Notes On Wanting

1

I had wanted it to be you, you know.
But of course, you probably don’t know. can’t know. and if you do know,
Pretend you don’t.
Because that is a dopamine trail long since dissipated amongst the clouds
Scattered across the prairies, forests, mountains, rivers
All that is left is some confusing intermingled web tainted by
anxiety/attraction/performance/emotions/
Probably just chemicals

2

Intoxicating and infuriating
To want what we cannot have
Alive in the tension obsessed with the paradox
Homeostasis is boring yet balance is key
The fluctuations make for inherent instability
But isn’t that where we all feel most alive, most human
that’s why we seek out the edges of cliffs
it’s that teetering moment before taking a step before jumping out of the plane before cutting your hair
The moment before climax
The holy shit holy shit holy shit
It’s not about chaos but more about oscillation
maybe a little bit about chaos: when things are too predictable they are boring…

((time speeds up (we check out) because we have those neural connections already)
(there’s something about a new thing, a hard thing, a previously unnavigated, unconquered, unattained thing that makes us
pay attention in a way that we forget to in the day-to-day mundanity))

the challenge is
the wanting is
the tension is
Intoxicating infuriating

3

And there seem to be people who embody that in my life I am drawn to them like a moth to the flame bringing about my own pain yet masochistically seeking it again and again and enjoying it but hating it why are those so close together love and hate and pain and pleasure is this just me is this human is this animal is this neurosis

4

I want to want
Because it’s the opposite of depression it’s the opposite of apathy it’s the opposite of death
Maybe it’s just all chemical
dopamine
How sad it feels to realize that the thing that makes me feel most alive is perhaps something that could be concocted in a lab sterile and removed from everything I associate it with
bodies pressed to bodies wind in my hair a beating heart curled toes an intake of breath eye contact tears

5

(written October 7, 2020)
A single lamp lights the room, a placeholder until the sun comes up. Half a mug of coffee is carefully balanced on the arm of the couch beside a woman, reading. The book she holds has a spaceship on the cover. She has been a bit obsessed with fantasy and science fiction recently. She knows that she is using it to escape reality, but honestly who wouldn’t want to escape this year. Pandemic and politics have made 2020, as some would say, unprecedented.

Though, as much as she wants to stay enveloped in the narrative, every so often a paragraph or idea will hit in a way that pulls her back to reality, or rather, pushes her out of the novel. A situation, an emotion, an idea—anything really can cause her brain to stutter to a halt. Sometimes it takes few lines of text until her eyes realize that her brain is no longer processing the words she’s seeing. Like walking around a room and snagging her sweater on a wayward edge. She can keep walking, sure, but she’ll probably end up destroying her sweater in the process.

The woman backs up and rereads the paragraph.

Any good novel will dialogue, in some way, with the human condition. It will deal with questions of meaning and purpose or mortality or power or love or fate or aging or beauty or longing… that’s the one, longing. Homesickness.

“Of all the things he’d anticipated in leaving Mushtello, homesickness hadn’t been one of them. He didn’t feel it with a pang, but with an ache – a dull, keening ache, the kind of thing you could ignore at first but that grew less tolerable every day. There was a lot about his homeworld he didn’t miss. The crowds. The grime. … But he missed the people.”

The woman has also found that any good story contains multiple different levels of relating to the characters within it. Sometimes she relates to their way of seeing the world or to their situation. Sometimes their motivations or inner conflict feel all too familiar. Sometimes she feels like she is struggling to relate to the characters at all, but in trying to understand comes an opportunity for learning, empathy, and growth.

“He’d left for good reasons, he told himself. He’d left for the right reasons.”

Closely followed by these moments of connection to a piece of media, whether a book or a show, a meme or a lyric, comes this inexplicable, seemingly unavoidable (and remarkably pesky) desire to share. Forever unsure of the origin—because she is of a generation shaped and molded by social media and/or because the need for connection is an innate part of being human—the desire is difficult to suppress. Sometimes it can be overridden, sometime a sticky note in the book to “remind her to share this later” is enough to move on (even though often these sticky notes are never revisited). Sometimes a journal entry does the trick, helping her work through her thoughts and emotions in the process. Sometimes she shares with a friend or, if the topic feels too…sticky for that, posts on her little corner of the internet. She might even write in third person to try and distance herself a bit from the emotions the passage brought up. She might intellectualize, dance around the subject, over-analyze, ramble…

“Even so, he missed he friends. Stars, he missed having friends. He wondered, cautiously, if he’s made a mistake. If he was still making one.”

Is reading always meant to challenge us in some way? Even if it is for enjoyment? Perhaps we can never truly escape from our reality, from our emotions, from our own stories.

“Sawyer realized that was what was scaring him. He was afraid of getting his hopes up, of putting too much stock into this new thing. He’d learned, in the past few tendays, that deciding ahead of time how a thing was going to go was setting yourself up for a faceplant.”

And perhaps that’s a good thing.
Because yes, while I am longing for aspects of my previous life, thinking and writing and reading are helping me to realize my own fears. Helping me to remember why I made the decisions that I did and helping me to face the doubts and hopes and longing I feel. Helping me to know that escaping can good and healthy, so long as it’s temporary. So long as I remember to continue working to craft reality to make it somewhere I want to live.

“He looked at himself in the mirror, and he felt some confidence creep back in.”

(Excerpts taken from pages 176-177 of Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers, #3 in the Wayfarers series.)

6

In this circling back I am getting closer
Looking at the old with new information, new experiences, new perspective
New snippets of conversations, new voices, new words from old voices
Looking at the new with old information, old thoughts, old words scribbled into journals
Piecing together a new-old narrative, finding some thread, some proof of continuity, some understanding

In wanting to know
What am I truly seeking?
Closer to what?

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Notes On Wanting

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