Is wanting to do it all the curse of never doing anything well?

I have tremendous admiration for the craftsman, a person who has toiled for most of their life and become skilled at some beautiful thing…a potter, a master baker, a cook, a cabinet maker, a basket weaver.  We celebrate these skills not enough in modern society.  Some cultures preserve these craft traditions better than others.

Italy, where I live, is just such a country.  And this reverence for craft is not my own, but society-wide, and extends to so many endeavours.  Fashion is an obvious one, but all aspects of design, from furniture to fast cars.  Even great French brands like Christian Dior and Christian Louboutin come to Italy to have many of their finest creations made.  Italy remains the world leader in fine leather work, fine shoemaking.  Or do we say cobbling?

This extends to the world of food too.  Olive oil, special cheeses, unique breads.  It is local, and part of the incredible geographic beauty of the nation: terroir of a kind lived through craft.  In truth, this is why I love living here.

[I have written a bit about how it is harder to be here as a trans woman than in some other places I love to spend time, especially New York—a place I never liked much when I was a young professional—aggressive, expensive.  But now, it has changed and so have I…and has been the most trans-affirming place I have ever been.

London is a close second, but I have also experienced the edges of trans-blowback there, so there is a fly in the ointment.]

Living in Italy has been a hard-won victory, making a life here, putting down roots.  And funnily enough, despite my occasional unease at being stared at, Italians are a fairly laissez faire people, so in the end ignore me.  More importantly, since coming out, friends have emerged and taken me under their wing.  Italians are incredibly inclusive in this sense—once you are invited in, you are invited in.  All this to say that I don’t want to leave.  I love it here.

But I also have something else going on in my life.  This is a corrosive theme that has been a part of me since I can remember…the Fear of Missing Out.  FOMO.  And there is no place that is pulling on my heart right now than New York.  And yet, I surely don’t want to live in America.  Something has to give.

That is place-based FOMO in action.  But it happens to me all the time.  It is about parties, groups of people, events taking place.  The number of parties I see popping up on Eventbrite or Resident Advisor, things that I really want to go to, end up booking, and then just end up not showing up are a bit of a waste.  The worst, however, is just missing something that I would have moved heaven and earth to attend.

And I think that social media is this corrosive force that makes us want things that we neither need nor want.  To manage and control it, what I really need is to find the strength for this inside.  I can’t be alone in this failing, but if there is a failing that makes me feel alone, it is this one.  It is an echo-box for loneliness.

It also means something else.  It means we make choices, or we avoid making choices…ouch, I make choices or fail to make choices, either one of which increases my feelings of personal alienation.  Sounds bleak.  It isn’t always so.

A small example.  I have loved to play the guitar.  In college I was lead guitarist for a rock band.  When we graduated, the band went on tour, but without me.  I had decided that my life was not going to about playing the guitar, so I quit the band, watched them go, put my guitar down, and put it away for a very, very long time.  Many decades later, I picked it up again as I found it therapeutic—an antidote to the intensity of being a CEO.  I have since put it back down again, as I am neither a CEO any longer and am also having so many other experiences which are a kind of therapeutic which dwarfs anything I ever felt from the guitar.

The band lives on in the persona of the lead singer and main songwriter—every one of us having moved on, and I was really happy to see him win an award recently and be in the news.  It is not wistful, nor is this feeling in me provoked by his success…I am genuinely happy for him—it is compersion of another kind.  No, it is simply an example of choices.

When we choose one thing, we are effectively choosing not do another thing.  And compounded over a lifetime, this leads to growth in one direction, and atrophy in the other.  If the choices are consistent, we can develop real talent to our full potential.

That leads to the kind of excellence that I openly revered at the outset of this post.  But if we continuously branch out in new directions, we become what the proverb says, “a jack of all trades, master of none.”  Cynically, to be lousy at everything.  Mastery comes with focus.

