When first I learned the meaning of a Rogue wave, I thought it was something that only happened way out at sea. The Perfect Storm, a great novel, explained how these waves came out of nowhere, churned up from the belly of the ocean building and growing to the height of a 30 story building. This is not the sort of wave you body surf, not even a wave for the best of surfers to hang ten. This baby picks up and demolishes ocean liners. What was quaintly referred to as the Trickle Down effect is no longer applicable to the sort of damage we're witnessing now. With one you just hang on and wait for the clouds and winds to shift. The latter causes you to bend over, put your head firmly between your knees and kiss your ass goodbye.
Try as we all must, everyday seems to get a little trickier. Cleverness is no longer enough. Brilliance and a mind geared towards strategy is the new daydream. One by one designers, companies and fashion is losing it's tenuous hold. When people talk about how things are going , it's a veiled question as to "Are you still in business?" or " Do you still have your job?" Personally, it feels like an invasion to even broach such a dicey subject. No one wants to really answer it, few are prepared to admit the truth to themselves ,let alone share it with others. It's a bit like rape victims who are reluctant to admit that they have in fact been raped.
This past week was one that I've never experienced in years of working in this industry. I actually thought about packing it in. It wasn't a fleeting thought, but a cloud of indecision that settled on me and wouldn't budge. Everything I could muster to shake myself out of it did nothing but bring the dreaded choice closer and closer to home. I felt physically ill. Couldn't sleep, eat, couldn't even enjoy watching Dexter ....nothing. Some yoga, meditation,praying ,kick boxing,nothing could shake it. I even tried looking at my treasured collection of books and still I couldn't escape. A call to Mom only elicited an invitation to come home to my room that hasn't changed since high school graduation. That prospect , I will admit, got me thinking about the cons of quitting. Still I remained stricken.
Friday night compelled me to call a friend , for whom I care very much. This call brought my fears to the surface. As we talked, I shared my dilemma and the week of self inflicted torture I had endured. In relating these horrors of indecision it came out that I was not alone with my dark thoughts. My friend had been suffering the very same nightmare, only had taken the giant leap to call it quits. That admission stunned me. My first response was to try to talk him down from the cliff's edge, but his decision was made. We have been at this game for the same amount of time. His success has been real and appreciable and yet he felt the time was right to stop. It hit me so hard I started to cry while still on the phone. It felt so pointless and grossly unfair that this wave had come out of nowhere and took hold of his ship. When I hung up, secretly I prayed that his mind would change, but this is a decision one makes alone. No words from others can change that when all else has been weighed.
I spent the weekend going over and over our conversation and came to a conclusion. The full moon shone through the trees illuminating the forest and cast a clear sharp light on my thoughts. For every reason I could list for giving it all up and taking a nice long rest I couldn't give up this desire to keep going. Whether an audience or economy is there to cheer me on, I realize I've always done it for myself. I'm not ready to stop for myself or anyone else who has gotten satisfaction and pleasure from what I do. The song "The Moon is a harsh mistress" came to mind. Wanting out, wanting a respite from the undertow is not as strong as my desire to thrash through the water, the waves, life as it is at this moment.
...."then the darkness fell, the moon's a harsh mistress, the sky is made of stone"....
Each of us must choose. For today I choose to accept facts, but I don't choose to be undone by them.
On the Street…Tompkins Square Park, New York
2 days ago