What am I trying to do?

You know how there are some nights where you wake up, not completely sure of what’s waking you up or what is causing you to stay awake? More accurately, I am very well aware of what’s keeping me awake, but I choose not to think too much about it, which is causing me further stress and preventing me from sleeping. Either way, I’m not entirely sure what to do on those nights. I tried showering, but now I’m back on my bed, my hair now wet and not any closer to falling asleep. Looking out my window into the city streets doesn’t particularly help either. There is nothing worth watching 4 AM Tuesday morning (or Monday night? when does the threshold cross?)

I feel like a lot of my writing revolves around very abstract ideas in a way that hides how I actually feel about very real things that happen in my life. This supposedly saves me the trouble of reflecting on anything specific that happens in my life and allows me to just extrapolate my experiences as cross-cultural truths without actually trying to understand how my emotions implicitly filter into my thinking. It is also the only way I could communicate ideas without anyone actually knowing what I’m talking about. I thought I no longer pursued grand unifying theories about existence in an attempt to justify some part of my life, but it seems that I return to old habits when my old emotions settle in.

It’s been a couple of months since I last wrote anything for public consumption. The last time I’ve published anything online was in June. It is perhaps the longest break I’ve taken from writing since I started writing. I was happy in this time. When I am happy, I have no desire to write. Since I got my vaccine in May, I’ve been living my life filled with a constant string of events and trips with my friends. It was a summer like some other summers in my life, filled with a sense of togetherness and belonging with people I have met very recently and became close with very quickly, and I would rank it as the third happiest summer of my life.

But after every high, there is a low. I can tell a low is approaching because I feel the need to write, and I only write when I’m sad. My sense of belongingness and togetherness is slipping away. I don’t feel as comfortable anymore asking people to do things with me. When going out, I don’t feel as capable of enjoying the moment because I feel isolated from my surroundings. Everything around me seems so foreign, and I find it difficult to find security in the people around me. I am aware of the impermanence of what I am feeling. Intimacy is a sensation, and sensations can be taken away with simple shifts in neurochemistry.

I’ve just signed a lease to move to Manhattan for a November move-in. I feel sentimental leaving Philly although not in a regretful sense. I had an eventful summer. It’s unfortunate that this summer has to end. By nature all summers have to end. It’s just that I wish it had lasted longer, like other happy moments in my life. Although the summe ended pretty much as well as it could’ve, there’s still a part of me that wished I could have gained a sense of closure from all the relationships I have formed. More specifically, I wish I achieved the intimacy I wanted that would transcend whatever I am feeling at the moment. Alas, if life is composed of only wonderous moments, then we would never be able to perceive wonder at all. I accept this truth and brace myself for the contrast ahead.

I made a realization this summer. I realize that all my life, I’ve been chasing after this idea of intimacy without actually understand what intimacy means. I realize that what I’ve tried to accomplish through partying or sex or whatever was to emulate this misguided idea of intimacy I thought would bring me happiness. I thought that doing things with other people would give me a sense of belonging. There are substances you can take that make you feel closer to other people, but that’s not actual intimacy; it’s just the image of intimacy.

In college, I cannot count the number of times I thought I had made a friend at a frat party only for them to ignore me the next day when I walk past them on Locust. The same goes for friends that I made at concerts or pregames or any other activity involving substances. It’s not that the world of substances isn’t real — it’s just that it is unaccessible unless very specific conditions are met. More importantly, it is a temporary state of mind that depends on a feeling, and friendships that do not endure after the feeling of intimacy wears off weren’t intimate in the first place.

Similarly, sex feels intimate because it’s a very vulnerable act. At least, at first. It gets less novel and intense with each additional romantic partner and every additional instance. For most of college, I feel as if I used sex as a proxy for intimacy without actually attempting to genuinely create something intimate with my romantic partners. It was a very transactional sort of relationship. You have sex, you cuddle, you get your oxytocin, and then you leave. But it falls into the same problem as substances. At the end of the day, it’s a feeling, and feelings wear off. If there’s nothing truly intimate grounding a relationship beyond a string of feelings, then it was not intimate in the first place.

