The Nondescript Life and Butterfly Wings

This blog post courtesy of “Years and Years” post by King Midget, who is the author of books on my shelves, a bloggy pal, a pen pal, a friend who tells me when I’m being a coward and listens to me when I urge him to quit hiding his light – :). King Midget wades into public battlefields I would only slash and burn, if I ventured into them – But he listens when I say, “Splutter….Splutter! But HOW can you only see that side???” –

He forgives me over and over for being me, and well – lots of folks living their daily lives, caring for their family, show up for support and/or encouragement to me, over and over, all while they go about living their ‘quiet, nondescript lives.

So this post is for you, King Midget – (P.S. – I expect to get my gold star for catching myself in time and not blogging in your comment section, but I say so, knowing how well you know me! – LOL)

“Behind every life is a story”

Who remembers that tag line that I still remember well and love and yet, how long since I’ve even had cable TV service or paid for streaming service for A&E channel? Long time – are they even still using the same tagline on new productions?

For myself, the entire history of humanity is often to be found within the lives that resemble mine, yours, and was or still often IS labeled as ‘nondescript’ or mediocre, or even more often, in my lifetime?

Labeled in shame/blame terms “self-sabotage, low self-esteem, fear of success” – by all the gurus and experts and those holding the bullhorn who use it to ‘bull’ or, to my mind?

Bully others….

But What If…..?

What if all the world revolves around the collective of ‘nondescript’ lives?

I think of that possibility, often, right along with the words,

Butterfly Wings

I’m certain I came to learn butterfly wings, first, via trending ‘be a better human being’ works or good movie or my dive into Chaos Theory and learning more about Edward Lorenz, who MIT lists as the father of Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect.

Maybe I was swayed to love Butterfly Effect & Chaos Theory via a 1,001 popular or privately experienced moments –

I still, internally, believe truly, that majority of ‘nondescript’ lives are the very things, that if worked for, as a ‘goal’ to make possible for many?

That is, for me, where the rubber meets the road, where our history of humanity truly changes for the better.

Slowly and surely, nondescript lives just truck along best as they can, and collective, do their best, to make the world ‘better’ for many.

Expanding the option to live a nondescript life, more available to more people.

Options such as King Midget listed:

… the chance to be a late bloomer, or survive and thrive where we find ourselves – to be a quiet geek, to run towards that which might kill us, simply because, we love and wish to provide for others we love, way more than we fear what we are running towards may kill us, the support of those who hold the line and still love, while we struggle with killing ourselves, or walking away from killing ourselves – –

But also, I think about other options in my ‘nondescript life’ that seem like a right, or what I pay taxes, fees, for, that so many in the world at large still do not have –

The option to have clean water without walking back and forth 5 miles one-way, twice a day – to eat a greater variety of food, even if it’s something I’ve never cooked before and no guest would be willing to eat with me, and be offended if I offered as a snack – (a bag of chips, expired, from local food bank OR a wild greens harvested, and splashed with oil & vinegar, spices, that I harvested out of my crappy looking, ugly yard!)

Those who cook over a fire or live in polluted skies, that die before they are 40 from lung cancer from a lifetime of inhaling smoke during meal prep or just going about earning a living –

The chance to discuss with a friend the hopes and dreams of our children, because we aren’t busy hiding our children from local civil war lords, or the neighboring country leaders and can’t trust we won’t be informed upon if we say such things outloud.

Nondescript and Mediocre lives play out because basic human heart needs are met – and if many in a society are leading nondescript and mediocre lives?

To me?

Congratulations – may not be perfect, but it’s better than some of the ‘we need to do this, NOW!” options I see touted loudly and often, given who ever is currently in power of the bullhorn, the message, or Congress or the White House.

In the bottom of my heart, therein, for now, lies the truth of me…

Really, I just want to work towards, in my daily, mediocre, nondescript life, the chance for each of us to find meaning within our individual lives, the courage to both gaze upon both the horror while also seeing and being willing to fight for the beauty of the world we were born into –

I want to make daily choices, as I can, that, through living my daily life? I’m somehow, someway, being a butterfly wing to someone or several someone’s right to live a nondescript life.

That – is, in the end, the human condition, is it not? The will to live must, somewhere, include our belief we see ourselves as a good person – else, why would we try this damn hard, in a complex, multi-leveled, who really knows? Can we ever fully know? society???

We each walk through, deal with, survive or thrive in such a world, on our own levels, every damn day is my belief.

Some Days are better than others –

Sometimes we know how lucky we are.

