You hide them, hide them well, don’t you? Every interaction, every experience, every encounter where you felt left outside. Confused. Misunderstood. Ignored. So small and brief in stature. Soft and hard. But they are there, aren’t they? Refusing to leave. Made you. Your memory. And you are never going to disclose them to anyone, are you? Not in their truest form; only deviations, of distant observations, cooled by years of solace and solitude. Still, they are there. And not even your closest ones will ever know. Know of their details. Only that there might be more than what meets the eye. (Isn’t there always?). How strange that every single person walking on this earth carries around so many little, untold moments. Stories. Never to be told. Taken with them to the grave.
How long have you been holding those words in your head, hoping to use them?
— John Locke
So I find words I never thought to speak
In streets I never thought I should revisit
When I left my body on a distant shore.
— T. S. Eliot, from Little Gidding
Have I grown out of certain feelings of certain ages—and into new ones? Feeling only the old ones as ghosts hiding in the attic, rustling along the walls of my memory? Like a pull from the past, asking me: ‘Will you ever reach us again?’
To have become a different kind of sentimental. And a different kind of cynic. Reacting differently to things I once scorned. Or cherished.
Feelings follow ages, I suppose. I both miss the old ones and feel relief that they are no more. So strange to become an adult; to become this amalgamation of different times and sensations belonging to the same person.
I wonder which of those feelings I should hold on to and which ones I should let go or bar out entirely? To not lose a sense of myself. But is myself not all of them? Or is it dangerous to keep them all locked in?
The mind I love must have wild places.
— Katherine Mansfield
I love to lose myself for a good while…
— Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
“What is it you are trying to protect?”
“I don’t know. Myself? An image of myself. From another time.”
“But you are no longer that person.”
“Am I not? No, perhaps not entirely. But she was once me and she is in there, somewhere.”
“And you cannot let go of her? Even for me?”
“I am not sure I dare. I guess I am too selfish that way. I should be brave and be able to let go, but that image, that version of me seems too precious. Too vulnerable to let go. Maybe I should. Maybe it’s too unhealthy to keep her inside, to keep her near. In the end, even to the very image that I’m trying to protect.”
“But I’ll look after it as well, once you let go. Don’t you see?”
“But you do not trust?”
“I am sorry.”
“Then I am sorry too.”