About SJ

Writer, Singer, woodworker, lover of Technology and the Arts.

Self-Reliance

emerson-self-reliance

I devoured Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance” in one sitting a few days ago and it has been in the forefront of my thoughts ever since. Please read if you haven’t already and let me know your thoughts. This is an absolute inspiration to me. Click the link below to read it online.

http://www.emersoncentral.com/selfreliance.htm

Here are some quotes from it that just punched me in the gut.

To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, — that is genius.

There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till.

We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.

Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world.

I do not wish to expiate, but to live. My life is for itself and not for a spectacle. I much prefer that it should be of a lower strain, so it be genuine and equal, than that it should be glittering and unsteady. I wish it to be sound and sweet, and not to need diet and bleeding.

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name;—— the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. It shall exclude example and experience.

The sinew and heart of man seem to be drawn out, and we are become timorous, desponding whimperers. We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other.

Insist on yourself; never imitate.To be great is to be misunderstood.

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Illumine me

photohaircutIllumine me – I pray to the Gods that be.
If mine own will should prove too weak to withstand the fires of the Gehenna of hypocrisy and lies which surrounds us all, than let that selfsame fire illuminate my way long enough so that charred and beaten that I am, I may see and crawl my way through to the true light.

I do not want your room

“There is no room at the inn.”
Everyone knows the tale from long ago. I sit and ponder those words. And I say, I do not want your room!
Room is comfort, coddling, care, protection, advice, words of wisdom, understanding, and sympathy.
Give me your stables rather, if your room means a scimitar through the gut and a knife in the back. Your room is shackles on my ankles grounding me to earth. I would rather float on the outskirts of mankind and into oblivion, than assimilate and be the beneficiary of spittle flying into my ears from screaming mouths, old, wrinkled, crooked and decrepit bony fingers pointing into my face. Rotten and dying minds setting my shoulders in the direction I must take. Smiling lips filled with condescending words and upbraids.
If to smile at no mans jest, and to laugh at no clowns folly, and do no foul miscreant’s bidding means to hear only the echo of mine own footsteps, my ears welcome that sweet echo as if it were the voice of God itself.
The dogs which turn the cogs which drive the world are snarling, biting, jostling, mad and frothing beasts who have torn out their own hearts in return for their place at the mill stone. I have seen them at work and they have lured me into their lair. And here I sit trapped.
The allure was too great. Promises of normalcy, promises of peace of mind and heart, promises of friendship and camaraderie, promises of acceptance and belonging.
The price of belonging is ones heart slashed in twain. Chasing the proverbial carrot I forget what it means to create with mine own hands. The creator has become the consumer. Now I search for sustenance from other hands and I grow fat, obese and lazy.
If to know a thing is half of the way to changing it, than I shall find the strength to stay the course. And I hope for a good wind at my back, for now I know what it is I truly do not want.
May all of us honest folk stay true to our hearts’ bidding and not slip on the icy terrain of the seduction of complacency, normalcy and mediocrity.

What’s in a name?

I’ve always been a scruffy individual. Quirky around the edges. A vagabond through and through. Not that I’ve wanted to be that way. Not that I asked to be that way. It’s the way I was raised. It was pounded into me since I was born. I learned it while hustling from train, to airplane, to bus, to car, to subway, to metro – all around the world. Waiting on platforms at all hours of the day and night, sleeping where I sat or stood. Singing for tips on street corners. Getting by with a smile, a voice, and whatever I could stuff into a guitar case, or a backpack, or a suitcase shared with my brothers and sisters. Ever since I left mom and dad 10 years ago, I’ve fought it. I kept telling myself everything’s ok now. I don’t have to be a vagabond anymore. I thought I could beat this twisted tendency towards flustered flight and scattered living. But I have to face the truth. No matter where I go, how much I succeed in the world, who I think I am, my core remains the same, those tendencies remain, and have not changed. I tried changing my name. I thought the person I was could be sculpted and soothed, the frightened child inside brought to understand that the demons that used to haunt and plague her, the fears she once had were no more. Lies. The quest I am left with now is how to live with this person I’ve always been.

And where am I now? My flightiness and ever seeking and searching personality has brought me to many strange places.

My music takes center stage. I got signed to Capitol records. Met many wonderful people. Nurtured my musical side. I went on tour to Asia and Europe. Appeared on many TV shows and programs.

I opened a woodworking shop. Cultivated my love of home by learning all I could about creating beautiful spaces and furniture.

Went to college for a short time and studied psychology and theater.

Fell in and out of love.

Was I Susan Justice? Or am I still Susan Cagle.

This is an experiment in soul-searching.

This is an expose of love and hate.

This is a return to memories and feelings thought abandoned.

Sincerely Yours,

Susan Justice Cagle