Sunday, July 12, 2020

The life it's tolerable to live

Nobody dies of consumption anymore.

The wasting disease of frail women. The body consumes itself. Was it cured by the mass consumption of commercial goods? Feed the body; let the mind consume itself and waste away instead.

This week I feel compelled to buy things. With the exception of books, I tend to resist this kind of consumption. I am fully aware of what I need, and the position of those needs in the hierarchy, versus what I want.

One item is out of stock and I have a meltdown. I realize it is not an immediate need after all. 

I buy clay. I have 10 kg of clay delivered to my door because it is available. For months it has been out of stock, so now I jump at the opportunity, even though it is too hot to be sculpting now, I know it will be months before I unwrap the clay. I buy sculpting tools, a set of my very own. I will worry about paint and epoxy later. I mourn the pieces I left sitting in the arts centre since winter unfinished, unworked, untouched.

I buy frivolous things. A summer dress that will arrive long after the heatwave has passed. New curtains for the apartment I want to move away from. Ingredients for a recipe that I cannot make, because other required ingredients are unavailable in my neighbourhood and yet other of its ingredients I have already eaten.

The meditation guide leads us into our breath. We make space for our breath. She assures us we have space to accommodate whatever we need room for. Later, at yoga, the goal is to also make space. What is all the space for? I am already a TARDIS, bigger on the inside, the mind folds in on itself infinitely. How much space does breath take? Don't I have enough breath already?

Why do we need more space? Why must we make ourselves bigger? Is this what we're trying to do when we consume material goods? Are we afraid of wasting away? As if we need an external footprint as proof of the vastness of our interior lives. Or we fear that we lack interior lives and struggle to disguise the fact.

(On the 131st day of German lessons I learn: Größe ist alles.)

What if I compress all my interiority into the smallest space possible, all the angels of my consciousness shimmying to a pinprick point? Am I generating a black hole, feeding antimatter inside of me, inadvertently wasting away?

One friend admits to the struggle of lockdown, having to confront herself, to admit that she is a social creature, to reconstruct herself into a viable being.

Who are you when you have no society to reflect yourself back to yourself? Is this what we're doing when we consume and expand, clamouring to be seen? What kind of person will I be when I emerge? What kind of person do I want to be?

Everything is returning to normal but it's not normal at all. Another friend says we need to start somewhere. Do we?
Like all of us, our lives unfold with the tedium of the everyday and of the obvious things of the everyday: waking, sleeping, working, eating. loving, hearing, forgiving, shopping, always safe, everything always so gentle and slow and sad, the life we construct with such fragility, ordinary life, the life it's tolerable to live, but along with that there's always this shadow, this imbalance, this possibility. Chaos is always lying in wait for us, at any moment, because we are the one who bear it, always waiting, the secret hope that something is finally going to happen , that something is going to happen and propel us toward what we longed for, what we feared, what we never had the courage to name. The first look is merely the confirmation, a reflection in the bathroom in the morning, the first look is a mirror in which we see ourselves for the first time, unrecognizable, and in wonder we notice something that's incredibly beautiful in ourselves. Do you understand? I'm finding it hard, too, but I'm trying to explain it to you. But what for, you'll say? So that you will love me? Perhaps.

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