There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
We are all dying in parts and pieces. Some days you feel it more than others. Of late, I have been dying more quickly than I should. I am ground between a rock and a hard place. The rock is my life that I wake up to each morning, bemused that it can have led here, to this; the hard place is my self, the door that stands between me and freedom.
Freedom! I have often thought I knew what it meant and yet whenever I have had the opportunity to embrace it I have quailed. I have always been too scared to relinquish something important in doing so, and yet I don't have the least idea what about me is important and what is affectation.
Is that what it is? It seems like it sometimes. I know I am not a victim of my fate and I do not believe I am determined to be this way. I am sure I could change if I wanted, but I do not know how to want.
I cannot make sense thinking about it because it is something inchoate within me, it is who I am in a way nothing else about me is. What is it that I cannot feed, cannot negotiate with, cannot seem to undo; when I have hold of it, or think I have, I find before I can twist off a knot it is gone.
How can I tell C that I have agoraphobia and do not want to go out tomorrow night? I do not even understand why I don't want to. It is about him: I don't want to torture myself over whether he likes me or just tolerates me; it is about the place: I do not want to step into a new place in the Valley where I will not fit, where my clothes will be wrong, my face, just me (and it just does not help to say no one will notice -- it doesn't matter that no one will notice -- I simply cannot understand whether I am more afraid that no one will notice or that they will); it is about me: I do not want to have to be DR (I fucking hate him! I hate every inch of him! I despise the whining prick! I want to drag him outside and kick the living shit out of him! He can never fucking shut up! The idiot! Can he not just dissolve!).
How can I begin to tell Mrs Zen that I cannot face my life being this and that it must change or I will cease to be able to survive it? How can I tell anyone anything? I'm in the fucking way. I cannot be honest because I do not know anything honestly.
I want to repent but I cannot think what exactly I have to repent, and I know that you cannot.
No one allows you to return the clock to zero. No one allows you the space to just cease to be for an instant. That is all it would take.
The greater part of what my neighbors call good I believe in my soul to be bad, and if I repent of anything, it is very likely to be my good behavior.
I know I have become incoherent. I have ceased to be able to think in sentences. I have lost my ability as a copyeditor. I cannot trust myself. When I look back over my work I can see that I no longer put enough into it and I cannot rely on it.
What has destroyed it? Is it lack of concentration? I know I don't concentrate. Maybe it's a mental thing.
Maybe it's age. Drugs (not many), drink (too much)... I feel like I'm stupider than I ever was. I feel unable to grasp anything. Of course, I'm agile still. Of course, I can work small amounts of material.
If I cannot edit, I'm unemployable. I'm nearly there already. How long could I fool people? I was a lot better than average so maybe I have plenty of decline left before I simply cannot pass as an editor.
What a fate! I was brilliant at something I despised and now I will be despicably poor at it and despise it all the more.
I want this to cease. But the door is locked and there is no key. I am too scared to open the door and I am pretending it is locked. I am holding the key.
I cannot just ring C up. It is impossible to articulate. Have you never felt fear that you could not describe?
Mrs Zen thinks it is what she has always been telling me, but she doesn't realise that she is complacent and unable to feel. Jesus, I don't want my kids to grow here among these people who do not feel. I cannot help myself. I cannot even articulate what I hate about them. I'm sure they're unobjectionable. I don't have a reason. If I had reason, I would not be biting the walls of my cage, screaming to be let out.
I need to start smoking again. I have barely ceased to hate myself since I stopped. I have been entirely unable to get my head straight. I have been bemused for four years. I need to be able to sit outside, wrapped in a cigarette. I need to be able to stop it, fucking stop it, stop it, just for long enough. I could count to ten but somehow I'm unable.
A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.
I despair of Dr Zen. Nothing good can come of him.