April 2, 2014
Update: I really am okay to be writing this right now…
March 21, 2014
I really shouldn’t be writing this right now. Like, I really shouldn’t. I have so many things that need doing, including my dog whining me in the face to do something (anything) with him, it’s practically criminal that I’m choosing instead (at least for the moment) to sit here with my kind of shitty weak coffee (I usually drink it espresso-dark… and yes, I suppose I could stand to write a post, for anyone who could possibly mind, about why I’m back to drinking coffee after my most popular post ever… was about quitting…) and write.
But the truth is, I miss writing a hell of a lot. It’s one of the most important things to me (like, I’d take it to a desert island as one of my three things), and yet it’s gotten placed on the back burner of everything else.
This month has been a month of life living me, instead of the other way around. In terms of sleeping, walking my dog, and doing the bare minimum of work required to keep my promises, I’m kind of just trying to keep my head above water until it all evens out.
But the irony of this post is sort of funny. You see, I titled it Alice in Wonderland based on the fact that I was beginning to feel some of my usual defenses slipping away.
Changes were taking place rather quickly in my life– changes which were making me question who I was, and if I had ever known, or if it was even possible to do so. Looking back on a year from today, if you had told me some of the things that are taking place would be, I quite honestly would never, ever, in a million years have believed you.
I started this post a month ago, and little did I know the strange, improbable– and, at least for me– somewhat mind-blowing changes which were actually going to take place over the course of the next month– including meeting someone who turned my world upside down…. and just so happened to have Alice In Wonderland as one of their favorite movies (a fact I found out long after titling this post).
So anyway, this is sort of a strange post and I’ll go with it. I’m getting back into my writing groove, anyway. I’ll start at the beginning of what I wrote back then. And then pick up in the present.
At least, I suppose that’s what I’ll do, but who knows. It might change. As I said before, I’ve ceased being able to predict my future.
Without further ado…
February 24, 2014
I love my life. I love a lot of things specifically about my life but one thing I really love… Perhaps the thing I love the absolute most more than anything else in the world…
My ability to surprise myself.
I mean like, surprise the shit out of myself. The kind of surprise where sometimes you just have to look in the mirror to make sure you didn’t switch places with someone else, a la Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis on some very messed up Friday.
I share this with you not to brag (as if the ability to surprise yourself is anything to brag about).
It’s actually the really little things that often surprise me the most, and the fact is, most of them are so mundane I wouldn’t even bother to bore you with them. But every day, I surprise myself a little bit and I realize that…
Contrary to what I’ve been supposedly trying to do since I got to college (“know myself”) the truth is, I don’t know myself at all. At least not in any way greater than the collective symbolism placed upon every thought, idea, and experience with which I associate some vague illusion of what it means to be “me”.
I’ve recently come to understand, (not just know, but actually understand, as in, through lived experience) that only way I know myself is in this exact moment.
There is no other way to truly know me, than through the stripped down experience of how it feels to be me in this split second (less than that really) of time.
The thing I’ve learned, which I absolutely love (mostly because, despite my valiant attempts at every turn, I’ve not ever been able to successfully pin myself down, and thus this revelation alleviates any future pressure of ever getting it “right”), is that it’s impossible to know myself through thoughts or labels, concepts, ideas, clothes, body, preferences, personality, or anything else just as transient– even more seemingly permanent than– that.
And also, that whenever I try to attach myself to a particular concept, it invariably dissolves, either sooner… or later.
Still, invariably: it always dissolves. No matter how strong my initial denial of dissolution.
In terms of being a writer, I’ve experienced this sense of not knowing myself many times before. If you’re a writer and as forgetful as me, you may have experienced this as well.
I refer to that strange feeling of reading something that you (apparently) wrote, yet you have no recollection of writing.
As in, there have been times where, for instance, I’ve read a comment on a thread and thought, “Oh, that’s kind of well-written; I totally agree with that person! I wonder who did that” and then I’ll see the name and realize… It was me.
Or, somehow I’ll go back through a journal and find a somewhat well-written piece, and I’ll think it was a direct quotation of someone much wiser and intelligent than myself. And come to find out, it actually was a much wiser and intelligent version… except of me… speaking to my current self from as if via telepathy, from another place and time.
Transcending space and time.
This is what I mean by falling down a rabbit hole.
When it comes down to the facts, this is what I know: I don’t know who I am, or why I’m here. In fact, I don’t know anything else than exactly what I am experiencing in this moment. And it’s times when life completely takes you by surprise, that this concept is most evident.
