søndag, november 04, 2007

Whale skeletons, tatoos, and general inefficiency


The skeleton dimensions I shall now proceed to set down are copied verbatim from my right arm, where I had them tattooed; as in my wild wanderings at that period, there was no other secure way of preserving such valuable statistics. But as I was crowded for space, and wished the other parts of my body to remain a blank page for a poem I was then composing - at least, what untattooed parts might remain - I did not trouble myself with the odd inches; nor, indeed, should inches at all enter into a congenial admeasurement of the whale.

--Ishmael, about to reveal whale secrets in Moby Dick


This passage both disturbs and enlightens. Disturbs, perhaps only me in my role as commitment-phobe. Imagine, to be so devoted to something that you engrave it permanatly on your physical being. I couldn't do it...which might explain why I don't have any tatoos. Enlightens because there is value in remembering and commemorating whatever it is that is important in our lives, both the sublime poem, and the mundane measurement of a whale skeleton. Or should that have been the other way around?

It's of particular relevance now as so much new is happening in my life, and I find myself facing a future with simply too many roles, both the real and the as yet merely imagined. And maybe I'm not such a commitment-phobe after all, because I simply can't bring myself to de-prioritize anything that has had priority at any time before. Some re-ordering I know will come about just through life's normal course, but others will not.

The problem is that which has been pushed out of the foreseeable future, which is my envisioning of myself as an academic. It's the oldest dream I have, and all I need to do (at least for now) is to get my thoughts together into a proposal...not a finished, polished, brilliant proposal either, mind you, just one that is definite enough that I can send it around and get feedback on it. And yet I find that all the other roles in my life, as employee, friend, girlfriend, family member, future mother, are given priority over just focusing on what exactly I want to research, and then writing it down. Even though the academic role is more important than any of the others (not that the others are not important, just that they don't need the same time, attention, and tenacious no-holds barred fighting to keep them realizable). And to compound it, when I talk about it, it invariably feels like whining. Which is what it is.

So, the question is, is it possible to tell how much space is left for tatoos? And what's the best way to remove, or at least minimize tatoos whose significance is diminished? How far should a dream be pushed before it becomes more burden than motivation? I don't think my dream has become a burden, by the way. But at the rate I'm going, and the guilt I'm producing, it sure seems a bit that way.

*picture taken from http://daverothstravels.blogspot.com/2007/09/ive-done-it.html.*

6 kommentarer:

Devil Mood sagde ...

I'm sooo confused!
I'm not sure, but maybe our skin is able to renew itself and give more for more tatoos when it's time to make them. Maybe there is no limited space for them. Maybe we can renew our investments whenever we want. Can we?

What I can say is, I'm glad I'm not a tatoo person (I'm not sure I mean this metaphorically as well as physically) because then I'd be the best client in the tatoo parlour - both to make them and to erase them. I'd be a wreck.

Devil Mood sagde ...

"give more for more"
DM, don't drink wine at dinner.
I didn't! I meant, room for more.

sangroncito sagde ...

Here I am sweating over my upcoming "fake" marriage this week (to get residency) and how even though it's fake it's still a commitment. This post puts it in perspective. Yikes. Too many roles to fill, too many commitments, too many hats to wear. Scary, indeed. But I bet you'll wear them all with style and grace.

kimananda sagde ...

Ms. Mood, so what you're saying is that you had not only a glass of wine, but also another glass of wine on my behalf? ;-) But I think you're right. Certainly, our life tatoos fade over time. Maybe when they've faded a bit, then it's o.k. to add another tatoo over them.

Sangroncito, I was wondering when you were tying the knot...I remember you mentioning it before, but not for a long time. And of course it is a commitment, absolutely...you will be partners in your Brazilian life. Maybe that's just what life is all about...is it possible to live a full life without commiting to anything ever? I'm not sure, in the sense that whatever we enjoy, whatever is of value, as well as whatever is necessary, these are all commitments of sorts. So, does this mean that we're both grown-ups? Yikes!

Simple American sagde ...

I must admit that I share this same angst. Maybe I should tattoo the fabled whale on my arm. Or I could just put on white shorts and go to beach. Then listen to the inevitable whale calls towards me.

kimananda sagde ...

Maybe this type of angst is universal. And no, you are not a whale. I will probably be in a few months, but even that will pass.