You don’t have to watch it now, but when you have time — and you’re sure no one can hear you laugh like an hyena — go look at the Total Eclipse of the Heart Literal video. Be aware that it’s way more contagious than the original version, though theoretically there is nothing going on but describing what is going on in the video.
For years, my sons and I used to sing this together at the drop of a hat, or even when all hats were securely undropped. I still can make my kids complete the thought when I say “Get out of my way, I gotta pee.”
Anyway, today this is in my head (as silly as that is) because of the lines “leaning on myself because there’s two of me here.”
Except these days I feel like there’s a whole congregation of me in my head, and we’re all overthinking everything, which is why it took me this long to get this post up. You see, I was debating what the heck to write about. And there were so many of me, in my head, and some of them voted twice, because they have differing opinions.
Stop reaching for the phone. I don’t need the I love me jacket. This doesn’t rise to the level of multiple personalities, or even severe delusions.
It’s just that I start the morning by debating the possibilities of waking up, and whether it’s desirable to go on sleeping. And then…. it goes on like that.
It seems this is inheritable, and I’m actually — probably — the most decisive in my family. Other people have been known to stand in front of us and screaming “analysis paralysis damn it.”
The problem though is that all of these people are still me. All depending on the same senses for information, all living in this same space behind my eyes.
If you think about it long enough, the idea of the religions that say bliss is found in leaving yourself behind isn’t exactly wrong. It might be impossible, but it’s not wrong.
You see, we’re all mostly story. At this moment, sitting right here, who are you? A bundle of perceptions and impulses, and dear Lord, do we need coffee, or perhaps cyanide.
The whole point being that we are one, and yet we aren’t. We change so often throughout life. As we’re now looking at houses (the other one having turned out to have issues) it becomes…. painful to contemplate each house and how it would change me and us.
Most of our married life we’ve lived in urban or semi-urban environments, where you walk around the corner and there’s a grocery store, or a bookstore, or a coffee shop to sit at and contemplate life.
Having come to a suburb last time we moved was odd, and took a lot of thought. You see, I so hated the suburbs when we lived there in the late eighties. Not because of the sameness of the houses, or whatever (though my ADD mind needs variety) but because there was nowhere to go and nothing to do, and so I didn’t. I more or less defaulted to being locked in the home all the time, surrounded by empty houses.
I thought it would be different this time. For one I no longer go to bookstores, so what difference does it make? For another, because our neighbors also work from home.
It is in fact exactly the same. People lock themselves in their houses. When I walk around, other than taking an unnatural interest int he neighbors’ gardens, there’s really nothing to do and nowhere to to, so I don’t. Unless I have someone to drag me for walks, I pretty much live under house arrest, which is very bad for me psychologically.
Looking at houses, seeing what’s near, there’s so many mes I could become, so many paths my life could take that the future mes intrude and argue.
And yet, in the end, you know it’s all still me. Yes, there is a change, but the change is in the range of who I am and what I do and can do. Again, all of it is circumscribed within the confines of my nervous system.
Like, I’m not very coordinated, so going out and playing a rousing game of tennis, or even bicycling are not a thing. Or I’m ADD AF and though medicated I can approximate a normal human being, I don’t know if that’s how normal human beings feel. I can’t. And oh, yeah I am stunningly non-visual and can’t understand people who remember pictures in detail, or understand little drawings explaining how to put a machine together. In the same way, I can’t imagine not having stories in my head, or characters that just show up and start gabbing a hundred words a minute.
I am me, caught in my own brain, existing the space behind the eyes.
The characters I write might or might not be me. They don’t present to myself as me, but what would I know, I’ve never been anyone else.
Except… in books. Books are my only way of looking inside other people’s heads. Of figuring out what goes on in the space behind the ears.
We are all mostly narrative. Remembering who we were, recreating who we will be. (Because the one thing we can’t be is static.) Other stories are the only way to change and see and be beyond our limitations.
This is why “we must each write only people exactly like us and read people exactly like us” is evil.
Ultimately it robs us of the ability to escape a conclave of who we are; it robs us of possibilities. Of knowing who and what else we could be.
And of plotting our escape, and leaning on someone else… Because there’s maybe a few of us in the head.
But the possibilities outside it are endless.