I have some very wise friends. One of them has man­aged to dis­cern and ar­tic­u­late an un­der­stand­ing of who I am that I, in my sub­jec­tiv­i­ty, can­not. I am too close to my­self to see all of me. I have been able to ap­pre­hend bits and pieces, but nev­er com­pre­hend the whole. Some as­pects for change have been put to me, in words care­ful­ly cho­sen, but that are es­sen­tial­ly: Be less sen­si­tive. Be less se­ri­ous. Take less re­spon­si­bil­i­ty for oth­ers.

I’ve been pret­ty damn sensitive/​serious my whole life, and a re­spon­si­bil­i­ty-tak­er since about the time my par­ents di­vorced. The se­ri­ous & the sar­casm have been an too ef­fec­tive ar­mor for the sen­si­tive. My ten­den­cy to as­sume con­trol of any sit­u­a­tion has been borne of my ar­ro­gance and im­pa­tience. If there’s a goal, I don’t have time to wait around while every­one dithers about who should be in charge or how some­thing should be done. I’m about prax­is over ped­a­gogy.

The way this com­bo has played out in my per­son­al life is that it is near­ly im­pos­si­ble for any­one to get to me. I’ve iso­lat­ed my­self, which has on­ly made the sen­si­tive bits more sen­si­tive. I’ve for­got­ten the mean­ing of my fa­vorite piece of the Tao Te Ching on my About page.

The pos­tures and per­for­mances I as­sume for oth­er peo­ple are a coward’s walk. I have pre­tend­ed so well that I even con­vinced my­self. So I am be­gin­ning the work of re­mov­ing my ar­mor and ac­cept­ing im­per­fec­tion. It’s prob­a­bly go­ing to take awhile.

Karma Repair Kit: Items 1 – 4

1. Get enough food to eat,
and eat it.

2. Find a place to sleep where it is qui­et,
and sleep there.

3. Reduce in­tel­lec­tu­al and emo­tion­al noise
un­til you ar­rive at the si­lence of your­self,
and lis­ten to it.


from The Pill ver­sus the Springhill Mine Disaster by Richard Brautigan