.sqs-gallery-block-slideshow { background-color: transparent; }


Doing What You're For

     I've spent a lot of time thinking about this subject, as I'm confident almost every other human has. It's a very grand and daunting thing to approach, but I don't necessarily think it has to be. I think the answer to "Doing What You're For" is far more humble and approachable than some religious leaders would like us to believe. On a cosmos scale, I don't think we're designed and crafted to do a specific thing, and if so- understanding and reproducing that information is far beyond our abilities. When I say "Do What You're For" I'm referencing something completely opposite of that. "What We're For" is not the product of a celestial hand, it's the product of every single circumstance we've been subjected to. Either by our own hands or the hands of those surrounding us.

     Every experience we have moves us in some direction, whether we're aware of it or not, and every single one of those experiences are to blame for who you are at this very moment. When I say "Do What You're For", it's pretty simple; what you're able to do at this very moment is completely and 100% due to your experiences, both the ones you subjected yourself to and the ones you were subjected to- and I think understanding this relieves a lot of the pressure to find and "discover your purpose". Because your purpose isn't a constant. It's a living entity that moves around the homogenized structure that is your experiences. 

Here I will list some examples of people I personally know, starting with myself.

     If you follow me on social media, the first thing you might notice is "wow, he's really into a lot of things" now, whether or not I'm good at all of these things is another discussion I'd rather not have hahaha, but amongst those things you'll notice that I enjoy science, drawing, and plants. Those are the three most prominent things I display on my social media. I believe I possess at minimum, adequate talent in these three categories, and that's not because some celestial hand decided I would be good at those things. The roots of my "talents" can be traced all the way back to my childhood, like most things. This begins with exposure. If you're not exposed to something, there's almost no way you can partake in it. There are a few exceptions in history, but even those have inspirations based on nature and observation. 

     My father is a landscaper and self proclaimed "plant whisperer". My whole life growing up was spent watching my dad work in his gardens and even requesting my help in the gardens. He also managed a nursery called "Riverbend" in Tulsa, OK and I spent nearly every weekend out there, either helping my dad or getting lost in these giant white tunnels. My dad said he would come out to find me and I would be hiding under the fronds of his massive "macho ferns". So from a pretty early age, I was exposed to plants. This obviously has lent itself to my present plant obsession, but it does not necessarily answer why I'm good at growing them. That's where information comes in. I had a plant expert literally living in the same house as me. My dad would often let me make mixed pots of flowers to sell at his nursery, and this came with lessons. My dad taught me what works with what, and how to keep it healthy and presentable so a client would buy it. The reason I'm good at growing plants is simple, my dad made sure I was. He did not force my curiosity, or require that I learn horticulture for the sake of continuing the "family business". He simply saw a natural curiosity in me, as every early human has, and he decided he'd do what he could to naturally fuel that curiosity. The reason I'm "good at plants" is the product of a collaboration between my curiosity and my dad's knowledge. That's it. I only got to decide like 50% of that, and that doesn't even bother me in the slightest. The same goes for why I'm good at drawing. Countless hours were spent watching my father draw flowers in the dining room where he would then tape them onto his bedroom door for my mom. I have very fond memories of that, and even more fond memories of sitting down to join him in drawing those flowers. I could cover more history on why I chose to do the things I'm doing today, but you get the point. We are not 100% responsible for what we're "supposed" to do, or even why we enjoy doing what we do.


One more example.

    Molly and I have two excellent friends that live five doors down from us. They just had a baby. Their child is one year new. It has become increasingly apparent that this child has an inclination towards music. We can't play something without her breaking into dance. She's even expressed a natural inclination to rhythm. She will literally clap on the beat, or at least make her best efforts to do so. We've all speculated that she will grow up to play some sort of instrument (I call percussionist). While some would say that's her "calling". I say that's her "exposure" from the moment she was born, her father would play his guitar for her. Literally most of her conscious moments were spent being submersed by music. Even when it comes to her dad's heavy metal, which she absolutely loves. Music isn't her celestial calling, it's her current exposure and it ultimately comes down to how accessible they make music for her at this age, before her comprehensible curiosity kicks in. 

Now let's talk about how this information is relevant for your current standing.

