August 8, 2012

ARCHIVE POST: Worthy of what happens

(originally published on December 19, 2011)

Love is in the depth of bodies, but also on that incorporeal surface which engenders it. So that, agents or patients, when we act or undergo, we must always be worthy of what happens to us. Stoic morality is undoubtedly this: not being inferior to the event, becoming the child of one’s own events. The wound is something that I receive in my body, in a particular place, at a particular moment, but there is also an eternal truth of the world as impassive, incorporeal event. ‘My wound existed before me, I was born to embody it!’ […] Between the cries of physical pain and the songs of metaphysical suffering, how is one to trace out one’s narrow, Stoical way, which consists in being worthy of what happens, extracting something gay and loving in what happens, a light, an encounter, an event, a speed, a becoming? ‘For my taste for death, which was bankruptcy of the will, I will substitute a death-wish which will be the apotheosis of the will.’ For my pathetic wish to be loved I will substitute a power to love: not an absurd will to love anyone or anything, not identifying myself with the universe, but extracting the pure event which unites me with those whom I love, who await me no more than I await them, since the event alone awaits us, Eventum tantum. Making an event – however small – is the most delicate thing in the world: the opposite of making a drama or making a story. Loving those who are like this: when they enter a room they are not persons, characters or subjects, but an atmospheric variation, a change of hue, an imperceptible molecule, a discrete population, a fog or a cloud of droplets. Everything has really changed.

(G. Deleuze & C. Parnet, Dialogues II, p 65-66)

Thirty-one going on thirty-two. Three decades of becoming-woman, three decades of female-in-the-making, as she proceeds to unthink herself, to think her own unthought.

“Danger! Deep water” yellow sign in Leith in the fall of 2006. Brunch in Karlsplatz in the summer of 2011. She falls off a horse and almost breaks her arm in 1990 as her hand gets caught in the reins; Dad drops her off and mysteriously disappears, because she was supposed to be under his watch, and she wonders how to show the injury to her Mom without breaking her heart. Her first memory of a family Christmas, just short of three years old: holding a ballpoint pen like a big girl, pretending to write a note to Santa on top of a wooden chair. She still remembers the texture of the wooden surface underneath the pen and paper. The Space Needle in 2005 was much scarier than the Eiffel Tower in 2009.

The cobbled stones of her city keep evoking memories of a PA café where she did her reading day after day, and the heart-rending loneliness of a Pennsylvania winter.

How many parakeets and cats has she had as pets over the years? Ten? Twenty?

A pair of size six Skechers keep walking in place in her mind’s eye, like a wind-up toy. Having seen the business, pleasure, work and leisure legs of her journeys in two continents, they were finally left in a dumpster in rural PA on the last day of May, just hours before her plane would take off. Not thrown away, left. Gently placed inside a freshly emptied dumpster, glaring back in disbelief: Really? After all those years, all those miles together, this is how you leave us? We aren’t even worn out, or ragged, or tattered, because you take such good care of your things. Are you telling us that those four suitcases hold no place for us?

A stack of papers with printed-out poetry found in a box containing her journals 1996-2000. She thought she had expunged that mofos presence from her life? The emotional terrorist ex, under whose thumb she felt smaller than a parasite, who would drug her drink one day and write her an epic in celebration of his love for her the next… Still here?! Sweet mother of God, get that disease away from me…

The double yellow line in the middle of a road with an unpronounceable name, crossed in a purposefully mismanaged right turn of a Springer Softail. The closest she ever came to living in the moment and having the deepest foresight imaginable, at one and the same instant: time slowed down as the double yellow line was crossed, and her mind acknowledged the crossing, the participants, and the imminent final curtain in the offing, before the event proper began to unfurl.

A university campus in the Indian summer of long-ago; students celebrating the beginning of a new academic year. Beer pouring in gallons, the lawn tired from absorbing the music that is blaring out of the speakers. She still remembers the plum-colored shirt and cargo pants she wore that day, still remembers the energy and love she felt with the sunset, with the crowd and music, and with her new lover. He stood still, because he disliked dancing, but followed her every move with his eyes and smile, and she didn’t mind dancing for two. She thought that she always would, and she didn’t mind.

Everything has really changed.

She stands in the presence of greatness, facing something bigger than herself, that is summoning her do to her part. It is happening regardless of her will, and yet her participation is somehow crucial.

'My wound existed before me, I was born to embody it.’

She is not a person, character or subject, but a fog or a cloud of droplets.

Her life would have had just as much meaning in any other course of events, and yet she chooses the wound.

She is worthy of whatever happens.

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