Thursday, May 10, 2012
Pieces of Me
I've been away a while. I had my reasons. The biggest one, well... the biggest one I used as an excuse, is that I wanted to devote a little more time to putting some writing on paper, spend a little more time with the quality, instead of worrying about keeping up the weekly post. It was exhausting me, and I was draining the well a bit too quickly. Well, I'm back. I have at least a good five or six weeks worth of posts to keep us ALL going. I just have to er... type them up.
This post is something that I started working on several weeks ago. That week I had the habit of getting in my car and unintentionally passing my destination, heading instead to some unknown place. I met a girl named Ashley, and I remember her name now only because her skin was so pale white it was almost ashen in color, and I was quick to jot 'Ashley=ashen' in my notebook. She and her fiance had just returned from a several-month-long stint in Italy with blah blah I stopped paying attention at that point. They were good people. Just not interesting. Not to me at least. I had other thoughts on my mind.
It's funny what a little accidental poking around will net you. I watched as some girl squinted and screwed up her face, and my heart skipped a beat. More on that another time. Maybe. I have too may pipe dreams. Below this point is the actual content of the post... I just thought I would add in a few random bits and pieces of trivia for the time being. Take them for what they are.
It was a strange moment, one that would not, perhaps even so recently as a few years ago, seemed remotely off. In the moment, I was ostensibly headed for a very specific destination. I watched as I drove towards it, and then watched still as it receded in my rear-view mirror. I had a brief moment where I felt bad... like I should have turned around, explained myself. I knew I would hardly be missed.
If I could count the number of times I’ve sat back to contemplate the little things, there's no telling how... but, I'm getting ahead of myself. Or behind. I'm not sure yet. The other day, I sat in the sunshine and read an entire book in the afternoon. Then again, I've done that with nearly every Kurt Vonnegut book I've ever read. It's one of many reasons I'm so hesitant to read his books. The mood and story are always so brilliant, and so easy to devour, that I fear if I left the desire unchecked, I would have run out of books to read a decade ago. Not the point, though. Then again, I'm not entirely sure what the point is yet.
It is, however, all about the little things. They matter, more than you might think, or know. They matter in strange ways, especially if you're inclined to a holistic viewpoint. Which, if I were to endorse any system of belief, it would be Holism. Especially considering the fact that I don't think anybody actually practices Holism in its truest, pure form. It has its own bit of irony in that way.
By way of explanation:
Holism is probably best explained as a bastard twin of Chaos Theory. The basic outline of Chaos Theory is best summed up as a small, singular quantum event that is able to reshape an entire system. Outside of a mathematical system, it is more frequently thought of as the “Butterfly Effect,” with the whole 'a butterfly flaps its wings in Africa, and causes a hurricane to hit North America' example. Writers frequently use it in science fiction, and more specifically time travel, to show how even the smallest event can force cataclysmic changes throughout a delicately balanced system.
Holism though, traces these quantum events back to other events of the same magnitude. A butterfly flaps its wings in China, and causes you to stub your toe on the stairs while getting ready to go out to dinner. It's an interconnectedness of any and everything. Explanation of any event can be found through every event. Your flight to Toledo was late because someone forgot to call their mother on her birthday last year. My left shoe came untied, and Sprint changed the way they bill long distance on landlines.
It seems silly, even ridiculous, but the more I think about it, the more sense it tends to make.
During my hiatus, I've managed to have some singularly strange and admittedly dark moments, have made some terrible decisions, and made some not so terrible ones. I've had moments of completely impotent confidence, and equal moments where I was terrified of saying or doing what it was I wanted most, out of complete and abject terror. I can offer no real explanation for my behavior. This doesn't bother me as much as it used to, or even as much as it probably should. It's unfortunate, but that's as far as I let it in.
We look at people in many different ways, and ourselves in even more. There's so many adages about how to look at people. Judge a man not by his words, but by his actions. Judge a man not by what he has done, but by what he is doing. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. People can change. People never change. Once a cheat, always a cheat. He turned over a new leaf. He gave his life to God. He had an epiphany. Once he discovered (x), his life changed.
(to be fair to her, I went through the same thing... though not to the same degree...)
Many people hit a point in their lives where they feel like they need to define who they are. It's usually shortly after we're done with puberty, taking our first steps into adulthood, our knees wobbling and knocking like a newborn fawn. This phase for me included a lot of illicit behavior, a six month stint in another city, and (perhaps most sensibly) cutting a lot of ties and relationships. It was something that, looking back now, started a long time before I realized. I went to a lot of places, met, and subsequently pissed off a hell of a lot of people. At the end of it all, I felt no better or more informed about my identity, or what I was supposed to be or do.
I can't honestly speak to anyone's experience but my own in this regard, but I have had conversations with others who have gone through the same, or watched it unfold with my own eyes, and almost always the same conclusion is reached. To attempt to define yourself, or to discover who you are, is futile. I can't sit down and parse out the bits and pieces and make a picture, because the fact of the matter is this: who we are is always in flux. Sometimes we are more benevolent, if only because the sun was bright that morning. Our moods, our actions, are rooted only on how our situations impact our core.
We can change our reactions, we can change our behavior, and these things may have an impact on our core beliefs and instincts, but only slowly. Who we are is a matter of a time of day, it's the wind, it's what we ate for breakfast. It's our job, our kids, our lovers and friends, our enemies and adversaries. We're nothing better or worse than the little things we've seen and done. All the bits and pieces, every single one.
It's all about the little things, it always will be. Each piece is just as important as all the others. I seem, to a lot of people, to under-react in situations that should, for most, be overwhelming and emotional. There could be a case for truth in that, but I make a different case. I try to focus on each and every moment equally. A side of this tends to come off as removed on my part... and that's fair. I do tend to be a bit standoffish, opting usually to be the constant audience. This has cost me a lot, and though sometimes I know exactly how much, I'm often reminded by others of the consequences of which I wouldn't have ever known.
I've been falling again to that tempting space, falling in love with the idea of self-discovery, of disconnect with the outside to explore the inside a little better. But I know, I've learned, that this is futile, and so I sit in limbo. I internalize, disconnecting, but ever-watching. I watch, I notice all the little pieces. Not all of them, not really, but as many as I can fit into my view. I draw the lines, I make the connections.
I watch, and I wait.
I wait for the right person to stub their toe.
I wait for the wrong airplane to get delayed
I wait for the right piece to fall into place.
Posted by Ryan Alexander at 12:00 PM