     Everyone's "talented" at something. I do believe that over most things, and for this example I will mostly address creative fields. Everything you are drawn towards in the creative realm is the result of your circumstances. EVERYTHING. CIRCUMSTANCES. CREATIVE REALM. What you do, how you do it and what you do it with is due to what others have put you through, exposed you to, and SOMETIMES what you decide. Sure, you decided to do today's still life with colored pencil, but you sure in hell didn't make or buy those pencils without a little push or insight from a mentor or professional who recommended them to you 10 years ago when you didn't know shit. And you still may not know shit, and that's ok. Because life is messy and we're all responsible for everyone's shit. On a global scale, we all work like sound. If there's a single push from any point in this earthly room, that influence will move through each individual and get processed in our psychological cochlea, resulting in some sort of addition to who we are. And like sound, this influence is stronger and more discernible the closer you are to the source. What happened in Ferguson, Missouri can be felt ALL over the country and I'm willing to guarantee everything I have that it affected at least one person in Mongolia SOMEHOW.

     Now maybe you can let go a little bit of that pressure to find your "Purpose" or "What You're For". You are for being a sponge, a downward drain of experiences. What you're also for is deciding how you'll respond to said experiences. You don't get to decide whether or not someone is going to rear end you. Sorry, but you just don't. And you also don't get to decide if the ass-hat that hit you is indeed an ass-hat and will blame you for being in their way while sporting their "Make America Great Again" hat. You Just Don't. Will that experience shape you? Heck yeah it will. Will you flinch a little bit at every stop light when someone pulls up behind your car? Perhaps. Will you assume everyone who pulls up behind you is an asshat?  You get to decide that. Do I wish I was great at painting? Heck yeah I do. Am I? Not really. But I was never introduced to painting. I was introduced to drawing and illustration, and that's what I absorbed. Do I look at some of the great painters today in envy? Of course. I am an artist. Envy is our lifeblood. But currently, I am not for painting. My experiences and past circumstances have not lent themselves to painting. Can they from this point on? Of course. What that requires though, is exposure and lots of it. If I want to be for painting, I need to expose myself to the circumstances that yield an inclination to painting, and this requires an effort on my part, and what others decide to expose me to. I need to decide I want to paint, surround myself around things that inspire painting, and surround myself around people who support that inclination in me to paint. If others don't support it, then it's up to me to make up the difference, and that's called hustle baby.

     I have a friend who's an excellent music producer. One of the best musicians I know, and this is something everyone knows about them. Both of his parents were musicians and exposed him to constant music growing up. The unfortunate thing today is, he doesn't do it. He's incredibly gifted, but simply doesn't do it. He is one of the few people I know who could quite literally make it big in the music world, and he doesn't do it. Why? There are a few reasons we've discussed, despite having all of the support from his friends, his parents don't support it. The very people that exposed him to music, catered to that curiosity, and were the catalyst for his current talent, don't think it's a very feasible option for him. Of course he wouldn't do it. Who would? Now admittedly, this would require HUSTLE to make up the difference, but other circumstances, mostly out of his control, lead him to be the sort of person who can't necessarily follow through. And for the most part, those circumstances were out of his control. At first glance one would say his "calling" is music. And if we are predetermined to be good at something, to have a "talent" that would define who were are as a person and where we fit in this global room, then we shouldn't be able to not do said talent. Which is why I strongly disagree with the notion of a "calling". My friend's "calling" isn't to do music, but the collection of his life experiences and circumstances has crafted him into a person who's "for music". Does he have to do music? NO. But you must recognize why you're "for" something, and how you become "for" something. This allows you to be ok with where you stand in respect to your "talents" and alleviates some of the pressure of "fulfilling" your purpose. If you have an inclination towards something and you recognize that, good. If it brings you joy to keep doing that thing, good.

      We should all know this; there are over seven-billion people on this planet. You are one of those people. The pressure of "fulfilling" your purpose or "calling" simply assumes that out of the current seven-billion people on the planet, your "talent" is something we need to sustain the we ALL need, and this is pressure a lot of creatives feel they need to "fulfill". Which is unreasonable, but sources like "The Voice", "American Idol", teen-pop sensations, and dingbats like Mr.Brainwash make us feel like we have to live up to, and to ANSWER OUR CALLING!!! No. You're only doing what you're doing because your childhood and those around you decided you should at least be remotely interested in it, and you decided to at least look into it to some degree. Which is not a hopeless or existential thing. It's a very humble and reasonable approach to why we do anything and why we may or may not suck at certain things. If you want to be "for" something. Read the books, find the people, seek out the circumstances, and most importantly; stay curious. Curiosity is all we have 100% control of, and we get to decide how weak or potent that is.