“Unhand me I am not a criminal
Though I’ve played a guilty part
In the modern sense that one pretends
Their life is original.
I wrote a book and I will call it something cynical
The story’s slow; the hero does not change
And if he can then he won’t anyway
Instead his foes and lovers all become identical.
I fled the country,
I thought I’d leave this behind
But I built the same damn house
On every acre I could find”
– Typhoon, Dreams of Cannibalism
Chief among my many, many issues is my habit of over-analyzing everything I say, do and observe. I’m constantly searching for the metaphor in everything I experience, for the potential subliminal psychological implications of everything I do. I try to find reason behind all the random shit that happens, try to work out everything’s purpose in some grand scheme that I know doesn’t exist. Part of this was undoubtedly my upbringing in a religious family: I was taught that everything happened for a reason, that there was a greater purpose behind every tragedy and travesty. Of course I know now that it was all bullshit, but the habit of analysis remains.
Another possibility is that it comes with being a writer, but seeing as I don’t have any writer friends (or any friends at all, for that matter) I haven’t been able to confirm or discredit this theory.
Still, I’m partial to the possibility that it’s just another symptom of being raised on fiction: after a while you begin to think of your life in terms of a story, a story like all the other stories you grew up reading in books and watching on the screen. A story which must have a beginning, middle and end, with meaning and purpose and moral lessons scattered throughout. We all love that moment of revelation in a story, when everything becomes clear to the protagonist and they know what has to be done. That feeling can be quite addicting, as a writer/art enthusiast/idiot. Maybe even too addicting.
It can be tempting to wrap up a blog post just as you would a story; giving it a neat little ending in which the protagonist (in this case me, although if we’re being honest here I’m definitely more of an antagonist) realizes what he must do to make his life better. But you know what? Since starting this blog I’ve come to learn a very important thing about myself:
It is a thousand times easier for me to say I’m going to do something than it is for me to actually do it.
Sure, I can make all the promises in the world, spouting all sorts of romantic bullshit about getting my act together and changing my life around and being a better person. But at the end of the day they’re all just words, put in place to give me a sense of closure, to wrap up a blog post nicely and make me feel like I’ve learned something valuable. And sure, sometimes the lessons stick. But more often than not they don’t.
Deep down inside me, amongst all the other truths I know but refuse to accept, is the fact that life isn’t a story. It has no structure, no inherent purpose or plan. The only meaning to be found is the meaning that you give, and even that is fragile, withstanding the cold reality of life through nothing more than sheer ignorance. The only answers you’ll receive are the ones you make up, the temporary comforts you cling to like a log amidst rapids, ignorant to the fact that it too is being swept away by those dark waters, not a salvation but a prolonging of the inevitable. At the end of the day it’s all just… existence. We’re all just fumbling about in the dark, trying to find a light, when the truth is there is no light. There’s only us, standing in the darkness and reaching out for something more.
But that’s no way to live.
To accept a life of meaningless existence would be to drive yourself mad. There is no way to justify all the pointless shit we do if at the end of the day none of it means anything. We need those pieces of driftwood, even if they are just as helpless and insignificant as us amidst those raging dark waters. We need to believe in everything and search for nothing. We need to create our own meaning, as ridiculous and pointless as it may seem.
So in the spirit of wrapping things up nicely, maybe it’s a good thing that I’m constantly searching for meaning. Without that distraction, without that red herring in place to keep me from staring into the void, I think I would have lost my mind by now.
And okay, so maybe I don’t always live up to the expectations I set for myself. But I still set them, so that’s got to count for something, right? I haven’t given up yet, and maybe that’s enough.