To Understand Something, Note It in Your Own Words

Ego is identity.

We identify ourselves with what we believe about ourselves, how we carry ourselves, and what we want others to think of us.

This identity is a wrapper that we twist ourselves in.

This wrapper is safe because it tells what we can be, and where we can go. It’s also constraining because it limits us, and tells us where we have to stop.

I can’t do that. What will the others think?

The wrapper is a container, a border, a boundary.

True growth requires the puncture of this wrapper, the expansion of these boundaries, the destruction of identity.

Thus the need for ego death.

The Path

I completed an animation project last night that I started months ago. It was a lot of work, from conceptualization to completion, from sketched layouts to finished cartoon. Over the last few days, as I saw the finish line on the horizon, I became obsessed. Animation takes so much time, and I have so many projects that I want to complete, that I was desperate to finally finish something. It got to the point where people got worried about me, and I flaked out on a friend I was supposed to see.

But you know what? I don’t regret it. I know I should feel bad, but I don’t.

Does this make me a bad person? Probably not. An antisocial one, maybe. There’s nothing I can say that will make my friends and family feel better about my inattentive behavior, and yet, I feel no need to explain myself anyway.

I’m not mad at anyone. I didn’t do this to lash out or deprive anyone of my precious company. I did it because I owed it to myself. I owed it to my muse. Yes, I’m behaving strangely to those who have known me as the neurotic, nervous teen, and to be honest, I’m a little surprised myself, but I feel good. Like I just finished a grueling workout, or enjoyed a fiery night of passion in bed. This wasn’t just something that I chose to do, it was something that had to be done.

Does that make sense?

Probably not. I don’t understand it myself. I like it, though. While designing MS-DOS, Bill Gates performed grand programming sessions that left him bedraggled and a bit stinky. Stephen King wrote Cujo in a white haze of alcohol and cocaine. I would never dare to compare my skills with those of Gates or King, but I understand the obsession, the NEED to work when the work calls.

Life is full of absurdity. We grow up surrounded by loud, meaningless voices that teach us what to do and what to think. How to conform, and how to compromise. Living like this works for a while, but I believe that true maturity means rolling those thoughts back and being honest with oneself. All my life I feared the prospect of hurting others or letting them down. I think I did that this weekend, but it was in the name of something that I honestly feel is greater. People are upset with me, but I don’t care. Nothing is bringing me down off this. I feel good.

Does this make me a bad person?