K and I exchanged thoughts on our recent, deeply introverted cravings to be alone. To be still.
I discussed this tonight with P during a lovely, quiet, whimsical dinner and he asked why I still felt like I have to be “on” around him. It’s the wrong question, I think.
I find myself gaining fluency in both molding myself to and also setting myself apart from this throbbing, demanding city- to swim with its tides rather than against it, or rather than drowning and gasping shallow breaths of air while trying desperately to stay afloat. Which also means gaining fluency in interactions with the throbbing, demanding people that inhabit it. I have poured my broken heart into its crevices, and daily I awake and soldier up to expect the unexpected. Today’s society is more distracting than ever, with a shorter attention span, and few seem to be able to commit to a passion or a vision or a dream. So many are following security, money, comfort in retail therapy and the familiar. Everyone is trying to sell you something, everyone is trying to optimize when to send the email or post the blog entry at the perfect time to gain the widest or target audience. And that’s why honesty is more important than ever, that’s why taking risks and accepting change is more important than ever. That’s why we must cling to truth and to knowing our own strength as individuals. More than ever, I stand on the other side of the reaction of older men blinking in my wake, muttering, “You are a really sharp, smart woman.” Mostly, I feel a sting of regret that they seem so shocked. Is it because I appear young (I always did hate my baby-fat-cheeks)? Is it because I am female? But I usually just smile and thank them while responding, “No, I just read. A whole fucking lot.”
This city has allowed me to rediscover what it means to be viewed as young, as someone who still has “plenty of time” to do the impossible, as a woman and not just a woman-who-is-unmarried-without-kids-a-white-picket-fence-and-three-dogs-in-the-suburbs. And therefore, therefore– I suddenly not only just desire to do everything at once (as has always been one of my greatest flaws), but I realize that I can, even if I may die trying. I echo a line in a book I’m reading– I don’t want to drink just the water. I want to drink the wave. And in response to the possibility of that kind of drowning, I say with head held high, bring it on.
In light of all of that, thank god for solitude, and the time to write it all down. Thank god for someone who understands when I need to shut it out so that it’s just me and the music, and words. My first companions in life, the ones that I will always find to be the best and most loyal. They may also break my heart in many ways, but they are in ways that are familiar and healthy, like the tearing of muscle fibers. They always said that in order to be with others, you have to learn first to be with yourself. To that, I say fuck yes.
It’s all pretend until it is not. It is all a story until it’s your life. Words have very real and frightening consequences, but — even more importantly — so, too, do the absence of words. The stories we tell are the options we have, and it is our priority to create new and thoughtful narratives. The question being asked is: what do we lose with a limited vocabulary?
— Fairy Tales & Insomnia-speak, on the films of Catherine Breillat.
My sister linked to Writing Your Way To Happiness in the New York Times.
…researchers are studying whether the power of writing — and then rewriting — your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.
The concept is based on the idea that we all have a personal narrative that shapes our view of the world and ourselves. But sometimes our inner voice doesn’t get it completely right. Some researchers believe that by writing and then editing our own stories, we can change our perceptions of ourselves and identify obstacles that stand in the way…
Patrick Rothfuss writes:
“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”
So, there’s that. As Cassie also writes: “Here are the things that get me going: you, art, life, words.”