(originally written June 18, 2009)
I have lived my life in the service of expression and perception but I am unaware of all the reasons that drive me to amass and scrutinize the elements of my own existence. I do not fully understand that gap between one person and another, the distance that prevents two from understanding the theoretical one profound and profusely. Despite having surrounded myself with unusual and incredible personalities, I have yet to close that gap completely with any of them, even if I have approached it. Perhaps I make myself unavailable, perhaps I am too different, perhaps we all are. The possibility that we all may suffer long lives of collective solitude seems real enough. We may have to accept it.
In my adolescence, I spent nights awake just feeling the world. I would habitually venture into the night seeking something invisible to me. It did not matter that I slept so little that my chest began to ache with exhaustion and I was forced to spend a large portion of my schooling in a state of half sleep. Finding what I was looking for was vastly more important than anything else I could imagine. Even on the nights where I would remain home, I would sit awake and read or wallow in the indigo glow of a room illuminated by the sort of odd programming that only exists in the early morning hours. I kept thinking that, if I fell asleep, I would miss whatever it was that I sought. I became concerned with the chance that the thought, event or person that I was waiting for would pass me by while I slept. I would write or I would scour the internet for that something, rather than waste my time on things like study. But I was studying; I was studying the world and myself.
Each time I would discover something new I felt better. I could become calm and spend some time peacefully examining its place in my world and vice versa. This is something I always assumed would dissipate as I aged but, if anything, the feeling has gotten stronger. Being recumbent must be earned and I have not done so. I always thought that this could be accomplished through the location and acquisition of certain things. People, experiences, and information- I collected them all. If they were not unique or highly prized, I did not want them. Bland people and mundane events have never interested me and I have no use for them. I need to see something more than the status quo somewhere inside. The times I have felt the worst have been the times where I realized that a person I cared for was not as I believed them to be. Equally painful is the loss of a special individual.
It would be foolish of me to even entertain the proposal of permanence when it comes to people. I cannot expect even those most dear to me to comprehend me absolutely or remain in my sphere without end. Even those that do persist will be unable to do so consistently. But this does not matter. I have people that loved me enough to assist me in the burial of my grandparents, strangers to most of them. So, while we are alone, we do not have to spend our time lonely or settling for inadequate companionship. Still, I’ve pushed people away, most especially romantically, and I can not account for why I’ve done this. We all have trouble trusting people and, perhaps more interestingly, ourselves. However, with a single possible exception, I’ve never met a person with the preparedness, fortitude or similarity necessary to keep me from myself.
Despite my occasional bouts of apathy and intense negativity, I care about the world I live in. If I did not, I would not spend endless hours writing and reading and watching. I would give up on any sort of creative satisfaction and quit reaching out to humanity. I may be alone, you may be alone. We may have to be, we may not. I am still looking for something and I haven’t found it. Without getting too Yoda or Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, maybe the answer is in the question and the finding is in the seeking. Maybe all we get are little victories and then just more challenges. That would be alright with me.
Then again, maybe I shouldn’t make claims like that…
On Sunday night I was reading a man’s journal and on a page he had written in bold tangled cursive, “What have you learned?”
Below the question he had written “nothing” so many times that it filled the entire page.
It was the most honest thing I have ever read in my entire life and it applies directly to both of us in every way imaginable. I am the writer and you are the reader and it is my desire to edify you something and make some kind of meaningful connection, thereby validating both of our existences. I want to share something with you formally as a writer, intimately as a lover and socially as a friend. I have an infinite number of ways to share my experiences as any number of our perplexing and relatively meaningless titles. There is such hope and drive for more but in the end it seems that the best I, or any of us, can hope to offer is only a fleeting taste of our realities.
So what have we all learned?
Sometimes nothing. Markedly and eternally nothing.