Wading In Vain

Hi again,

You’ll notice that I’m back.  Not with yet another hasty sketch of some harrowing journey into the spontaneous and haphazard, but rather (probably too-personal) descent into my most current sentiment, those pesky and ever-fleeting sensations that dictate the day and her outlook without allowing themselves to be so clearly defined as “emotions”.  We here see one’s internal malaise and vague confusion flop and flounder, occasional tugs from an anchor grounding a dull, floating sense of happiness coming from an atmospheric somewhere.  The jump from the Land of Smiles affords one plenty of residual grinning, but then the lips reveal nothing past the glistening enamel sheen of the teeth as the heart continues beating silently behind meters of phlegm and viscera.  And that’s how a WRITER, ladies and gentlemen, outlines a sense of superficial happiness!  None of this comes simple and direct anyway, does it?  Might as well have fun with it as I write.

I’m currently reading a book called A Man Walks Into A Room by Nicole Strauss, and frankly while its the first proper fiction novel I’ve read without purpose in quite some time, that gap has lent itself its own relevance; the wait made me ready for some good, old-crafted prose.  It’s a moody and languid story of Samson, a mid-30s Colombia professor dug senseless from a ditch just outside of Las Vegas with positively no recollection of anything beyond his year twelve.  After some ongoing scientific analysis, he returns home to his doting wife to find that he has no idea of the person he was, certainly no clue of who the woman is and why he had fallen in love with her those years ago.  She asks him, distraught, “can a person fall in love without habits?”  This, of course, has given me some pause, certainly as a person who has, thus far, been wildly unsuccessful in such a category:

In traveling around the world, living abroad currently in a familiar setting filled almost exclusively with strangers, am I desperately fleeing my own habits?  Of course it’s been considered, probably assumed, since initial departure that I’m running away from something of myself, coupled with all of the correct reasons for travel.  Can one, coupled with the knowledge that an exercise in changing oneself is futile and even childish, make a constant and constantly subconscious effort to at very least break free from these so-called “habits”, the little hounding tendencies that are so devastating and so beyond our control, watching our actions flutter away as if we were watching them on TV.  Constantly undermining conversations with isolating pseudo (or non-pseudo, for that matter)-intellectualism; a general fear of taking any step forward in relationships, friendly or otherwise; a constant and unforgiving stream of self-criticism or even self-consciousness (see above and below); the intellectual admiration and practical rejection of a life of true spontaneity (and, for that matter, a life lived under a feigned pretense of “action”, all told a struggle between the desire to see oneself as untamed and exciting with a core fabric that may or may not prove to the contrary); the smug and superficial comfort in elitism, or the quiet hatred of philistines that seem to constitute the majority of the universe (nope, I do forgive myself for these, on second thought); the constant freeze and cowardice, or at least the self-conscious sense of being frozen and matched with the internal pursuit of aggression.

Are any of these my “habits”, or are they simply the makeup of who I am?  Saying, I mean, are one’s perceived deficiencies shakeable, and if so, is that desire to shake simply a product of one of the many perceived “deficiencies”, that omnipresent self-criticism?  I have given up on forgetting about it, I think — I really enjoy and admire the tenets of Buddhism, and they have a place in my life, but living without a sense of self is (no pun intended) unthinkable for me, as I’m a solipsistic masochist.  Perhaps that’s the term for it; you’ll have to ask my future analyst (if you’re reading this, hopefully this can consitute as the first session, thereby saving me on future billing).  The idea of being able to erase all of these, whether they are good or bad, is a remarkable concept to me.  What would we miss, if anything?  What would remain, glued to our genetic code, if anything?  Would we be recognizable to those that love us, and would their appreciation continue?  Interesting.

Perhaps I’m just lonely or homesick, and perhaps I’m happy and unable to recognize myself as such, or I’m being reflective because I stayed in today, but in any case, I’m trying on the hat of confessional author, a blonde and less dynamic early Philip Roth.  I hope you enjoy, or enjoyed, my spastic ruminations, and I thank you so profoundly for allowing me to voice them.  Hopefully the next entry will detail my consumption of some sort of reptilian blood or interaction in some aboriginal tradition.  Until then,

Here’s To Basking In Our Shortcomings!

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~ by nearhelsinki on May 28, 2009.

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