Yeah, I think we were both swinging at the same emotional pinata there. Basically not being able to diagnose or label a feeling until way after the fact. Not being able to say, “Oh, I am excited,” when you are actually excited.
As far as I can tell — and obviously this is still a working theory — but there’s no labeling system that’s gonna be accurate in the moment. The thing that’s enticing about words and writing is that you get to choose the perfect one. You get to sift through your internal rolodex and come up with the exact phrase for the exact thing you’re trying to single out and frame, and that’s great. It has its place. For a lot of my life writing has been a reflex that way because it forces you to think about things and try to see them well, and there’s therapy in that. In taking the wind storm in your chest and giving it someplace to go.
That said, writing and words and the labeling system take time. You can’t characterize anything until you have your full body of facts, so you learn to sit and absorb. Take note of everything, because who knows what may end up being significant. The napkin slightly askew. The bend of the knuckle during a guitar pantomime.
What blew about the interaction I wrote about was that I got so tangled in the booby trap of absorbing what was going on that I forgot the part of being alive that’s “none of us know what the fuck we’re doing and sometimes you turn off the matrix of choose-your-own-adventure-style outcomes you’re tabulating internally and instead learn to biologically inhabit a moment in a way that feels immediately meaningful.”
It’s a practice, not treating it like a story. And not in the sense that, “Oh, I can’t wait to write about this for a publication,” but in the sense that, “I can’t wait to write about this for myself.” I can’t wait to see myself in this. I can’t wait to see how this thing I’m participating in is full of illuminating semiotics that will tell me how I’m on my way to being the kind of woman I want to be.
We’re all ambitious and we all want to see ourselves improve and grow, but sometimes you’re just out to dinner, ya know? Sometimes no amount of mental cement mixing can prepare you for how vast and dumb and fine without your help your little life is.