“I wanna wake up and know where I am going.” Tracy Chapman
“…our world today is a world of “too much” … this too muchness creates a wilderness of spirit, the everyday anguish that shapes the habits of being for those who are lost, wandering, searching.” writes bell hooks in her beautiful Belonging: A Culture of Place. “Like many of my contemporaries I have yearned to find my place in this world, to have a sense of homecoming, a sense of being wedded to a place.”
Precious words for someone who has spent a good chunk of his life without belonging. Not to a place, not to a person, not to a belief system. In the sense of complete, permanent devotion of course. “The sense of being wedded”, to use hooks’ words. I could always criticize, see the flaws and walk away. Not easily to be sure, yet inevitably if circumstances so required. Ironically, I have almost always been harsher towards myself than anything and anybody else. Those who know me well are familiar with my guilt trips, self-torture and the like. So in a way, I have not felt a sense of belonging to my own existence either. I did not matter. Sounds awful when put this bluntly, with a probable implication that I lack self-confidence. To the contrary. I have felt self-confident mostly, secure in my capacities, in what I can and cannot do, avoiding things I knew I cannot do (OK, I have failed miserably on occasion, still…). But I have never had this sense of self-aggrandizement. My being was not more important than others’.
And that feeling gradually shaped the void. Created it, molded it. I’ve changed places, friends. I’ve stuck to some of course and returned to them – my “homecoming” – when I felt bad. But the real love, the real sense of belonging came with him. Unconditional love. I can write several posts on this but I won’t. That’s not what I would like to talk about.
The precariousness of belonging, now that’s what has been preoccupying me for several weeks now. The unbearable thought that the object of your belonging can disappear at any moment (life, right?). And the more unbearable thought, or sense, that even when he is around, you may temporarily lose the sense of belonging. That there might be things that cloud your unconditional and permanent love. A veil; a thin, colourful curtain. You could see through it. Yet you cannot reach to the other side.
Then you understand what bell hooks means when she says “If one has chosen to live mindfully, then choosing a place to die is as vital as choosing where and how to live.”
I thought I knew where I was going to die. No more.