will to meaning

I might have to start dealing with this ridiculous angst. It’s currently manifesting as a form of futile homesickness and nostalgia for how things used to be, and a persistent (and extremely annoying) knowledge that they will never be that way again. I don’t even have to listen to sad songs – I just need to tune in to Glasgow uni’s student radio, and I start to crumble from the inside out. At risk of sounding extremely whiny: I miss my friends. I miss the conversations (both childish and intellectual). Sure, I have friends here, but I can’t have the same types of conversations.

[Obviously, I could – for starters – just not tune in. And for ages, I haven’t. I hadn’t. Until today. Clearly avoiding it is not going to solve the problem here.]

Life goes on, time marches forward, tearing down any edifice we build either in reality or in our heads [I guess we could argue that reality only exists in our mind, so they are one and the same].

I’ve been trying to sweep it under the rug, bury myself in being busy: reading; writing; studying; making list after list after list of things I could do, things I want to do; focusing on anything except my current condition. Tiring myself out and stressing over assignments and learning, flinging myself to the other extreme: while I’m laying in bed, I’ve started to make lists of things I need (or want) to do. I’ve been trying to take this in stride (is that even how you use this expression?) – what am I supposed to do, sit around moping?
And then, I fall asleep. The only place I can’t hide, not even from myself. The ridiculous part is, it’s actually working. In the process, I’ve realised I’m actually becoming one of my characters; emotionally dysfunctional, almost constantly angry but not (burdened with a kind of… insidious anger that just blows up in the wrong place at the wrong time, at the wrong person).
I know, there’s worse things happening in the world – just look at the headlines on any given day. I don’t have words for any of that. I don’t have a vocabulary that would capture how dreadful that truly is. Even the word ‘dreadful’ sounds like an understatement (or patronising) in that context.
I’m trying to be grateful for everything. I am trying to be grateful that I’m still breathing. In the past few months, I have come to appreciate that last year there were moments that I had a brush with death. I’m not sure whether I’ve fully grasped that yet, but I’ve inevitably started wondering:
Is there a deeper purpose – a bigger scheme – I’m being kept alive for? Not in any religious or spiritual fashion. I’m neither. But still, I could’ve died. Am I supposed to come away with some sort of lesson?  Find some sort of meaning? I can’t see it. It’s true most things are best understood in retrospect, but as far as I can tell, life has to continue forwards, not backwards (or in circles, like a broken record). When it feels like a huge chunk of my identity is missing (maybe it popped out for a drink at the pub and never came back), where am I supposed to look?
Thus far, my way of ‘exploring’ has meant circumventing my problem(s) completely by drowning myself in fiction (after all, philosophy is fiction, right?). It’s not really helping (as you’ve probably noticed from this long post).
I don’t know, maybe I should just write. That’s what I’m “good at”. That’s what comes naturally.
And yet, writing doesn’t make me feel better. Well, I tend to feel better once I’ve written it all out, and act as if it’ll help me work it out, but it doesn’t. Not always. Putting it on the page helps with articulating it, but it won’t solve it. I understand that much.
So many voices and impulses in my head. Which one do I follow? Which one can I follow?
Then again, there’s no such thing as a panacea (yes, look at me, I can use fancy words borrowed from Greek). Yesterday, when I knew I could put ‘serious’ things off for a day, I felt so… productive. So accomplished. So…on top of the world. Even though I actually only managed to cross two things off my to-do list.
And yet, I had to reach for more. I had to push it. I was feeling good. Put on a friend’s radio show and wham – flew high and tumbled all the way back down. Was it hubris? Was I just arrogantly over-confident about how I dealt with my absence (by not dealing with it)?
Makes me think I’m lying to myself about it all. Hell, I’ve even lied to my mother – I didn’t want to admit I’d been crying (cause that could bring her even more down or just piss her off… depending on the day) so I told her I had the sniffles. [Now she’s panicking about me possibly having a cold. To be honest, I’d rather have that than feel terrible like this.]
OK, here’s the thing:  I wanted to ‘feel smarter’ (that is, feel like I know something – or perhaps become more intelligent, I don’t know). I wasn’t reading enough. I wasn’t learning anything. At the time, I figured the best way of approaching the ‘problem’ of ‘idiocy’ was to actually pick up a book and start reading. Now that I’ve incorporated it into my daily routine (through an act of minimal self-discipline), it’s easy to forget how far the thought (the ‘I wish I was smarter’ part) is from the action (picking up a book) and result (not actually smarter, but riddled with even more self-doubt than before). That was more or less something I had control over.
But how would that work with other things?
Maybe I’m just a control-freak (see the self-doubt I was talking about?).
I can’t do that for a heart transplant. The best thing I can do is stay positive and wish and hope. How do you stay positive? The ‘logical’ answer (well, is there such a thing as logic when it comes to emotion? anyway…) is that you get yourself a really good support network. You find yerself some good friends – people who love, and support you when you feel like shit. I’m lucky enough to have a few of those. But I really miss the ones I left behind.
[I’m sorry I left you behind, if that means anything. I know it sounds stupid, because none of us had any idea my health was this bad, and because in retrospect, had I stayed, I could’ve died, so in theory leaving was the best thing I did, but it doesn’t mean I don’t miss the hell out of you all. Knowing it wasn’t anyone’s fault doesn’t make me feel better about it.]
And yes, I know I’ve said I miss them a thousand times… It never feels like words are enough. [yes, I said it – I know, I’m a writer, but words fail quite often]
Meanwhile, the lie has come back to bite me in the ass. Mother has caught me crying, and has stated her anxiety and worry over it. And she’ll probably go and cry in her room now (As if I didn’t feel crap enough). I know she’s a mother but it’s ridiculous that her emotions are inextricably tied to my condition – it’s almost stifling (again, I know I’m a jerk,but having to carry the mood of two people is not always feasible.. why do I take it upon myself to do that in the first place? It’s stupid and irresponsible)
Some days I wish I could be left alone with my sorrows. Nothing dreadfully dramatic or tragic would happen, I’d just cry my eyes out for a bit and then get back to my routine. I can’t even drink them away (firstly because I take loads of medication, and secondly, I have tried drinking away feelings in the past – in the pre-heart problem era –  and it hasn’t worked because I just end up even more pissed off than I was to begin with).
Fuck it, who am I kidding… I want to be able to go home. Wherever that is.  I don’t know if it’s in Scotland or Cyprus any more. Maybe that’s honestly what’s scaring the shit out of me [please forgive my foul language] – a lack of… a lack of direction? Oulipo writer Raymond Queneau once said (something along the lines of) “only when I set constraints for myself am I truly free”. Maybe that complete lack of ‘constraints’ is my problem.
Or maybe I just really miss my friends and am super-analysing the whole situation.
[I’ve been told overthinking and super-analysing things is a ‘defect’ of mine and that I should stop doing it… hence why I like to focus more on books and learning than people and relationships nowadays, though apparently, I should ultimately strive for Aristotelian balance]
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9 thoughts on “will to meaning

