My self is an onion. Concise layering but unevenly designed. Also stings the eyes when opened up. Sweet, sour, spicy, crunchy when bitten into (I am sure there are other flavors but this is what comes to mind). A confused pallet (or is it spelled palette?) but a continual desire to go back for more. My downfall or my uplift? Maybe my self is both. (What they hell am I talking about here?) (I have really gotten away from my point.) (Not a good way to start.)
Carl Jung asked Sigmund Freud, “What is the self anyways?” Freud did not supply Jung with an answer that pleased him so Jung went off on his own.
My self (I say this as if I own it) is complicated. It has always been complicated and I presume that until I find a way to chase it out or consistently distract it, it will always present me with complication.
It’s a continually boiling pot that rarely simmers down (my self I mean). Always some kind of judgement, craving, criticism or dissatisfaction boiling up (I realize that by using the boiling pot analogy I am using a ready-made rather than making my own). As much as I do like my self, it is a real pain in my ass (being honest here).
Here is the most agitating thing about my self: THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING THAT IT SEEMS TO THINK I SHOULD BE DOING. The thing will not let me rest. I need to be writing. I need to be making art. I need to be listening to music. I need to be writing. I need to meditate. I need to create a more interesting and engaged life for myself. I need to be writing. I need to exercise. I need to watch more films. I need to call back billing agents. I need to wash car. I need to become a happier person. I need to make my life more exciting than what it is. I need to be writing. On and on ad infinitum. (Is that how you spell that?) Ceaseless and never ending. Rarely will my self allow me to sit in my lawn chair and simply enjoy being showered by sun. (The sun has now been obscured by clouds.)
Fortunately, I have found a way to trick, manipulate and silence my self into submission. (I am a pleasant and non-violent person and realize this might make me sound sadomasochistic. I’m not.)
Inside a book. This is where I make my escape and hide. Not from the world but from my self. (Ok, maybe a bit from the world.)
A Freudian psychoanalyst once told me that this is the behavior I have developed in reaction to my unruly self. She called it escapeeism (not escapism). It is a strategy to lose. (I never understand what she meant by this. Did she mean a strategy to lose in life or a strategy to lose my self? Was this meant positively or negatively? This is now one of the great mysteries in my life.)
However, this strategy of hiding from my self in a book (being absorbed in books) is not reliable or sustainable. The moment I put the book down my self comes back with such vehemence and indignation that I am beyond being able to control it. It is obviously pissed for being tricked and suppressed. You son of a bitch. Your life is shit. There is so much that you should be doing and have not done. You are going to fail in life. It is all going to fall apart. You will get sick if you do not get up. People are mad at you. If you do not stay on top of things everything will fall apart. I pick the book back up. Gradually, as I read, I reach a point where my self is no longer there. This is the only strategy I have found that consistently works.
I realize that no one, not even my self, likes being silenced.
There always comes a point where I must put the book back down (even though I know I should not).
What are you doing with your life? You’re avoiding everything by losing yourself in a book. This is the highly educated way that you put everything off. All in the name of consuming culture. But you no longer create culture! You need to be writing and making art with severe dedication if you really want to turn your life into what you want it to be. But you can’t do this. You won’t do this. Instead you keep losing yourself in a book and telling yourself it is ok. This is good enough. You think you can really pacify me with such a lie? I know what you are doing. You are sacrificing your full potential in life just to get away from me! Loser! (Sometimes I can not help but wonder if my self is just my father immortalized in my head.)
My self goes on and on (and on, on, on, on, on, on, on, on, on, on, on, on, on, on,on ,on, on, on, on, on and on). My self is relentless. Reading is self inoculation.
“First and foremost, I think of myself as a reader,” is what Borges said. If I said this it would be very similar but slightly different (I realize that even if something is slightly different it changes everything). I would say, “First and foremost, I think of myself as a reader by necessity!”
I really can’t think of anything I find more pleasurable and rewarding than losing my self in a book. Not even eating my favorite food or seeing an attractive woman nude is better. What greater pleasure is there than when the sting of the onion has gone?
Time to go make myself (or my self?) a radish and humus sandwich. When it comes to food I never know who I am feeding. Am I feeding myself (body) or my self (head)?
What a wonderful space, to live and read in this place, when my self is gone. (I did not write this. Some forgotten poet whom I have unfortunately forgotten did.)