Mikkabouzu and being lost

Normally, I wouldn’t post anything on a day like today. As you can see from my calendars of past months, sometimes I don’t update for a week or more. It doesn’t mean I’m dead; it just means nothing has made me super happy or pissed me off recently. Or, I’m too tired to just chew through the straps that day.

But, I said I’d do the BEDA thing, so I’m going to. I have a lot of things on my plate, and I always seem to. It’s as if I can’t function if I’m not behind in something. I don’t know why that is; it’s like I’m setting myself up for failure, but I can’t help it. I can say “No” to things I already know I don’t want to do, but if there’s even the slightest interest in it from me, I feel like I always say “Sign me up; I’m there 100%.” It is, at least partially, how I got roped into an entire extra year of school.

I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a mikkabouzu. “Mikkabouzu” is a phrase in Japanese that means “three days monk” when translated literally. While I’ve never really seriously thought about becoming any type of religious figure (though I do have a weird longing to be a nun every now and again), it’s actually used to refer to someone who is an unsteady worker: someone who signs up and then bails early on. In English, the best comparison is “fair-weather friend” but it’s not exactly correct. On the one hand, a fair-weather friend is someone who is the friend of a person, but only when times are good. The minute things start going downhill, the fair-weather friend splits.

A mikkabouzu, on the other hand, is like a fair-weather friend, but not only towards other people. And that’s why I am one. I’m fiercely loyal to my friends—if you can get me to be your friend in the first place (I have a very strict definition of “friend”)—but with causes, I’m pretty lax. I have a tendency to be 100% for the first few days and then be like, “Oh man, it’s too hard” or something, and my interest wanes. This isn’t strictly true, but even with the causes to which I’m still attached, like gay rights, learning to speak German fluently, and Wicca, I’m not nearly as active as I could be or once was.

I was talking to my brother last night; he’s struggling through college right now, and I’m trying to help him find his way. It’s like the blind leading the blind, though, because I don’t know my way, either. (Not like it really matters in the end, I guess, because all ways are her ways… *cough* just kidding.) Anyway, he’s confused and lost and I was trying to help him see which way he should go, so I was asking him a series of questions, like, “Can you see yourself in five years? What do you see?” I know, I’m not the most brilliant counselor or anything, but I was grasping at straws. It was the blind leading the blind, like I said.

So finally, I asked, “Well, if you could do anything in the whole world and didn’t have to worry about money or school or anything, what would you do?”

And he thought for a minute and said, “Nothing.”

And I thought for a minute and said, “Yeah, me too.”

Where does this lack of ambition come from? I don’t know. I don’t know The Point (of Life, the Universe, and Everything), and if I didn’t have to worry about anything, I probably wouldn’t do anything with my life, either. If you have everything you want, why even bother? I don’t know if it’s ’cause we were (comparatively) born with silver spoons in our mouths or if lack of ambition is genetic or something, but I don’t want to do anything, really, just like he doesn’t.

I do things because I don’t want to disappoint my family, my friends, my gods. I care about them, but I don’t really care about myself, and I only do things so they won’t be unhappy. It’s kind of depressing to realize that, and I think doing good things for myself for other people is only going to get me so far. I have to find something in myself that I can love, something for which I can strive, something for which I can live. It’s not like I don’t love myself. I’ve had plenty of self-loathing in my day just fine. I know how to hate myself. But I don’t; not anymore, anyway. But I’m also not particularly big on self-preservation, something to which a few friends of mine will attest.

I need to find that spark. I had it in high school, I think, but I lost it somewhere along the line. I don’t know what I’m fighting for anymore. And it kind of sucks because I don’t seem to really care, either. I want to care, but I don’t, and I don’t think I know how.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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