Life is not short, but the happy moments that make it meaningful are. Because of how I happy I was durings this period, there will be some activities I have enjoyed this summer that I will find difficult to enjoy in the near future. I can’t imagine I would be able to enjoy hanging out people for some time. I imagine there’s a grace period I would need to reflect on my experiences this summer — some sort of self-imposed isolation I would need to balance out the sheer activity I have had over the past couple of months.

Loneliness is the flip side of intimacy. It it only through loneliness can we appreciate how we felt intimacy at one point in our lives. I haven’t felt loneliness for some time, but I feel that my loneliness is returning. I feel that I’m feeling the last graces of sunlight before the storm sitting on the horizon encloses my surroundings. I have been in the sun for so long I’ve forgotten what the rain feels like, even if I like to joke that I was in the rain at one point in my life. Now that the rain has returned, I’m not sure what to think about it. It’s drizzling right now, and all I have are artistic coping mechanisms to deal with it all. I wish I could feel less, so I could feel less of this rain. Life, it seems, would be so good without the rain.

I guess I haven’t found the “invincible summer” I thought I did. I guess I overestimated how capable I was at generating my own happiness. I am still dependent on other people to feel happy, even though I wish I weren’t. I wish I could live alone, but I know I cannot.

It feels the last bits of my soul are being syphoned out. I’ve become capable of crying again about a year ago. In the last few weeks, I find myself crying a lot. Shower cries are nice because the warm water sets the mood well. 3 AM cries are also nice because you can sleep until the morning after. 10 PM cries aren’t as great because you might wake up at 3 AM to cry. As much as I hate the sensation of being lonely, I find that crying makes things better. I used to dislike crying because my parents used to yell at me whenever I cried. But now, I enjoy crying. Emotions without outlet is stressful, but crying is not stressful. Crying feels like the end of my sadness. When I cry, I feel the world becoming present in front of me again.

I mishead a lyric from the song “tomorrow tonight” today: Said that we needed space, we just got closer. Thought it said closure instead of closer. I guess that’s where I’m at, at the moment.

I feel like I do this a lot. Whenever I become uncomfortable in a friendship or relationship, I just… leave. It’s a lot easier to deal with the uncertainty of the future than the longing for the past. I just want to move away from this space serving as a reminder of how intimate I felt at one point in my life. Without contrast, we would never be able to be aware of how intimate we felt at one point in our life. That doesn’t seem like such a bad world to live in. I could use a break from my own memories. I want to live far away from this world in which I occupy. There is so little here that is still worth remembering. I just want to forget it all, along with all sense of belongingness I felt at one point in my life. I recognize that my return to a saddened state is inevitable. I wish I could do more about it instead of wishing that the past doesn’t exist.

I would hate to enter another phase in my life when I beleive that intimacy is dead. The last phase of my life in which I didn’t believe in love was pretty bad, and I would hate for the next couple years of my life to follow the same trajectory as the previous couple years of my life. I want, more than anything, for the next few years of my life to be happy. I have some idea of how to achieve that, but almost all my visions for my own happiness involves feeling intimate. I know if I am unable to feel intimate at this time for specific reasons. The future is a toss-up. If I could have some certainty of how intimate my future would be, then I would be okay. The sheer fact that I don’t, however, causes me stress. I want to be intimate. I don’t know if I am capable of being intimate.

More than anything, I’ve been trying achieve intimacy in my life. All I feel capable of doing, however, is chasing the mirage of what I thought intimacy meant. I’m not sure if this summer I was able to achieve intimacy after all. I’m not sure if what I felt was another mirage of intimacy, or whether I’ve been able to achieve true intimacy. I’m not sure whether intimacy would bring me the sense of fulfilment I want in life. I’m not sure if anything will bring me a sense of fuliment in life. I just don’t want to feel like complete shit all the time, and the only time in my life in which I didn’t was when I thought I have achieved intimacy.

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