Thursday, March 25, 2010

What I'm Trying to Do

I wish I knew. If I did know, maybe I wouldn't have to write so much stuff down. All I do know is that it won't fit on a cocktail napkin, in a photo caption, on a list of how-tos. The story, my story, the way I see the story is too complex for a sound byte, a blurb, or a movie poster. What happened before, how it came to this, is too important to me to leave out. And I'm finding telling my story to friends and family is not as satisfying as it once was.
"We tell ourselves stories in order to live," Joan Didion said, and it's so true it's frightening. The chaos of our biology, flattened and mutated by our cultural overlays requires us to think up a new story almost every day about why wake up in the morning, why put one foot in front of the other. If we fail to come up with a convincing story, we might not get out of bed, we might just stop dead. And the curious thing is, that story doesn't have to satisfy anyone but you. Circumstances continually shift and our lives are in constant rewrite. What seems like a perfectly acceptable reason to do something at 25 is a terrible reason at age 50. But does that mean that it was a mistake at age 25? No. Not at all.
I'm trying to explain how I feel. I'm trying to explain what I know and how I know it. I'm trying to understand how to live in the particular, highly peculiar situation I find myself in. I don't know if I'll succeed. But I have to try.

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