“All those stories were scripts I knew inside out from movies, sitcoms, a hundred songs on the radio as I drove to work. Friends’ lives, relationship talk shows, books about love, the expectations of my family, my desires… All those things shaped the events in my past into a story I could recognize. And by extension, they shaped the options I saw for the future….”
“The combined weight of our decisions and our interperetations, pressing down on our shoulders, robbing us of options and pushing us to second-bests because they remind us of a movie we once saw. That’s the power of The Narrative.”
It’s strange as I step back and look at the entries I wrote – the conclusion seems as obvious as a sunrise.
The Narrative is all about reaching the conclusions we desire. Following the plot to find the happy ending. Along the way, we shackle ourselves to the twists and turns and choices of the stories we’ve heard and believed. We lash our pragmatism to the the closest ship, and follow the plot.
How do we escape that gravity well? I think the only way is to give up the outcome. To cut the ropes and drop into the sea and stop trying to achieve the things we’re hoping for. If that’s our focus, we’ll always be trapped by the Narrative’s pull. Hitching rides on currents and eddies until it dashes us on the rocks.
So you say you want a revolution?
What would happen if each of us gave up on the happy endings and considered every choice, every moment, on its own? Forget the Narrative and the payoffs it promises. Forget where this moment’s taking me: Is this the right thing for me to do? Pursue Good, make our decisions based on the ideals we talk about but never really apply. It’s not about rebellion; like a child doing exactly what Mom and Dad say not to do, I’m still locked into the paths the Narrative cuts if all I do is rebel. The Narrative commodifies discontent and turns dissent into a subplot. Witness the Avrilesque pop-culture revolution of Nike, Sprite, et al. Rebellion is just the denim-clad pierced and ink’d version of the Narrative’s standard options.
Decoupling yourself from the Narrative requires standing still to watch the tidal wave that’s looming over you. It takes a willingness to grit your teeth and grin like a mofo and stand where you are as the crush of expectation passes. It takes knowing what’s right and the willingness to do it even if the results are what you fear the most.
So I won’t get the girl if I don’t “fight for it” and screw my friend in the process? Sounds like a good plan to me.
So I won’t get the promotion if I don’t play hardball and take credit for the work everyone did? Yeah?
So I’ll wind up alone, tending goldfish until I die if I build friendships instead of chasing anything with breasts and legs? There are worse things than knowing and being known.
So everyone wil think I’m a fool if I don’t play the game? Bring it on.
Live the adventure.
Fuck the Narrative.