Sometimes we don’t.

Sometimes we are struggling so hard, we can’t even see the beautiful, and our struggles are our own, whether anyone else understands them, believe our struggles to be a priority or not.

It is, for myself, hard going, often, to examine this deep held belief within myself, to say I spend every moment of my life working towards the nondescript and trying to understand more fully,

‘what struggles do I have here, and where do I acknowledge how lucky I am on this front, but still speak up on fronts where I and others are not so lucky? If I speak up on fronts where I’m lucky, but I know damn well others aren’t, but I’m trying to feel my way to speaking up in a way that isn’t damaging to those who struggle harder than I, where is that path? What does it look like? What is the lingo, the current marketing tagline, where do I hurt more than I help?

Especially, in today’s world that is fed by and seems enamored by the 60 millisecond news cycles and those who believe they can only ‘get the spot light’ and survive, if only they capture as many milliseconds as possible – to ‘make a difference’ or be in a position where they can make a difference, no matter what and the ends justify the means – meaning, scare folks and be over the top, to gain the spotlight, no matter how hard, hateful or divisive one is being while getting their message out.

I find during each time I assess my internal landscape, there still resides in my heart, the ardent desire to place my ‘bets’, over and over, on the very things I feel may support better, the things I believe will allow a majority of ‘nondescript’ lives to actually take place.

Which usually means, ‘betting on’ and investing in, through time or funds or my attention, best as I can, those who are quietly living a ‘nondescript life’ and what that looks like for them and how it’s working for them, me, others, overall.

And it’s hard for me, often, to feel deeply, well-informed enough to make daily decisions on my own actions, that are possible in a quick way, for me to take action on, in another way where I can feel as if I’m being active in creating a future I hope for, without being complicit in a future that I fear for myself and others.

And so, for me? I’m right beside you, King Midget, in that ‘neck of the woods’ in assessing my life, too – some days my Before and After is regarding my chronological age – sometimes it’s BS and AS – (before stroke/after stroke) –

Sometimes I’m lying to myself – for good or ill

Sometimes, I cannot even remember or pinpoint, the exact moment when I embraced this or that idea, and the path of daily small choices that led me to yet another moment in my lifetime –

Often, I must come up with a story for myself, or those around me, to ‘communicate’ best as I can, just how I arrived at such a way of being –

But often? I just cannot pinpoint, often, the very first seed planted, or the moment when so much tipped my ‘decided to land on that side or the other’ on various fronts.

Was it book (s)I read, the song I heard, the person I met, or their story they chose to share with me?

The article I read, in some obscure blog that cross linked to published papers in academic circles, but now is a broken link and the domain name is up for sale? My observations made over a long time, that led me to believe,

“um, yeah, not a fluke! This is just standard M.O. that has worked for many, for a long time…but hurts many, too!”

All of which, little by little, decision by decision, resulted in the person I am today – rarely because of one big trending, newsworthy, item, but simply because I rather try my best to ‘live’ in the world of nondescript.

HJow I think, how I feel, how I charge forth or retreat into safety, how I speak up, or why I stay silent?

While I spend time with other ‘nondescript people and their lives?”

All I am exposed to, weaves, for my internal being, a spinning, chaotic life tapestry that I can’t always recall every blessed moment, or see the all the teeny-tiny, daily threads woven into, here and there and often?.

I cannot even tease apart all the major threads of my own tapestry, even when I well remember the moment I was deeply impacted by.

If I cannot even fully remember and understand my entire journey to the person I am today – and understand what future I am complicit in and/or actively working towards creating – how the heck do I expect anyone else too?

Maybe I’m an outlier, but I suspect not – –

And all this occurs within me and external to me, while my nondescript life, continues to play out, daily.

And yet? I seek not, nor do I work for, for myself or those I love, anything other than trying to do best I can for us all to live a nondescript life – with enough space and grace and support, to have that one shining moment others see as ‘defining’ or spend a lifetime wading into battlefields angels would fear to tread, and if that’s what they want to spend their life doing?

So be it.

And yet, over and over, to my mind, more gets done quietly and without fan far, while folks focus on trying to provide a nondescript life for as many as possible and to build a world in which such a life can actually play out in.

Why?

I’m still not sure of my motives – I’d love to tell you it’s because I’m a history buff, a logical personage that learned how to code “If, Then, Else” things in many, many different tools and software language, even as I can’t build something new and revolutionary in any of those same languages.

I’d like to say, given my analysis of my own heart, my mind, my soul….

