It is harder to write these days than it was a couple of years ago. If the body worked as hard as the mind, then I’d have the physique of Bruce Lee on steroids. Yet, I have little to say these days. The conduit between thought and expression is missing. And every time I sit to write, I wander off wondering what caused this loss.
Loss. What a word; what a concept. I categorize loss as conspicuous and inconspicuous. Conspicuous losses are usually deemed more significant than they are, at the time. But inconspicuous losses are just as deadly and can have an ever-lasting effect. And the illusion that we understand ourselves makes it ever so difficult to even recognize these inconspicuous losses. I believe that a lot of what happens in the subconscious mind goes unrealized. And they manifest in ways we do not understand. Here I’d like to introduce the concept of retrospective distortion. The human mind prefers a causal narrative so when something incomprehensible occurs, we start from the event and reverse engineer a narrative. This is what retrospective distortion is and I am constantly struggling with my inner self to escape its talons. But I digress.
The mere sight of the word loss causes discomfort. Last year, I lost my house and belongings to the flood. The year before I lost my dog to old-age. I miss the comfort of that idiot’s fat body. I keep losing money in the stock market. My wife decided to leave me, so I lost her too. I also lost all hope of getting back with her when she decided to marry this southern fella. And recently, I lost the chance of breaking-up their marriage when a crying baby popped out from inside of her and the southern fella turned out to be an excellent human being. I have lost a lot emptying my bowels and just as much filling them. In my formative years, I knew this lady whom I could talk with for hours. She was sincere, comely, intelligent, creative and incapable of lying. Oh and she loved me so. I thought she’d never leave me. Of course, I lost her. I miss the scent of her sweat. I lost half my tooth in a bar-fight and at some point I lost all my motivation to become the next Kafka. My mind lost the ability to conjure up horribly complicated coincidences. My life however, seems to be full of it. I even lost the ideas for the title of the novel that I had scratched in the back of a GQ magazine. I don’t remember ordering a subscription. What else? I lost….hmm actually now there are ten different losses competing in my brain for the spotlight so it appropriate place to stop mentioning them.
It is easy to overlook that loss is a gentle reminder of life as a whole. Loss gives by taking. It encourages one to try, again. Loss reminds one that life is full of opportunities and it is possible to achieve more than what one can imagine. Loss engenders purpose and provides direction. It accustoms has-beens to the present. It challenges one to live differently, is conducive of improvisation in life’s theater. One learns new things about oneself and invents new tricks after each new loss.
I never thought I could cope with my daddy leaving. But when him and Janet divorced, I learned that I could. I actually got better, for I didn’t want to burden Janet. But daddy’s loss took some getting used to. And although it was a conspicuous loss, some inconspicuous losses were associated to it. What exactly? Don’t ask, for I don’t know. Over the years, and it has happened often, I start something, get really good at it and then start to get progressively worse. One could trace a goddam bell-curve following my progress. My physical prowess and sphere of influence will follow that same bell-curve. I know and accept this. But what is hard to accept is that loneliness and self-consciousness seem to follow a perpetually-upward gradient. What used to be a dark streak is multiplying, like cancer, transforming into a dark half and will eventually be a dark whole. Then what?
What will you do when you are my loneliness? When your concerns are the source of my crippling self-consciousness.