Nausea, or the Hard Shit Ain’t Never Easy
Some existentialist or other once wrote about the nausea that existential crises can summon, right? When I wrote the preceding posts about this transition that I’ve initiated in my life, I did it with the tidal force of broken-hearted so-done-ness carrying me through them. As I wrote, though, I was also aware that tides ebb and that I’d ridden that particular one back out to sea too many times already. Publication presented a way to mark that high tide indelibly, finally.
Before taking such a step, I discussed the decision with my daughter. Telling of my Ma’s decision to separate from her entire natal familly for about five years when I was about 10 and from most of it for most of my life, I explained that I didn’t want to take this step without giving her a heads up. My original intention was for her to have the option of continuity if she so desired, despite the very reservations that undergirded my own decision. I said I’d make arrangements for her when we were visiting her maternal grandmother if she so chose. In retrospect, both my decision and how I went about concretizing it will probably preclude her exercise of that option. Good intentions, roads to hell, and all that.
Back to nausea. Right. So, yeah, I knew about the tidal flow, so I decided to throw up a dam and publish. The tide has ebbed and crested several times since I clicked ‘publish’ on Nothing More.
As I try to navigate the shifting depths, other aspects of my life have continued apace: parenting, grandparenting, homeschool-educating, working for pay, managing household finances, managing my chronic illness-related issues, taking care of pets, household chores, et cetera. In that mix, my waning mindfulness efforts have begun to wax again in the face of this latest version of No Way Out, but all Pema Chodron seems to be telling me is that I’ve fucked up by losing my cool. Maybe that’s not what she’s saying, but that’s what I keep hearing. The ongoing pursuit of understanding around neurodiversity and its ongoing presence in my life and self has taken me over terrain that also seems to be pointing my own finger back at me, so to speak. Per various writings and vloggings by folks on that spectrum, we’re collectively prone to being rigid thinkers, self-righteous moralizers, unforgiving loners, judgmental narcissists, and an array of other variations on holier-than-thou. Okay, yes, some of those variations in phrasing are shaded by spikes in my self-loathing, but still. And Seneca’s On Anger might as well have gone straight through my eyeballs and out the back of my head for all the good its done me in this.
Woven among these aspects of my life are many teachers. As my always incomplete and too often inadequate self-education continues, I am listening to voices of too much experience in these matters; I am reading words that push back against my personal failings to center the persistent insistance that this country walk its talk when it comes to liberty and equality. I may or may not fill this paragraph with hypertext links to those voices, audible and textual, but either way, they abound. Folks reading this interested in understanding my decision to publish a dam against the ebbing of my personal tide of ethical outrage have the answers at their fingertips.
In any case, it seems safe to say that my previous writings on this matter were not penned by a Laughing Buddha. Also seems safe to say that my cognitions and emotions are both shaped by the place on the spectrum I occupy. Is this what is causing the nausea?
No, I think not. Instead, I think it is rooted in the morass of this moment in other ways. Even in light of these aspects of my mind and my aspirations to mindfulness, even if being carried by my tides rather than riding them was not the best of means, I cannot truly second guess the ends.
No, the nausea is similar to that described by wossname, the existentialist. In its own way, it’s the nausea of desolation, of facing down Meaning and finding only being. Whether that being is transcendant or banal or both, it is dynamic as fuck. Like the flu that had my stomach in my throat the other week, the pain of this will inform my experience, but not define it. In the soup of being, Meaning is what we make of it. However Ozymandian my decision, it means something to me.
Having been racked with existential angst from before I knew the phrase, having known the absurdity of proclaiming, “Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!” for almost as long, I nonetheless stand here now resolved. My feet are firmly rooted in the earth of my decision, and my eyes are turned to the sea . . . dramamine, anyone?