There are times when I can barely look at old photos. The faces of now-dead folk shining from happy pasts. Innocent and forward-looking, full of the not-knowing-ness of living in that moment.
I hate that I know how it ended. That in some I see their last breath – that painfully familiar stranger’s face that sleeps in the cold bare undertaker’s room. And feel the old grief – that fell like ash and blotted out the sun.
It strikes me when I look at my own face in a photograph. That awareness: there she is smiling – ahhhh she just doesn’t know how it ends.
It is all so temporary.
You would think that would be sufficient reminder: of the ‘be mindful, live in and for today, for tomorrow you may die’ type stuff we all surely need to be reminded of.
Instead I fret over tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. Crippled by this dread fear.
I’ve made up my mind – so don’t understand why I am still anxious. You’d think – I. Actually. Thought. – that once the decision was made the anxiety would go. But no.
You’d think that once I’d decided to leave – and oh my god I really have to leave if I’m to be left with peace of mind or self-respect – I’d feel nothing but relief.
But no. I listened to the pitch for me to stay – and succumbed to this weight of obligation and doubt.
Maybe I should just water the grass I’m standing on.
Maybe it’s a test and by leaving, I fail.
Maybe it’s not them. Maybe it’s all me. Maybe this ‘objective assessment’ I’m convinced I’ve made is just so much cowardice and running-away.
Nah, the truth is I hate it. I am a fish out of water. Surrounded by chaos and a whole lot of intensity that I don’t feel comfortable with.
And that is something I never thought I’d be privy to me thinking because I have always been the most uncomfortably intense person I know. (At least I now know just how uncomfortable I must’ve been making other folk feel.)
I’m not much of a Rally-er and campaigner and March-joiner-in-er. Maybe before. But I am just too fucking cynical and tired with all that stuff to want to be doing it now. (and yes, I know it needs to be done – in a rally-the-troops type of way, mostly).
I can’t stand the way that it’s a game to ‘them’ (the folk I’d thought would know better). These people I’d always looked up to – the ones I depended upon actually knowing what they were doing and having strategies for protecting the workers and all that shit. And then I find out they’re human and fallible and all just as bad as me when it’s said and done. And all gaming and machinating themselves as much as anyone else.
And then I am angry with myself for thinking it would be different (because aren’t we all just human, after all) because I am fucking 50 and not a child and really should know better.
And then some of the time I am just overwhelmed by the quantity and level of stuff I am expected to do – and that I know needs to be done, because the place has no systems to speak of and no procedures (that anyone pays attention to) – just this strange, internal perpetual motion, built of reflexive habit, like they are all Pavlov’s dugs jumping to the stimulus of dates and routines and ‘the way it’s aye been done’.
I am the newbie. And newbie’s have a lithic eye – when they’re not being fucking scared out of their fucking wits by demands and expectations and the sheer stinking weight of being appointed as a one-wummin fix. Yes, newbie’s have a lithic vision – cutting through the bullshit and cutting to the chase.
I see too much. Always have. That’s my curse. Including – by the way – my own faults, all too clearly.
So your genius and your glibness and your lies and excuses and your deliberate obfuscation and verbosity – you are not hiding from me. I see you.
And you – yes, you – every word a hostage; every stare hostile and defensive; every conversation seeded with word mines that blow up unexpectedly and result in stand-offs.
And you. You who is burdened with the weight of it all – your brilliance and the mess of it all. You got lost. Buried under the weight of keeping it all going.
All life is surely here.
The good and the bad. The mediocre and the truly glorious. Quiet and reserved. Out there – all screaming, extroverted noise and look-at-me-ness.
And for the moment, all I want to do is run away.
*Should I stay or should I go now?
Should I stay or should I go now?
If I go, there will be trouble
And if I stay it will be double
So come on and let me know
This indecision’s bugging me (esta indecision me molesta)
If you don’t want me, set me free (si no me quieres, librame)
Exactly whom I’m supposed to be (digame que tengo ser)
Don’t you…* (thanks to The Clash)