Live poetry isn’t a common genre where I live. Hell, most poetry I encounter in daily life is scaled down to fit image sized Instagram or Facebook posts. So it was quite refreshing to encounter this vid recently. But the video itself isn’t that recent. Katie Makkai’s performance on the National Poetry Slam dates back to 2002.
Although the vid could easily be summarised as a ‘true beauty lies within’ kind of message there’s more to it than that. It reminds me of how I get stuck trying to achieve things that aren’t necessarily making me a happier, better person. It just seems to be what’s expected of me. The way it is, the way it should be. And without thinking, I’ll act on it. Sure enough, what I was reminded of after watching the video is no way near to what Katie is talking about. Then again, it’s a forest for the trees kind of thing aswell, it’s about not getting trapped in, but stepping back and taking a look at the bigger picture. We’re so easily micro-scaling our attention to details we forget to reflect on whether or not those details are even worth the effort.
Often I’ll find myself running around, trying to finish a load of chores that aren’t that important. Sorting out the bookmarks of my browser, my music library, trying to rearrange data on several portable hard drives, cleaning out the bunch of gear I have lying around in an unused room in my apartment,.. and so on. Why? Well, probably because we feel the need to keep ourselves busy and because it appears to be a mess.
But that kind of mess is inherent to life. It’s a never-ending changing bunch of stuff that will eventually sort itself out. We’ve been taught to clean up,. always. Nice and tidy. That,s how we like to present ourselves. And that’s a good thing when it comes down to clogged toilets, or a pile of dishes,. but when it comes down to crooked noses or places or things that are actually used to live in or with, it’s useless.
That’s the kind of mess that defines you as a person, it defines your interests, your history. It’s the table you’ll empty for cleaning, just to place everything back when you’re done,. because that’s where you want everything to be. That’s where you need it. Sure enough, it’s all those things you’ll forget about later in life. But that’s what fills the void in between your bigger experiences in life.
In this case, instead of cleaning up, it’s better to create it. Ignore the chores, free up some time and experience life. Get a clue of what you like. Find out what will eventually become the mess on your table, instead of picking it out of a catalogue. Fill the void with the mess that’s called life. Just don’t structurise an empty existence for the sake of appearance.