self-invention like Rube Goldberg

May 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

http://www.themillions.com/2011/05/the-importance-of-unwritten-postcards.html

I’m kind of with this guy and kind of not. On the one hand, I am intimately familiar with the isolation he describes and how it allows you to create and destroy and re-create yourself in the absence of people who, well-meaning though they may be, remind you of who you were (or worse, who they thought you were) and end up weighing you down into that identity. I knew from an early age that I’d have to run away if I was going to end up anything like I wanted to be – and shit, guys, did I run. From Florida, from family, from Boston and boys, back to Boston and boys, from academia, from marriage. In most cases I was running not from anyone/anything else but myself and a potential future that I couldn’t stand living. Mental and physical isolation was necessary, and I wouldn’t undo any of it. Not enough people give themselves the space and aloneness and time to try on a new self or even assess the current one.

And yet. Does it have to be done that way? There is an incredible sense of comfort and safety in being connected to people, having a language and common knowledge of each other’s histories and embarrassing moments. There are things going on in my life that are painful, and I could keep those inside and turn them endlessly like stones in a tumbler – but if I share them with a few amazing friends while dancing to ’90s jams, I feel understood and the wounds don’t sting quite so much. And that constant sharing doesn’t tie me down because my friends don’t want me to STAY me, they want me to BECOME me. How cool is that?

M

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