The Accretion Crab
It would be far easier to state what I am than to say who I am. The what would be merely a list of the things I have done, the activities and events I have participated in, easy enough to catalog. Whenever you present yourself to others these are the things that you hope they will mistake for you. There’s a little critter that, in the absence of its real name, I will call the Accretion Crab who increases his size and masks his appearance by sticking all kinds of things to his shell. That might be enough to make him resist growth if he were aware of it, because sooner or later his shell is going to become too tight for him and he’s going to have to get naked and scamper into a larger vacancy and do the same decorating job all over again.
Do I do that with words? I want attention and it will mean something only if it is directed at the who of me, rather than the what. The what can’t get too much attention and too much is never enough. I don’t know what would satisfy the who. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation to find out. But maybe that’s just drama. I grew up taking IQ tests, and it’s still never easy to answer a question either yes or no. Things just ain’t that simple. Who, on the other hand, is a subject that can churn your guts. The shell is the what; regardless that the shell was once alive, the shell is now dead. In a way, it’s the past itself, as well as its collection of things carried over into the present.
I’m trying to stick with this subject even though it’s turned uncomfortable. This has always been an uncomfortable question. The easy answer is that I just don’t know, but that’s not getting us any further along, is it? In any connection with the exterior world, I have to bring my interior world along; that’s a Duh given. But what do I then do with it? I’m not going to say that my interior world is rich and full, but I have to say that it is pressurized with a higher p.s.i. than the exterior world. This makes me feel at risk of exploding. I feel caught between recklessness and restraint, the one perhaps dangerous to others, the other a personal hazard. The exterior world is not a place in which it is safe to speak my mind. The rules are too arbitrary, kindred spirits too rare.
I’ve always wanted attention and felt I needed it. Most things came to me easily. One of my friends, back when I thought I had friends, once asked me if I was ever at a loss for words, and I replied almost never, maybe even never. I could always make people laugh and sometimes I’d get on a roll and couldn’t stop until I crashed. At that time a country and western song was asking if the going up was worth the coming down and I was saying oh yes. I got a lot of attention because I demanded it, and then I got a lot of attention because I was a person who got a lot of attention.
One of my Reiki teachers said that I tend to push people with my energy and it makes many of them uncomfortable even if they’re not consciously aware what’s making them feel ill at ease. Even so, since I might be the only person near them they might connect the symptom with my presence and avoid me. These are usually people who also sense neediness and are repelled by it to one degree or another. The only people relatively comfortable with neediness are the needier. The attention I would like to have must be given, not taken. I am not comfortable accepting gifts, to the point of awkwardness.
Ah! Here’s the discovery. Writing to yourself is like having a conversation on a dead phone. Most of what I do in my “journal” is write about my aches and pains and depression and approaching death, over and over and over again. Writing this to someone out there makes a connection, opens a channel, lifts thought above the flatness of paper and lets it dance with the world. The internal world is as it was, the external world is as it was, but the writing as communication between the two worlds creates a vortex, a whirlpool of energy, and the aches and pains are less keenly felt and death retreats for a while.
This is publication, connection with a public. It establishes (or reestablishes) a missing link between inside and outside. I’ve been silent too long because I’ve had no one to talk to. I guess the ball’s in my court. I could wait forever for the snail mail and the email that will never come until I make the effort to engage someone’s attention enough to make them want to meet me in one form or another. My fondest hopes were to again turn some of my writing into art or something like it. An exchange of correspondence with someone would be a step in the right direction. An exchange of interest and attention sounds good. A dialog with continuity.
Even the deaf can hear the sound of one hand clapping. I don’t need to hear to read and write. I do read a lot; all my friends are dead writers. I’m in good company, but then I could say the same in almost any graveyard.
No one should ever give me something to do that they don’t want done, myself included. It’s harder to stop this than it was to start it. Is this mania? The thoughts keep coming. I go into another room to do something else, but continue to write in my head and end up back here to pick up the thread where I left off. Wherever I stop will be arbitrary. There is no THE END just as it appears there was No Beginning; now it’s all middle. There’s no balancing this equation. Sisyphus knew. Just when you think you have the body at rest some variable flies in the room and lands on the scale and it’s blooie all over again. Back to the drawing board. Back to sea level.
So, “goodnight Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea.”
®Copyright 2014 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.