It has been said that to fall in love is to see for the first time. The upturn of an eye is the deepest of blues emit from a single stringed instrument. The definition of mystery is a brief brush by the softest of skin on the inner side of the wrist. The promise of a new day is the hope that you sense in the cautious grasp of an outreached hand. These were the subtitles that called to her in metaphor and painted her life a romantic composition that brought forth beauty in the details. When others saw a point of color, she saw a tiny universe. Behind every subtle detail was a rich emotion, the full story of an intensive day that ended with the draw of a breath. If at one point it had overwhelmed her, she had learned to step into the stream of information and not fight being carried off into the current of story that surrounds the people that she cared about.
Today it was a cold, rushing flow. The gingerbread air freshener fell from the mailbox into the bushes, and she didn’t reach to pick him up. His squishy rubber body was plastered with a plastic white smile that suggested warm evenings by a fire, and family. How cold and inhumane. She sometimes wanted to be mean. She imagined it would be so satisfying to throw a nasty glance to someone that had hurt her, or turn a stone shoulder to one of the many ornery assholes of the world. She tried this every so often, and the outcome was emotional pain on her part. How squishy could she be to feel shame for being so awful to her gingerbread air freshener? Probably just as squishy as he was.
Her arms felt insanely long and her hands infinitely far away, and she seemed to remember some questions online that asked about strange body perceptions like that. The problem with making such boldly stated assertions about normality and then ascribing people with labels given some ill-defined questionnaire is that normality is an illusion, and such assertions only serve to encourage people to package themselves up and not reveal any experience or cognition that might regard them as broken, or not quite right. The irony is that the set of fundamental human qualities includes a desire to be understood, and this rests on having some ability to connect with other people. Such a simple thing can bring a soul back from sadness into finding acceptance, yet in our desire to “help” such people we discourage revelations and intimacy, and drive them deeper into emotional isolation. Nuts. The girl realized that she was standing in her doorway, again finding herself lost in her own thoughts. She was sure they would have a question about that too.
The kitchen was dark upon entering, only with a small spot of light shining on the pile of blankets where she slept on the blue tile. Everything she looked at, spoke to her in metaphor. It is usually the case that for one’s life, the color that the metaphor paints its experience, is determined by the most pressing issue in the person’s conscious or unconscious mind. The girl was instensely distracted with her an upcoming event: to make a declaration of her ultimate purpose before it was to be discovered by way of trial of error, by learning and growth. It was a backwards way to go about things, to need to sign off on a future vision and not simply declare that she wanted to continue her growth happening in the present. Thus, this was the metaphor that painted her empty kitchen that day. She did not care about a future title or role, but rather wanted to craft the perfect environment for such learning and growth, and one that would maximize those moments of brilliance when the multiple flows of information that were her constant state of thoughts came together in beautiful symphony, producing a swift and elegant efficiency that gave the feeling of the ultimate fulfillment. She was tired of being probed and tested for the things she knew, and what she did not. There were always infinite things that she would and could possibly not know. She was brilliant sometimes, and completely broken and useless in other things, and she could only promise to do her best. She wanted her best to be enough. And so she looked for this feeling in her kitchen. To be like the spoon that falls between the oven and the sink: not quite fit right to be used for cooking, but falling short of where all the other utensils were spending their time.
She wondered what it might be like to have a firm belonging in the sink, or even granted the celebrity status to get a pass into the dishwasher. In times like these, her strategy for evaluating the degree of belonging was to pretend to be someone else. The answers came easily, flooding her mind with a particularly blue and colorful river of emotional thought. “I can’t stand being with her,” thought the girl, and the statement was so assertive that she rushed out of the room to give action to its salience. It was clear that it would be easy to be overwhelmed by her intensity, a constant beat of urgency like a gust of wind just strong enough to topple one’s balance and force taking a necessary step. Her relaxed state was a breath held, over a decade ago, and forgotten. If it were to be found and rush out, with it might come particles of experience that had been swirling inside her like a dust storm for years. It’s no wonder she didn’t belong in the sink. She was less of a utensil, and more of the water rushing from the faucet.
She exited stage left from this thought, and escaped from it by closing the kitchen door behind her, collapsing onto a pile of blankets on the floor. She for some reason was adversive to wanting to purchase a bed, because it seemed like just another expensive item that would be disposed of too quickly to justify the cost, and resorted to sleeping on piles of soft things thrown on the floor in different rooms, wherever she happened to sit with her computer. She rolled over 180 degrees to face the ceiling, and threw back her arms over her head. She closed her eyes. The tiny fan that powered the entire air flow in her apartment provided a soothing noise to fight against the flashes that were the constant behind those closed eyes. It was easy to see why keeping company with others was so challenging for this explosion of a human being. Rationalization, intelligent thought, and most standard cognitive and behavioral approaches could not reason with her natural rhythm, and she found this funny. It might have seemed overwhelming to others, but was not really a big deal for her after so much life experience with it. Most insight comes from this strange kind of intense thinking, the kind that combines unexpected things in sometimes hilarious ways. She searched for some well chosen thought that would serve as a mental blankie to bring the rhythm of her mind to a different key. Sometimes she chose motivational phrases, or even Latin. Today it was two words. Just. Breathe.
It was now getting dark, and she imagined herself reduced to a dark silhouette against the setting sun from behind the blinds. It is assumed that which is right in front of us can be seen, and she found this logical and true for most tangible things. But for all that defined her in this current setting, the longest of fingers, scraggly hair and mantis arms, she came to realize that for the non-tangible, she could not be seen. And in the times like these, when her future was based on some brief evaluation by a stranger, when she wanted more than anything to be seen, it was even more unlikely. It would take an abyss of time and careful words articulated with story to properly describe whatever encompassed her spirit, and this was not feasible. It was even worse when she thought about love. It had been a painful experience, time and time again, to come to terms that despite her assumptions, the people that she loved could not distinguish her from a crowd. It is interesting how, when the seemingly different domains of life are broken into their component Legos, the fundamental human desires are equivalent. She wanted to be understood, and she wanted to be valued, and this was true across things. For this next step in her life, perhaps a different strategy was needed. To make an assertion that an external thing should see and value her in some way was not the right way to go about it.
It has been said that to fall in love is to see for the first time. It can be added to that wisdom that to be able to glow brilliantly and distinguish oneself from a crowd, one might choose to be blind. It is only when we close our eyes to the expectations of the rest of the world that we can grow beautifully, and immensely. She realized that, for this next step in her life, she did not want to try and be seen, but to just continue growing, without expectation. She wrinkled her nose at the discovery of such a lovely place in the now darkness.
Sochat, Vanessa. "Behind Her Nose." @vsoch (blog), 12 Dec 2015, https://vsoch.github.io/2015/behind-my-nose/ (accessed 20 Mar 23).