The following essay is simply an attempt to live with myself…But I want to explain here: Actually living with me is probably alright. I cook, I clean, I feed the dogs occasionally, I don’t stay out late too often, I don’t get loud, I’ll borrow books but replace them if something happens to the originals, I don’t go through other people’s things (afraid of what I’ll find)… When I say “live with myself” I mean live in my own head…Where I can’t get away from me, where I can’t be quiet.
As far as “this essay” goes, I’d like to point out what I point out to all of my students, which is the forgotten definition of “essay” is “to try.” For all the writers taking time to read this, no I’m not planning out what I write (aside from the list of the thoughts themselves that I made on twitter this morning) and I don’t know how this essay will end. In fact, I probably won’t even proofread it or revise it (I rarely do for my blog anyway). The point is, I’m curious as to what it will look like when I “try” (essentially “test”) these thoughts.
What is a “thought” anyway? Whatever source you use in Google associates “thought” with “thinking” …Same source says “thinking” is “reasoning, or rational” or “opinion, judgment.” But let’s slow down from this cliché way I’m beginning a paper and consider the experience of thought. These particular thoughts happened immediately as I awoke. Were they a reaction to some dream I can’t remember? Something left over from my last thoughts last night? As I slowly stir do they become more rational? If that previous questions is the case, does that first thought reveal something about me in terms of my need to rationalize? More generally, do we all act like this? Ultimately, am I crazy? Is this a normal thing we do? (I’d like to point out here that no definition exists of “mentally healthy.”)
Finally, “bitter,” we (friends) determined drinking in a smoky bar a month or so ago, is lack of taste. But is that what we really mean when we’re talking about a person being bitter? Is it that person acquired no taste for anything? Or that other people could not acquire a taste for that person? Do I leave a tasteless taste in your mouth? Do I leave a tasteless taste in my own mouth?
Possible conclusions (at this point): It’s impossible to be bitter if I’m thinking about it because there is some taste there…It’s possible that I’m not bitter at all, just some weird flavor I don’t quite understand yet; I’m rambling and none of this matters (save yourself now);
1st Thought: I’m becoming a bitter person.
The only sound was my fan. I hadn’t taken off my eye cover yet. I had to pee. My neck is always stiff in the morning. As I tried to stretch the stiffness out and ran my fingers over my arms (because they are so soft, and I’ve been working out a lot lately and wanted to check for any muscle development), my brain takes some initiative and groggily says “I’m becoming a bitter person.”
I can’t remember my dream(s) from last night, so I’m not sure if that statement resulted from something my subconscious cooked up. When I think back to my concluding thoughts from yesterday…Let’s see, I reflected on how terrible dating is and questioning why I do it. I remember thinking “I must be good at it because everyone I go out with falls in love with me after the first date…But maybe I’m just charming (when I wanna be)…But then it never works out, so I’m not any good at it. Dude. Twelve years [single]…Okay so the first seven years were purely by choice.”
Which, of course, leads me to think about all of my relationships, and how those work. I can’t help but compare my relationships now to my relationships five to ten years ago. Ten years ago, they just happened. I just found myself spending time with people. Now relationships seem orchestrated and tenuous. So many people wandered in and out of my life in the last ten years…Which I imagine is typical of one’s early twenties, nevertheless I do find it unsettling.
2nd Thought: Well whose fault is that?
And so we encounter my first revealing observation. I connect this bitter feeling to people so effortlessly coming in and out of my life. Some attempt to blame others? Do I not have a tattoo of a heart with a sword through it bannering the word “Boss” over it like Dr. Frankenfurter for this very reason? Do I not have control of my reactions, my emotions? Rationalizing: But evidence. Not letting myself get away with rationalizing so easily: But interpretation. “Like all dreamers, I took disenchantment for truth.”
3rd Thought: Why does it matter?
What right do I have to be bitter? Surely these experiences are simply a part of the human condition. I have no reason to think that the universe aims to get me and I’m to suffer some inexplicable, untouchable lonely life because of those experiences.
4th Thought: If I’m going to be bitter, I want someone to blame.
If I blame myself: how do I fix this? Be more positive…But like all my therapist visits: At what point am I lying to myself. Is that okay? Healthy? Shudder to think – Normal?
If I blame everyone else: seems irresponsible. I should hold myself accountable here.
Why is it so difficult to accept that these relationships are what they are? I still do maintain healthy friendships I’ve shared for ten years. It’s not like the world is total shit…But then if I can’t create new ones, is it that I don’t have a taste for people or that they don’t have a taste for me <bitter>. I still try…But is it good enough for others? Is no one all of a sudden good enough for me? What is “it”? Love? Concern? Patience? Curiosity? Trust? Honesty? Care?
So now, I’m realizing, it’s not just romantic relationships, it’s all relationships…Even those that don’t exist yet. How can I develop any taste if I’m not trying anything…I’m not really trying. So then what the fuck am I doing?
5th Thought: Maybe I should write about it.
And so here I am. Here it is. I’ve tried it. It’s all been put on trial. Verdict:
6th Thought: Only gonna make it worse.
Sure enough it’s in my blog. All three (if I’m lucky that many) readers may take my discussion of relationships personally. Or they’ll identify and have some pearl of wisdom. Anticipating my audience’s reactions is what I’m trained to do, but how off the mark will I be? Or how close? Will there be any reaction at all besides a dismissal? Does reading my expectations make you reformulate your response? Did you even make it this far? This complicates the thoughts I’ve already laid out.
Worse yet…Or maybe for the better, no one will read this or make it this far. Then what? Then how confused will I be?
There isn’t much of one(….Just an attempt to get on with my day). Once I or you or we have a thought it’s known and will distort or grow or change or whatever. Is it necessarily reflective of who I am or who you are as a person? In an effort (we’ll see how successful it is) to live with myself (inconclusive as it may be), how I choose to react to those thoughts. I don’t just let them get away, though I let them run. I did eventually write about them (obviously). But I have to remind myself that they are subject to change, and if they’re not then I’m done. I would much rather be done on a positive note, but that has yet to be seen.