Thursday, January 31, 2013

luxury items

Okay, I wasn't going to post this, since when I look back over it it's quite unfocused; not to mention I feel a bit self-conscious talking just about ~feelings~ over here, internet.  However, my friend A. (a musician) wrote a facebook status about capitalism and suicidal thoughts and being an artist. And since I had just written this, I wanted to let it stand as part of that conversation.

Sitting here eating my chocolate and ginger candies, drinking my "English Breakfast" tea which came from my cousin at Christmas, in a tiny tin decorated like a red phone booth.

Sometimes I am just bowled over by the sheer blatant luxury of it all, like--what?!  I am wearing some pants with spandex in them?  And our human ape-brains figured out how to make spandex, you know, after we made those stone tools and invented writing, and also probably my pants flew all over the world and they went on a truck to a store and finally someone drove over to a Goodwill drop-box and put them in and then someone else hung them on the Goodwill rack in Wytheville, VA, where I figured a great use of my afternoon would be to wander about in a big lighted room full of clothes and try on these pants?

It makes me feel ashamed, I must say.  Ashamed of my thoughts about fashion, my love of pastries, the way I enjoy surfing the internet.  How I use coffee as a crutch to accomplish the stuff I call "work", which to others is play.

I just re-read "Cold Mountain", which of course only exacerbates my curmudgeonly dissatisfaction with modern life.  There is a moment near the beginning of the book when Inman has a few prescient glimpses of the coming industrial age, and considers it one where all the things he considered of value in life have either been "banished, or willingly fled".  How that hurts my heart!  How I long to live with a simplicity that harms none!  How I fear that my easy, easy upbringing has rendered me weak and unfit for such a life!

I know I'm not alone in this sentiment, but it still hurts me too look at the people of my generation, so overcome with guilt and pressure that they can't seem to "make it" or "succeed" in the post-modern mold.  Dear, intelligent friends who, for example, have trouble finding a job.  Who have trouble completing college.  Who take antidepressants because their job makes them sad.  Who long for love. Who struggle just to eat, not because they're too poor to afford food, but because their eating is disordered...

Sometimes I just want to tell them, you know what?  You are not the problem.  Our world is effed up.  The reason it's not working for you is because you have a good amount of sense.  You have a tender heart.  A human can only take so much, and our society seems built to alienate us.  Don't feel ashamed that you moved back with your parents.  A hundred years ago that was what you would do anyway.  Families are supposed to take care of each other.  So you feel privileged?  Me too.  That makes me feel sad and panicked too.

Paralysis is a terror for me.  I don't want to just live with this sadness, wandering around in Target to relax.  I want us to choose the right priorities.  I want all our trying and trying to mean something.  I want us to come together more.  I want our society to be more comfortable with physical touch, because I want a hug.  I want to know the place where I am, deeply, in its particulars.  I want to stop driving cars, forever.  I want to be better.

Yeah....Happy New Year.