Real Work


I want to work. I want to fucking work. I want to work. I really want to work.

I don’t want to drink alcohol, I don’t want to eat sugar, I don’t wanna waste my time on movies, games, or the internet. I want to work. I want my life to mean something – I want to undergo the alchemical process, transforming this shattered self into the most-idealized version of myself (lead to gold). That takes work. I want to work. I want to study and to strive. I want to work.

I want to learn. I want to plant my own crops, raise my own meat and eggs. I want to make my own food, and learn how to sew my own clothes. I want to build my own homes. I wanna write stories and songs and scripts and blogs. I want to develop systems and techniques that benefit my world, my life. I want to build a real house out of real stone, with my own timbers and my own mortar. I want to produce things that others will cherish, value and enjoy. I want to offer real value to a real community. I want to work.

“Real.” Now that’s an interesting word. I fear that I don’t know the true definition of the word real – I cannot define it for myself, much less for you (with words). Likewise, I could not use reason to define what isn’t real, or why it doesn’t feel real to me. But what I can do, is list for you the things that I feel are real:

  • Growing a potato.
  • Fixing a tool, or a leaky pipe.
  • Doing laundry.
  • Making food.
  • Building a structure.
  • Cleaning my structure.
  • Running in the cold.
  • Caring for a chick.
  • Burying a bunny.
  • Writing this post.

And now, a list of things that I feel are not real:

  • Sitting at a comfortable desk in a warm environment, drinking coffee, listening to music, whilst working for an architect. For money.
  • Going to look for a different job. For money.

My fear is that I’m broken. My senses tell me that I’m not. My heart tells me that this is to do with manhood – that this is the process by which a boy becomes a man becomes a warrior. A boy obeys his elders and his authorities. A man obeys his fears. A warrior obeys no one, save for spirit. Spirit, when observed and followed, will lead that warrior to humility. It will also lead him to his ideal existence, in theory. And spirit does not accommodate for what fears the man still harbors.

I want money. I want respect, dignity, security. I had all three, briefly, in limited quantity. I want them again. I’d like to have the funds (a.k.a. the power) that I need to shape this disheveled life around me into one that I can be proud of. I’d like to have a nest egg – something to fall back on, when times grow hard. And so I sit at this computer, desperately trying to force myself to get in the hours to make the money so that I will be able to afford the things that I want, like plumbing supplies, food, and a debt-free life. And yet all that I can hear is the whisper in my ear, “this isn’t real, none of this is real. It’s time to go outside.”

Go to the doorway that you built, and look out at the land on which you live. That is real, and this is now. Now envision the people that will soon sit outside in the summer around a fire – listening under the festoon lighting, on the seats that you built, while eating the food that you’ve grown, to songs that you wrote. “That is real,” the voice hisses. And I hiss back, “but I can’t do any of that without the fucking money – I’ve tried.”

Another voice on another shoulder whispers, “Release, and it will all happen faster.” Release. I think back to so many other moments in which I’ve let go of control, and allowed myself to follow my heart without thought to self-preservation or money. And yes, every time, things have worked out – warrior magick. But every time has been biterly painful. Most humans do not understand the agony of living solely by faith – hope. I am no warrior. Going home, for me, is an act of returning to a place where blind faith is not required for the day to day. At home, hope is a tool for dreams, not base survival.

Perhaps that is the process of becoming a man, a warrior – learning to embrace  release. No control, no power, no security, no nest egg – it’s all illusion. Warmth will come in moments in which warmth is supposed to come. And scarcity’s biting chill will also arrive in its right time. You will no longer barricade yourself behind these insulated, lifeless walls, forcing all of your moments to be ones of artificial warmth and plenty – performing hollow acts for hollow rewards, wrenching all meaning from your life. You will sit exposed, and allow the cold nights to surround you, knowing that warm nights will soon arrive again. You will embrace the cold, the same as you do the warmth. You will learn to listen to the wind – and if you will follow it, then you will survive, and at times thrive. But you will never again obtain the control that you once imagined that you had. It was simply a warm period. Then the cold came, and you forgot to embrace that, too. “Release, and it will all happen faster.”

I want to work. But the question that defines this moment in my life is whether the work that I am doing is real or not. I’ve tried speaking to others – my elders, and my authorities. I’ve asked them what I should be doing with my time. And invariably, their first response has always been picked from the list of things which I would classify as “not real.” And I cannot tell them that they are wrong. They are so right. And so I accept their answers, and try harder to sit at this computer, or to look at other job possibilities, or ways for myself to make money on the side. But the whispers are getting louder. Alcohol doesn’t muffle them. Movies and games no longer close the door on them. These voices are now inside, within these four walls, whispering from the dark, warm corners, “This isn’t real, this isn’t real, this isn’t real.”

I want to spend the rest of my life working, on things that I feel are real. But my lips are chapped and my fingers cracked…I don’t do well in the cold.

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