Getting to grips with Newton
A few weeks ago, a friend called me. Actually, someone I shared my life with once, and with whom I waded through a turbulent, post-break up quagmire for four years before we fell into two years of total silence. We reconnected about seven months ago, in person and on Facebook, and a glib comment I made on the latter – something about how I had no idea what I was doing with my life – precipitated his call on the kind of evening that gives winter a bad name: cold, lonely, too dark too early.
“So how’s that early-thirties crisis going?” he asked, casual as you can.
My relief at his question pricked holes in my eyes. Its irony brought a smile. We were together when he was in his early thirties; he knew what he was talking about. And, after all this time, he still knew me.
A year ago, I spent a week travelling around the circumference of Iceland on my own. To date, I have offered only one description of one day. There is much left to tell.
Because the truth was – is – that I have come to understand the meaning of inertia. The tendency. Of a body. To preserve its present state. Either at rest. Or moving at constant velocity. When I am least able to deny the melodramatic similarity between this state and those that governed my adolescence, crisis feels like a close-enough description.
I sit in the driving seat of the silver bullet of inertia. I made it myself, this bullet (Newton helped), and did everything I could to ensure that all the forces keeping it in this state were maintained: fear, doubt, insecurity, disillusionment. Self-loathing. Not an opposing force in sight.
This blog. How desperate it is of some attention. I say this as a disclaimer – assuming, of course, that I have the courage to post this at all. I am all too aware that this site is hungry for a design overhaul, a content audit. It’s a convenient excuse not to use it at all. I also know that I need to journal more but, Jesus Christ, the next person to tell me I should journal gets a fist to the nose. A punch that, given my poor aim, I’m likely to botch so that I clip cheek and ear too. My writing generally, then. How I hesitate, procrastinate; how I am ruled by self-doubt and insecurity. So that I begin to wonder whether I want to write at all. History suggests otherwise.
Work and love and my disillusionment with both. The carving out of a professional life that intellectually stimulates and emotionally satisfies, that offers both flexibility and creativity, feels impossible. In matters of the heart, I feel broken, disbelieving of something mutual and consistent. How quickly we resort to our most pathetic, most adolescent selves. Crisis indeed.
And this body of mine, with which I have such an unloving relationship. It serves me, offering height and health, receptors for taste and touch, sight, smell and sound. But it is the edifice in which I constantly stoke a fire of unarticulated fury. A fire that burns and warms me equally.
For years, I’ve lived my life in 24-hour increments. Tomorrow I won’t be the Cassidy I am today, I tell myself. I’ll be different. Better. More proactive, less prone to procrastination; more intent, less insecure; more loving, less loathing. But it is always tomorrow and I am always Cassidy. And my father has taught me enough about life’s transience and timelessness for me not to think in such platitudes. But here we are. In this silver bullet that neither speeds up nor slows down, and offers no views of the world beyond.
Tomorrow will likely be much like today. Except that today, at least, I wrote a blog. I wonder what Newton would think of that.
I recently got a cat. I’m using him to benchmark my success as a human being. I’ve kept him alive for four weeks and two days, during which time he’s doubled in size, now weighing in at a hefty kilogram. He’s content too, I think. At least: he purrs when I come home, exposes his belly for my touch, and bites, sometimes viciously, which life has taught me is a certain indication of love.