This still isn’t the post I’ve been trying to write, which is more political in nature. This is about something that’s confusing me in everyday life.
A couple of years ago, I was severely dehydrated, and physically weak, and had to spend quite awhile lying on a couch in a lot of pain. Somehow, during that time, it clicked that I inhabit this particular body, not any other body, not any other object, and that this particular body needed to be kept alive if I was going to stay alive. A few years before that, I had been sitting in a place where they gave out free food, and realized that other people’s thoughts could not penetrate my own, that just because I was thinking about something in someone’s presence did not mean I was talking to them about it.
These were major realizations, but they do not seem to stick. I know them intellectually, but understanding them viscerally is not something that has stayed around. That, basically, my thoughts and actions and self are contained in this tiny little opaque creature that I can’t even feel or see all of or even find much of the time, and that has a finite lifespan.
Today someone picked up some of my things, and I screamed. I didn’t mean to scream, it felt like they were invading a part of me. It felt like “me” is everything I perceive and think about, and then there’s this one little part of me, that can move on my command (sometimes) and that I can feel (sometimes) and that hurts when poked (sometimes) and that reacts to emotions (sometimes). That part of me scampered into the other room and hid under the blankets.
And I thought at that point about how my things are not part of me, that picking them up and looking at them is not the same as grabbing my arm and inspecting it, and that I know this. But on some level, I don’t seem to quite get it, because I still react like this.
I tried pounding on my body but it’s not convincing it viscerally that it’s me, and it is becoming sore.
I still react to people walking into my apartment as if they are walking inside of me.
I still forget that when I am thinking about something around somebody, they are not going to usually know what I am thinking about, or consider me to be interacting with them.
And I still forget that in all this vastness in general the only part of it that’s me is the little ape-like creature typing on the computer, and I still have trouble locating various parts of the ape-like creature even if I can locate exactly where a lot of other things are.
When I’m less able to conceptualize (or too distracted), I forget even more things, including at times my intellectual knowledge that all these perceptions are not how things are. I wonder how to convince my body that I live in it and not anywhere else.