I am someone who is accustomed to a certain level of privacy/loneliness/personal space. Some of this comes from having lived most of my life in Southern California, the sprawl capitol of the nation, wherein we travel individually in cars acrost mile-wide expanses of tar in the suburbs. My travels in South America served to introduce me to the concept of living in compressed communities, with local transportation often a matter of being shoved into a Korean mini-van with sacks of potatoes, chickens, scantily clad women, and old men with hats, virtually sitting in each other’s laps. I thus gained the understanding that having privacy and personal space can be a matter of privilege that many people do not have a concept of nor access to.
It is therefore fitting that I now reside in the densest metropolis in the United States, where personal space is most directly equated to public space. I also am currently living in a situation where I have little privacy, as I am staying in somebody else’s living room.
I bring this up because all of this directly impacts my blog. You may have noted already that most of my posts since moving unto NYC are matters of externality. I traditionally write with a focus primarily within, as I feel that is where the locus of development lies. But I find it hard to sit down here and really turn inward. It has made me realize just how reliant I am on the possession of personal space and privacy, a privilege I have oft took for granted.
Just to give you an example of the level of problems I have with this: I have never been able to write with someone looking over my shoulder—even if it is just the possibility of being able to look over my shoulder, such as sitting with my back to a window to the street. It’s almost like I feel that there is something subversive in the act of writing, something that I need to hide (until I’ve finished writing, of course, whereupon–apparently–I wish to post it for the whole wide world to see). I don’t know where I acquired this fear. If we were to follow this neurosis further, we would discover that I also have an aversion to displaying true emotions and spiritual depth in any public manner. I used to consistently be asked by strangers whether there was something wrong in places like the grocery store or at work, because my face tended to be so neutral in reacting to my surroundings and situations that people took it for anger or sadness.
I’ve gotten better about projecting a more apt public appearance, but my bashful writer’s block is still in full effect (I also have a bashful bladder as well, unable to pee when there is either too much pressure or other people about—but I know I ain’t alone on that one). So either I will adapt to being more capable of turning inward in public spaces with no privacy or physical space, or I won’t be able to write much of depth until I acquire my own apartment, which god knows when that will occur.
I’m working on it.