Thoughts on Life

#012022: Choose the truth

Thoughts of coming into one's own
by Leandra Medine Cohen

Every time I ask someone how they’re doing and it sounds like they’re doing great, I imagine that they’ve been heeding to the sound of their soul yearning. There’s a big difference between responding to craving and heeding to yearning, you know? One is giving in and the other is more like an ascendance, but the craving can really trick you into believing its the same as yearning, that solving the craving is solving the yearning.

One way to determine whether or not you are mangled is by appraising how you feel post-quench. Is it like progress, movement, a step has been taken, or more like regret/a faint disgust?

I’m at this dull impasse that’s not exactly a precipice but isn’t rock bottom either. It’s like I’m caught in this liminal loop that looks a lot like a tennis game with me playing the rackets on both sides of the net. The players are my head and my gut. My head sounds so smart! It makes a good case for resistance but then my gut is like, “Where did you even learn all these words and what do they mean?”

I keep telling my friends that I feel disconnected, like I’m far away from myself and I want to get closer. The way that I think about doing this when I’m alone is always with my mind — like by venting to them about disconnection exactly or writing myself into acceptance but if I’m honest really, sometimes this pursuit is more like I’m writing to convince myself to stay inert. So I say I’ll do anything for nose-to-nose proximity between the cardigan and the shell of the twinset of my lifeworld but now I wonder, will I really?

It’s getting clearer to me that life is simple. If I feel far away means I’m lying. If I’m way up in my head and churning out mangled sentences, if the metaphors are firing on all cylinders, means I might be trying to pretend that I’m not lying. It’s probably time to break up with my image.

This dull impasse — call it anything else: boredom, ennui, stagnation, is really a pseudonym for a spiritual waiting room. The in-between hallways we find ourselves in while the doors around us are starting to open. It sounds so peaceful when I put it like this, but often feels violent when I’m in it myself. Like makes me want to bring my whole life into the waiting room and build home into there.

But no waiting room is supposed to become home.

The way this has played out recently has been through my mistaking the assignment of “Wintering” for indulging in malaise like it’s a choice, evading responsibility “out of respect” for my lack of motivation but really resignation and loading up on rigid rules I have no interest in following just so I could break them to feel alive — treading the skimmings of the boiling pot even though I know the produce under is tender.

This kind of behavior afflicts no one but me: it makes everything seem so heavy and serious, so finite and absolute. And when everything’s like that, it’s hard to locate the tiny, fluid moments of beauty or joy that exist in even the most banal.

The recipe for living a good life is so simple. There is only one ingredient (you) and one step: be honest. Yet somehow putting fire to the stove of our lives can feel like the riskiest, single most challenging turn-on of a lifetime. This week’s lone rec — for you and for me, is to choose the truth and stay close to it.

And also to get a pan.

Signing off yours,