Last night, in front of the television, watching Star Wars with the rest of my cohort. I notice a distance or an absence in me: which is strange because otherwise I am so animated, I am making jokes, I am not afraid to speak, I am vocal and I am reaching them in at least that way. But it feels difficult to remember personal details about many of my colleagues, and I feel bad having to ask them the same questions over and over again. A glancing connection. I don’t understand why I am this way, at least right now, why it is so much work to raise myself in front of them and encounter them on a personal level. I want a connection that begins from the emotional and perhaps that is wrong. Or perhaps that’s just exactly the kind of connection you can’t get speaking one person at a time in a large group. I want to break that dynamic down, while simultaneously embedding myself in a larger system of connections, but I also do not want to implicate myself. I don’t want to become what I’m resisting. And truthfully I’m not even sure what that is.
DIFFERENT FORMS OF MEDITATIONS. I needed to run because that is a kind of weeping. You can feel so ashamed of yourself that you cease to communicate with your friends, even communicate trivial things, or only trivial things, and neglect to mention what is more important. I lost a book deal that in reality I never had, and my disappointment has grown, shiny and perfected, ever since, eclipsed and buried. And I haven’t talked about it with anyone—not with H, not in depth, not with S and L, perhaps only with F and N. Perhaps only with F and N and briefly with others—such as S. I’m trying to remember who else. Maybe nobody. C knows but only accidentally. Only incidentally, which is how she knows anything, because it’s not safe for me to count her as a friend. It feels good to run and to get out of the house—but I still feel lonely, without relief, a place I have not allowed myself to inhabit in a long time, and place that if inhabited too eagerly can cause the subject to break down in their interpersonal relationships. I also feel discouraged because I have lost some of the language I only ever knew slimly and which I have not practiced since the beginning of December. Of course I was going to lose some of that language. Perhaps it is insane to think or imagine it would be otherwise—but that’s what I did imagine.
RUNNING IS A FORM OF WEEPING. How did I know that I needed to weep? I’ve begun to say so many careless things, I have begun to view my projections as reality, to allow myself to bend and distort with my minor disappointments. To ignore the boundaries that come before speech and to slip messily into the way of other human beings. I am unguarded and there is little difference between me and the world outside. I was a brat with H on Saturday, and though my feelings were justified there was a more dignified and trusting way to share them. There was a way that respected the difference between us. It was childish to act as I did. I am not used to being able to trust my partner. To trust that tension. I can know that in part my response was the kind I would have had with C, but still I don’t know where it came from.
“She isn’t sure if she’s going to go back to school and get her PhD, because she already found her dream job.” The man and woman laugh knowingly. To abide in this crystal death. That level of confidence is terrifying. It’s a fever shaking. When the man in the cafe laughs it is a guitar cut with distortion. A bat swooping low and threatening. Both the man and woman laugh, but the only person that makes the man laugh is the man.
On the first of January H asks me in which ways I am like my parents, what have I taken from them, good or bad, and I don’t quite know how to answer. It’s true that I haven’t had to think of that so explicitly in a long time. But it is oddly consoling to realize I am not responsible for everything that has entered into me. My coping mechanisms are not necessarily my own, even though I have been made to feel shame for them—I come from a man and a family that chooses oblivion in the face of difficulty. I have been made to feel shame for that mechanism from the very persons who gifted it to me. It is a freedom to think of it in this way, as something that is part of me but not my own, to walk up the frozen streets from Parkdale and feel the shame lifting, like someone else (not my parents) is taking it on their shoulders.