Saturday, July 23, 2011

Present Imperfect - The Motivation For This Blog

Prosenjit Roy - "Evil Thoughts"
My initial concern when deciding to create a personal blog was that it not turn into too much of a downer for me or for the accidental visitor reading it.

Its real intent is for me to essentially release the thoughts, rants, concerns and fears that I have very ineffectively bottled inside of me. The result has been a not so pleasant dude. This blog will be just one way I expect to change my frame of mind and get on the road to achieving true and genuine happiness in my new surroundings.

Other forms of release will be through painting, learning the conga, returning to meditation and taking much better care of my physical and emotional health. Of course I expect there to be hiccups along the way; daily life has a way of interrupting good intentions, but I will persevere.

I also expect what I write here to be honest enough that it will be somewhat uncomfortable for me even as I half-heartedly attempt to remain anonymous.  Only time will tell how effective this attempt will be, but over the years it has been clear whether it was through writing or painting, this form of expression and release has proven to be a wonderful therapy.

These days I suddenly find myself having to start my life completely over. Okay, first confession – perhaps not completely over – sure, there were insecurities and issues that should have been addressed a long time ago, however the true successes whether it was personally, professionally, financially of the last twenty years seem deleted forever leaving me with those old issues that had not been adequately dealt with to rear its ugly head magnifying the present darkness.

Prosenjit Roy - "Gash 1"
I am severely conflicted as I balance the desire to become more fulfilled and content in a new country, a new culture, new beginnings, new life changes, new professional changes and challenges when I didn’t particularly ask for them or expect them – at least not in this way; and the truth is I resent it. (Future posts will give better detail)

I start my life over in every imaginable way at an age and stage where I feel I should have already reached a level of stability. It has created many a night of self-torture emotionally beating myself up for being in such a position.

Very randomly I participate in an English speaking expatriate social group here in Stuttgart. Mostly it is a constantly changing assortment of folks coming from all over the world and the initial commonality is our language (a close second is the steady flow of German hefeweizens which I like quite a lot!).

At these gatherings, almost always held at a different restaurant or bar in downtown Stuttgart, I feel embarrassed and at times sad when being among such happy faces. It appears that everyone is so well adjusted except me. What’s wrong with me? So it’s not Germany, it’s me! I’m the one who’s fucked up.

Maybe they have certain advantages that I don’t have: Maybe they are part of the military or work for U.S. government so there is already a built-in network of common interests and friendships, maybe they have German heritage with family nearby, maybe they speak the language fluently which can certainly open social, professional and even romantic doors, maybe they are a good ten years younger than me and are still in their care-free exploring and developing phase with fewer life and family responsibilities, or maybe they just don’t have the obvious mark of separateness to deal with by walking around with  black or brown skin...(or maybe that last part was complete bullshit).

The truth is I don’t really know if they are happy at all. Perhaps their smiles and laughter is only a temporary band-aid for their own fears and personal struggles as they wash the stresses away with orange liquor and semi-interesting mindless chatter. I really don’t know and I’m not sure it matters. At the end of the day, I will most likely attend the next event for a new fix anyway.

Prosenjit Roy - "Artist on a Mend"
Still, as I finally accept the next fifteen years will be spent here, I feel it incredibly necessary to stop bitching and moaning about the present and begin embracing the new.

Sure, so many Germans are apparently allergic to smiles and basic courtesies and politeness (at least that which is familiar to me). Casual greetings such as “How are you?” repels them. Compliments are met with suspicion and grim scowls are commonplace.

It’s a follow the rules world or you are in trouble with someone – either the law or the neighbor who will surely tell on you. It's a paper and rubber stamp world - I actually think forms and paperwork gets their juices flowing. It’s a world where individuality is certainly not encouraged and entrepreneurship is relegated to crazy risk-takers only interested in fantasy, get rich schemes.

It’s a world where much (too much) of the year brings gray skies, rain or snow – a hard bitter reality to accept coming from Southern California. I totally underestimated how much this weather would affect me. With the dull gray and dirty tan colours of the buildings, apartments and homes that make up most of Germany underneath dreary, gray muted skies I often feel as if I am living life in monochrome. Think of the old black and white TVs for those of you who go back that far.

However, in fairness it’s also a world where I barely know the language and this may greatly distort my view of things. After almost of year and a half of being here my intentions are to finally get my ass in a German course immediately. I expect as I master the language my relationships will develop and become more satisfying and just maybe I will see this place in a different light. I hope.

Prosenjit Roy - "The Lazy Sun"
In the meantime, I will continue to teach Business English, work on freelance copywriting projects and get back to my internet business. I also want to take advantage of traveling to the nearby European locations I have always wanted to visit - all within two or three hours: Milan, Venice, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona and the beaches of Spain, etc., etc.

 The hardcore fact is I need to make a much better effort to stop walking around as a pissed off victim pissed off that everyone else is looking pissed off.

The paintings throughout this post are created by a wonderful talent, Prosenjit Roy who seems to be on an artistic mission to “de-coon” the mysteries of his own life purpose after trading in his surgical dental tools for the life of an artist in Kolkata (Calcutta), India.

In describing the motivation for his website,  Artist on the Mend,  a brilliant collection of paintings, sketches, essays and poetry, Roy writes that the site was born “…out of an urgent, urgent necessity to excavate deep tombs of thought. To stand before a mirror and discover that a mirror is nothing more than a mirror. An essential de-cocooning process…”

Roy’s creative self-analysis is by far more interesting and colourful than mine, but I intimately identify with his journey.

Hmm…with that, let’s see how my story unfolds…

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