We were not born with the full range of human emotion. Rather, we were born with the ability to learn, to assimilate what it is like to feel from observing and interacting with those around us. And this is why age matters. At each stage in your life you learn more about what you’re supposed to and not supposed to feel towards certain situations. You learn the proper way to react to people’s words and actions. Customs, so to speak.
The problem with me is that I don’t learn the way other people my age do. It is something about the way my mind is wired and the experiences I’ve been through, but I am not bounded by the way I’m supposed to feel. I’ve somehow been able to separate myself into two levels. I know how I am supposed to act in situations but my real self does not want to act that way. I’ve always been detached from my exterior situation. I look at an event and instead of living it I am describing it in my mind, in the way that a journalist would. I describe the setting, the thoughts coursing through each character’s mind, and potential outcomes of the situation. I like to extend reality, to think of hypothetical outcomes that are basically impossible in real life. This is not to say that these small fantasies are completely out of touch with reality. I am not employing deus ex machinas or something that could come out of a science fiction novel. It’s just that I think of situations that are not physically possible, just not conventionally so. Let me give you an example. I’m sitting at a café right now, alone in the most out-of-sight corner available, so that I can observe what’s around me. There is a group of people sitting to my left, discussing small topics here and there. Hypothetically, one of them could come up to me and start philosophizing about Aristotle’s concept of love. It is possible, but it is not realistically so. Realistically, they are probably only capable of talk about deodorant and arm fat.
I rush back to the safety of my room to type this up as soon as I could. My thoughts are often so situational and fleeting I forget them as soon as something else comes up.
This something else is often human interaction. Human interaction is so banal and unsatisfying. No matter who it is or what we talk about, as soon as I open my mouth and as soon as I listen to other people talk, my world is reduced to the superficial. It is burdened by social convention, by insecurity and by everyday thoughts. It is only when I am alone late at night with no distractions with no one around me to shape my thoughts that I can think clearly of things that are worth writing about.
These words are dead. I thought the thoughts while I was walking back from the café to my residence. But they were alive when I was walking. But writing them down is the only way to make them permanent. For me to look back on and be reminded of what I had felt at the moment of their inception.
My fingers flew across the keyboard when I was typing that up. My thoughts flew by faster than my fingers could type them. I wasn’t thinking about wording syntax and all those things. I wasn’t thinking about form, I was only thinking of pure content. And that is a beautiful thing. It’s a great form of release that is not possible when the sun is up.
I don’t want to lose this feeling but I know I will when I wake up
I found out today that my cat died. Three months ago.
I sit in the corner of a cafe. The light is shining harshly on my face. I’m listening to Ellie Goulding at full volume to drown out the voices of men who are chasing unhappiness. They’re immersed in conversation. I detest them. Mildly.
I’m looking out the window next to me. Two garbage cans. Snow on pavement. Barren trees. I’m looking for a metaphor. I should feel something, maybe sadness. Maybe the barren tree represents the void of emotion in me right now. But there’s nothing. All I can think of are mundane things: the ache in my neck, the text I am waiting for, the bright light overhead that’s shining on my face… There is no passion. For a long time now, I have trouble rousing genuine emotion. I mean, I do feel a variety of emotion but. Mildly. The funny thing is, whenever I am upset I reach into a part of me that’s rarely touched. But when I do, my body shuts down. It defends itself automatically from the possibility of pain.
I care about my cat. I do, I think. But all I can recall of her is the way she curled up on my lap. That’s not true. Actually, I recall myself torturing her when I was younger. It’s not something that I willingly bring into my consciousness. It’s evil to hurt another human being, but there’s something sinister about hurting an animal, a pet that is helpless to defend herself. I remember I grabbed her tail and swung her while she meowed piteously. For a second I would feel an inexpressible feeling of joy, and then the guilt set in. I cuddled her and felt an immense regret over what I had done. She nuzzled me with her wet pink nose and purred. I could only love her when she was hurt. I can only love what is broken.
I must be an evil person. I can feel myself recoiling as I am typing this. There’s something very messed up inside, and I haven’t even told you half of it.