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.


  1. A very thoughtful post. Most of us are lost, but we don't all have the guts to admit to it. I started using mindfulness (meditating) nearly a couple of years back and it's helped me become a bit more centred. But I'm not sure I ever want to feel so comfortable in my own skin that I just don't want to try and carry on investigating or trying (pigeons, why not!). Be well and best of luck and energy to power your journey. (Not big on games but I Love books).

    1. I like a bit of mindfulness now and then! Thank you :-)


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