Five days into my trial-run life change, and so far i have watched 6+ hours of slam poetry on youtube, discovered Carrie Rudzinski, attended one open-mic night, obtained a library card, checked out 4 memoirs and one biography from the library with said new card ( titles: A Girl’s Guide to Being Homeless, Chanel Bonfire, Jesus: the Human Face of God, Her, and Happy,) and swallowed one book whole.
The first book I read, HER, is the memoir of a woman post-overdose-death of her identical twin. Following the author’s journey through domestic abuse and statutory rape as a child, through her sister’s brutal and too intimately graphic rape, through her sister’s unraveling into death, and then through anorexia, failed suicide attempts, stays in mental hospitals, infidelity, divorce, promiscuity, healing, marriage, and motherhood, i guess i was looking for some spark of truth or insight or re-telling of the story into a new world of wholeness and wisdom… But in the end, her healing reads as selfish and the loves she finds seems equally so. The twin sisters were both written as unwitting narcissists, and it felt to me like the author’s ultimate act of narcissism was the book itself- to romanticize and parade her twin’s demise for the world to devour as ‘tragically beautiful.’
Sitting outside the library after hours, i am surprised by how many cars continue to drive up to the building, park their cars, and walk all the way to the door before realizing that the library is closed. Do they not know what day it is? Do they not have internet to google the hours? Do they not see that the lights are off and the parking lot is empty?
Something Albert Einstein said keeps ringing around in my head. “If you cannot explain it in words simple enough that a kindergartener could understand it, you do not understand it yourself.”
I am reminded again and again how little i understand. Most of the love i see around me, like the author of Her, seems selfish, impulsive, and shallow. Like people loving their own reflections in other people. I am not sure that I believe in the idea of falling in love, at all. I cant picture myself ever falling in love again, i cant imagine ever trusting another person that much. Falling in love, to me, seems more and more similar to swallowing Religion, whole. Like an enticing, complex half-truth that would make life so much easier. I can’t count how many times people ask me: if the Bible is not the inerrant word of God, how do you know what is right and wrong?
Every time, i am incredulous: the fact that i do not know for sure the yesses and the no’s, the fact that i cant answer all of the whys and the hows… Those are realities that i live with and hate! I cant believe in something just because it would be safer and easier, not The Bible or Falling In Love.
I am sick of not knowing anything. I realize more and more that as soon as my life falls quiet, i begin to panic. I must always be walking towards some Greater Good, and when i pause for a rest and my days go silent, all of my unanswered questions, and fears, and resentments, and injustices come bubbling upward into my conscious and sometimes out of my mouth.
I think a lot about mental health issues: i do not believe there is anything inherently unhealthy about living life in anxiety, anger, fear, and sorrow. That is, all too often, reality. Medicating reality is being an ostrich.
I am Angela Gale. I start to drown when asked to tread water. I am, at my deepest parts, an uncomfortable, wary person. I have been for a long time. I am strong and I have not stopped moving forward. I am trying to untangle myself from my selfishnesses and my bad habits and my pet cowardices.