There comes a time when surviving becomes more than just surviving, but also the way you might lie. You didn’t sense the temptation because you’ve already made the choice: nothing can be worse than what’s passed behind you. It was the worst time of your life, because the last worst time was better. Always you were certain the most recent fall was final. Now this conceit will be your undoing.
You may eventually live a shade of black that’s indiscernible from every other maximum loss. This is because no one wants to live in a world that permits your experience, so it’s just easier to erase, correct, and forget. And when it happens, instead of asking what happened to “common sense,” you’ll ask when it was that real life was no longer concerned with human beings, and therein lies the biggest conceit — a reason you can take for why this is happening, if it’s what you think you need:
It was never about you, nor anyone else. Vonnegut tried to sway us all with his aphoristic “so it goes.” Tried to hint at the indifference behind the stories we tell ourselves about being alive. And it is this: the story is always more important than your life. We talk about the end of print and fiction and everything nice, but narrative is more powerful than ever. Moreover, it is also the most unconscious, and therefore real, force.
Say it like a statement, not a question: cui bono.
And when popular desire becomes simpler than a children’s book, that’s when the full tour of american horror really hooks you, and so without recognition, or end or help or hope of catharsis, your language becomes too complicated for relating. So you have to pass over your very own little hell, in silence. And smile.
Welcome to real life.
This is where the first-person is supposed to resume, but, as Derrida knew, I had to say something, even if nothing is all I’m allowed. Maybe someday I’ll say more, but not yet. Maybe in five, ten, or twenty years. Of course, I can always choose when to say, but not when I’ll be heard. That’s up to something much bigger, and slower. I don’t know when or if it’s ever really coming, but.
I can speak to the general. In the last two years, my relationship to friendship came to resemble the indifferent guise of an estranged ex-husband. And so as the global seasons warmed I found a new kind of sincerity; more visceral and unrelenting than “new sincerity;” more self-aware than modern; more tender than nuanced. I’m finally writing again, although very, very slowly. The weight is heavy, and I spend most days not being crushed.
Sometimes I laugh, in a scary and somehow electric repetition wave, at the new depth behind cliché lines like wishing one knew then what one knows now. If I could go back to 2014, or even bittersweet ‘sixteen, and warn myself of what was coming — what I’d find — I don’t think I would have believed myself. If I cited my proof to that very young man, he might even commit himself. What’s shocking is my feeling like it might have been the better call.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and see myself like ripped stitches of one finger of an unseen and very sinister (cf. “transhistorical”) puppet. It checks this body I use out, assessing its eyes to see what it can really do with me. It’s so strange seeing the object before the subject, to view yourself as something to work with, instead of that old and naive first person.
I’ve been nearly silent on social media because I’m almost ready. There’s nothing to carry on, only a new direction. And I know, since it’s not about me, I don’t owe the past a thing.
Everything before was exhibition. For better or worse, I am whispers in the game now.