On Numbness and Humanity

“I hope she’ll be a fool — that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken the time to write a personal blog post; in that respect I feel as if I have been neglecting the most important aspect of this whole writing thing. Words have this funny tendency of getting tangled up when you can’t figure out what is happening in your own head; confusion ultimately acts as a vague premonition for incoherent thought.

And yet writing, to me, is a raw process that requires a strange juxtaposition of lucidity and ambiguity. It takes chaos and turns it into clarity. It is thought made tangible.

Over the past few months I think I have completely numbed myself from feeling any sort of strong emotion. Maybe it was a defensive knee-jerk reaction to large life transitions. The more I go on, the more I realize that these things in life can never truly be left behind. They are ghosts, invisible to the eye but always felt through the touches of icy fingers. Feelings that, regardless of their distance in time, become more and more tangible with every sip of wine or familiar scent.

But maybe forgetting those experiences would be bad. We are, after all, a culmination of what we live through. Experiences, no matter how small or painful or exciting all add something.

But for experiences to matter there has to be a sort of empathythere. I didn’t really think of this… and in order to block incessant questions and thoughts from consuming my ever-dwindling sanity, I believe I stopped thinking and just started doing. And that was fine, in an apathetic, monotonous robot, “I live in the Matrix” sort of way. I was in sweet nothing. Living in scheduled blocks of numbers and ignoring my passions and my love of everyday life. A fool absorbing and adopting the influences and thoughts of others as my own.

lost myself there, in those perfectly scheduled out days. As if I, the normally optimistic and rhapsodic me, was sitting there on a ledge, watching myself trapped in a vicious circle.

There were no spontaneous adventures, no smell of dewy hay and fresh oats accompanied by the rhythm of hungry hoof-beats, no pajama video game marathon days, no long talks with my family or drinks with friends, no walks outside merely to be outside and listen. I simply was.

A couple weeks ago I finally had the opportunity to read a book for pleasure. It was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s the Great Gatsby, a book I hadn’t touched since high school. The reality of his fiction is astounding; even though Gatsby is based on somewhat “dead” fictional characters and events, there is something about Fitzgerald’s prose that begs to be real.

Every single description awakened an empathy within me, an awareness at the horrible state I had put myself into. I was slowly becoming one of the monotonous dead souls from the book. His words pulled at my heart.

But in this I realized that these events and feelings and questions I attempted to block, the ones that scream in my head — are all but too human. The warmth of pure electrifying chemical attraction, the happiness of friendship, the frightening excitement of uncertainty, and the stabbing chill of loss. They are part of the spectrum that make us who we are and, in contrast, rely on each other to exist. Happiness could not exist if there was no sadness to compare it to. They are part of a greater whole…

Humanity.

And that is a beautiful thing to behold, and a horrible thing to lose.

To me that is what writing and English embody — the essence of humanity. Life in it’s most raw state. The imagination, the voice, the lies, the love, the honesty, the emotions… are a reflection of who we are. Of what matters. It reminds us what we are capable of when we often times, in this overwhelming lifestyle surrounded by constant false connections (social media, the internet), forget. It reminds us of the little details we miss when we lose our senses. It takes nothing and paints it with a colorful something. Put bluntly, it makes shit matter.

Sometimes I find myself questioning why I chose graduate school over the job offers I got in Yellowstone or New York. I know my Master’s program is extremely selective in its admissions and in that respect I am so thankful to be where I am with a paid position (though sometimes I do get a sort of Impostor Syndrome).

Just like with writing this post, I am here now and that is what matters. Whatever I am doing, I want to feel anything and everything in beautiful rushes. I want to question. To love. To help.To learn. To laugh.To live. To play. To experience. Toappreciate the amazing aspects behind simplicity, complexity, and humanity — and share it. When I fall into auto-pilot, writing, or even humanity itself, is often the thing that bitch slaps me in the face and reminds me of my place. Of me. It keeps me from becoming a fool.

Because one of the worst things a girl can be in this world is a fool.

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