Beginner’s Mind

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Among “my tribe”, I am known as someone who starts creative endeavors without a clear plan. For me, such journeys are borne on an energetic stream of consciousness. Sure, there is a general trajectory, but more often than not, the path creates itself one step at a time, beneath my feet, as I spring forward. It’s probably not the best course of action when developing a website or a blog, and yet, that is where I found myself- lost in the land of WordPress options and technical terms that far outpaced my Gen X-sponsored set of “onboard tools”.

Nostalgically, I grieve the sense of knowingness and experiential wisdom that once bolstered my confidence and offered insightful guidance. In 2020, in the midst of a pandemic, operating remotely on my career and school, my points of reference are largely irrelevant. I find this fact amusing…and also crippling to my sense of place in the modern world.

I worked diligently to craft this site, to make it visually appealing, to ensure links stayed linked and fonts followed form. I smoked more cigarettes than I intended. I also suspect I caused people I love to rummage through closets and crannies, in search of a ball gag (long ferreted away), to stop my incessant bemoaning.

As if I had a reason to consider myself an expert in the first place, I presumed to assume I could simply “make WordPress what I want it to do”. I could not. So instead, I shamed myself for a lack of understanding. Frustrated, but calmly supportive, my partner nearly begged me to “WTV”- aka watch the videos. I resisted. First, I had to “beat” it…THEN I would watch the tutorials ardently vying for my attention on every page.

Tenacity is a virtue, be sure, but it can also be a barrier. My ego was running amok, until a paradigm shift in perspective came and put me in check. Finally, I realized that in order to progress, I had let go and surrender to the experience. To navigate this new terrain, I needed to forget what I thought I knew (and what I wanted WordPress to do). It was essential that I explore this path with a beginner’s mind- to first discover what the tools are even capable of doing- and then, to adjust my expectations, until I gained more experience.

As with most things, my struggles remind me to be humble, and humble successes remind me to persevere.

Welcome to Strangeland

In the early days of 2020, the world changed dramatically. Not only were people quarantined inside their homes, their communities, their states and their countries, many people quarantined alone and were forced to keep their own company. For some, that has been a relief, for others it was/is a long slide into a lonely rabbit hole.

At first, I basked in the solitude, relished the lack of stimulus. I found relief from the enormous stress of living and working alongside others. But now, two hundred and thirty-two days later, I find myself in a deflated raft, on a smoldering ocean, searching the horizon for a foothold- my feet grown soft from disuse. One day runs into the next. World stories flash brightly across my screens, but reheated news all tastes the same.

Be sure, I enjoy my own company, but the conversation here has grown stale. Unheard words cut the roof of my mouth. I need something new, dare I say novel, to slake my thirst. Conversations with the uncommon, to spark my interest in thoughts and ideas and the world, again. From that Seeking, that aspiration, Strangeland emerged.

My intention is to rustle masks and unearth oddities. Curiouser and curioser, my politics are complex and evolving. I do not swallow propaganda pills without researching their efficacy. I do not seek homogenity- variety and mutation breeds innovation. I do not proclaim to be interesting, myself, just interested.

Some of my posts may be suprising, some may bore you, others may incite your wrath or entreat your compassion. I do not seek an unwavering path- I often wander off, away from the best laid plans. It is through this dynamic lens that I seek out, curate, and share thoughts, stories, food, people, events and places that are slightly askew and unapologetically different.

Do you, dear reader, have something to share? Are you strange and uncommon? Do you find yourself walking the line between “normal” and “odd”? If so, you have found your tribe! Please look around, share your thoughts, and stay awhile. All who come with a healthy dose of curiosity (and respect) have a home here. I look forward to learning and exploring with you.

Carpe Noctum. Feed your fire.

T. Noelle