Fel

False alarm. Foraging alarmist, that I am. I deliberately refuse to unlearn generational trauma, I carry them whole. I stay while I plan everything. I want you to know me a bit better, I want to show myself somehow.

I don’t really go out. I shed personalities like snake skins, but I’m not messed up in my head, not anymore. At a summer camp last year I drank myself stupid every day and tried to learn some Billy Evans, to no effect, but I don’t usually drink. I stopped talking for a month in high school. I have an ongoing fascination with ugliness; but I tell everyone, “I want to do beautiful things in life.” I please.

My paucity of life gives me meaning; I ration my experiences and memories like wartime cereal, and that is the only way I am highly disciplined in the subliminal chaos of my bedroom, my desk, my coffee shop writing routine, my Rilkean nurtured solitude. I don’t like people I can’t write about. The nature of my education falls just one step behind when it became fashionable to be proud of who we are; so I reluctantly acknowledge that some part of my mind is stuck this way. I prefer bodies that don’t look like my own. I enjoy marble statues and things that exude the Western academe, I like formal occasions. I believe in Andy Warhol mantras and the need for proper rhetoric, although they fall into a boring disorder when they manifest in my own life. I berate every hour of my life spent not reading. I should read more, and write more, in my own language. I don’t consider English mine, it’s a crass temporary solution.

Perhaps this is not an entirely charming picture. But not everything I write about here is true. And even if they are, they are never true for long.

Meanwhile, I let the world come to me. What else would you like to know?

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What is the heaviest generational trauma you carry? And how do you carry it?
How many snake skins have you shed, and are they of any particular species?
When you do drink, what do you drink? And why?
What is the ugliest thing you have a fascination with? And can’t what is ugly to others be beautiful to you?
Do you ever try to write about someone, get nowhere, and then dislike them forever? Or can they worm their way back into your good graces for future writing?

What is the strangest lie you have told here? And why?

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My family had no ambition, no excellence, no excessive suffering. This being what I was told, I saw myself with the same eyes. I was comfortably airdropped into our own middle class epic, but I can only remember myself happy. There was deranged fights, ugly raptures, moral ambivalence, going no contact for years, cold festive nights. My family is not made up of perfect people, but they are desperate people who only wish to be normal. So we are blessed. We accept our lives as normal and true, although they echo at volumes too high, into dissatisfaction and mutual despise, we have no hobbies together. We don’t bake or cook or ride bikes. Back to when I couldn’t speak or read no philosophy, back when people called me beautiful, back to I thought nothing of myself, I was happy then.

Most of my problems descend into war, my war, this pitiable hypersensitivity, the privilege of allergy. I read every book and think, I can do better. When a kid from high school called out my god complex, I threw a book at him, but I should have been happy then. A fruitful life is a wasted life, so I fill every moment with fluff, because anything false is writing fodder. Radio silence at night, most of the time, weird tones and inflexiones when meeting new folks, vents to no one, therapists hate her. But you should see me on LinkedIn. My stereotype and I, we are friends.

At dinner tables I entertain by telling fake stories about people I know. I become the Homer of anecdotes. I don’t finish, and I don’t pretend to be profound, I am a Hobbit like anyone else, food and wine, live laugh love. I never refuse greatness in myself, I inflate. I think nothing of myself at all. I have no creative nor intellectual circle, I insist on pleasantries. I am not beautiful in neither my mirror nor Plath’s. Don’t drink the punch. Even if my acting falls flat, I think I’d thrive as someone else.

Do you think your self-knowledge is a good or bad thing? And is it a choice you have made?

Everything I knew about myself came to me when I was truly unhappy. I was unhappy with the way I am and the way I carried myself in the world. Why do I show up in shambles to semi-formals? Why am I a sadist to books, why do I wrinkle and tear out pages? Why am I nervous when I’m alone? Of course, when I was unhappy, nobody knew why I was unhappy. I talked to many people about this. I was unhappy because I hated myself for not being able to excel in the very chains I seek to destroy with my existence.

It all sounds very grand and melodramatic, but there is no Bildungsroman to be written about the way we grow up nowadays. We are Young Werthers with public images. We are too rational to do anything. No other way to live than to live wastefully, vulnerably. I lose touch with people all the time. One of them once told me that they used to feel sorry about Parklife, but now they envy them. I think I do too. It takes exorbitant effort to find a proper place, but now I can’t travel. Spiritually, I can’t move.

Do you think that you court unhappiness to become real? That unhappiness’ existence gives form to hope? Do you believe in hope?

I am unhappy because I can no longer get close to people. I think most everyone is beautiful to me, but I am ruinously perceptive. What ends up happening is that I know way more about the other person than they do about me, and this makes me an excellent friend. I bar myself from them at a distance in which I am most comfortable, yet I would be forever unhappy if that space isn’t closed between myself and anyone. I am always comfortably unhappy. I deliberately disinterest others when we talk about myself. I say things that are untrue to show that I have no feelings, I am so stoically at peace, that everything is sorted out and not pertinent to you. In fact, I have something to teach you— I am happy because I don’t depend on others like you do.

I think nobody has ever had a proper crush on me. And that’s fine, because I don’t wash my hair. I traded vanity in my teenage years for self-sabotage, I deliberately never dressed up, because I hated being a girl and I hated being a human and having a face and wearing something — the face — I didn’t choose, and bringing my body with it. Everything being heavy. I didn’t get to see my face emerge in a mirror clearer by day, I don’t know what I am like. So being loved makes me queasy, even if it’s just my friends and family, because being loved forces me to fetishize myself: what have I done now, that I’ve become so deserving? What can I do to make this stop, so that we stabilize us, and we become ourselves again? All of this is easy so far because I usually know what people love me for. I just need to change that part — usually so little, really — to make it all stop. And now we are clean again, and we could do everything anew.

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