When I was seventeen I discovered existentialism. I read Nausea by Jean-Paul Sartre and Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse and saw myself in those books as if I had somehow curled up inside the letters. I felt a certain kinship with wolves and woods, and a certain distance from the people around me. I was instantly comforted by the philosophical intellectualism of the pointlessness of existence. My friends from school and I started our tentative journeys into separate lives and I felt a hazy loneliness poking me rudely with a stick. I sort of forced myself to believe that I was happy and that everything was fine and that those books and ideas were all I needed to be totally cool with all that 'being an adult' stuff.
Looking back, I was mostly just confused and upset. About who I was and who I was turning into. About the sudden complete change in my life after so many years of school. Those books were what I used to cope, but they didn't solve anything. I guess they latched onto my analytical nature, and I felt like they sparked a better understanding of life. Maybe it would have been best if I could have climbed inside those books and stayed there for years, instead of stumbling into adulthood in the open. Regardless, they were a catalyst for something and I think they helped to push me towards, well - me.
When I think about the past I feel like two people at once. I can remember being that person, but at the same time I can't. It's completely disorientating. I can't remember or understand that person's perceptions or motives. Actually sometimes it feels disgusting, like I have continually been re-emerging from an old skin, escaping some alien mass. And sometimes I feel like I will always be wrong, like right in my core lies some rotten thing that ultimately is the pure me. I don't know what that's about. It's a weird concoction of guilt and fear.
Sometimes I wish I was a video game character and I could just max out my level through relentless grinding and then know that I was done growing. That there was nothing else that could change me. Maybe this is why sometimes I like to max out my characters near the beginning of a game so I can breeze through the whole thing ridiculously overpowered. On the other hand, I'm sure I'm my most capable self so far. I know I understand more than I've ever understood before. About myself, about living, and about the mating habits of pigeons. And I understand that I will never eliminate fear or guilt or sadness, but that I will be stronger, more knowledgeable, and more like the person I want to be as time goes on. So please prepare yourself for six hundred future posts detailing pigeons' personal relationships.