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A recurring dream. Two dreams. In the second the insect, a beetle about the size of a small dog, surprises me by crawling out from underneath a lampshade. It has a purple carapace trimmed with gold. Its parent was what I saw in (I think) a previous dream. Large, brown, and unfed, moving slowly in a dirty tank upstairs. I keep having the same dream, or dreams. Dreams with beetles and dreams without. Dreams in which I am navigating alone through a world which terrifies me. Dreams in which I betray those I love, accidentally, in ways that I can’t explain and do not understand.

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sometimes you compose and post 22 tweets about breakups because you feel like you need to scrape something off of you

you post 22 tweets in a row and you feel emptied out and for the next hour or two you refresh the website idly and feel heavy even though you have lots of work to do

the tweets are generalized and not referring to anyone in particular—you are offering advice, not condemning anyone…

your ex who you have blocked on twitter sees the tweets very quickly, someone has alerted her to them or she checks your twitter obsessively, both are believable

she tweets this response, which takes your tweets to be totally performative, saying that they provide “disdain for you all,” in a form that is “instructively over-generalizing”

it’s mean and disregards you, in this response the tweets are simply a performance in order to annoy someone who is unidentified

yes a part of you wanted her to see the tweets because you still (it is insane) want her to realize how she hurt you, but no the tweets were not a performance

they were not meant for her…

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the consoling aspect of writing the tweets was that they were general, they would not have functioned if they were specific, you have done some of the things you said not to do and you regret it

just like it is instructive or calming to visit websites like buzzfeed or psychology today or medium for answers to simple but devastating emotional scenarios

to type your current emotional state into a google search window and read through the first page of results

for that same reason it is edifying to compose the tweets, to imagine writing them to an audience that includes yourself

why do you want anything from someone who sees past you so insistently and who can only see you in relation to themselves?

it’s insane but you do want it

you write a friend that you feel very dumb, that it is dumb to feel sad about a relationship that ended so long ago, when you have so much else going for you right now

they say that it isn’t dumb

they are right and you know that of course but the fact that it still twists and turns inside you makes you worry that something will never be fully resolved

and that is true but it has always been true and it’s only when you pretend that it isn’t that you get yourself in trouble

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The Wife’s Lament

I this song utter, by me full of sadness,
this song which is myself. I will tell what I am able
about the hardships I have faced—since I grew up,
recently or long ago, never more than now.
Always I suffer my misery of exile.

First my lord departed from my people,
over waves rolling; I had grief before dawn
thinking of the lands which held him,* my people’s lord.
Then I set out, a friendless stranger, searching
for the retinue, because of my grievous need.
Relatives of this man began to plan
through secret thought that they would separate us,
that we as far apart as possible in the kingdom of the world
would live, most wretchedly, and me longing.

My lord commanded me to take a grove for a house:
little of what is beloved to me did I possess in this country,
no loyal friends; for that is my mind’s sadness.
When I found the man who was my complete match,
he was* unfortunate, sad of mind and heart,*
thoughts concealed, violence planning,
behind joyful demeanour. Very often we vowed
that we would never be separated, not by death
or anything else; what was before is now changed,
is now as if it never were, that friendship
between us. Must I who desires* you near
suffer, my dearly loved, this feud.

Commanded was I to dwell in a forest grove
under an oak tree in a cave, the earth’s chest.*
Old is this cave, and* I am filled with longing;
is here a gloomy valley, trecherous hills,
bitter hedges, briars growing up over,
this house without joy. Very often here my cruel departure
takes hold of me. Friends are on earth,
living beloved, they occupy a bed,
that I in the time before dawn alone walk
under oak tree through the cave, the earth’s chest.*
There I sit many long summer days;
There I am able to weep for my misery of exile,
my* many hardships; there I am never able
to rest from the grief of mind that is mine,
nor from all the longing that in this life takes hold of me.

