I keep hearing this voice in my head. It sounds a lot like Bugs Bunny.
Perhaps, for many of us, this is the feeling of being alive in 2021. That feeling that we must have taken a wrong turn somewhere. Maybe a grimey sort of self-doubt. Perhaps born out of a habit of hiding. Or being asked to hide.
Maybe it feels new. It feels a bit new to me.
I think, perhaps, this is how it always feels, though.
It is like love in that way. Or, at least. Like falling in love. Nothing like this has ever happened before. Something like this happens everyday.
Also. Always. I am suspicious of these visitations of feeling. Like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. This self-doubt could be a bit of undigested nutritional yeast.
And yet. I know, like Scrooge, these ghosts are here as omens. As guardians. As guides.
Everything that protects us is a monster.
Earlier this week, I read some of George Saunders’ A Swim in the Pond in the Rain. I thought. Oh. This is how it feels to wake up inside of trauma. I thought. Would you look at that.
I cried a lot. I’m not sure why. Also I know why. I am lonely. I am grieving for those things not entirely gone. I am filling my life with as much joy as I can stand. And sometimes it’s too much. And sometimes it’s not enough.
It has been a very long time. It has been a very long time for us all. Since we met. Since we held hands. Since we hugged. Since we kissed. Since we made love.
Separation isn’t easy.
Perhaps, for some of us, that grew up in the grips of one form of depression or another, that grew up queer in one form or another, it is easy to imagine things are worse than they are—not just because this is an aspect of depression or loneliness, but because one can remember becoming attached to these feelings of loneliness, of monstrosity. That feeling that no one wants to touch you. That feeling that no one wants to be touched by you. That feeling that there would in holding hands be something overwhelming and scary.
And so much of everything comes down to this.
The desire to hold hands. The fear to touch and be touched.
There’s this scene in It’s a Sin, the new Russell T. Davies show. In this scene there is a character and they scream, “Don’t touch me! You can’t touch me!”
They say, “You can’t touch me because I have AIDS.”
I cried a lot here, as well, and I knew why. I knew because of now. I knew because of growing up in the shadow of a disease that so many used as a confirmation of their culture’s collective nightmares about sex. About touch. About queerness. About pleasure.
There have been days and weeks during these past months that have been some of the clearest and best days and months. It is strange. And, also. I suppose. Really. It’s not strange. My partner and I separated a little while ago. It was maybe not the best time to do that. But, also.
Once, not all that long ago, I heard someone say something like, “Right now, every one of us needs more than anyone has left to give.”
And, so. Rather than sharing all this with any particular person, I have shared it with the internet.
I have written my doubt into the arms of the ether.
I hope it is not too much. I hope.
In other news.
It is Wednesday and, I am reading Neil Gaiman’s retellings of Norse Myths. There are here mostly stories of Thor and Loki. Gaiman, in his introduction, points out the lack of stories concerning other gods and goddesses. He points out that too many stories have been lost.
The other day I asked Em what they thought of Loki. They said that Loki represented the sort of energy I don’t want anymore in my life. They asked me what I thought. I said that Loki, like The Coyote or The Monkey King or Doctor Who, possibly represented something like the energy of the mind, racing, feckless, by turns delightful and infuriating. In the stories Loki seems to be the cause of everyone’s problems and also the source of so many of their blessings—Thor’s hammer, for example, came about from some of Loki’s mischief.
Things I didn’t say: I identify a lot with Loki. I identify a lot with all of these characters defined by their reckless race from one shape to the next.
Em asked who is Coyote. I told them about the trickster and my lamentable lack of knowledge about the specificity of Native American myth.
Wait, Em said. Like. Wile E. Coyote?
Well, I said. It’s right there in his name, isn’t it? The wily one, endlessly chasing that which is unattainable.
I’ll say this for Wile E. Coyote, though. He’s one focused son of a gun. Nothing stops him from going after what he wants, not rock or anvil or gravity. When Wile E. Coyote runs off a cliff, he acknowledges his mistake, and then he falls, and then he tries again.
I wonder if he’s enjoying himself, though?
Perhaps it’s a Sisyphus thing. Perhaps we must imagine him smiling?
I’d rather not.
I’d rather imagine that one day Wile E. Coyote reads adrienne maree brown’s book, Pleasure Activism and begins a journey of recalibration in which he reconnects with those aspects of life which turn him on. I like to imagine this. I like to imagine Wile E. Coyote sitting still, contemplating the beauty of a single flower, remembering what it means to grow.
Happy Wednesday, readers.