This is not the entry I had planned to write. It’s still raw, still bubbling and seeping like a fresh burst of magma from a vent as it meets the cold water at the ocean’s edge. It is the liquid, super-heated stuff of my being, both deadly and ultimately the key to renewed life. It is the evidence that change is unavoidable.
A Note Before Beginning
I’ve noticed that people like to talk about change, to think about it and share uncontextualized quotes about how wonderful and essential it is. I know this, because I’m one of those people, with an intellectual love of the topic. But change, much like emotional rawness, is something most people avoid in the first person. It makes a lot of us very uncomfortable to get too close to, to risk being infected with such instability. People brave enough to edge closer to someone in flux are generally those you can find exploring thermal vents or chasing tornadoes.
They’re also often the individuals that most cultures look askance at, and label as slightly odd. Because they do not fear the instability that exists outside themselves. Change clings to them, but does not harm them. I am not one of those people. I am not brave or easily accepting of change when it comes near to me. In fact, that is the whole purpose of this entry–to discuss that aversion and what it means in my life at present. And I have to acknowledge that I invited it. Was it out of some misplaced and overinflated sense of impervious and unalterable selfdom? Did I think that I was strong? Did I buy into what others tell me about myself, after all? Perhaps I did, but I can say without reserve that I was wrong.
“Loss is nothing else but change, and change is Nature’s delight.” ~Marcus Aurelius
Water and Irresistible Work of the Universe
Over the past few weeks, I’ve felt my internal barometer’s pressure dropping steadily. More than just a cause for metaphorical dizziness, I felt a storm front moving closer. But it was one of such magnitude that if I had seen it before it enveloped me, I would have run away and hidden in the deepest hole I could find. Even then, it would have found me, because I cannot hide from myself. I also cannot hide from what I know about Change–that it is the one constant in our brief span on this planet and beyond. It is the only thing that has ever actually enjoyed a perpetual existence.
In the Beginning, the vast expanse of space was evenly populated with atoms…until one drunkenly bumped another. It’s been a downhill tumble ever since, and because of it, the Universe is impossibly full. Impossibly active and alive with motion. At another point in our human story, we called this primordial chaos by a name, a woman’s name–Nyx. And while She is a fierce creature, entropy is less a burden than you might expect. Without it, there would be no planets, no stars, no novae, no bumble bees or roses. And certainly no Us.
Is Change, or Entropy, always fire and darkness, the death of stars and martyrs? Well, no. Sometimes, I have to remind myself that the endless breaking down and changing of all matter in the Universe, is precisely the act of creation that makes everything possible, and it’s exactly what I need. In an Apollonian Universe, all is order, perfection, and unmitigated light. Nothing dies. No mistakes are ever made.
Sounds nice, you say? Well, until you realize that there’s no room for invention or growth in a perfect, absolutely stable system. There are no new combinations, no accidents, happy or otherwise, no art. There is nothing that has not always been present in precisely the form it currently enjoys, such as enjoyment is. It is, for all its light and perfection, a dead system.
In that system, the growth of a seed has no meaning. Rain is without purpose. Change is alien and unwelcome, and it’s always meatloaf for lunch on Tuesday, which is every day, because variation is anathema to order. How very dull. This is not the place anyone wants to be, however we might try to impose the illusion of its existence on our own.
The Ego and the Seed
Wind brought me to this place. My, that’s a pretty picture–serene. I can assure you, this wind is not serene, nor does it deal with fragile human egos gently. It is a howling gale, the square mouth of unsated hunger and need, and its source is the deepest part of me. Talk about Superegos and Egos and Ids all you like. I’m trying to quit. But I do acknowledge that I have bound myself to an idea of who I am. I made the ultimate mistake of thinking that none of this would change, that it was a permanent part of me and would remain, even once change had had its way with my physical body.
Yeah…about that. I was more wrong than I could have imagined. What follows is raw and personal and involves words that aren’t very nice to use when talking to yourself. But I feel its necessary. The theme of my existence in recent months and weeks has been Change. I sought this, invited it in, and cavalierly assumed that I would weather the shrieking winds and driving rains like some ancient torii gate that still stood after the fall of the Atomic Bomb. Humans and their ideas of Self are much more fragile than structures made of wood or stone, but we are also not forever bound to a single elaboration while we remain alive.
I’m a Fucking Failure, So I Put Myself in the Corner
Like some prisoners who grow to love their prison, I’ve been in the corner for some time. It’s safe here. Predictable. And not actual, so I can still move around freely and pretend like I’m just fine. But I’m not. I put myself here because I am terrified of failing. Because I feel as if I already have. Because I persuaded myself that the past was permanent and a failure was not something that happened, but who I was.
I have also made myself comfortable in the static emotional confines of this metaphorical corner because no one can hurt me. I am all by myself and the floor of the room in which this corner perhaps resides is made entirely of lava. What’s worse is that there’s not a couch cushion or a coffee table in sight. This wasn’t a problem until I realized that the goodness and safety of my emotional blanket fortress was no longer the type of goodness I required in my life.
I somehow accidentally realized that I needed to change in order to find a better type of goodness, one more suited to things that could not be had while remaining in the corner. I say “accidentally” because I am not the type of person who willingly seeks out change. I do not respond well to altered circumstances and I deal poorly with attacks to my perceived psychological structures or ideas of Self and Self in Relation to Everything That is Not Self–even when those attacks come from me.
I honestly have no concise conclusion for this entry. Perhaps that’s because I didn’t plan to write it in the first place. But the one I had drafted put forth ideas that no longer serve me. Change, for me, is always a long time in coming. And I’ve been a Weird Bloomer all my life–not necessarily late, though often that’s the case. Just in my own time. And so, I will resist the impulse to compare myself to others, to say–“I’m so behind everyone else! I’m so slow and stupid.”
How can I be behind everyone else when the person I am creating, the project I am crafting, is me. No one else will do this. No one else can. So I want to absorb everything about this process. Perhaps because I realize that there is no stopping point, that life, for all intents and purposes is a narrative the chapters of which are hopelessly intertwined–each with all others–I have no desire for a clear resolution. The only resolution within a single life is that it, like every other, will one day end. Death is the final form, a finality lacking in every other form life takes, because it represents a true change in the baseline condition–being consciously alive. But when I have at last reached a place in the path where I can pause for reflection, I want to look back and see my fingerprints all over this Self, the signature of supreme investment and intimate understanding. That knowledge and the self-building it represents comes at a price. But it is a subject I will leave for another day, another entry.