I am much too alone in this world, yet not alone enough
to truly consecrate the hour.
I am much too small in this world, yet not small enough
to be to you just object and thing, dark and smart.
I want my free will and want it accompanying
the path which leads to action;
and want during times that beg questions,
where something is up,
to be among those in the know,
or else be alone.
I want to mirror your image to its fullest perfection,
never be blind or too old
to uphold your weighty wavering reflection.
I want to unfold.
Nowhere I wish to stay crooked, bent;
for there I would be dishonest, untrue.
I want my conscience to be
true before you;
want to describe myself like a picture I observed
for a long time, one close up,
like a new word I learned and embraced,
like the everday jug,
like my mother’s face,
like a ship that carried me along
through the deadliest storm.
Rainer Maria Rilke
The recipe of my life recently has been: work full time, crash into bed shortly after I get home, rinse, repeat. My weekends have, as frequently as not, been spent coaxing various harmful gifts from my students out of my immune system, or just trying to stockpile sleep for the coming week. The people with whom I have spent most of my life this past year have all been under the age of ten, which makes for wonderful stories, but somewhat shallow conversation.
All of this has led me to become painfully aware of how acutely I need intimacy. I know there are many people who blossom in solitude, but I never realized how much I thrive on being “real” with people until there were almost no people with whom I could do that. And that is absolutely not the fault of any of my friends- especially not the few that I have been able to see with any regularity. For many valid reasons, and a few insidious ones, I have shut myself off and pulled myself away- geographically and emotionally- from so many people who would be close to me.
But now that I interact with almost all of my friends and relatives through social media, I’ve come to see just how far short the Internet falls from human interaction. No Facebook status will ever compare to getting coffee with a friend and asking her how her life is going. Twitter will never, ever give me the sense of peace that I feel when I’m nestled on a friend’s couch, debating theology with some of the people who know my heart like it’s their own. And as much as I enjoy wasting time on Tumblr, I much prefer wasting time by double-dating to a comic book store, or falling asleep with three other people on a too-small air-mattress.
This is to say- if anything, I am coming to realize just how fragile, and valuable, intimate human contact can be in an age where you could feasibly live your whole life with a digital substitute, or simply none at all.
And I love, beyond my capacity to adequately put in words, the people in my life who have let me into theirs. You have let me be myself with you- crying, venting, raging, laughing and/or generally acting like a fool, and have been willing to do the same with me. And I hate that life is keeping me in a place right now where I can’t be with nearly enough of you nearly as often as I’d like.
Hopefully, once the summer rolls in, and my work schedule loosens its grip on my life, I will be able to spend more quality time with the people I love.
Until then, I will just try to find peace in my quiet.