I meant to write about the Bob Dylan quote I put up last night but I was just exhausted and I figure the quote is pretty stand-alone anyway. What I wanted to write about stemmed from one line in particular: "If anything, I wanted to understand things and then be free of them." This line really struck me.
What's funny is that it's been popping up in that thematic sort of way things tend to do, and I'm starting to realize how, when things do that, it's probably that God's trying to tell me something, to teach me. I think about that, and in all this I'm not exactly sure yet what it is I'm meant to be taught, but there's something there, because whether the quote came first or not--I can't remember--this sort of idea has been coming up everywhere.
I think I've talked about this before, but I'm thinking about understanding something, working it out, writing it down, and then being free of it. And the particular context I'm thinking of, I don't know that I would use the word free, but--actually, yes, I remember I have talked about it because I likened it to, like Dave Eggers said, shedding skin. But I've realized that I don't really hold onto things. Again, that's not exactly it, but thinking about some of the crazy things that have happened to me (ask), I just sort of take it, process it, come to some sort of understanding, however stilted, and then keep going, shoulder into it and try to use it, make it into something good, because what else do you do? Life won't stop. I'm thinking that maybe this is a flawed approach, and probably it is, but that just means there's an opportunity to learn and understand better and to grow.
But then there are the things that I don't move on as easily from, although it's hit and miss--there seems to be no rule to figure which experience falls on what side of this, at least not one I've recognized yet. And those--they're the strange ones, because they'll sit with me, just really heavy and really detailed, precise, until finally I write it out. Writing really is cathartic, and in this case it's even more than that. I'll write it out of compulsion, but then it really is shed skin. It's a summary of 'this crazy thing that happened to me once' in a bag of crazy things that have happened to me. It's almost, I don't know-- for me there's something distasteful about it, hanging out dirty laundry or whatever that expression is. But it's removed from me, and often I don't even remember how whatever it is happened, I remember it as the story I wrote.
It's like Bob Dylan says. I want to understand those things. I don't know about that second half though. Do I want to be free of them? I don't want to forget, not ever, and these things are important to me, things that have shaped me. Probably it's easier for me to say this since they do feel so removed--they're real, they've been hard, but they don't affect my day-to-day life. Shoulder into it, keep on living. All of that. If I mean to say I want a freedom from it, it's in that ability to go on and grow, and so maybe the compromise is writing it down. I understand, I'm free from the negative parts, and then I can take it and work it into good.
I don't know about this. I realize I'm being vague. 'These things' that have happened to me, but I'm not saying what. Again, ask and I'd love to share. But after writing about a lot of it already, lately I've just had a distaste for it. Like parading around dirty laundry, being flashy about ugly things--the term that comes to mind here is tell-all--and while I know there is merit in those things, when you use them for good, for edification, but right now for me it just feels like bad form.
I'm coming to the last line in the the quote: "You might be able to put it all into one paragraph or into one verse of song if you could get it right." That's what I want to come to, but in the meantime I cranking out paragraphs and paragraphs and it's a whole dense mess a lot of times, interesting to no one but me in my endless introspection, but if I could get it into a line or two, an essay--well, I'm not looking for value or justification in all of it, but there, if everything else turned out to be worthless, that's where it'd be worth it. And I'll tell you: I don't feel like I'm building any new life either. It could never be that--if there are things, people, experiences that I never had, then those places have been filled with bits of everywhere, everyone, everything. Outside of salvation, of course, there is no moment of new life, no point where the old one is turned in. It's all a mishmash, and it's new every day.