People are always telling me what to do. Do not do this, do not do that or it would be better if you did this or why not like that? It is getting tiring and I get it from all sides: wife, parents, sister, boss, government, police and in-laws. It seems as if I may be incapable of making decisions on my own without first being told what to do. In fact, I am so habituated to being told what to do that I believe that I have become fearful of thinking for myself, because I am afraid I may fuck up. After a lifetime of being told how and what to do I have reached a point in my adult life where I have no idea what to do anymore. Instead of doing something I have resigned myself to a life filled with doing very little– in the hopes that I can avoid having people tell me what to do. I have become what my mother feared would happen to me- a passive participant in the days of my life.
My father is infamous for his need to control. It is impossible for a person to go to the bathroom without my father telling them how this should be done. My father’s intentions are good but his words have hurt more people than a burning building. Growing up under his tyranny has caused what is a fatal blockage in my own decision making process. All of my life, and still to this very day- I am a grown man who is a little more than a reaction to being told what to do. If you ask me what we should have for dinner, I will reply- “I don’t know. You decide.”
Most lessons in life seem to be hard to learn. We have to err, to mess up, to fail in order to slowly understand how to get it right for ourselves. This is what I call the process of education (far more important than anything we learn in school). When we are always being told what to do (because someone wants to control our behavior) the process of education is stunted- blocked. What you get instead is an individual afraid to think for him/herself, to mess up on her/his own- to find his/her own way. This is what I call conformity, and these sorts of individuals become loyal corporate executives, lawyers, doctors, politicians, employees- you and I.
As a result of a lifetime of being told what to do I have become a stubborn non-conformist. I have fulfilled no ones expectations of me and am afraid of the idea of doing so. I have worked in offices, restaurants, mortuaries, shoe stores, record stores, schools- trying to hide from the shackles of a career and going through jobs quicker than the time it takes most people to eat lunch. I do not pay parking tickets, I do not respond to creditors, I do not listen to the police, I do not pay my taxes (especially when the money is being used to fight a war) nor do I do anything else that I am told to do. Instead I do nothing. I eat, sleep, write, paint, go to work at a job that I am soon to quit (because they will not stop telling me what to do). Even though my wife, father, sister, mother and society all still try to tell me what to do- I have learned how to shake my head, smile, say “okay” and then proceed to do nothing at all.