There are a lot of variations in my mood, and the activities I pursue throughout the days, but the one thing that follows me always is a sense of wrongness.
An uneasiness about things not the way they should be. At times this feeling directs out towards the world, onto other the people and avoidable situations, broken systems, harmfully inefficient institutions our world is full of. Other times it comes inward- to the ways I am incomplete, things I could do and don’t.
I am aware that everyone feels like this, with their own array of unfulfilled dreams. But I’ve never wanted to be like everyone.
The phrase that gives me the most anxiety is That’s just the way the world is. I’ve always believe that approaching life with static view of human nature, that I am unable to rise above these so-called universal problems of consciousness is self-limiting, self-dooming. That when I accept a certain amount of wrongness to be always there, it always will be. And the wrongness within me exudes back outward, to contribute to those same situations and systems that nastify our world.
This notion comes from my literal and literary personality. I’ve inherited a downright Teutonic seriousness, I’ve been reading fiction since before I could speak. Before I was eleven I had lived in five different places, military suburbs and bases. So I developed a worldview based on the logic of novels and stories before I had a good picture of the real world formed up in my head. And those conceptions, when I did begin to receive them, were compared to a basis of the fictional worlds I had already come to know, which behave quite differently.
For one, everything written into a story has a purpose. Every person and object is a Chekhov’s Gun made to lead to a final conclusion. An author may employ Red Herrings, to purposely take the reader on a tangent, or to imply a universe beyond the story’s scope, but these kind of devices ultimately serve to heighten the final revelation by contrast. And if there are free radicals in a plot, loose ends that don’t tie together, it’s not because That’s just the way the world is, it’s a flaw on the author’s part, it’s bad writing.
So what I’m trying to say is I’ve never seen myself or anyone else as an inevitably and naturally flawed person who accepts that fact, but as bad writers, who are unable to pull together our threads into a coherent and powerful message. And this disparity between what is and what I perceive could be gives me a frame to view the world through which never be filled, can and always will be ill-fitting and off-motif. Wrong.
The bad writer in my mind creates a character who does not follow a meaningful arc. His motivations are unclear to the audience and author itself, inconsistent with earlier behavior. He is certainly not a protagonist undertaking actions worth reading about.
That is the light I shine on myself, everyone and everything else I know, when I know them well enough to meet the author. If I don’t I judge based on what kind of character they seem to be writing, how their present actions will pan out closer to the denouement. It doesn’t sound nice when I write it. It’s why I have trouble keeping up friendships, because it makes me nervous to reach out, hang out, for the sake of it, with no trajectory in mind. It makes me hard to console or relate to. It warps my actions to match what will progress a particular scene rather than what I actually feel. I act out parts, and that tendency is inseparable from my personality.
Because when I consider what I really feel like doing, outside of my narrative mentality, when I remember that purpose is not built into the universe, it’s all imposed either by yourself or your external reality, it is that I don’t want anything that can be obtained. I want the validation that can only come to a well-written character at the end of a good story, and that is just something that doesn’t exist in the non-fiction world.
Any attempt to change my environment through projects or my character is a bid at that unreachable ring, the knell that will toll when my efforts and actions have aligned with the pathos of the setting I stride through. Any melancholia is me being overwhelmed by the impossibility of that.
I am blessed to have the free time and security of body to even worry about such but I do, so I’ll write about it. I am not depressed, just conflicted in a weird way. I blame no one, and I wouldn’t trade this feeling, because when it hits me in a good way it drives me to do beautiful things that help people in real ways, even if it doesn’t contribute to a plot line anyone can read. I’m just trying to work it out in my own way, to be a better friend by analyzing why I’m not.
And maybe, to wrap this up, I am wrong right now- maybe my first instinct is correct, I won’t rule it out completely. Maybe there will be a point in time where I feel that absolution. Maybe that’s only possible if my view is contagious enough, if I represent it in a way attractive enough that other people pick it up and project back at me. Through making an example of what a life looks like without taking the way the world is as a given, if I can maybe build systems that prove that we can move beyond our fundamental human plagues.
Okay good, I feel better already. Stick around and watch. It will be more interesting if you don’t try to talk me out of it.