There’s a man walking around out there in the world who is, to some extent, responsible for all the good things that I am today, who I don’t know, who doesn’t know me, who doesn’t want to know me, and who never really even did anything to deserve the dubious honour of being my greatest teacher and guide.
This is the premise of the post that, when I didn’t write it, made my every other post optional.
My favourite author is Haruki Murakami. One of the things that is notable about Murakami’s stories is that the protagonists are not crazy, but when crazy things happen to them they just go with it. They don’t fight it. They don’t agonise over whether they’re going crazy. And they don’t create a load of drama around it either. They sort of acknowledge their unusual situation with an equanimous shrug, and that’s about the extent of it.
Murakami’s characters always kind of gave me hope that the fact that I was…not crazy, but, also, not quite not crazy either…wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
And then, when crazy things finally started happening to me, that hope probably predisposed me to go with them. Until the reality of the situation I had gone with started dawning on me. Because, actually, it does take a full-blown crazy person to go with it when crazy things start happening. So, upon realising that I was, in fact, a full-blown crazy person, I started thrashing. But it was too late; I had made my decision and gone past the point of no return.
The fine line between genius and insanity has long intrigued me. But, in my life, I have often been just courageous enough to find out how much of a coward I really am, and, instinctively, I feel like courage may in fact, at least in my case, be the line between genius and insanity. Because it takes a little bit of courage to pursue your crazy vision, but it takes a whole heart full of courage to hold true to that vision while simultaneously acknowledging the hostile reality surrounding it. And that’s when, if you choose to continue, it becomes devastatingly easy to buffer yourself with clever distortions. At which point you’re swimming in a choppy sea of half-truths and the shore you were heading for could be over there, or it could be over there, or it could be over there, or it could be over there.
This man, who I don’t know, who doesn’t know me, who doesn’t want to know me, for some reason, became my North Star. Not only did his existence tempt me into an ocean that looked cold and scary and objectively dangerous, with the promise of gold on the other side, but it guided me, from quadrillions of miles away, across that ocean. And the gold I found was not the gold I thought I’d find, because I hadn’t escaped the clever distortions, but it was fucking gold nonetheless.
For some reason that I have yet to comprehend, this man, who I don’t know, who doesn’t know me, who doesn’t want to know me, imbued me with the courage that I never thought I had when I looked at him. By orienting myself toward his light, I completed a years-long journey that I would have otherwise torn myself to shreds on after a couple of days. And, at this point, it’s safe to assume that ‘his light’ was illusory – just another clever distortion of my sea of half-truths – but The Light was really fucking there, because if it hadn’t been there, if it hadn’t been constant, if it hadn’t been the ever-fixéd mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken, then I would have been lost.
This man, who I don’t know, who doesn’t know me, who doesn’t want to know me, allowed me to glimpse True Love. And I feel bad that he had to be the one to do that, because it wasn’t a job he signed up for and I don’t think it came without cost to him. I owe him a deep debt of gratitude. And at the same time, I have to acknowledge the fact that he didn’t have any fucking thing to do with it anyway. He was responsible for his own good grace in the face of my agonised thrashing, and for that there is a separate debt of gratitude. But the deep mystery of what transpired for me; the numinosity of those years of pilgrimage – that is a sacred burden that should never be placed on another human being’s shoulders.
You’ll have to forgive me if this blog post leaves you wondering what the hell this madwoman is rambling on about. This is a long thread to pull.