heading off this afternoon to sell reassurance.

Fear is in the mind. Integrity is in the action.

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Laurie said...

You could work at the Home Depot and probably like it a bit better. It's such a bummer having to work when your heart is wandering off to more creative pursuits, but alas, reality bites and we must all pay our bills. It sucks being a grown up.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you are faced with a job that your heart is just not in. Please don't give up on music and writing. Your talent is needed.