It's the stress, that's totally what it is. The stress will bend your mind, put you in a fog, get you stuck in a pattern of reaction. Happened to me. I guess I wasn't exercising enough. Though I was walking a lot, a lot of walking at night around the town. But lonesome walks. Exercises at least. Young women's protests can cause a lot of stress. Or maybe they intend it so, to vet the timid, the frail of mind, those who are already stressed or already engaged in some struggle...
Do whatever you can to not be stressed, even become Buddhist. Exercise, do yoga. Take B vitamins and L-tyrosine and Rhodiola. Stay calm. Deep breathing exercises.
Remember the finest of people get stressed. The ones with a natural ecological reaction to the world that comes before any conscious mode of thought. The natural ones, yes, it follows, they get stressed, have an empathetic reaction to the walruses stranded on melting ice. Like my mom pointed out, article by Gail Collins. She accidentally dropped a check from my brother, looked for it all over in the bank parking lot, finally found it, had a pain the center of her chest. Got home okay, took a Zantac and an aspirin.
Those who aren't stressed maybe aren't as ecologically minded, naturally, but this statement like all both true and untrue at the same time. Who's to say? We're all guilty, though it's true some of us have bicycles rather than cars. Rent one to go see mom.
Even an idiot can cook a hamburger, luckily. Simple. Simplify. Under the broiler, with onions. Make a batch. Reheat in toaster oven when needed.
Why do trees have trunks? I mean, there is a gap between the ground and the low limbs that allows animals to move through the forest. A tree sprouts and grows that way, and it works for the ecology. And then I see that everyone has a girlfriend, a wife. Everyone except me. Standing at the party, going home alone. Poor. Stupid. Spit out by nature. As if ashamed to be a writer or whatever I am. The drinking to get through the stress of the restaurant hours, become a habit. Can't get out of the rut I'm in. Drop the drinking, the restaurants, get with whatever it is we call God or Buddha or religion. Give up going against that, the unjust struggle. Go the farmer's market? What to wear? Could a farmer's market be stressful, too personal, cause of agoraphobia? Had a girlfriend, older, tell me once in a Blockbuster that I looked like I just got out of a home.
Hard to put a day together. What should I do? I have to go to work in a few hours.
I go and wander the farmer's market on Dupont. I end up buying two bricks of frozen ground buffalo, one chuck, one round, from a freckled face boy and we work as a team to work out the change on forty dollars together. Some young ginger and white turmeric. A few apples, one on the way home. I sit for a time on a park bench north of the Metro Station and read the first chapter and leaf through the book I wrote as a younger man. There are parts overdone, passages that irritate me, I'd want to scratch out. The public walks by. Families with little kids are eating pizza together. A young couple sits on the grass reading the sunday paper. And each year it seems as autumn comes that my own personality while out in public disappears more and more, light, making little difference, just passing through. And maybe that's a little scary, feeling so weightless, no need for anything but the simplest. I do now know all these people, and they too seem to me behind the stories quintessentially the same as me, except that they have acts, and their acts have jobs and families. And I set out as an artist, looking for the truth, looking for accuracy, by being as honest as I could and telling a plain story with no particular point but to record life. And once that is borne in you by habit you are left to follow it out to its logical progression. I walk home a Buddhist, a minimalist, bearing the half-sad truth about personality. And once home I will have to face the burden of putting on a personality that will get me through a night behind the bar, becoming someone when in truth there is little, very simple things, love for a few odd people, a sense of certain duties, and feeling strange about that which we call sanity. Each year the person you once were recedes into the authorship of the things you write. And that's the only real role you know, and so be honest about it.
Dwarfed, overwhelmed by the vast variety of vegetables, fruits, radishes, beets, roots, green cauliflower, leeks, offerings of soap and jams and cheeses, array of apples, with my own paperback novel in my courier bag against my back I sense the accuracy of Emily Dickinson, I am No One. Who are you? Like Beethoven's sonatas, those words drill down. And this is a frightening thought for someone who must go meet people in personality mode, who must take one up himself, play the role they want and get through the night, home safe to whatever there is that is the self. Perhaps you'd even want to ask, why me, why do I get the logic of all this, when everyone else gets it the other way, look out for your own self and then you'll be happy and rewarded, but maybe there is no you really even to ask, but a kind of virtue within, one that's really too deep for most people until they're old.
Small chores I will do up there tonight, one thing after another, and that will get me through.
In contrast to Dickinson, Donne's line, "a lonely thinking heart that makes no show is to a woman but a kind of ghost," has a different twist on how distance from the illusory self might play out. That John F. Kennedy could quote lines from Frost's The Hired Man, "nothing to look forward to with hope, nothing to look backward on with pride," reveals an understanding worth crediting, and indeed had to the right to it, lying in bed with a hole in his back that wouldn't heal, meeting his own dark night of the soul.