It’s been awhile since I’ve had a full on panic attack; but this weekend just after falling asleep I was awakened with extreme existential angst. In attempt to unpack these feelings in the light of day I think these episodes have always derived from the same core reality: Each one of us is alone. Sometimes this notion hits my hard. Having neither parents or children; and only an evil sibling I’ve no intention of ever seeing again; and no contact, let alone relationships, with wider family at large I can find myself very much hoping that I die before Stella, who does have a loving immediate family.
Cheery subject I know but I find this very much to be in keeping with the sign of Aries which hits home the fact that, when it comes to it, we fly solo. What has made this realization more poignant in recent years was the necessary loss of certain bonds which didn’t serve me and the conscious decision, regarding other friendships, to stop doing all the work—always being the one to reach out—to see just who would or wouldn’t make the effort to nurture a relationship. Sadly, more often than not, I heard crickets.
But don’t get me wrong—this is no pity party. Au contraire. It is very liberating to know where reciprocity exists and where it doesn’t. Quality bonds are priceless, while a quantity of them has never meaned much. I don’t have a work environment that includes any other person than the one I love and live with. I have never been part of a team. I don’t belong to any mafia. And though I do consider myself as belonging to a couple “communities”, creative ones especially, I have mainly witnesses a ramping up in narcissism in these realms. The so-called “downtown” artistic community, for instance, has only seemed to increasingly ape milieus we all used to pooh pooh. How it is that a large number of people I know live under the delusion that they are perpetually on some red carpet or behind some velvet rope is not only depressing it’s literally revolting.
And nobody needs me around feeling disgust. Admittedly, I’m a social cynic but it’s not because I’m a pessimist but because I’m an idealist with great expectations which, it goes with the territory of having them, are regularly dashed. Moreover I never expected to get to my advancing age and feel that my peers were all still playing out a high-school popularity game. Instead of locker lined hallways where the drama of heirarchy is played out, it now happens along the twisted corridors of social media. I seriously doubt that my “friends” who have really been swept up in this sort of reality-show living think I see through to how desperately sad and lonely and insecure they are. They likely don’t even realize themselves that their perpetual display of puffery is symptomatic of the emptiness they refuse to let themselves feel, let alone embrace.
I am so thankful for the panic attack of existential angst that awakes me. It is a reminder of the emptiness that underscores all reality. I find the emotional work that stems for this experience so important and necessary. It reminds me to look to my books, to read the great ancient works that have always guided and sustained me on the solo journey that is my life. I am so grateful to have grown up in the anonymous seventies and eighties where we didn’t have a mobile audience—says the Blaguer who will post this installment in a matter of minutes. Truly, I can’t imagine what it’s like for young people who have grown up with phones and laptops attached to their bodies. My idea of happiness is still getting lost in a city neighborhood, out of reach to anything but serendipity or walking an endless beach where I can’t get a signal.
I know people who can’t be alone. I’ve never been one of them. If anything I have to be careful not to isolate too much. Even in my youth I often felt like that Rhesus monkey then kept in a separate cage who freaked out when put in a cage with a bunch of others of its kind. I’m no stranger to social anxiety and yet, time and again, I am always suprised at how comfortable I actually am in the company of others. Why that is forever a shock I’ve no idea. I never need to bolt from a party or anything like that; but I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I would always rather be alone than in company where I feel far more alone than when I actually am.
Emptiness is a contradiction in terms; because I believe that if you were to youremove everything you can see and touch that there would still be “something” there. Call it spirit or energy or a creative intelligence or what have you—when I’m alone I feel a natural communion with the All which isn’t nothing. It’s Everything.
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