It’s All Relative

Growing Up
October 13, 2008, 9:08 am
Filed under: 1

I don’t know what to say.

I feel overwhelmed with my own absence of certainty. These few small things that make sense like tiny lights floating in the distance and the land between shrouded in darkness. And I’m either really exceptional or really fucked up. The only space between being what I do with who and how I am. And what I’ve done so far doesn’t seem like enough.

I feel like I do all this busy work, this time-on-task to convince myself that progress is being made, but it’s not.

All these hours don’t lead to anything concrete except the sense that maybe what I’m really good at is deluding myself. That I don’t really want anything as badly as I want to stay safe from these things that I fear.

It’s hard for me to countenance how terrified I am of people. It seems to show the false weight of my own sense of self. If I truly like myself and have the confidence that seems at times to flow out of me on its own accord, then what could possibly be worrisome about this world full of people? They are themselves and I am me and we meet in the middle (it’s actually the only place to meet).

I disengaged from an argument with my roommate tonight. I couldn’t see a way through the contrary opinions we had. I didn’t want to get angry or caught up in it, so I simply cut it off. He continued to antagonize. Perhaps not in the nicest or most useful way, but he refused to back down. And in the end we found the space between us and both came to places dwelling closer to a center. In the meantime, we shared a bit and cemented a slightly greater trust.

But I’m afraid this is my whole life. Perceiving difference, I cut myself off. Afraid to risk the loss of control that heaves inside of me, I isolate and quiet down. Better to stay out of the conflict and not offer up anything too real.

I believe in these things I want. It’s a boon to have perceived these things that I love so deeply. I believe without a doubt that writing and improvising are a fundamental part of the rest of my life.

But the steps I take to pursue them seem so pondering, slow and cowardly. And the progress I observe or imply or create in others is so staggeringly momentous.

Each small success for them another light shining on my own failure and dishonest effort.

There are also all these smaller pieces missing a space for themselves. And without a reason or output, their primary function seems to be sharpening the hurt I feel in moving through the world.

My ability to argue and zero in on inconsistency in reasoning is never so deftly and consistently applied than to my own statements of aspiration. My ability to articulate these inner processes that flow through us as we merge experience and emotions and affections into one fluid being in the world only raises more and more unanswerable questions about how and who I am and how and who I should or could or would like to be. My ability to sense authenticity in others leads me to fear their disapproval and live with this burning desire to connect firmly chained to a sanitized self.
I have this deep sense of gratitude for my life that only makes me feel more guilty for being dissatisfied with its progress and station.

I feel all of this so intensely. There’s a voice that says these are all small things. It scolds me for my inability to enjoy the amazing bounty of my daily existence, but the hurt – the sense of not-enough – continues. I hurt for what I don’t feel I have and for what I do.

The task of constructing all these things I need to accomplish seems endless. And my focus wanders, it yearns for easier prey. For being satisfied with time on task, regardless of real results.

I don’t know yet how to be happy with my effort, but genuinely focused on the goal. Or maybe I equate ‘genuine’ effort too much with success in narrow and imaginary terms.

I don’t know who to be friends with or how to be that friend. I yearn to care for people but allow my habitual fear of being opened up to quiet it.

Alone is perfect. Self-righteousness and confidence rolled into one. Why deal with people on any terms but your own? There’s no touching a sense of completed self. No losing, no winning. Just you inside your head.

The problem is that I am me literally every second of the day. And at times like this, I can hardly stand it in here.

I have to sit down and get it out. Put it in concrete words and sentences. It helps me feel – at least briefly – that I can get this self that I have out into the world. That I can get it seen and that out in the light of day the parts of it that are sickly and repetitively imagined will burn away.

My life is great. And I am proud of who I am. I am proud of the things I have done. And this is hard right now. I can’t remember anything harder. But if things got easier, what would be the point of continuing?

If I didn’t hurt sometimes, then I’d always stay the same. And being up here in my skull would be fine. So, there’s something out of sync right now. There is some space between the world as it exists in my mind and how it feels out here on the ground. And the best I can do is to keep pulling things out like this. Try to see them in a clearer light and pick out what’s to keep, figure out how to make this life what I want it to be.

A daily effort and a genuine goal.


1 Comment so far
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Wow. Powerful self-examination. There’s that story about the the sumurai who before a battle visualizes his greatest fears at the tip of his sword, as he holds it in front of him and sees it with fully open eyes. Then he does what he needs to do.

Comment by Ken

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