Music, Art, Chemistry, and the Maze

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In March I finally got a music stream going. Now I can play my MIDI piano on my stream which is pretty nice. I have been doing tons of drawings, which has also been nice. But something has been looming on the horizon, less sinister than burnout but almost as damaging: it’s the Maze!

Comic I did early March 2021 on my attitude

Life has not always been easy. I was pushed very hard to be a concert pianist and that got really old really quickly (not to mention that nothing in my upbringing really screamed ‘classical’). As a teenager I did not know what the future would bring but I knew I wanted to CREATE things. Home was not a safe place though, and most of what I made was lost or destroyed in various eras of my families negligence and rage.

Life DID get better. My grades in college (design school) were far better than my grades in high school, but I still felt like I was not making progress in life. I had more skills but nothing that really made me enough money to live on, so I went back to college in an attempt to be a pharmacist. Back I went to Sinclair Community College, which was great, to learn chemistry. And I love chemistry! I felt smart, like I was learning something IMPORTANT. My grades were even better; I put in tons of effort. Then off to WSU which was also nice, for a college that dedicated practically no money or effort to their chemistry department. I got a bachelors in Chemistry and here I am! I learned that I didn’t want to be a pharmacist, but I lucked out and got a great job supporting water quality equipment.

And yet all this time I knew that I really wanted to MAKE things, to inspire and entertain. What was I doing? I wanted to draw so I went to design school; I wanted to play music so I did, but in private. I started learning chemistry and saw a whole other WORLD that opened up via mathematics and physics. What was I doing? I felt that I knew things, that I understood something about art and music and science. I attacked projects but it was in every direction, all at once. If I hit too much resistance, I stopped.

What was I doing? I was wondering the Maze. Looking for that path that meant the most, that felt the best, that was calling my name. And I don’t know where the maze ENDS. If there is a goal to life I don’t know in what direction it lies. Maybe the maze is the goal? If life were not about the endless accumulation of wealth, I think life would be so much happier. If I could afford a home, if I could contribute in small ways all over the place instead of grinding a job in a big way, if I was amazing at one single thing, then I could just throw myself into it. But I never know where I am in the maze; if I persue one interest and move headlong in that direction, I get lost.

The worst part is feeling left behind. Seeing friends and colleagues excel at something they are great at and move forward. Designers, artists, musicians, scientists; I am all of these things and yet I am not 100% dedicated to any of it. What does that make me? A jack-of-all-trades? A pretender? A has-been, or a never-will?

Here’s to another month of wandering the maze. Thanks to the guides and well-wishers in that maze who have offered me advice. Here’s to leaving those behind in the maze who have chosen to let me wander alone. And here’s to finding a new part of the maze that looks like peace.

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