And yet, the change is taking place all around us. Whether it’s explicitly obvious at the time or not, we are subject to this crazy amalgamation of energy and space– the stage upon which we live our lives.
And we have much less control over it than we think we do. It’s so random, and yet so perfectly orchestrated. So simple, and yet so complex. It’s the ultimate paradox. Pandora’s box, yet a sphere. And also shapeless, formless, and everything else-less.
It’s just mind boggling, is what it is.
(And because I have trouble writing, that is, keeping my focus, in any state other than sober… I don’t even have alcohol to blame for this strange out of body experience.)
On the other hand, I often find myself writing the same thing twice, sometimes even years apart. And I’m not just talking about writing on the same concept. I mean, I’ve written verbatim, and then realized through some coincidental discovery, that it’s what I’ve already written. As in, my mind has certain train-tracks of thought which are so well-wrought, it’s only natural to travel them more than once.
I’ve noticed my mind oftentimes (when it’s not being brilliantly creative, unique, wondrous and innovative… 😉 ) works under the same patterns, repetitively– which works to support the theory about which I once read, of psychologists at Harvard based on a conducted study, that we have so many (however many) thoughts per day, but they’re basically all the same, over and over again.
[Their particular point, at least in the article I read was basically, in other words, stop thinking so much, because it’s mostly useless energy, stress, and time.]
My brain is sort of like a pond through which I float. It’s like a soup, where the same general ingredients are floating around, but sometimes I bump up against different ones, depending purely on chance or coincidence, on what I had for lunch, how much I slept, what a kid said to me or what I just read.
I’ve learned that what I think is not actually personal, it’s just a matter of which thought bumps up against my floating boat.
April 2, 2014
I’ve realized, by observing how my mind can think one thing in one moment, and then fully believe something entirely oppositional the next. And therefore, I am not my mind.
It’s not me, it’s just a facet of life being lived through me.
And as for my body, it’s simply a complex clump of cells which somehow transmits consciousness for this short time I have on earth. But my body isn’t me. I can get a heart transplant (I think that’s a thing, right?). And still, I’d be “me”.
I could lose most all of my facilities and senses, and still I would be “me”. My consciousness isn’t attached to my mind, nor my specific physiology, although both contribute to my conscious experience of the world.
So if I’m not my mind, and I’m not my body, then what am I?
I think that’s the question we all want to know, at the heart of it all. Because if we know what we are, then we know by extension, why we are here. And what life is about, isn’t that sort of the crux of it all? The magic, and the bane, of all human existence?
For me, I sort of “define myself” as the consciousness who experiences all the experiences I’ve had. I’m the same person I’ve been for as long as I can remember.
In fact, just today, while smearing diaper cream on a baby’s bottom (oh the glamours of being a nanny)– the same brand my parents used to use on me– I actually remember being young enough to have my diaper changed (no, I didn’t wear diapers until I was three– my long-term memory just extends back pretty far) and I remember that I have always been the same person.
There was never a moment where I switched over from being a baby to a kid to a girl to a teenager to a woman (I’m still waiting for what it feels like to be a woman, because I don’t feel quite old enough to live up to that word yet.) It’s not like I drank a potion and grew in an instant.
Life happens to us, biologically, in the form of relationships, events… and wrinkles. We simply stay put and the change takes place all around us.
The outside circumstances change, including how I look on the outside, but I’m still the same exact person I have always been. The continuity of my life is me all the way through. All the other stuff is just extraneous. I know that when, if, I become 95 years old, I’ll still be the same form of consciousness I have been since I was 9.5 months old. And beyond, in either direction.
The true essence of ourselves is timeless, situation-less, condition-less.
I am nothing that I think I am, and everything I think I am not.
So anyway, the most fun thing for me in this life…
Is the fact that I have no idea who I am, what my future holds, what’s actually going on right now or what’s going to come next. When you life your life in a state of “I completely have no idea what the fuck is going on”… It’s actually one grand adventure.
Even if you’re just sitting on a floor in a room in the fading sun, drinking lukewarm coffee, wanting to brush your teeth, with a crick in your neck from sitting too long in the same position and feeling so tired you just might fall off the face of the earth.
Yes, even then.
All I can say is, it’s really fun to realize you don’t know what the hell is going on because you lost sight of yourself and you realize it’s still all okay. It’s like you just fell down a rabbit hole. You feel like Alice In Wonderland, where she has the most fantastic nap.
And hey, I love naps. And now I’m coming to realize that life really is nothing but a dream.