The irony is that I lament a perennial inability to focus.  And yet, one of the greatest loves of my life is constantly trying new things.  Does that mean I am just a consumer, not a creator?  My BDSM test profile shows me to be what this post is about, an experimentalist.  I travel non-stop.  I don’t think I do anything well enough or deep enough to call myself a Renaissance man just yet…oh, and there is the “man” part in there.

Miss Kim Rub, a fabulously grounded and wise person and a veteran of the kink scene in London said to me when I interviewed her that she creates her own community.  She always has.  This is a fabulous gift.  And yet, to call it a gift is silly.  It is a way of being.  I don’t know if one can set out to create community.  Perhaps.  In small ways.

The problem is that life is too short.  There are so many things to do, so many places to see, so many experiences to have.  I have this feeling a bit more as I spend more time with people who are younger than me and see that some of the decisions they are wrestling with are ones that were familiar to me once.  It is a wonderful feeling to be turned to by someone.  To be the big fluffy sweater to the discomfort of their existential crisis.

This is a role which I am finding myself in with some of my new friends, even as so many of them are people that I have turned to for the same.  Age and experience has its own natural gravity.  Still, I also love getting life advice from people half my age or less…it contributes to a feeling of immortality.

This kind of existential malaise is a form of ennui.  It has the potential to paralyse.  Not necessarily from inaction, but potentially its opposite, hyper-activity.  Do you know where this going?  All of this is the real curse of ADD.  Easy distraction is the situational example of what I am describing, only this time it is played out on the big screen of life over time.  

The antidote to this is focus and productive output.  To do something.  That is one of the many reasons I blog.  It is also a big part of why I write cookbooks.  It is also why I write other books, novels, erotica.  After all, if I am going to have kinky thoughts shouldn’t I just write them down as stories…indeed, finding ways to kill two birds with one stone has been a really important workaround for me in life.  If I am clever, it has been manifested in part in this way—doing something because it ticks more than one box at once.

The question is, will it ever be enough?  Probably not.  And why isn’t it enough to successfully diagnose the problem?  Why can’t the diagnosis be the solution?  Why is the actually-fixing-it part the hard part?  But now that I know, to not address it is self-destructive, and I am not going there anymore.

ADD drugs are necessary for some.  I bridled against them, perhaps because I decided that I could manage on my own, but also because they silence the voices, the racy-pacy noise of my mind, which I actually love.  And you know what?  BDSM does the same thing that the drugs do, but without the side effects.  Okay, if you could bottle it, I am not sure how it would read that a potential side effect of BDSM-in-a-bottle would be that my body would be covered with the stripes of the whip, but there you have it.

And once you have found someone who is the other half of the D/s equation, simply being in their presence is enough to silence the noise.  Lord knows why that power is so real and so great, that simply knowing what someone is to you is enough to complete you when they sit next to you, opposite you, stand before you.  I think that is why it is possible for me to kneel in silence for an endless time when such a she is present.  It is the primordial mama.  This too is common to ADD peeps.

Ex-Mistress pushed me towards meditation, which was something I really and truly struggled with, because my mind is always in “monkey brain” mode.  Slowly, and finally, this is beginning to change.  It has changed enough for me to know that the antidote to the ennui, the frustration, the anxiety present in this post, is actually meditation.

In the meantime, what I thought was a life of chaotic threads, abandoned projects, ideas cast by the wayside, unfinished business, are all part of the same tapestry.  It is all coming together.  And I can see it.  And as it begins to take shape, it is taking shape around community.  I cannot have it all now.  But little by little, step by step, it is coalescing.

And I will know, and you will know, that it has come to pass, the day that I no longer blog as an anonymous blogger, but that it will all come out.  I have thought about this a lot of late.  About how I might have to “scrub” out parts of this site, and in truth my thoughts drifted to the more embarrassing aspects of my sexuality…but that must be a part of it. Otherwise, what’s the point?  No, in the end, I will only remove bits that might hurt someone’s feelings.

And you know what?  You’re all invited.

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