Bonsoir from Paris. A freewrite, to work some stuff out.
I’d felt since about halfway through my second stint in Edinburgh that I’d been losing the thread of what I’m trying to do here. I’d spent a lot of time at the beginning of this trip writing and philosophizing and thinking and being alone, and then found people who were really sound and wonderful and had such a good time and didn’t sleep enough and drank too much and I don’t regret it and it was lovely.
And then went back to London, and that was strange, because for the first time since moving there in 2015, going back to London didn’t feel like going home. I went to a friend’s place, then another friend’s place, back to my old local, saw so many old friends who really shouldn’t feel like old friends yet, but it all just felt so distant and unreal even though it was right there in front of me. It was like these people didn’t exist in the same way they used to. Like my reality had somehow shifted to somewhere else, or something else, and I could dip my toe back into the person I used to be and it all felt both comfortable and uncomfortable because I knew that I didn’t want to go back there, to being that version of me.
I felt how easy that could be, to fall back into my old self. Easy, but not right.
I haven’t written ‘postcards’ yet for Edinburgh Round 2 or London Round 98274382 (ok Round 2 of this adventure) because I don’t know what to say and I haven’t felt much like saying anything. I don’t know what to say yet about Paris either, though I’m leaving it tomorrow. I have stories I could tell, things I have been pondering, about losing the thread of my goal and coming back to it, about facing reality outside of the bubble of my mind and finding how painful that is, about philosophy and language and authenticity and all the same things I keep writing about.
I just don’t feel like saying any of it right now.
Right now, I don’t know what to do. I’m watching Steve Bannon for all intents and purposes run my country. I had a serious Skype conversation with my parents three days ago about our plan as a family in case things get really bad back home. My family is white, non-Muslim, US-born, wealthy, and I’m still scared for them. I’m scared more for all the people I love who aren’t. I’m scared for all the people I don’t even know who aren’t. There’s a brutal genocide of the Muslim minority happening in Myanmar right now. Syrian refugees are being turned away everywhere. The world feels so, so dark. I want so badly to be a light in it and I don’t know how.
I’m curled up in my bed writing because I don’t know what else to do.
Writing, thinking, trying to write. Thinking, feeling, trying not to overthink. Trying not to cry. Trying to feel calm and grounded and satisfied and not so lonely.
I want to understand things in a new way, and the realizations and understandings so far have come faster and more mind-blowing than I ever thought they would. For years I felt on the brink of putting everything in place, of making it all make sense, and a few months ago it suddenly did. The further I dig the more I pull out of this strange box, the more things fit into place in a new way, the more sense everything makes. And it isn’t flitting away like it has in the past, so far I can mostly hold onto the sense, the epiphanies. I can maybe start doing something with it. I’ve already changed the way I see the world, the way I see myself, the way I relate to myself. I’m changing the way I relate to others. I’m feeling out and understanding a whole new take on my own political philosophy because of it. It’s happening so naturally and organically and every time I think I’ve lost the thread or I’m drifting away from my goals I swing right back.
And then this. Then genocide, then Islamophobia, then white nationalism, then apathy, then every tiny crack in the world’s beauty opens up like a floodgate and it all goes dark. Then so much bad in the world that I don’t know how to be good. I don’t feel able to turn the fear and sadness into anger and action right now. I hope that changes. I hope I become inspired or at least more hopeful again.
Times like these, it all feels shattered. Not the understandings, not the way of seeing, but what to do with it. What the right move is. Not right in an objective sense, just right for me right now in this moment. I’m not asking to know more than that, but I don’t feel like I even know what that is right now.
I know whatever’s happening in me can’t be rushed. It has its own timeline. It’s served me incredibly well so far, and I trust it to continue doing so. But I am so scared. I feel so lost, so unsure of my place in all of this.
I find myself thinking on it like a mathematical problem. How can I maximize my benefit to the greatest number of people the fastest and most fully in a way that also tolerably satisfies myself?
But it’s not like 2 + 2 = revolution. It doesn’t work like that.
Everything being in its right place in me is a state of constant negotiation. The past couple of days I’ve spent wandering around looking at beautiful things and practicing my French and laughing at memes and making jokes at the world on social media because I don’t know, I just felt like it. I had a couple of incredible conversations with some wonderful people today. I saw more beautiful things. I made more terrible puns and laughed at myself and the world and walked home smiling.
And now I’m just sitting in bed feeling, I don’t know what. Just feeling. A lot. Feeling such a strong sense of urgency and anxiety about the future. Feeling scared, angry, sad, helpless, privileged, hopeless, hopeful, alone. Wishing I could shake the world and everyone in it and scream in their faces about how we’re fucking this up and what we can do to fix it but I don’t even know what that is yet. I have ideas, but I’m waiting to feel those out too. I want to scream at them that I’m here. Just that. Hi, hello, I’m right fucking here.
I just want someone to listen to me. I just want someone to be there. To be here. To care, about me, about what I think, about the world and fixing it or at least helping. To tell me I’m not alone, that there is hope.
I’m trying to satisfy my needs for myself, I’ve said that again and again. I’m here. I care about me, I care about the world. I’m trying to fix it or at least help in the way that feels right for me. I listen to myself. I have some hope left.
But I do feel so, so alone.