“But here is what I want to express; between his movement and the movement of the laggard shadow – that second, that syncope – there is the rare kind of time in which I live – the pause, the hiatus, when the heart is like a feather… And I would write also about the continual tremor – and about how part of my thoughts is always crowding around the invisible umbilical cord that joins this world to something -”
Being alive doesn’t feel like it used to. There used to be, yes, adventure, always adventure. Depending on how the moon feels on my sleepless skin that night, I am a different person every day. I work and move and laugh and drink and dance and feel and feel and feel and evaporate and reappear and crash and scream and fall and every goddamn time again and again I fall. And still I do not sleep – but the moon is too high to catch me. I think of death so much, I forget that I am still alive. In my dreams, in my slips, at any given moment, when I close my eyes and slow my breath, death wraps itself around me, enclosing me in all its hopeless wishes and broken dreams, its freezing fingers at my throat, calling me, luring me away –
A whisper, Come back.
That was me; some days there’s no way around it. I broke more than I had and there was a time during which I thought I could never forgive myself, but I think I did. Now I am in a different office of a different psychiatrist in a different country in a different city, talking about these things. If you carry moving pictures around in your head of all the times you crash-landed, what do you do with that? What do you do with trauma? What do you do with the ocean of sadness with which you are left? How do you go on? I thought, naively, that healing would come hand in hand with some form of forgetting, that it would be very beautiful and very exciting and then I would simply somehow forget. I only know my form of healing; perhaps for some people, it is like that. For me, there are no god-like moments, no tear-jerking revelations, no beautiful overwhelming bliss of ‘oh, I am so glad that I am still alive!’. To be honest, my healing is really quite boring. There’s just a gradual increase of understanding, a fleeting diminishing of extremity, more and easier ways for me to cope with both myself and being alive. There’s laughing more honestly. There’s a lot of books and a lot of naps. There’s doing what I never thought I would ever be able to do: studying at, and as it seems quite likely finishing, university. There’s trying to figure out who I am and who I am not, who I was and no longer am, who I not yet am but someday hope to be. There’s more talking. There’s my psychiatrist giving me a receipt for an antidepressant, just to think about; there’s her looking at me after my 30 minutes of babbling and asking, “You’re not doing very well, are you?” – “No… but not very un-well, either.” That’s also healing. I am in a strange borderland now, a place of sadness and relief and slow transition, in between healthy and mentally ill. I’ll probably always stay in between.
“but I know this: through the process of gradual divestment I reach the final, indivisible, firm, radiant point, and this point says: I am! like a pearl ring embedded in a shark’s gory fat – Oh my eternal, my eternal … and this point is enough for me – actually nothing more is necessary. Perhaps as a citizen of the next century, a guest who has arrived ahead of time (the hostess is not yet up), perhaps simply a carnival freak in a gaping, hopelessly festive world…”
I have no answers to my questions. Perhaps one day I will. As it is now, I only find more questions in every step I take. But maybe that’s okay; I find answers less interesting than questions anyway. Maybe I can learn to build a house of questions in my borderline land. Maybe I can knit a blanket of stories and memories to wrap myself in.
“There, where, whenever life seemed unbearable, one could roam, with a meal of chewed lilac bloom in one’s mouth and firefly tears in one’s eyes…”
Maybe I’ll forget to forget, and learn to let go.
*Quotes are taken from Vladimir Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading