May 26, 2018 § Leave a comment
“Free yourself from this useless dependence./ A new and trustworthy companion will appear.”
I have spent too much time imagining myself in a place where I don’t belong.
May 5, 2018 § Leave a comment
Give up mastery
I made a list of things to do when feeling sad—ways I could move against feeling overwhelmed (spirtually as well as emotionally). Ways I could prevent myself from disappearing into nonexistence. What I created was I think in some respects a useful document, but its language and conceit were fundamentally economic. I was still thinking in terms of generation: if I am not generating productive labour I can at least generate a productive emotional response. In the document I advise working when I’m in one of those moods, even if I am “moving slowly.” Acknowledging that I’m avoiding something but not doing anything to try to sit or understand why.
But sometimes you just need to move slowly.
If I have a block when it comes to writing it is acknowledging that sometimes you need to drill down, deeper into yourself, in order to understand your responses… I have for too long been obsessed with surfaces, their maintenance and preservation. You can’t know when you will return from the depth that you descend to, and that’s terrifying. You can’t know where it will lead you. It’s not something that you can plan the same way you can plan doing your tax returns. It is a process. But it doesn’t lead to a conclusion.
I sometimes like to imagine a perfect, crystalline future for myself. A moment in which I will feel sure, or understood, or fully myself. But in imagining that future I ignore my present. And I undergo a different kind of crystallization: I become covered with a brittle, hard shell, one that prevents me from seeing out even though it’s only meant to keep me from looking inside.
It also, as I am gradually coming to understand, keeps the outside from looking out. (If it is a bitter shell it is no doubt because of this frustrated looking.)
I should listen to those feelings because rather than pointing to something that I will obtain in the unforeseeable future they are instead telling me what I need right now.
May 3, 2018 § Leave a comment
My life is objectively better when I’m not spending hours staring idly at my phone, or playing iterative video games that take up one hundred percent of my time. I like doing both of those things but of course there is a point where I can go too far, just as you can like having a drink or two with friends and take that to a terrible conclusion, drinking alone in your kitchen until you pass out on the breakfast table. It’s better to lay in bed when you are in danger of going that far, or to go for a walk or a run. It’s better to let yourself feel sad or overwhelmed if that’s what you feel. It’s better to seek answers. Somewhere in the last few years I stopped seeking answers so actively and I would love to return there.
Something I realized in J’s apartment. Then mentioning this blog and coming home and reading entries from 2013 and 2015 and recognizing that the work I have done here (and where these posts originated) is both valuable and good, even if it also represents—in a certain sense—a kind of betrayal owing to the thoughts and desires I have expressed.. Sometimes I will show greater loyalty to form or to language than to people. And perhaps that should change when I endeavour to represent my life. Or perhaps not, not because I should betray anyone I know (I would rather I didn’t) but because these posts are fundamentally inaccurate: by their very nature they are incomplete. I can’t apologize for the fact they don’t totally represent a situation, or that they do not temper my feelings correctly, because that’s not something they were ever meant to do. And if they did do those things maybe they wouldn’t be good.
I should stop apologizing to myself and to others. But I can’t pretend, either, that in this space I have created I haven’t also created space in my self. And in that sense even if you don’t mean to betray you might commit a betrayal. By describing a thing you call it into being… I understood that even before I ever turned to theory.
April 19, 2018 § Leave a comment
Last night I drank coffee obsessively at eight or nine o’clock, twice as much as I would normally drink in the morning. I felt dark, haunted, empty (there was nothing working inside me). I didn’t fall asleep until sometime after two o’clock, after lying in bed for hours (what did I expect?). Today walking to the café to get some work done, the first time I’d left my house in over twenty-four hours, the first time I’d set an intention to do any work, I felt angry, confused, dark, focussed, light, upset. Earlier in the day I’d sent a text message to H: a kind of cry for help, I realized only after the message was sent. I didn’t ask for help. I asked for a meeting the following week (what I wanted was to be comfortable with her) (what I wanted was to turn back the clock) (when we were together I didn’t know how to be both at ease with her and myself, as if those two things—which should be the most natural companions—were somehow at odds with each other) (I let other’s intentions get in the way of what I wanted, or to confuse what I wanted—I felt bad for feeling flattered). When I think about her, when I think about her family, when I think about A (her best friend) and the fact that we don’t seem to be communicating anymore: I wonder, can I even go back? I want to go back. At the same time I want to give it all up—everything. Give up everything I know. Did I do anything wrong? I was miserable. But perhaps I didn’t protect it. And if I didn’t protect it—what didn’t I protect it from?
