And Jane Eyre, but we’ll get to her in post later this week. I spent the second half of the nineties and the first few years of the 21st century ignoring, repressing, pummeling, shackling, and then tolerating the passions.* I barricaded myself in the drapes of philosophy, true crime, and the escapist qualities of cinema, literature, and music. It worked for a while. Retreating so far from the road of socially quotidian goals and lifestyle choices sustained and nurtured my self-perception. That plan ran its course after a dozen years, and then I was soon filled with a Battleship Potemkin sized interiority.
Physiological sensation wanted a right to vote, wanted to be heard. No vexation without representation. In my thirtieth year of existence, the dominant political party has changed alliances and platforms. All propaganda and policies of “Don’t, Shouldn’t, Don’t Even Bother,” have been ousted and replaced by, “Do It, You Should, Why Ever Not.” And for three months of this new leadership term, the citizens within my being were living with each other harmoniously. At the very least, they weren’t inciting violence or loud noises in the ungodly hours of the morning.
And then the peace, or truce, began to crumble. There were already disturbances outside of the kingdom. Long-time trading partners and sovereign nation allies found the change of power inexplicable, nonsensical, and likely intolerable.** Implementing an isolationist component to my daily operations will have to suffice until such time that I secure more complementary and ideologically beneficial allegiances.
Now that the authoritative dynamics have undergone a role-reversal from the inside, it is no longer the passions that I wish to repress or silence. It is now the over-thinking, over-pattern-seeking, facetious, Avoidance Cynic that is behaving like a knight left behind at the Crusades. “Hey! What about me!”
And yes, what about you? You’ve been in office way too long. It’s time to let someone else call the shots. I’m not going to pretend you don’t exist because you’ll just incite riots on the sidewalks and inspire panics at every disco. Instead, I’m going to abide by the agendas of the new regime.
I have to follow the feeling…because I am “tired of [my] capacity for cynicism, tired of seeing only faults in [myself] and others, [I] wished to be overwhelmed by [my] feelings for a fellow human being. [I} wanted a situation where there would be no choice, no time to sigh and ask, ‘But are he and I really that suited anyway?’, where analysis and interpretation would be superfluous, where the other would simply be an unquestionable and wholly natural presence” (Alain de Botton, 1-2).
To my paramour, even if I cannot be your life, let me be your sanctuary.
* Wrath notwithstanding.
** Alain de Botton on intolerance: It “starts with two elements, a concept of what is right and wrong and the idea that one cannot let others live without seeing the light” (On Love, 81).