Jun 6, 2021 • 24M

202 Is There Anybody Out There?

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Larry G. Maguire
The Sunday Letters Podcast is the weekly audio newsletter from organisational psychologist Larry Maguire on the meaning & purpose of daily work and our paradoxical relationship with it. We explore how we may break free from tiresome means-to-an-end labour and take command of their own working lives. Topics include solo working, careers, entrepreneurship, small business economics, society and culture. Content follows the written newsletter, which goes out to subscribers every Sunday.
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I started writing things down on paper late at night about fifteen years ago. Sitting on my sofa, half-drunk if I remember correctly, the mot in bed, I wrote my first few words. I was someone else for a period. It’s not who you think I am; it’s someone very different. That’s the thing you see…the one we present is not the same as the one who sits alone on the couch or in the bed at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning contemplating its own existence, trying to figure out where it fits, if indeed it fits at all. This is the nature of our reality that many, I feel, don’t address, can’t address, don’t even see it to address it. Then there are those of us who feel it, the deep dark cavern of confusion and isolation, and ignore it. We keep ourselves busy with things that don’t really matter, convincing ourselves to the contrary for fear of having to face our own unsubstantial reality–knowledge of the one that knows we’re not who we think we are.

I’ve got a little black book with me poems in just like Waters. Maybe I subconsciously selected that colour book because the lyrics meant so much to me as a fifteen-year-old nobody who struggled to fit in. Meant to be, perhaps, his words resonating with my felt experience. Big hands, too, at night, while I drifted in and out of waking consciousness. Hands so big that they were bigger than me. Then there was a beast, a demon with no face and no name, that lurked ominously. There was a small house like the one in Hansel and Gretel. It had a white fence, and there was a girl, and she was in danger. Who was I in all of this? Maybe I was all of it. A psychotherapist and lecturer of mine told me this is always so. It repeated itself for several years, not so much now that I’m older.

But the songs still speak to me, perhaps, even more, today as I come more into the realisation of what I’m not. As I fight to hold onto the idea that I must be something, something to myself and everyone else when in fact, I feel no particular urgency to be anything. Is there anybody out there? I wonder. Who’s asking? Hard to tell.

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