April 17, 2018 § Leave a comment
I dreamed last night of attending a kind of concert, a concert that was also somehow ballet, in a foreign country. I wanted to go because I knew, somehow, even though both of us were in a different country than the one we lived in, that X would be there. I thought if I saw X there, if I surprised them as well as myself, I’d be given a chance to get to know them a little better… I thought that perhaps the circumstances of being in a different city, a different country, one that was across the Atlantic, would stimulate a development in our relationship… For some reason I was at the concert with my friend Glen, from high school, who I wanted to leave behind in order to join X, but who I also know I could not leave behind. I had an obligation to him even though he didn’t really understand. We had the worst seats possible and X had the best—the stage was obscured by a bank of seats (inverse to their regular arrangement, “descending” from overlooking the front of the stage rather than ascending from the stage in order to provide a better view). The stage could not be seen by anyone who was not in the first row of seats: everyone else was forced only to listen, and the further away from the stage the worse the acoustics. But the sound was produced not only by instruments but also by the movement of the dancers, who were instruments themselves. I wanted to join X to get access to the dance that was going on behind the wall. But there was a sense that we did not belong. At some point I moved to a different seat, closer but still far from X, I could only see a portion of the action—heads, feathers attached to costumes… What does this dream mean? What’s the action that I’m trying to reach and why do I see X as my conduit to it? Now I’m sitting across from X in the library. I had no idea they would be here, I’d hoped only for someone, anyone. I feel incredible clarity, a sense of purpose, perhaps even (a kind of) desire… But frustrated by the fact that it is an impossible desire. And that perhaps motivated by an unsatisfied curiosity (the first time in over ten years that someone I have asked out has said no). What I want is this: to arrange myself into a clarity. To become what I want. To reach the top of the bank of seats without needing anyone else. And to find someone else sitting there (whether that is X or someone else).
March 14, 2018 § Leave a comment
What did I do, except watch his stories and say nothing? What did I do except speak to him with no clear idea of what I wanted, a little nervous that maybe what I had represented wasn’t what it was, not sure it was something that could become, sure of nothing except for the excitement that shot up in me, sudden and thrilling, when I realized what was happening. I will forever feel responsible for not only the needs but actions and perceptions of others. Last night I took the Myers-Briggs and got INFP, “The Mediator”: I like thinking of myself that way, as something arranged, predetermined, an affinity, a personality not tied to socialization and failures and traumas. I kept watching his stories for clues (passive, curious) even though it seemed like something was maybe wrong. And that maybe what he wanted was an inquiry, even though I didn’t feel like an inquiry was an appropriate thing to provide or to offer. Perhaps it is wrong to imagine that it is something I did—maybe I had already been dismissed by then; perhaps he had decided what I wanted or was (or his idea of what I wanted or was) wasn’t worth it, or that what was happening wasn’t what was happening. And I’m okay with that, but not, somehow, totally okay with the idea that something could have been done that I didn’t do—even if there was nothing I didn’t do that I would have done, nothing I would have liked myself for doing anyway—or that I did something that was understood as something else.
March 3, 2018 § Leave a comment
Reading Marion Milner’s On Not Being Able to Paint I realize that what I want to do is to “combine”—to refocus, to adjust, to put together, to pace, to circle, to speak through. In response to feeling unable or unwilling to represent the “visual fact” of the world around her in painting, but instead something else, a feeling or form or attitude that is separate from what she sees, she worries that it may be a form of cowardice, a retreat. “But it did not feel entirely like a retreat, it felt more like a search, a going backwards perhaps, but a going back to look for something, something which could have real value for adult life if only it could be recovered.”
What is “recovered,” in writing? A novel, or a short story, is rarely what I set out to write. It’s something aimed towards, it’s a pulling back (of the arm with the arrow stuck between two fingers). What makes me upset about Milner’s book is a question I asked myself later in the day—for a long time everything I experienced and everything I thought slowly circulated inside me, a kind of cauldron of thought and feeling. A feast made up of scraps. This is the state of being that I made for myself after so much renunciation, so much hard toil. It’s what I feel like I am. When I don’t feel this way I feel confused and lost, absent from myself. Like I’m watching myself go from far away, through a window.