Off the grid

I grew up into a person who believed very strongly in self-sufficiency. In every sense. It was not only what I sought to achieve, but also something I believed was necessary for me to achieve in order to become worthy.

I don’t think it was just an unreasonable ideal I was chasing to validate myself. I think it was also, maybe mostly, a defence mechanism.

In more recent years, I have been more ideologically inclined toward interdependence. Being off the grid started to seem selfish and short sighted. The easy way out and the road to nowhere. True self-sufficiency started to look not only illusory, but also just theoretically suboptimal. Being part of a bigger, better whole now seems, for me, to be the only logical route to a good life.

The problem is I am bad at interdependence. I am constantly, unintentionally, dropping off the grid. If I could keep believing that was where I am supposed to be, things would be easier for me. But I don’t. So they’re not.

If I didn’t need anyone, I wouldn’t need them to forgive me. If nobody needed me, I wouldn’t let them down. I wasn’t just chasing self-sufficiency to become worthy; I was running away from my inherent unworthiness. But it’s not until you face these things that you realise they were never really true to begin with. The only way I’m going to accept my actual worth is to keep doing stuff badly and being forgiven.

Which is not my preference, quite frankly – I prefer to be flawless.

The Missing Void

I’d make a good monk.

In fact, I often fantasise about a reality in which I ran away to live in solitude and dedicate myself purely to the pursuit of spiritual understanding. Even as a non-religious kid, the idea of becoming a Christian nun was oddly appealing to me.

I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time in acseticism and isolation. Often avoidant asceticism and isolation. I enjoy it, and adapt easily to it. And the idea of the asceticism and isolation being virtuous has enraptured and raised suspicion in me in equal measures over the years. It’s an awfully good excuse to run away from all my irrational fears and places of deepest discomfort…

Right now, however – quite in contrast to my previous post advocating my most extroverted self, and quite in contrast to frustrated desire for new people and conversations and stimuli I’ve been feeling throughout this pandemic – I’m not confused or ambivalent towards the idea of asceticism and isolation. I crave it wholeheartedly. To turn everything off, and sit in fertile silence. More completely than I ever have before.

I’ve let too much of my world become noise, and I want to tune back into meaningful sound – be it bold and brave or light and sweet. But first of all, most of all, I want Nothingness.