I’ve just been trying to tell you this.
Two years ago I was preoccupied with the idea of finding my home, with finding my people. Two years ago I started this blog, two years ago I fled the grey skies for the heat of India. I thought I was going to figure it all out. I wanted everything. I had nothing.
Sometimes I forget I am 28 because I still feel like the lost child waiting for her mother to come home. It’s a funny life when the worst has already happened by age 15. When everyone is so desperate to grow up, you’ve already grown. And when everyone else finally grows you’ve grown even further. You’re out on the periphery, impatient, always waiting for everyone to catch up. And even when you know they’re not coming, you’re still waiting.
But I still don’t feel angry. I don’t know why.
I thought for a little while that maybe I could become normal. I thought I could shake off all the dust of the past and pass as normal. Turns out my performance wasn’t as convincing as I thought. When you don’t try to be crazy – when you actually labour to tuck those frayed edges out of view – you don’t see it, you don’t get it when people drag you back out to the peripheries. They just don’t know how lonely it is out here on the outskirts. I was just looking for someone to join me. Affect alien.
I’m not anybody’s type. To be a type means performing a relation to some form of normativity; it’s just an act of becoming something else (not yourself). I’d rather not see humanity in types but in colour; I’d rather keep undoing my attachments; I’d rather let go of expectations.
I never keep enough of myself to really know who I am. You would never guess it but I give it away all the time. I give myself over to an idea, to an artwork, to literature, to a yoga practice, and sometimes in my foolish moments, to a person. I don’t really do relationships, and this is why. (or getting laid – I don’t actually do that). The yoga sutras tell me to lose my selfish, personal desires that attach me to things I don’t need. And so I got rid of the clutter out of my life, the things, material objects, bad attachments and desires to people (most of them). When you don’t have anything you have your self always, the sutras write. The stuff is just a fog that hides us from coming face to face with the only real possession we can claim. At 21, when I was alone travelling the world I wrote in my diary: ‘Even when you have lost everything you have not lost yourself’. But what is this self we don’t lose? I can’t see it, sometimes I can feel it. But most of the time it doesn’t feel like very much at all.
People are afraid to merge. Every time I drop back into a backbend it feels like my heart is breaking. And even though I can’t pick myself up again, I keep doing it over and over again. Giving yourself over to another is a bad idea, or so I’m told.
Aren’t all the connections we make always in some way misaligned? Aren’t we always making contradictory demands of each other; aren’t we always investing in fantasies that always exist beyond what an other can provide? Isn’t the act of truly communicating always so troublesome for we never really speak in our own words but in frames already provided that limit our desires into codes and norms. If love is a moment when we admit to wanting to become different then no wonder it falls apart because we never found the capacity to break outside of the normative fantasies of love, and sex, and friendship. If only we could pause and start to see each other clearly.
What does it mean this desire to be known? The exchange of stories that seek only similarity is just noise. And sure noise can help drown out the loneliness momentarily, if that’s what you need. The writings here have sought to note all the things I have lost and gained. I was writing in order to hold myself together. I’m trying to the tie up the ends here, but perhaps I’m looking at it all wrong. Writing is always a performance of stuckness, it is an unraveling not a putting together. Sometimes I wonder what comes first, the event or my writing of it? My writing of all the affective surges of living, from sadness, joy, boredom and of course love, are only poor sketches, and the people that embody the words, who may or may not know how deeply they are woven into the words here, are mere shadows in my mind. A writer is only as good as the friends who allow her to become.
Sometimes people express surprise at my honesty on this blog or how I have used my own life in my academic work. And true something about personal disclosure/exposure is sort of vile. And often it has been a result of naivety or youthful clumsiness and I’ve had to edit myself out later. But it would be more vile if it were the truth. It’s not the truth. That’s not to say I’m a pathological liar and I’ve made everything up. Events happened to me and I observed and experienced them. The rest is just stories. I can make a hundred different stories, each one being true in their own way. But it doesn’t mean that if I tell a story it holds the truth of me. Just because something happened to me doesn’t mean I can understand you. There are a million stories you and I will never tell.