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