I am flipping through all the pages of my journal like I’m looking for something, but what that is I don’t know. It feels as though something is missing that no amount of searching will find. This scares me. I am afraid that I will never be able to accurately describe in writing what life really is to me, even in this private forum, where I have no constraints or obligations.
When I was younger, I would just write down what was happening to me, and that was enough. But it isn’t anymore. Now I want to capture everything, but I always miss something—what the sound of someone’s laugh really means, how someone’s voice can give you the whole damn universe in a millisecond.
Being home for winter break makes me feel 14 again. I don’t go out even when I can, then I get that “missing out” feeling that I always used to have. But some part of my brain is deeply bored with all the same old faces. Worse is the feeling the people here stir in me of having nothing to offer. I feel like there is nothing for other people to like about me, which makes it harder to like myself. So I click and clank at my typewriter (reunited) and try to work it all out, but it’s just words—it doesn’t seem to communicate my true feelings. It is a perfunctory unloading but not an emotional one.
Maybe the emotion is not in the writing, but in the reading. I just started reading Waiting for Godot, and I was telling my dad that even though I was enjoying it, I had no idea what was going on. He said it was like a Mark Rothko painting—it isn’t what it is about, it’s how it makes you feel.
Last time I felt a heaviness, I was at school in London, and I went to Tate Modern. From a distance, I caught a glimpse of a Rothko—you can’t mistake that melting of colours for anyone else—and was drawn to the room where that painting was displayed alongside four others by him. I got semi-lost in their unspecified emotion. They aren’t trying to tell you some specific message, there are no hidden meanings, yet this somehow makes them say even more. They contain so much. But there was still a faint buzzing in the background of my brain. I don’t know if it was worry or the awareness of other human beings around me or aftershocks from the Big Bang still radiating around our psyches. Something bigger than ourselves.
I sat by the Thames and felt part of something bigger. I don’t feel that here. ♦