I can feel, right beyond this square space world, where the boundaries of real are quite certain, that everything I knew was possible is still quite possible.
However, I might not get to live all that is possible this go around.
Is imagining something being real the same as living it?
What if you feel it?
What if you are wholly there for a full 3 minutes, in between taking a shower and going to work.
I have felt the possible future and I am nowhere near it now.
This morning, driving to work and feeling tired, still coughing like I’ve been coughing and my fingers all froze, pushing into the plastic vents, I thought about sending a small message out:
“Do you ever get the feeling that some important thing has given up on you?”
I listened as another terribly flat song came onto the radio – balmy and a little sick around the edges, an afternoon drunk on the beach, a slick smile dude with sand in his hair.
Out in the fields along the highway, where the geometry of ice was disappearing unseen, I caught a glimpse of the world that I try to remind myself is still there.
It is all right there, in a hundred million layers of light and pull, life and death, an endless stream of signal and code.
I’ve just been too busy to pay it much mind.
I miss it, that charged and overlapping world.
I’m going to find my way back.
This afternoon, leaving work, the first song on the radio was this one, which plainly says, “I’m giving up on you.”
Don’t give up on me, radio.
Words I Wrote A Couple Weeks Back
Lately, I have had the unsettling sense that people don’t see me clearly.
It is deeply unnerving to me, this awareness that who I am is not only possibly but probably unclear to people. I have no idea why more people aren’t perplexed by the thought that who they are in other people’s eyes often has very little to do with who they actually might be.
I find this common human phenomenon to be extremely disturbing. It’s likely that as a person who was under psychiatric scrutiny for a number of years I might be a bit more attuned to this particular oddity of the human experience, that people can see a person any old way they please, regardless of who we are or what might be true for us.
The summations of ourselves, as calculated by those external to us, frequently fail to encompass even a fraction of the content of any one person’s character and are often tragically blind to our most true hopes and fears, loves and lacks.
When I was in middle school, during the years when young American women are prone to look in the mirror, I stared at a reflection of myself, taking into account my eyes and my nose, the set of my mouth and each small aspect of my skin and hair.
Wishing for revisions of this feature or that, it struck me all the sudden that I might look different to other people than I looked to myself. I think I might actually remember the moment, the feeling of that moment as a great and unresolvable lonesomeness. This moment that I think I recall may actually be a composite memory, the assemblage of several hundred distinct seconds in which I saw a reflection of myself and had no idea who the hell I am.
I had a name that was the name of someone in other people’s minds.
It was my name.
I was that person.
Strange, that I should be some person with some name and to know that, given the follies of how we come to be anything at all, I could have an entirely different face, that I could have a different name, that I could not exist at all.
My name, it’s true, was almost Joanna…or Joann. My mother and father couldn’t decide, so they named me for grandmothers. My middle name is Rachel. On most forms this name appears as simply R. and says nothing of the woman who was my great-grandmother.
R. is just a letter in the middle of my first name and my last name, which came from a man that I am not even related to by any sort of blood.
I knew all this when I was in middle school and I thought about these facts as I looked in the mirror.
Because I was in middle school, I understood that people thought things about me. I thought things about other people, too. I knew that I liked some people for reasons I couldn’t explain, and that some of the people that everyone seemed to like were, to be honest, scary to me.
I didn’t intentionally think about all these various estimations of fondness and fear, they just seemed to present themselves as I muddled around my burgeoning adolescent identity crises, doing things like looking in the mirror and wondering what other people saw when they looked at me, studying my smile and wondering if anyone knew how confused and lonesome I felt.
I think that something happens when, early in life, the reality of who we are falls apart and the reasons our lives may be as they are becomes a suddenly dubious affair and it is clear that nobody really ever knows – could ever know! – what it is like to be somebody else or, fully, what motivates anyone to be as they may be perceived as being and to do what they may appear to be doing.
I knew – just like I knew that my name was not my own – that some people had it better than me and that a lot more people didn’t have the things that I, by some luck of circumstance, seemed to have…and I couldn’t stop wondering why that was or how it could be.
It wasn’t fair. I didn’t like it. I didn’t want to be a part of any of it. Even if I weren’t a part of it, it would still exist. Nobody seemed to be too concerned about the situation.
My mother was offended, “We’re not ignorant!”
I just rolled my eyes and lost my mind young.