Allegorical Nonsense

An allegory. Nonsense. Put them together. Okay, not really.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

When I was young

When I was young, I sometimes had the funny feeling that the life that I was living was in fact the memory of myself in that moment before you die when your life flashes before your eyes. I was quite convinced that this could be the case, and I had really no way of refuting it. I guess I had these feelings at a time in my life when I felt very controlled, like my life and actions were predetermined. The great challenge which I made to this way of thinking started when I was maybe in Year 10 at school, and I called it "acts of free will". What I would do was, whenever I had that thought (particularly if there was nobody around), I would do a little thing which I would think would be so stupid, that noone would ever do such a thing. For instance, I would hop on one leg, or say "bleubalufalu", or something to convince myself that what I was doing what I was doing out of free will and not out of preordained following. Of course, the great challenge to the great challenge was that I never knew what it was that I was predestined to do - so I had no real proof that whatever I would do, however silly, was in fact contrary to the predetermined action at that time.

I remember thinking around the same time, being the time I was going through puberty and adolescence, that I was going through puberty and adolescence. This may not seem so strange (indeed, it may seem like a truism), but what I mean by the second "puberty and adolescence" was as follows. By the time I had reached that age, I had read books that told me how pubescent/adolescent people commonly feel. And when you think about it, being an inner individualist, I always wanted to feel that I was different from everyone else. So if pubscents/adolescents commonly feel a certain way, I wanted to feel another way. But suddenly I would realise that what I had read was coming true for me - that I was indeed feeling what the books had told me I should be feeling. This gave rise to two emotions. The first was irritation. Why should I feel like everyone else? It made me really quite angry. On the other hand, it was at the same time oddly comforting - there were other people (in fact, pretty much everyone) going through exactly what I was going through. It's in some ways a nice thought to be part of a group, even if the members of that group don't consciously acknowledge that fact of others' membership.

There was another thought I had when I was young that I was unable to shake, and that was the thought that you get to do life several times. It was particularly when I was suffering with things - like going to camp, which for me wasn't fun because it accentuated my feelings of not being in a group, since it felt like everyone else was in a group - or generally feeling self-conscious. Then there was a feeling of: "All you have to do is get through this" ("this" being not just the camp but in a broader sense life itself) "and you'll be able to do it again. And in the next one, you get to be the thin" (particularly thin - that is, not the fat kid) "attractive, popular one who integrates well in groups and is admired by his peers" (okay, maybe not to that extent, but at least not to be the fat outsider). And it was really quite depressing, in hindsight, that I would sometimes count the days until I could get through (in the sense of "survive") the thing, in the thought, which I knew intellectually was false, that I would get to do it again. I guess it was the contradiction between my intellect and my emotions on this point that made it so painful. And it was really the period in which I "realised" (i.e. aligned my intellect with my emotions) that I only get to live once - this is it - that I really changed my life. It was really at that point that my outlook changed, my lifestyle changed, and my attitude to myself changed. This is not to say that it was a product of pure free will and self-control - far from it. It coincided with a period where I was away from home, had begun to lose weight through being involved in more physical activity and eating a broader variety of food - and in a sense, the change in others' attitudes towards me and the change in my attitude toward myself fed into one another and led to a positive result. I didn't know this at the time, of course. I was scared shitless at the time. Change, I think, is always scary. But particularly that one. It was jumping into the unknown. In a sense, all I really had to direct where I fell was my subconscious and luck. But I've found that generally, relying on my subconscious is remarkably useful. I mean, we generally think of our subconsciouses as being some kind of unknown quantity - something which directs us to places in conflict with where we, with our will, want ourselves to be. But one thing which happened to me during this period (and particularly in the years since then) is that I have become friends with my subconscious, and we've developed a good level of trust between us. Another new friendship of that time was between my brain and my body - my intellectual self and my physical/emotional self. It's funny - for a lot of people, physical and emotional are quite separate, but for me - having had a lot of repressed feelings about my body growing up - getting in touch with my body again was getting in touch with my feelings again, and really being able to feel again. This, for me, was a real breakthrough, and I owe a lot of it to my beautiful fiancee, Hilla. Thanks, bun.


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