Instalment XXIX – wherein our little heroine is living la vida loca

Tales from the Tropics

Hello my enduring endeavour to enlightenment. Turns out this is like everything in life. No discipline and you’re fucked. Every time I think I’m not going to do a post the stubborn little part of me just can’t break the streak. You should see my snap chat. Well that’s done. I don’t know if I’ll return to social media. What ever will I do with all my free time in the real world? Learn a skill? I might work on corporal discipline next, the nightmares threw out my wake up schedule and I am a sucker for eating at the moment. Everything turns into excess so quickly. I really wish that you could eat, drink, smoke, live without there being some shitty consequence. Never ever have too much fun. Moderation is modern punishment. Too much free time. Actually since the workforce got unionized and the eight hour workday was established it set this mentality that all time has monetary value. You get paid X amount per hour to work. It affects your mindset. Therefore when you are not at work are you using your free time wisely cause you just put a price on it. I’m championing the deep chill except you might get trapped in a thought prison so maybe I should ease up on the life advice.

Today it was my Uncle’s turn to give me unsolicited life advice; my grandmother was out for a quick prayer group- probably praying for my divine guidance. So I’m just sitting at the table, vacantly staring at this screen when my Uncle tells me that I need to stop reading so many books on poetry and to pick up a book about business because I needed some practical skills. Thanks. I get why art is not a thing for the church. Higher attainment of self is a dangerous little game we play that when over indulged can quickly turn to madness. Fun police! Well, one can’t fault him for being wrong. It’s just ruthless here, the poverty is so frontline that it is legit that you don’t work or you don’t find your way in life you’re going to be sitting on the side of that road selling bananas little heroine. He’s arguing a case for me to stay here because I don’t know if it’s in the blood but he told me I hit the age where I probably wouldn’t work for anyone anymore so I better get my ass into business. Is my whole family emotionally psychic?

There’s an expression here, people talk about ‘la vida’ which directly translates to ‘life’ but the context they use it in is to communicate something larger. It’s like your life and it’s purpose, and it’s meaning and how you attain that, “the life”. Singular proper noun like God or Google (instalment XXV). Fuck English is a dead cold language.

Right, so here, you ‘busca la vida’ (look for your way in “life”) if you just let me Urban Dictionary it for you it would best translate to ‘hustle’. That’s interesting isn’t it? If we rip apart the language structure, ‘life’ here incorporates livelihood/$$$. In English I guess you would have ‘life’ vs ‘living’ where ‘life’ is happiness, family, friends all that greater shit that defines your experience and ‘living’ is your daily grind, the business of life- anxiety, isolation, gratification. See how in English ‘work’ is it’s own thing. You don’t equate work to living or you shouldn’t. Maybe that’s why third world people are happy and grateful. Yeah, I said it. Enjoy your clean drinking water, first world work slave. Even in language you see a rift. Here ‘la vida’ is ‘la vida’. Your process of living is what amounts to the life you create. You might think I’m splitting hairs and it’s really obvious but just think about it. Here, the language use reminds you everyday that it’s the same concept whereas I just had to draw up boundaries in English to help explain the difference so clearly there is an adjunct. It’s all shit I know but how am I so lost in it? I turned around and every part of my living was not a life I wanted. How dreary. Now, I’m doing this. Pulling it all apart. Oh God. I guess I ‘m ahead of my time with the life crisis, too bad it happened before i could afford a sport’s car and trophy husband.

There’s little stigma for poverty here, people who set up little stores that sell single cigarettes or kids begging, they aren’t begrudged for their industry. People just brush it off and say stuff like ‘oh they’re just looking for la vida’. Sure, there are jobs with prestige but there’s no shame in poverty. And I like that a lot. No shame if you’re dong your best. At it’s most base level money is important not in the way that it can give you things to attain, it is important in the way that it sustains. Don’t hustle. Don’t eat. It’s like we got so greedy off excess money that it became another thing that we can’t moderate. Seriously, I told you. Life is not about having too much fun. What the fuck is that about? What a joke. And now I’m Heath Ledger standing on a pile of money telling Batman that I just want to watch the world burn…

Continuing on, my uncle tells me that I must look for how to make ‘la vida’. It’s much less intimidating than that large looming question of ‘what are you going to do?’ I don’t fucking know. I’m just working on not killing myself on a daily basis. Is that ok? I read this thing about how the questions we ask people reflect what is valuable to the speaker and that speaker’s culture at large. Asking someone ‘what do you do for a living?’ is effectively an attempt to define them and categorise them in a way that is easy for us to digest and in the western world we do love a bit of status via job. We’re all watching each other. Look at social media. Shame trap! I’m actually paranoid. Shit’s fucked. Dude, let me just state: I got no shame in being a sales girl. Someone’s got to sell five hundred dollar Italian wool to people hungry for reassurance. Anyway, when I ask people what they do it’s more to make polite conversation. But I do think that it quietly does seep into society as a whole, that your job is definitive and then we put all this pressure on finding something that fulfills our great ambitions when really I just need to make enough money to eat and buy those fine ass Italian wool coats because they are beautiful. My expensive taste is aesthetic. Trust. I did have one interaction where I met someone, and I noticed that they specifically didn’t ask me about my line of work which when you are a lady of leisure you notice these things (leisure- I sound like a hooker, but that would make me a lady of pleasure). Try it out, I have been, it really stretches the limitations of your ability to converse if you aren’t restricting your shit to superficial boxes. Oh, heaps of people are fucking dumb and boring. Let me just flag that for you now so at least you wont be surprised when you realise it is a difficult little challenge. Who has the patience? Am I ever going to rejoin humanity? Will I learn to be less scathing?

So now I have to figure out how to construct meaning out of the fabric of my existence on top of finding work. But I feel heaps better that I will be greatly unfulfilled by my job and that’s ok cause I’m basically a beggar on the road to a greater existential quest for truth that really just needs to work out how to find ‘la vida’ for now. No pressure.

xx SJ

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