I sit for hours. The sun comes and goes, I ignore it. Stuck in an infinite loop of self awareness. The narrative derailed ages ago, near the start, but carries on anyway; "I don't care, I don't care, I don't care, I don't care ...", but that's not right. I do care. I just don't know what about. But all that I have, all that I am is my cares.
This is not depression, because depression makes you depressed. And I'm not bored. Or tired. I just am. I care, the world exists inside me not perceived but objective. It is, I care. Wordlessly, thinking thoughts beyond my ability to even perceive properly. Beyond meaning.
I know that I could cast this ...ennui as depression. I could just release it, apply some clichés, and make it stop. But that is not what I want. Feeling good is just as arbitrary as feeling bad, as feeling empty and meaningless. I lack the ability to explain myself properly.
Family and friends might identify my condition and feel obliged to help in some way. Feel a need to break through, show me I'm not alone. I know I'm not alone. I know that this could be dealt with as depression. But that's not improvement, it's just change. Change without reason is at best chaos, at worst, defeatism, resigning oneself to fate. Too easy, too hard, not relevant. What's the point in making that change? I don't know if there is a point. I don't know if there is such a thing as 'a point'. So why change? Equally now, we have "why not?", but I'm not able yet to flit about on that plane - I feel it wouldn't be as unconscious as it would need to be. I would be choosing my moments of entropy.
So I'm still hung up on the idea of momentum. I'm on a path, until I have reason to leave it, here I stay. So I sit, and let my mind race, thinking of nothing.
Of course, we're talking here about a metaphor, drawing on a memory of previous bouts of idle stupor to form a literary scene to hide behind. In truth I am sat at work, typing this into notepad.
Some background. A few days ago I took and passed my 3rd Dan karate black belt. The previous 2 dan gradings were much more 'glorious' affairs (especially the first). This was very private, minimal spectators, and I didn't tell anyone about it except those who ended up finding out anyway, ie my two flat mates.
My family knew I was taking it this autumn, but I saw no reason to share the exact date, because of ego. I have one. It is my greatest weakness. If you tell me I'm great I will believe it. This is not acceptable. Further, nobody really understands exactly what my achievement involved, what the nature of it was. I am a philosophical martial artist - I believe that most of my ability is to do with psychology, philosophy and self control.
People might well like to say they understand this idea, that they too have this experience. A few may well. But most won't. My grading was manifest in the real world, with my chief instructor assessing me and awarding me belts and so on so forth. But my real grading took place within me. It went like this:
"Am I worthy of Sandan?"
-several months of careful thought-
No amount of clapping or enthusiasm has anything to do with it. This is all so because I do not personally feel like my club has the sufficient heritage of knowledge and experience to make high level assessments of martial worth. The organisation is basically aimed at children and beginners. To improve I have had to rely on extensive private studies, and strict personal training. I spent a long time deciding what was required for 3rd Dan, then I spent the rest of the time raising myself to that level. In reality then, I am no Sandan of Karate, more a Sandan of my own personal artform. I would not like to say where this latter rates in comparison to whichever form of Karate or Budo or the Martial way one would measure it against. I hope it would compare favourably. I believe it might.
But only I have taken this grading. And while I may have a belt with three stripes and a piece of A4 with the relevant intimations, there is no real outward sign of the grade I feel I have attained.
My family found out about the material grading that evening, my sister phoning me to find out how I'd done. She offered congratulations, and I know she is proud of her brother, but I also heard emptiness behind her words, a false, managed congratulation. "Well done!" but it was a veneer of enthusiasm over the more accurate "you must be very proud, and I'm happy for you, but I do not feel that you are truly comparable to a 3rd Dan as graded by people from Japan in front of an audience of hundreds".
I contemplated writing a brief bulletin about my success on the little email-ring my (non-immediate) family have, but my sister beat me to it, again full of enthusiasm that she thinks is genuine. She stole my announcement and made it hers, and it's just too much effort to take it back.
My mother phoned up with congratulations. She genuinely is proud, but I know she thinks it's an extension of the Karate I've been doing since I was seven, requiring praise and reward. I thanked her apologetically and got back to work.
My father phoned up (from out in the middle east) with congratulations. He has a better sense of the achievement, enough to know that it was far more personal a transcendence than awkward familial banter could adequately service. Nor was such contact required. I know he's proud, he knows I know. He felt compelled to call. I awkwardly accepted the offer, tried to be enthusiastic by changing the subject to computers but stumbled over myself. An awkward pause, and so I began the negotiations to terminate the call with minimal embarassment to all parties.
Today, my mother came into work and attempted to give me some congratulatory cards in colourful envelopes. I behave in a certain way around my colleagues, and a certain way around my family, and the two do not mix well. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I sat tense and motionless as she attempted to embrace me around my office chair, my stomach convulsing with rage and horror and fear and embarassment and self contempt as my stupid menopausal bovine coworker looked on, waiting for a heart warming scene of reciprocation, and probably some clues towards an explanation of this unexpected event (I didn't see any point in informing my colleagues of my grading). None were given.
"Thankyou" I apologised as I placed the three unopened envelopes straight in my desk drawer. I don't think I even looked at my mother's face throughout the whole ordeal, never mind any kind of eye contact. She left as quickly as I was mentally screaming for her to. Not screaming at her, more at the world, at myself. Just wanted to clear that up. I have the requisite love and respect for both my parents though it makes my skin crawl to type it.
I sat. I stood. I fetched a can of coke from the fridge. I sat. I stared into the page of MFC code in front of me, uncomprehending, vacant. I switched to outlook express and pressed send & receive. Nothing. I opened notepad, and started typing.
I'm allowing this in 'New Writeups' because I want to know some people have read it. I don't believe depression is relevent to me, but lonliness sure can be.
Everyone's gone home. I guess I had better look at those cards.