The test results are in. The samples have been sampled; globulins globbed, albumins albumed, urine gravitized, stools guaiaced, ovaed, parasitically parsed, my various liquids (although no one took any saliva, so, perhaps, something in my spit was missed) collected, measured, metered, centrifugally forced into test tubes and onto slides and around labs here, there, and everywhere and …
… there’s no there there.
Now, the fact is, my body was behaving differently. I was experiencing some discomfort. I was experiencing symptoms; Evidence, circumstances, phenomena indicating that my particular physical reality was not, at the moment, what was considered by most, including me, to be “normal”.
Not, I think, coincidentally — by which I mean these things fell upon me and the wider consciousness of the world at once and were, I believe, in correspondent relationship — Ebola became a hot-news topic and, too, my particular spiritual and personal reality was causing me some discomfort.
I am not an intellectual of the heft of a Susan Sontag or Daniel Mendelsohn (one of whom is dead and the other of whom won’t follow me on Twitter) and so to attempt some deep exegesis of the significance of my experience would result in nothing more than an adumbrated allegorical jacking-off: self-stroking resulting in nothing but a brief burst of mess for me to wipe up and do away with.
Which is why I’ve gone silent (mostly) on Twitter and blog and, even, text and conversations. I have become more hermetically sealed away, hooking-up (as it were) with only my books, magazines, websites, and activities in which it is just me and static “other” — a world the borders, boundaries, and confines of which I can control, define, or, best of all, imagine.
But, in fact, that — to confine, control, define, and imagine one’s reality — is what we all do. It’s called “being alive”. We are all possessed of a personal hermeneutics, interpreters of the etymology of our own realities. This is a huge undertaking, made more difficult by societal and cultural pressure to conform to certain norms and operate within a particular set of assumptions within the confine of an approved set of customs and traditions.
These (those, they, whatever) have never worked for me. Without more masturbatory whining about being bullied and abused and so on and so forth; the yardstick used to measure in the culture and age within which I have lived has found me, usually, to come up short.
But, here’s the thing: I don’t accept the yardstick.
Now, would that I had managed to actually, completely free myself of caring what that yardstick thought of me (bad metaphor, I know, but, as I said, I’m no Sontag or Mendelsohn) I might better embody this culture’s idea of “happy” or “normal” or “successful” — but, alas, I am not immune to the judgments which say I ought to have partnered, produced a child, made a fortune, found fame, finished more novels, gotten them published, recorded a CD, left relationships with more (pick one) dignity, money, grace, self-awareness, SOMETHING.
Which is why I am not un-content to be the crazy uncle in the basement. There is a great value in who I am, how I love, what I do. The energy and Light I contribute to reality — my own, at least — may not be the stuff of fortunes, fame, or, even, the stuff that pays rent — but that doesn’t render it “short” – I am enough.
And, yes, I know it seems that I am — often — at least by the definition of the culture at large — unhappy. I cry a lot. I get angry a lot. I am furious at injustice a lot. And, I have been — repeatedly — judged as ill-adjusted, in need of (pick one) therapy, partner, money, job, home, SOMETHING.
But, here’s the thing: Check your yardstick.
The impulse to dismiss the relevance and worth of a life that does not fit into the confines of a culture’s definition of successful and worthwhile –or, even more dogmatically of late, that elusive, Oprah-esque “happy” — borders on fascist.
I am enough. I remember (actually, I made notes) when my sister said to me;
I know some people think because I don’t work outside the house I don’t do anything. And I know how lucky I am to be able to do what I do. But, I made this life too. I don’t think I have any less value than someone who makes six figures. And life isn’t about the money you make or the things you do, really, I don’t think. It’s about who you are. I guess I’m saying, I know some people are criticizing you about this same kind of thing, but, I’m not. I don’t. If all you ever do the rest of your life is read books and think about them, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you and, actually, I think you’re the bravest because you’re following — have always been following — a path that no one else really does or has, and I think, I understand, that must be really scary.
Yes. It is. And, Yes. She was right. And, Yes, I am — brave. And, like the tests said, there’s nothing wrong with me; there is, in fact, something right with me.
And, I have the lab test results to prove it.