There must be a reason why I have come to think more and more of the child I once was, as of late.
It’s a regressive tendency. Or more nostalgic? After all, nostalgia is denial of a painful present, it is said.
It’s interesting how that child, back then, didn’t understand why genders were put in boxes and separate categories, however, at the same time, perfectly understood why such things as fantasy and reality needed to be distinguished and not confused for practical reasons. Yet, she chose to forego the latter, while living under the suppressing shadow of the former, trying to adapt.
Now, that child has grown up and come to understand she need not limit her gender to only two separate categories, but learned to live with what she is, yet has fused more and more of her reality into one of fantasy. Or let fantasy become her reality. “I could live almost completely in imagination,” like the poet Louise Glück once said.
Like many, she was always a lonely child. She did not know where the road she was taking was leading. She knew she only wanted to go ahead and take in everything with a childlike wonder.
The lesson that child took from everything she learned was that people, that interpersonal relationships gave meaning to life. That what she perhaps most hungered to understand was the human soul, human thinking, human interaction, human patterns, human inventions. To observe and to understand. And, at some point, also take part in it, not just stay an outside observer.
But somehow it wasn’t in her immediate nature to nurture the garden which she found so precious and which she realized she couldn’t live without. She was a lonely introvert; she both spurned and longed for company.
What instances with those persons in her life could be named unforgivable? Heart-rendering?
What about her own ineptitude to remember to water the flowers in the garden? Was she even showing herself in those relationships for them to become fully realized?
She wasn’t so sure anymore. Only that they mattered. That the people who would come and go in her life mattered more than anything, but that they couldn’t be obtained by anything you were taught. You had to carry it out for yourself and it was tougher, more unpredictable than anything.
She came to learn that people and relationships were the only unpredictable thing in life able to break the routines; that otherwise settled outlook of a lived life, but she knew that marriage and children were not what she was looking for. Never had. It was fine if other people sought it out. She could understand. But it wasn’t for her.
Most of all, she found she lacked courage and conviction in her loneliness, but oddly enough refused to let herself be depending on other people’s support. In her naivety and arrogance (between which there is a fine line), she took the people in her life for granted. She had love and knowledge to give, but her mind strayed, unable to settle on its own until she might stumble across whatever she was looking for.
With no ambition in life, she came to learn art, music, writing, philosophy and love were what gave life meaning in its essence. Purpose. If she had any ambition, it was that. Perhaps she had an artist’s soul because she couldn’t see herself living any other path in life. She admired those who dared stray off the main road and live the life they wanted, when so much was made up of and dictated by money and norms and expectations. How did one find purpose and meaning in a world like that? How did one give and live without the constant interference of money? All she saw was how money and capitalism and greed ruined every good thing in life, and yet she knew money was what gave her her creature comforts in life.
She was blessed. Privileged. And yet she wasn’t happy. No matter where she looked no conventional path in life gave her a sense of purpose or happiness. She wanted to contribute but every path seemed to lead to money; an endless circle, she kept questioning. Why?
So, yes only art, music, writing, philosophy and love and everything in-between seemed to be more free than anything else. They too could be twisted and exploited, everything can, but at least there was more lasting positive effects from the workings of these elements of life. And if not love, what then?
She had been more cynical once, still was to some extent, but always a romantic at heart. She couldn’t help herself, but it was paradoxical: The more she learned of the world the more cynical she became, and simultaneously, she became more of a romantic. As if the two sides lived side-by-side, constantly trying to outplay each other. Romanticism acted as a way to deal with the cynicism of the world and its reality; its harsh day of light. She believed and had hope that as long as we had and could produce art, music, books, philosophy and love, we could be good. Despite the ever-growing, prevailing hopelessness of everything else.
That child moved within a forest of paths and wilderness, curious and afraid, but always going forward.
And now? What now? Is she really at such a loss without guidelines that she cannot find her way out or around of the forest; that same child? Can she even make her own path, or has she always been helped; guided along a yellow brick road?