(an analysis which neurological, sociological and philosophy experts will tell you, is always suspect, as humans are notoriously bad at knowing what they really want, until hindsight enlightens them, and groups of humans, with a core objective to be met, are often worse at such things – while anything that creates the ‘safe space’ for anyone to just speak their mind, on this or that, actually comes up with a better, long term answer for many more, or so I’ve been informed through educated, expert, austere papers published, I have to bring up specialized dictionaries just to read, and hope I understand… 🙂 )

STILL! At my most basic levels of ‘thought?, that aren’t noble, or stellar, or ‘serving others?”

I still quietly believe there are “more of Us” than there are of “them” – and tipping points are reached and things change, just like battles in war are sometimes lost or won, simply by ‘who has more?”

Who are my ‘Us’?

Those living nondescript, not making history, mediocre, bland lives. 😀

I”m Not very enlightened, right?

After a lifetime of trying to learn more, still trying to build bridges and have conversations with folks who scare the bajeezus out of me as I believe they are ‘Them’, my mind, STILL whispers to me, often, a warning,

They are Them! Fight or Run!

All while my heart remembers my Dad quoting an old, old Pogo cartoon line….

We have met the enemy. They are Us!”

And I go forth, then retreat when my feelers hurt or battlefield hits need healing from, when I engage with the Them, trying my best to find, “Where are we “us?”

I often realize just how very little I have, as an individual human, moved past our human shared, long, long ago hardwired Survival lessons, steeped in, and, perhaps hardwired into such deep parts of us, we may never rewire that part of us?

My Feelers and “Self-Analyze” portions get hit – hard – often

About 3 months ago, I faced my fears, and just decided to do a ‘free writing tutorial’ exercise that I tried to re-draft the request, over and over, to be more in line with who I am, really.

And I also did exactly what I was, in homework, told not to do –

I sent personally AND I also posted on social media, too –

Guess how fast and furious the loves/likes/comment came in from?

Social Media!

From the every day folks that don’t make the news cycle or have a ‘gone viral’ following, etc.

And where did I spend my time the most, get shoved into hiberantion/retreat the most from?

The small circle of folks who I appreciate, who have previously shown support for my desire to write, and find ways to make writing more of my daily life.

The same responses that, for a few, also reminded me, “Hmm…I wasn’t expecting that, but for good or ill – that’s how that person sees me”, and it hurt to read some of them.

If I don’t know personally or care about another, or their life situation?

Pretty easy to follow the advice of “grow a thicker skin” or “you’re better than this, quit whining and fishing for compliments!” or “Don’t know how this will help ya, but you are really to easy on this and too hard arse on that”

And it took me time in analysis mode/am I being honest with myself? mode? Before I recovered from what that little FREE ‘write website copy in true voice of you’ exercise, did for me –

It was simply holding the mirror, up to myself, and walking through my own self-improvement exercise, via, external feedback given –

So, in the end, how different am I than those I often label as “Those who flip-flop given any trending social media/or news cycle”

Not much different, I conclude –

But then, too, there were the Social Media responses that truly surprised me, because, um, yup, they are in my ‘small friends’ circle, but only because, decades ago – we worked together somewhere – or we attended school together –

All the parts of me as seen by others, remembered by others, I STILL try to assess, over and over, are, often, decades old, and were, in the end, just a moment in time of me – and are now seen as….

Butterfly wings that didn’t feel that big, to me, at the time, but made a difference for another they still remember today.

Or a moment when I was a real jack wipe – sigh – 🙂

And, with my own hindsight? I can pull up what I remembered/appreciated about the best about them, too, often –

or what about them drove me crazy enough I’m still ‘on the look out for’ as a ‘pattern’ –

And sometimes? So hurtful to me, I’m just not even willing to ‘try again’ and that, is me own struggles –

And why I do not like all the ‘memes’ shared about Being the Bigger Person, Be Yourself, Be Forgiving, Be a Light –

Maybe I’m an outlier, but I just don’t think me or any other human can be encapsulated into a meme or quote for all time – at least, I hope I’m not the only one who feels this way –

It seems to me, I share a part of me with Dandelions

The part of us that is honed for survival, and yet manage to hold on for the day when once more we can ‘thrive’.

The same dandelions so many hate and believe to be a sign of ‘someone who doesn’t care about curb value or property values for ‘investments’ or outward sign that one cares about their place and community, also are the same flowers that put up short stems, bloom in the morning, go to seed by evening, in drought years.

