We die, we die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed … bodies we have entered and swum up like rivers, fears we have hidden in like this wretched cave…
Maybe it was just part of adjusting to a new, unknown place located on the fringes of the “comfort zone” or simply a period of self-reflection ignited after Casablanca. But I was focused on how too often anxiety, in all of its subtle ways, defines the decisions that we make and actions we take. How if we were to analyze the things we do and cease from doing, the things we say and the things we keep to ourselves, how deep down inside our actions and ommissions are predestined by our quiet little fears. Allow me to continue:
And I was thinking about Dostoevsky’s words in Notes from Underground on how there are certain secrets we keep from our closest relations and then those secrets we keep even from ourselves. Sometimes these secret secrets are simply the fears that we hide behind. Those innocent anxieties from childhood grow through the years, suppressed for some time, to manifest themselves later in life as unreasonable, unconscious factors key to our decision making process.
Like the lyrics from The Smiths, “shyness is nice, but shyness will stop you from doing all the things in life you’d like to . . .” Once again, life really is not so difficult, it is ourselves who complicate things. It is only ourselves who make us happy, and only ourselves who make us miserable. I used to believe Robert Frost, that taking the road less traveled made all the difference. But now, I believe that even taking a diverging path is caused by a lack of courage – courage to fail or to succeed, or to confront and face something we would rather not see.
And, of course, we speak of freedom of expression and we speak of freedom generally as being something very sweet and fat and things like that. In the end when we get down to the payoff, what we actually say is that we would like very much to mention the four major freedoms that my friend and writing-and-arranging composer, Billy Strayhorn, lived by and enjoyed.
That was freedom from hate, unconditionally; freedom from self-pity; freedom from fear of possibly doing something that may help someone else more than it would him; and freedom from the kind of pride that could make a man feel that he is better than his brother.