Jake Holder
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Thoughts Without Frontiers

Here you'll find cuts from LMMIA, and other reveries made manifest.

Express Yourself to Death!


I have a lengthy, unorganized file named "LMMIA Notes," on my computer. It's my version of a "Notes to Self" type thing. After scanning through it, I found a note (to myself) that read:

Express yourself. It may not matter to some…but to the person that it does matter to, it will blossom. 

This note had at one time, served to jumpstart the engine that'd take the route of its words. Now, I'll use it to jumpstart the engine of this blog.

My friend Sherry, who is Chinese, has recently moved to Boston. She just sent me a WeChat video of a street drummer pounding on pots and pans, and a man dancing to the rhythm, without worry, amidst a sea of people passing by. It was refreshing to see that the man had no qualms about using his robot rug-cutting scissors freely despite the crowd around him. It was also refreshing to see that Sherry had felt the man's leg-breaking maneuvers (and the drummer's drumming) to be record-worthy.

There used to be a time when I would curl in fear at the thought of expressing myself—verbally, physically, creatively, anythingly—because there'd be a voice in my head that'd warn me against doing so. It was like a tyrant saying, "don't do this, because they will think that."

After some time though, I saw that tyrant's fear for what it was—a means to keep me from doing what I truly wanted to do. I learned it necessary to rebel against that tyrant, or else, my momentum would dwindle and I'd lose force. And before I'd know it, I'd be in a bog of complacency, wondering, why does my smile feel so fake and my face feel so tense?

Further into my LMMIA Notes, I came across this: 

Elysian Fields may not be so far out of reach, but surely they don’t come without a mighty mighty trek.

In Greek Mythology, the definition for the Elysian Fields is: the place at the ends of the earth to which favored heroes were conveyed by the gods after their death.

In this sense, the definition of conveyed is: transport or carry to a place. 

Personal experience tells me that embarking upon self-expression is a daunting task. At first, it seems there's an energetic barrier that screams DO NOT CROSS! (from the mouth of that tyrant); as if a curse will be placed should the doer fill his or her own shoes. For me, it still seems like this from time to time, as if the journey has journeys intertwined within itself. I've come to see though, that those barriers, every time, merely act as the lions and dragons at the entrance of the forest who test my courage to enter. Once I do enter, I realize how my personal expression—writing, playing guitar, dancing when washed with inspiration, or simply having a conversation with friends, or laughing—acts as a type of fuel that keeps me moving forward. It has the power to render slumps out-of-memory; to give a natural face lift; to make a genuine smile perpetuate itself. It's as if, the more I find a groove to ex-press myself out into the world, the more the world impresses onto me, something like a powerful force that gives everything life.

Reflecting back on the expressed note, I now wonder who is the person who personal expression matters to? 

For me, it goes both ways.

It matters to me that I express myself, because that something inside of me, wants to see those fields. It's important for me to find that groove, and ride it, in whatever way I see fit. Should my vision be blurry and dissonance be biting my heels, I can trust that warning signs will crop up (fake smiles and a tense face, among others) that'll cue me in to correcting my step. 

But it also matters to me when I witness other people express themselves, rather than express the tyrant. It helps me. When people are themselves through and through, I feel as they are a positive contagion. On the contraire, if I am not myself through and through, I usually feel like a pile of doo doo. Being able to compare my fresh smells with my stenches, I can see how my contribution to the external world toggles between aromas. Am I saying people who don't express themselves smell like bags of—


NO. I'm usually my own worst critic. 

So, should we find ourselves in the Elysium together, I think we'll both look back and give each other a perfunctory nod of satisfaction and approval. So it matters to us all!

Even further into the notes, I now stumble across this: In The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell writes: Our victories lead to our Nemesis if they are not follow by continuous rebirth. 

With that, I'll write a note: Express yourself to death! But press on (and dance if you have to).

Thank you for stopping by.

See you in the fields. 


Jake Holder