The Pale Blue Dot / by Rebecca Tillett

The entirety of my adult life has been spent attempting to reconcile myself with who I am. And who I'll never be. I come from a family of scientists and rational thinkers. I'm creative and emotional. I never wanted to be this person. I grew up with a total lack of respect for artists. I never believed that what they did held any significant importance. If this was a stance I was taught, it was purely subliminally or through actions. I have no vivid recollections of being told anything of this nature. I always did well in art but my dad was always encouraging me to do well in math and science. He urged me to join clubs and expressed his wishes that I would enjoy it more. I always wanted to so badly...even if it was just for him. But neither subject came natural to me and worse yet- I didn't enjoy them. On several websites as well as my own, I'm quoted as saying "I suppose I have trouble accepting that my sole purpose on this planet is simply to create beautiful things … but perhaps I really am just that fortunate." The trouble being that I consider my 'work' and what I do unimportant and inconsequential. I make pretty pictures. Why do I get to do something so frivolous? What difference does it make? Why wasn't I given a talent or skill to better humanity, change the world, anything to give myself and the rest of mankind a little insight into our very existence? This "talent" that I have for art? I don't want it. I've never wanted it. The only time I've ever been grateful for who I am is when I look around and see so many of my peers who have passion for absolutely nothing. They work for a living and live for the weekends when they can drink their troubles away. And that cycle is repeated continuously. I certainly don't judge them but I have unrelenting sympathy that at our age, they still haven't discovered or found what they love, something that keeps them going, something to LIVE for.

And in those little moments I'm reminded of what I WAS given and try to appreciate it a little more, try to love myself and what I truly love doing a little more. I'm consistently reminded, in these little thought processes, of a quote from the movie Dead Poet's Society:

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with PASSION. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive FOR."

I'm in constant pursuit of self-respect and admiration and I believe that with time, it's creeping in slowly. And the older I've gotten, the more I've found myself in awe at the talent of fellow artists. Art certainly has a place and a purpose in this life. Now I just need to accept that I am fortunate enough to be an artist.

Until then, I'll keep loving videos like the one below and fantasizing over a version of myself that might never exist. And maybe that's okay. I can still appreciate the powerful minds of others and the beauty that surrounds us on this planet and in this universe, even if I can't explain or even fully understand it. I suppose my dad got part of his wish: I finally absolutely LOVE science. But maybe none of this truly matters anyway, once it's all put into perspective.

I found the above video on YouTube due to my love for Sagan but when doing a Google search for some of the quotes from the video I stumbled across Gizmodo who'd originally posted the video back in 2010 and below it, people were allowed to comment. This was the one of the comments I read (and I apologize but this has nothing to do with the topic of artist vs. scientist - I'm meshing two topics.):

I hate this crap. (Though I love Carl Sagan.)

I already woke up this morning stressed because of the work I have in front of me and afraid because I don't want to one day wake up and be old.

Life is slipping through my fingers, and most people are kidding themselves if they think it's not slipping through theirs, too.

Our society (in the U.S. I mean) is structured for us to continually work and strive to have more. We sacrifice 5 days of 7 to meet that goal, a goal which is unattainable because it is an ever-growing variable: x = more than you currently have.

Our time is finite. Everyone you know one day will die. And yet we rush and push and we never cease judging each other and ourselves.

Then I see something like this and I'm reminded of our total and utter insignificance and of the immensity of the mystery that will forever be beyond our ability to understand. WTF are we doing? Why-TF can't we stop?

I am not placated by the religions of the world that tell me that I will be saved. I, unfortunately, can't help but believe the traditions of the East that say that I am stuck here until I find my own way out of this horrible mind-fuck. And I am terrified that I will not do that for many more lifetimes.

I don't want to be here. Stuck here in this endless cycle of life and death, of duality, of limitations, and of the silly and moronic shackles of our society. I wish I were free.

I wish I were free.

But I'm not. No matter how many times I experience a taste of the infinite beauty that awaits us through some kind of transcendental experience, it always slips back into obscurity.

This video is bullshit because it can't help but make me wish I were living in the beauty and truth of the infinity that surrounds us. And here I am. Stuck on this fucking blue dot. —user_443-91822

I'm not sure why I'm posting it here. Something about it resonated with me. I feel such sadness over it. I'm reminded of my dad, of Adam. Either of them could have written this comment. Though I'm mostly thankful for it, I sometimes resent that I've spent my entire life surrounded by people who can't take their eyes off the bigger picture, even just long enough to appreciate the smaller one - just for a moment.