  1. Forgive me, I don’t know you at all, or your circumstances – but it sounds like you’re pushing yourself so hard, trying to make yourself perfect in one direction because you can’t be perfect in another. Maybe you just need to go home, at least for a while? Maybe your Mum needs to give you a hug and you need to cry on her shoulder. You know, simple stuff like that.

    1. Aye, maybe. Unfortunately, I can’t travel (hence the yearning for “home”) – I have an artificial heart machine whose function is sufficiently reduced on a plane (so basically not allowed to travel till transplant).

      1. Well, fingers crossed you won’t have to wait too long for the transplant. My niece has been through it all with kidney failure – back on dialysis now. My sympathies.

      2. Thanks. 🙂 Sending loads of strength to your niece! (I hope she’s doing better?)

        On the upside, I’m not in the hospital.

        [I’ve had a long cry and got all the tension out. Feeling much better, although I recognise nothing has changed]

  2. This just resonated with me. All the thoughts tangling up. I recognize the need to try to unravel them and respect you for laying them out like that. Good luck. I hope you feel better. Sending positive thoughts

  3. Wow, this all resonated with me as well. Just found your blog via the guest post you wrote up. All the over-analyzing, over-thinking, longing for missed friends, longing for home, making lists, trying to be thankful, recognizing all sorts of horrible things are going on in the world… yes, it resonated with me. Are you over-analyzing? I obviously don’t know. But the quest for meaning is worth it. Looking for direction is worth it. Finding self-worth outside yourself is worth it. I pray your transplant will come through soon.

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