Tuesday, December 18, 2007

i ain't gonna work for that voice no more; i don't care what maggie offers you, it ain't worth it

do you ever feel yourself succumbing to that fear? the numbing out? (maybe with you it's anger, or addiction, or busyness.) the sense of responsibility to all that shit just weighs me down sometimes. that's me this week. i'm just worn out. so there's a part of me that's decided to stay afraid. it wants to avoid. it wants to run. it wants to protect me, and i appreciate that. and it's getting easier to recognize it for what it is. but i hired it to protect me decades ago, and i was young, and scared, and they told me to be good and behave or everyone would be angry, and i didn't know how hard it would be to get rid of, and it felt like it'd keep me safe and alive, so i said Yes, i'll work here. protect me? keep me in line? and the recruiter assured me, Yes, this will be a good fit for you.

and it tried, for years, to cover up the gnawing, the knowing. But, as Emily Dickinson said, “narcotics cannot still the tooth that nibbles at the soul.” in my case, it's nibbling at me from deep within my soul. my soul says, HEY, it's okay, we can come out now - it's just fear. and there' s nothing to be afraid of. even if everyone on earth thinks you fucked up, it's okay. god is here. and besides, you didn't fuck up. you're just a person. you cant' make everyone happy. just breathe. that's the knowing. and it sure enough does gnaw in me. "you SURE this is how you want to live?" and i think - hey, no, you're right - this isn't me - is it?

but that fear, that sense of inadequacy, that worry that i've got to do more for everyone and for journey and for my family or else i'll disappoint everyone and everything will fall apart - it's a hard taskmaster. sometimes i forget that that's not what i serve anymore.

bob dylan wrote a song about the bullshit of working in the recording/starmaker machinery (as joni mitchell called it). but for me, that song is a reminder for me; it doesn't have anything to do, btw, with the church or whatever else i do or don't work at; it's about what voice inside me drives me. dylan called it "maggie's farm."

this song is a declaration of independence - to nobody else but just myself, and that fear that no longer is much use in protecting me. turns out, i don't need protecting. I ain't gonna work for my fears no more. I ain't gonna work for anybody ELSE’S fears no more. I ain't gonna work for my own sense of inadequacy no more. there's those moments when i remember: Wait – I remember – I don’t live here. I’m a free man. come to your senses, return to yourself. you're a rich man's son.

I’m gonna walk the road beyond any farm or any rules or any powers that be, and be with anyone who comes walking or struggling or skipping or stumbling along. There'll be plenty to eat, places to stay, folks to be with. It’s better than living and working on Maggie's farm – it wasn’t worth rolling around with Maggie in the hay and getting to sit on her porch, to have to stay there and work for those people and their bullshit. she's not worth it. her father's a dictator/ceo/slaveowner/headmaster/preacher/nazi, her brother's a sadist, her mother's a witch. it's a slave farm. it's a concentration camp. it keeps you in line. it makes you behave. it keeps you weak. it feeds you scraps and says you're a good boy.

fuck that.

sometimes it just takes me a while to remember. thank you god that you keep talking.

I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.
No, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
Well, I wake up in the morning
Fold my hands and pray for rain.
I got a head full of ideas
That are drivin' me insane
It's a shame the way she makes me scrub the floor
I ain't gonna work on, naw
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother no more
naw, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother no more
Well, he hands you a nickel
And he hands you a dime
And he asks you with a grin
If you're havin' a good time
Then he fines you every time you slam the door
I ain't gonna work for, naw
I ain't gonna work for Maggie's brother no more

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more
No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more
Well, he puts his cigar
Out in your face just for kicks
His bedroom window
It is made out of bricks
The National Guard stands around his door
I ain't gonna work, naw
I ain't gonna work for Maggie's pa no more

I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more
No, I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more
Well, she talks to all the servants
About man and God and law
And everybody says
She's the brains behind pa
She's sixty-eight, but she says she's twenty-four
I ain't gonna work for, naw
I ain't gonna work for Maggie's ma no more

I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
No, I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more
Well I try my best
To be just like I am
But everybody wants you
To be just like them
They sing while they slave and just get bored
I ain't gonna work on, naw
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more

ps check out the version of this as covered by rage against the machine ... it will SET YOU FREE!!!

6 comments:

nonprofitprophet said...

Dude, i had so NOT read this before calling you this morning. It is freaking me out a bit. ~npp

Meris said...

RIGHT ON!! I needed to hear this, seeing as how I'm intimately enslaved to Maggie right now myself... Reminds me of this...

To Thine Own Self Be True

Yet here, Laertes! Aboard, aboard for shame!
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay'd for.
There ... my blessing with thee!
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion'd thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg’d comrade. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel but, being in,
Bear't that th' opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgement.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man;
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower, nor a lender be;
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell; my blessing season this in thee!

-- William Shakespeare

Anonymous said...

Feeling guilty at the compromise of yourself and what you have to give and don't have to give...I understand. I've spent my life living that way too. I've learned very recently, the biggest way to combat this is honesty, with yourself and others. Avoidance only leads to more grief. Forgive and offer grace to yourself and others...that's what God does for us.

Peace out...

journeyingrick said...

meris and anony -
right on. stand up. be honest. be true. don't run. be present.

when i'm in that space, i can choose.

RIGHT ON!

Melinda said...

i quit working on maggie's farm awhile back. but i'm standing in the unemployment line with a bunch of cool people.

the affirmation i'd occasionally get for being a good girl was always coupled with the admonishment to "keep it up." i would stand there confused, because only one out of 12 attempts to be "good" ever worked anyway, and i never knew which attempt would give me the magic dose o' compliments i craved.

when i detox'd from the idea that people liking me = me being a good person, i settled into a place that's right below the frenzied chatter. i'm sitting underneath a storm and watching it slide right by...practically speaking, i'm not putting up a tree this year and i'm not shopping.

Fear comes down here and sits next to me. i observe her, but see what she is more clearly than before. we quietly observe the maelstorm above us, and when she starts to mimic the craziness, i tell her, quietly, to shut the fuck up. sometimes i even hold her hand and listen for awhile, because she often makes sense. i mean, the bills *do* have to get paid.

but i can sit with her for a little while. it's okay. i'm not gonna keep talking and running away and trying and scrambling. that's what i used to do: grab her hand and run off in a crazed state, looking for the someone/something panacea that would make it all better.

nuh-uh. not interested in that dance anymore.

love you, rick. you're my hero today.

journeyingrick said...

THAT IS WISDOM!!!!! yep, she can be helpful - pointing out things that need to be attended to - but she doesn't get to run the show. i used to run; i used to hide; now i sit with her, and acknowledge her, and thank her for her gift to me, and tell her SHE IS NOT IN CHARGE!!!

the hero part? back atcha sister.