There was a time in my life when it felt like things were constantly being revealed to me.
I remember being fourteen. I borrowed cassette tapes from the library, stuff like Echo and the Bunnymen and The Cure, because I did not have a lot of money, my parents would have been all The Psychedelic Furs who?, and the radio never played the less commercial stuff, so I couldn't tape it. The library's cassette tapes cases were so covered in scratches that the liners looked cloudy through them, and the silver song titles lettered on the tapes themselves were worn away at the center from having been inserted and removed from so many tape players by so many sweaty, teenaged fingers. I sometimes rubbed the blank spot where song titles had been and imagined who else had listened to this tape holed away in the isolation of suburban bedrooms. I missed them without knowing them.
The cases and tapes may have shown wear, but the liner notes were always in pristine condition. Before the advent of the internet, these inserts were sometimes the only connections we had to the artists who made those tapes aside from a rare video played on Much Music. I would unfold the liner, which, depending on the amount of information inside, could be over a foot long, anticipating the new words, ideas, style of thinking, aesthetic, politics. Something new, something potentially life-altering was literally unfolding in front of me, and I was mesmerized by the tiny lyrics I squinted over.
It was the same with the books on transcendental meditation I borrowed, the pornographic novels I found stashed in the back of a desk, the French television station late at night that was always more bizarre and risqué than any English station, the over-sized books in the visual arts section of the big library downtown. These things offered themselves up to me, revealed their interiors to me slowly, explaining themselves as we went along together. I was young enough for the world to appear to be birthing itself alongside me; we were both as wet and new as the other. My witnessing of new material was my witness of its creation.
I do not feel that now. Or rather, I do, but rarely, and the sensation of awakening revelation has fast feet.
I am acclimating myself to Fall. Over the last few years, the beginning of my winter sadness starts a little earlier than the year before. This year, it could not even save itself for September, and I feel like I am losing myself too early. I want to grab on to myself and keep me here a little longer, but there is nothing here to grab on to, and I have become overwhelmed with the idea that the world is little else but a subtraction machine. It vacuums out people and dreams and joy. It winds new things down until they are old. We, life and I, are not walking hand in hand witnessing creation; I am trudging in its wake, watching pieces of my life turn into detritus and get pulled into the undercurrent.
Since my hysterectomy, I have been having a much more difficult time than usual accepting my body as a thing that I have much to do with. It betrayed me, and now when I look at it, I see something old and tired. It is ugly. It is the friend you so admired once who suddenly shrugged you off, and it has complicated matters. My annual retreat into paranoia, anxiety, and depression is happening earlier, more heavily, and with much less hope at the edges. It is solid. I want to lie in bed until next June.
I want that sensation of awakening revelation, of being at the heart of my life's creation, to be more fully present. I am angry that my psychology has rhythms that work to prevent that. I am angry that my image of my body has been tarnished by cancer. I am angry that my chemistry makes me tired and sad, and that the loss of my uterus has made me tired and sad, and that these things together make me even more tired and sad, and that every day just feels like another subtraction.
I know that this view of all humanity as being slowly deflating balloons is incorrect. It is unnecessary. It is stereotyping, but I think that sometimes I blanket the whole world with my sense of being in order to justify it. We are ALL like this; this is the way things ARE; I do not have to blame myself for my position, because this is how it IS. At the same time, I know I am wrong, because I do have the ability to be at creation's root each time I write, take photographs, and create art. It is just a terribly difficult think to fix my eye on at a time when all seems lost.
(This entry is also published on RealMental.org)