Tuesday, February 7

never and not yet live right next door

last semester seemed full of things I had never done or even really imagined before. texas. graduate school. a dog named Jack. running. talking to homeless people. putting my hair up.

things you've never done before come in a million varieties. the kind you just haven't gotten around to. the kind you're scared of. the kind you didn't know about til yesterday. the kind that just aren't who you are.

but who says any of those not-you things aren't who you are? it's not always you who decides, is it? at least not consciously, I don't think. who you are gets fed into you by a million different cues and decisions, feedback from the world and feedback from your heart. and under the shallow eddying pools of feedback is the sandy but solid floor of your self. and even that doesn't always stay the same.

a few months ago, on november 12th, my last-semester self made an "attempt to disprove slash change one of the many bizarrely semi-foundless opinions she holds about herself and the world." I ran five kilometers around mckenzie park. it wasn't so bad. does it mean that now I love to run?

not really.

but maybe I don't hate it. so there you go: one semi-foundless opinion disproven. the amelia who hated to run doesn't exactly exist anymore. and maybe she never did. she could've been a figment of my imagination this whole time. a thin, fragile shell. a flimsy mask of excuses.

but masks can be terribly comfortable. just ask the Dread Pirate Roberts. or Lord Henry Wotton. the latter (who himself might be considered a flimsy mask of fictionality worn by Oscar Wilde) was fond of saying things like “Perhaps one never seems so much at one’s ease as when one has to play a part,” and "Being natural is simply a pose," and many other things to the effect that nothing whatsoever is truly genuine anyway. I wrote an essay all about this, once upon a time. maybe there are similar themes in The Princess Bride... (what a silly suggestion. I'm kidding. but only sort of.)

incidentally, did you know that there was a real Henry Wotton? just a sir, though, and not a Lord. wikipedia gives me this quote from the fellow: "An ambassador is an honest gentleman sent to lie abroad for the good of his country." that sounds quite sardonic enough for the fictional Wotton, too, don't you think?

honesty and dishonesty sound so black and white. who I am and who I am not sound a lot less black and white, but shouldn't it be just as simple? maybe it's all relative. in this everso interesting post from way back in 2006, I wrote: "you and everything that describes you or defines you can be carefully separated until all your qualities have become autonomous, independent, and instead of thoroughly possessing those qualities you will be only related to them, however closely."

the truth and all the untruths are usually related so closely it's hard to sift them apart. and so I've got to be related to all the things I'm not, somehow, right? that's the stuff that floats around on the other side of my skin, poking and scuffing and opposing the stuff that's me. or at least the stuff that up until this moment has stood in for "me." what if none of it were there? what would I have to push against?


Chris said...

'what if none of it were there? what would I have to push against?'

Sounds like an excuse to succumb to your violent ways to me.

Amelia Chesley said...

me? violent?
a little healthy opposition doesn't equal violence, surely?