It may be that the young man is always sorrowful,
his heart’s thoughts stern; likewise must he* have
joyful demeanour, besides grief of heart,
constant sorrowful tumult. Whether he is on himself dependent
for all of his worldly joy, or whether he is outcast, very far
from his distant country, so* that my lover sits
under stone cliff, storming and frost rimmed,
friend desolate, water flowing before
echoing home, my lover suffering
much grief of the mind. Too often he remembers
a house full of joy. Woe to those that must
of longing in life abide.

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The document that yesterday’s post was written in was called “presentation,” which was largely unintentional but seems apt for the record that it keeps.

Yesterday I said in my experience it usually feels less rude to me if the fact that you are dating someone becomes apparent before you realize they are interested in you. That if it does not come up organically it can feel like a slap.

Then the conversation moved on, I talked about how a video that I had recently posted on Instagram had produced this response: “lmao u are really v hot” and how I did not know what to say.

I said that I gave what I thought to be the perfect response roughly 16 or 17 hours later which was “haha thanks.”

walking-beach-single-woman-self-series

I was late for therapy because there was something I didn’t want to talk about. When the words came out of my mouth I became slow and heavy, like molten lava slowly turning into rock… I sat in this heaviness while my therapist sat forward in her seat. “Seeing you like this, it’s having the opposite effect on me, I am energized, I want to get you going.” On Monday after class I went up to my office and tried to do work on a project that I didn’t want to do. The same feeling came over me. Lately I have been good about doing things I don’t want to do but now I was a dog going in circles in front of my computer. I stood up from my desk and walked to the window. I walked to the shelf. I did push-ups. I ate halloween candy. I returned to my desk. I went for a walk, and bought dinner, and read about Augustine while sitting in the unheated second floor seating area of the Pizza Pizza on the corner of Spadina and Bloor. Then I walked back to the office resolved to get started on this project I didn’t want to do, this work that had nothing to do with the Augustine I was reading… Instead it was much the same as before. Eventually I wrote about 150 words and went home—if I was exhausted at least I could get to bed early. I crawled under the covers around 11:30, but didn’t get to sleep until past 1:00 in the morning… I read two short essays by Roxane Gay… I tossed and turned… I sat at my desk and turned on the computer… Now I wish I had done some work. But all I could do was abide in my heaviness, an exhaustion that didn’t want to be satisfied, a reluctance that announced itself by shutting down my core systems, one after another… Luckily this only seems to happen to me now in rare instances, but when this feeling does come over me it is difficult to recognize and I don’t know what to do.

*

walking-on-beach-many-men-series

The other day a former partner saw me sitting with another woman, and there was a look of recognition on her face that I knew to mean “Of course.” Or perhaps that was my imagination. The relationship that I had to this woman I was sitting next to was strictly professional. The affair with the other woman had been drawn out and clandestine. Even knowing the look was incorrect I still felt wounded by it, which is what I often feel that I deserve.

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Love is a kind of motion, or so says Augustine. Love is a kind of motion and all motion is toward something. The motion of love takes us to the good: we crave what we know, which is good, otherwise we would not crave it for its own sake.

Hannah Arendt: “The distinctive trait of this good that we desire is that we have it. Once we have the object our desire ends, unless we are threatened with its loss.”

Love as craving reaches back to once we once knew, “desire is a combination of ‘aiming at’ and ‘referring back to’.”

*

We know the good can never be achieved. Love is ideally a mediation of amor and caritas: love your partner as a neighbour; satisfy (for the moment) your lust. To give in to either drive would inevitably lead to personal dissolution. Like Arcite, your horse startles at an imagined phantom and you are thrown (or like Vronsky you push the horse past its limits and it is destroyed). Or, like a character out of Nightwood or an old english poem you relentlessly persue a past that never was (neither theirs nor yours).

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Am I pressing forward like a knight on a great journey, moving slowly through the forest in my scant armour, anxious before every clearing, aware that at any moment I might be overcome by my enemies? Or have I set myself in a little cottage with a mean fire in a dirty stove with smoke staining the windows? And am I digging through the ashes looking for something which won’t be there—a glint of gold or silver or something else entirely, smoked, mesmirizing, complete & occupying… (—& is this death itself?)