But, this year? Once more bloomed longer, atop long, tall stems – simply because, moisture and temps were more conducive than recent seasons both they and I managed to survive.

All while, I protect on my land, dandelions from being eradicated, all while some of my more conscientious, pretty homestead neighbors hate my lazy gardener ways, because….

Well, for myself, dandelions, overall, make my life easier, on many fronts – from soil health, surviving drought but preventing runoff when once more, the moisture arrives – to food, coffee substitute, medicine and though I’ve never made successfully, a very good country wine to bring out of the cellar/pantry, when guests show up – That I’m ALSO informed is ‘easy to make’ and yet, do you think they or me have had time for them to put me to work while they instruct on the ‘how easy it is to make’ operations? Nope – – LOL

I personally, have not traveled far from my long inherited roots – and yet, on the other hand, when I assess, more fully, my internal ‘groupings’ of who I personally label “Us” and who is labeled “Them” in my nondescript life?

I continue to be amazed over how much Butterfly Wings have expanded me

Turns out my personal “Us” and “Them” groups are fairly diverse on both sides – and often, if individuals from my personal “Us” and “Them” labeled groups, , meet?

They find they have things here and there in common – and they work together for this or that, that benefit so many others.

So, for now?

I still try to see my own blind spots, best as I can, or risk putting myself in the labeled “Them” section with another, through my stupid questions and wishe for long conversations/long emails –

I still argue and fight to be me, live my nondescript life, and yet, sometimes, when another writes about such things, it reminds me of the truth of me, and why, I continue to pursue ‘nondescript’ life possibilities, both for myself, and others.

Nondescript? Mediocre? Um, to me?

That is the BEST part of us humans!!

**Note – I am FASCINATED by the ‘build in public/learn from it’ trend hitting the SAAS/Platform/Building world – so guess what? I just posted yet another ‘first draft, zero editing other than adding to it, long arse draft, that may someday, be included in a published book – LOL

2 thoughts on “The Nondescript Life and Butterfly Wings”

  1. Oh, I totally agree that the world is built upon the lives of the non-descript. And I wasn’t necessarily complaining that my life was non-descript. Although a guy who has known me since law school commented on my post and asserted that I had lived far more than a non-descript life. I don’t agree with him, by the way. 😉

    But yes … I’ve had conversations with a young woman who has struggled with what to do with her life the last few years. She wants to make a big splash, do incredible things, have an impact. And then there are times whene she has pondered whether she should stay in her state job and live a different kind of life — filled with hobbies and interests that fill her life in a different way. I’ve told her that there is nothing wrong with that kind of life. Absolutely nothing wrong. Recently, however, she quit her state job and moved to NYC to work for a private investment services company. I encouraged her to do it because I don’t think she’ll ever be happy until she gives the “big dream” a chance.

    But … I have always said that what the vast majority of us can do is live the best lives we can within the small corner of the universe we occupy. We can be good, do good, and try our best and if all of us non-descript folks do that, the ripples of all of us doing so will have the big impact we’d like to see.

    I remember watching Jurassic Park and the scene where Jeff Goldblum explains the Butterfly Effect aka Chaos Theory. I think it’s a fascinating idea and I do think that one person making small waves can produce unimaginable results. Although the idea that a butterly flapping its wings … well … I’m not so sure. 😉

    I wanted to respond more fully to your post, but … well, I’m a bit distracted at the moment. Due to a tragedy in a friend’s life, I can’t read your words and form thoughts beyond what I’ve done above. My apologies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking time to comment – sorry to hear about the tragedy that has hit your world – while I was blithely unaware! :D. That said – I, too, love many scenes from Jurassic Park (#1, in order of movie release!) – the paths water follows one moment after another – when nothing appears to have changed, but it has… The hubris of humanity, especially when a lab, tools, tech and/or money is available or be had or made – and yet, while I wish to pursue a life where I ‘push myself’ to work hard, in things I believe may be helpful, useful, and don’t necessarily ‘need to make a big splash’, I do find myself getting ‘my nose out of joint’ when I’m just expected to show up and do so, in silence, at a moments notice – thus, again, even during my pursued life of ‘non-descript’, really, of a lifetime spent on ‘small things, that made a difference just then, for someone, but ultimately? Lost to the sand of time as history plays on…” I find myself thinking, “Hmph! I don’t need a ticker tape parade, but c’mon now! How many times do others think I do nothing but sit around waiting to be insta availalbe to flap my wings for their benefits?” – – LOL – – Sigh – ❤ and hugs to you and those in your circle who aren't having their best day ever – –

      Like

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