THOUGHTS ON BOB DYLAN AND ALTER EGOS
If you could change your whole life around, from beginning to end, and make it a completely different story… what would you do? What would you say? Envy is such a complicated thing. It’s easy enough to wish you’ve done what others have accomplished, been where others have been… It only gets complicated when you add in reasons and desires. Has your life thus far been good enough for you?
“My past is so complicated you wouldn’t believe it, man.”
Bob Dylan’s quote rings many a bell in me but for very different reasons. I can’t claim to have done even half of the things he has “claimed” to have done before he hit anyone’s radar. On the flip side of the coin, I couldn’t even claim to have done half the things he has truly done. I find the enigma of the legend of Dylan to be completely fascinating. One writer even went as far as to say: “His life story changed as he proceeded onward in his journey.” And this brings us round in the circle. If you could claim a completely fresh slate, would you be tempted (even a little) to “reinvent” yourself?
“God I’m glad I’m not me.”
I wish I could have even a little of Dylan’s ability to disconnect himself from his self. He has had many a persona to escape to throughout the years. I’ve only noticed a bit of that in myself within the past few months. For years I was “Stina” before I became “Kristina”. There’s more to it than something as simple as a name. “Kristina”, to me, isn’t as interesting as “Stina” can be. Laugh if you’d like but I find I’m more me when I’m not “her”. “Kristina” has responsibilities and tires easily. “Stina” is the one who’s willing to stay up until the latest hours of night, on a work night, writing poetry… “Stina” will dance out in the rain when no one’s watching. “Kristina” hates being in wet clothes. I could go on and on. I suppose there’s a certain freedom in having an “alter ego” of sorts.
Bob Dylan is becoming so many things to me. A philosophy on life you could say. He strives to be indefinable. He feels that one of the biggest crimes to impose upon a person is… labels and definitions. I’ve always disliked being labeled and shuffled neatly into a little box. Sure I’m even tempered now but that doesn’t mean I can’t have bursts of irrational anger or totally deserved anger. I’m not shy, I’m not wild, I’m not… so many things that people presume me to be. I don’t care to be defined yet it’s an ego boost at times… There are many things I’d love to be yet feel I’ll never achieve… so to have someone use certain adjectives to describe me… WOW.
“Maybe it’s just the time, now is the time maybe you have to belong to yourself.”
I’ve had many different labels applied to me throughout the years and many of them I tried my damnedest to adhere to. I held on to some like a life line. In the end I got into trouble… And in the very end I lost myself. There are days when I don’t know who I am. I glide from day to day without doing anything of any great importance (for me). I crave writing, as I crave all art, yet I don’t set aside the time to do so. I want so many things yet I’ve been trained to want everything else. I actually wrote a poem a year or so back that describes exactly what I’d love to say. I brought up a line from it when talking to a friend earlier. I’m much more Bohemian then many would guess. I’d love to try the random traveling. Just as I’d love to have an artist‘s garret somewhere – a little place in Ireland or France where I could be me – whoever she is. I’d learn to paint and I’d take up drawing again. I’d write my poetry and stories. I’d wander through markets and make a close circle of artistic friends. It seems that I don’t get to explore that side of me anymore. I love having scarves tied up in my hair… the peasant skirts and smock tops…
“I can tell you something about my friends, I can tell you about people I growed up with, that I knowed since I been four and five…” “These people were my friends. I went to school with them, I lived with them, I played with them, I ate with them. We did good things, bad things, we went through all kinds of things together. As I stand here right now, the last time I saw any of them was maybe two or three years ago, and you know, either me or them has changed…” “I’m not putting them down. It’s just my road and theirs, it’s different. Like a lot of them are married, maybe some are going to school. Some are working, you know, just working. They’re still there. They’re not thinking about the same things I’m thinking about.”
As I think about what I’ve just written, I can reflect on Bob Dylan’s quote from above and see the truth as well as the loneliness there. After all if you’re on your own yet you can’t be found – least not by yourself – what is there to find?