Knowing the House


Playing house is an enriching task, I’ve discovered recently, having moved out of my bachelor cabin at work and into a new apartment in town. We discuss placement of furniture, items to be acquired, what kind of meals to be cooked. Eventually, what was once chaotic uncertainty begins to coalesce into a space where no more thought is required. The glass of wine goes here. The alpaca jacket hangs here. The blinds are pulled up in the morning, both locks are locked on the door at night. As settled life commingles with the onset of winter, I find myself struggling to retain the wildness within, without sacrifice of comfort or happiness. When someone else is reliant upon me for emotional support and constant stability, it is more difficult to find vent for things that I don’t even know yet I need to express, because I had previously used the space of solitude to give it form.
I have long been on the road to getting to know myself, and had thought to have made some headway. But this knowledge was based on myself alone–and now, finding myself with someone else, consistently, I am temporarily lost. The context has shifted. It’s like waking up in the morning and you have no idea for 2 seconds of where you are and how you came to be there. It has quickly become evident to me that it is much easier to know yourself when you are lonely. It is much harder to explore yourself when the boundaries between you and another person have become so blurred as to be at times indistinguishable.
It is a matter, as with most things, of letting go of preconceptions while looking at the true reality with full awareness. What I have been doing is struggling to maintain my self-identity as what I knew before–while in fact who I am is now a larger self, encompassing more, a mesh of two persons, like the definition of embrace. To embrace is to accept into oneself someone who is beyond oneself, such that in that moment of conjunction, the two become unified while still maintaining their own prior integrity. To put that less technically would be to say that who I am now is no longer what I had come to know, because my orbit has fallen in step with another’s. The gravity has changed. The light has changed. I keep looking for myself where I once was, but that person leaps away. The person I see now is looking me right in the face but I haven’t learned yet how to say it. I am now longer simply I. I am now me-with-her. I am now her-with-me. I am the same man-boy I was before, but I am also someone different. My role has changed, my function has changed. I was once only a lonely young one searching for his place in the wider world. I still am that. But added to that I am also man loving woman, steadily, every day, building brick by brick a house of dreams that floats on the visible world like a palace, accessibly to all only by connection to the heart stream, the flow of magic that is love, that is everything and everyone but that comes to be encapsulated quite simply between only 2 people.
So here now I build my house, searching wildly for myself out the windows while my own breath fogs up the glass. I then turn around to find myself being embraced by someone else. The vision clears. When living itself–simply living, breathing, eating, enjoying the fact of being alive–gains precedence, the search for myself loses meaning. Which is to say that coming to know myself is coming to know simply the moment in which I exist, which is never anything but now. Now, and now, and now. Which is life, which is death, which is tied all together in one ultimate, universal embrace by love. I’m getting too vague, so I’ll stop now.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

2 thoughts on “Knowing the House”

  1. Don’t feel bad. I am still in search of myself…I seemed to have misplaced her somewhere between my teenage years and having kids and getting married.

    Great post. I can really relate.

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