I can’t imagine living with me. I mean, I live with myself obviously, but I’m among my fluidity so I can’t see what that’s like being you- my husband- living with me. I try and take a step back and really I find very little to latch onto when it comes to consistency and me. My memory is so short. Really… I have a very hard time remembering. Not in the way that movies or tv shows portray, I remember lots of things and some of them are important and some of them are trivial but I am talking about remembering my sense of self.
I can’t remember myself.
I have photographs and narratives that surround those photographs. I have stories that I’ve long made up that I don’t know if they are true or not anymore. It used to be only my childhood was missing, then it was my adolescence, and then my high school years, now I’m losing the memories of when I first met Roland. The times in Eugene, OR are hazy and fading. I’m panicking because I’m not sure if this is normal or if I’m blowing this out of proportion. But others remember. They remain consistent. They can recall for me what I was like, what I said, what I did, who I was. They side-eye me and I fear take personally that I don’t remember a moment that was integral to them and they assumed to me; that they carry as a signifer of “us” and I sit, comatose, unable to recall any details.
I’m almost scared to look back, in so many ways, because there are so many holes. What if that version of me was better and I have no way back? No way to reconnect to that version of myself? I want there to be a connective narrative to my story, but it’s fractured and broken and kind of a jumbled mess in my head. I want there to be a beginning, a middle, an end to my story- but it’s just David Lynchian in the hopping, the sharp cuts, the gentle fades to too long of black, to nothingness.
Because I lack this connective tissue of self, I find that I reinvent myself almost daily, sometimes hourly and it is exhausting. I search for moments that might rekindle a version of myself I lost. Today in the shower as I listened to my SPOTIFY playlist: Nostalgia, ‘Two Step’ by Dave Matthews Band came on. I had a memory. It was the Yale Haus, I was 21, I had smoked a bowl and was playing ‘Song 41’ on the guitar. Brian was sitting on the floor drawing his very intricate and detailed art on the coffee table. Light filtered in and dust danced through the blinds. It was a sunny day. I played and sang the song. At the end Brian commented that was the best he’s ever heard me play that. I was overcome with pride. That’s it. It’s gone. When these memories unleash randomly and so vividly it knocks me over. It makes everything around me seem broken. I can’t explain how it unnerves me and makes me question. I rabbit hole so fast into ‘what if’, ‘should have’, ‘could I have’ and ‘who am I’. Who was that girl? How was she ever me? Can there be a trace of her still there? Where is the thread that connects me to her?
Ah you fickle, vacillating mess of a woman. Can’t you just be?
Maybe that’s why there is you, my husband, my tried and true, my black and white, unwavering, unchanging, un-modulating, consistent and infuriatingly simple living husband. Maybe that’s the thread I am trying to find and hold onto. Does he miss that girl he first met? Does he wonder, like I do, why I have changed so much and yet so little? Does he get frustrated that my memories of us when we met are jumbled and missing and vacant? Does he get sad that I perpetually question and can’t seem to get comfortable in my skin? I can’t tell you. I can’t remember if we’ve had this argument. This may have been every argument- even if it seemed to be about money, or jobs, or passion, or lack-there-of on any of those issues- maybe this is the real underlining argument.
I can’t remember if I’ve ever been happy. Maybe I never was.
oh. that’s horrible to see.
that’s not me.
at least according to my most recent memories.
In meditation and in finding spiritual zen and purpose, the study of losing your sense of self is a goal. You detach and separate to the best of your ability from that self in order to create space and thereby freedom from physical constraints. People long for and work their entire lives for that detachment from memories they’d like to lose, moments they want to separate themselves from, versions of themselves that they want to create distance from. I’ve become a master of detachment. I’ve long been capable of separating and distancing and have excelled in my studies.
If this is what zen feels like, I’m not sure if it’s what I wanted in the first place.