Dear Deuce

The Way We Are

November 7, 2019
1100 words · 6 minute read

Intensely as I sometimes feel the need to write, the need itself is so vague and the skill required so out of touch that I miserably fail. The so-called “wanting to write” time is ten times actual writing time. And it is almost all the time.

From a desire to share words, all the way to a decision, is never easy. It takes many tries to get here. I say this, of course, to scare you away, so that few can share this space where I call myself a writer, this dark crescent of land I imagine I own.

Someone says writing to me feels unsafe, that I could one day use his words against him. It is a legitimate fear, but I do not know how to relate. This—setting words in stone, words so imprecise and biased and bigoted and prejudiced, as excruciatingly honest as I can, and showing them to the whole world—is the safest thing I know how to do. But I do understand that trusting is hard. And not everyone is as careless as I am.

I wasn’t born careless. But having lived where circumstances can flip overnight, as are human minds, certainly numbs you. I learned if people want to go against me there’s little I can do. Whether I say everything or say nothing doesn’t make a difference. As to sharing with the world, come on, it is not like the whole world is listening.

The world cares very little about me, realistically. All these words of mine, full of contradictions and contrivances, will eventually, if not already, flood into a soppy pool of collective noise.

But who says noise is not good enough?

It is sometimes dauntingly clear every action I take about everything is simply a random draw of noise. It doesn’t change the course of things. But seeing how people put every care into what’s teemingly noise moves me.

What a futile act. To search for the precise point at which sense becomes nonsense, to express the inexpressible, (as is Wittgenstein’s life goal,) and to accept and trust the game that “the inexpressible is contained—inexpressibly!—in the expressed” (Maggie Nelson), is quite literally why I write. What a beautiful futile act.

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What if it makes your life noticeably better six months from now? A friend urges me to try psychotherapy.

I don’t know. Maybe noticeably better is what scares me. What if I lose all the urgency to write?
What if I become so accepting of myself I have no more paradox to live in, no more struggle to write about?
What if I become so happy that I am finally in the dull speechlessness life eventually puts you in? Or dull chattiness. One of the dull ends.

The psychological exigency of writing is not unlike that of fighting a losing war. When rationally it is quite enough to stop, but emotionally you just want to take one more step. Risk one more time and see, if a random draw of fate favors you now.

Let’s face it. “Depressed woman writer” is a thing. I am not nearly a writer yet so I am not even rightfully depressed.

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But a rightful pain is everywhere. In a recent sickness, my body devolves into an assemblage of anatomical parts, every part tirelessly reminding me of its individual existence. Every part is autonomous now; rather than silently working together to form you, they each bear an individual mind, an individual pain, an individual desire.

Can one’s mind have its own mind? My mind has its own pain for sure. When it is empty it aches. I can only fill it—not with music; music makes it worse, the mind wanders even more—with words. I am exhausted of the void. Words are at least a noble-seeming distraction.

But that is where I lose you.

“Is that how any person loses any person, by not understanding the treachery of words, or worse, by thinking one can conquer that with precision?” (Yiyun Li, Where Reasons End.)

We say many things wrong, because words are imprecise, thoughts are prejudiced, on top of which the encoding of thoughts and decoding into words are buggy, hence moments of connecting are scattered. But I only treasure the very attempt of communicating.

Sorry for the words. If they had been bothering you.
Sorry for the silence. I am not using it as a defense or an offense. I simply decide to only talk to myself now.

You know what, every greatness is given to me by time. Every relationship is strengthened with time. People say the greatest things to me only after they know me for a long time. I shine with time. So a little patience, please.

With all the patience, I love how time has made us the way we are. We learned to be together when apart, and apart when together. We learned to read the little bit of truth in every “I’m kidding”, and the little bit of lie in every “I don’t care”.

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What do I like most about SF? The fact that however warm and sunny in the day, it always, reliably, cools off in the night. The first time encountering it you are embarrassingly unprepared. But after hundreds of times it is nothing but endearing. Like what we all wish from a mother: who pushes you out in the day, but wishes you back in the night. What we all wish for ourselves: enough hope and passion to explore the day, and enough tenderness to attend our broken need, at night.

Every day this strangely predictable city says, alternately, please go. But do come back.

I am not afraid of the warm and cold anymore. I am not afarid of the way I am anymore. The sadness, the pretense, the oversharing and obscuring, they had to happen. I had to make all the mistakes. I had to get so arrogant to get humble, had to get ridiculously selfish to reach true selflessness, had to care so much about myself first to start caring about others. And in the process, had to have all the care gone wrong until they go right. In the end, I had to be so unhappy, to be so good at this.

After all, the genesis story of Dear Deuce is about loss and love. Fighting and healing. Stepping out and retreating back. Being a friend and an enemy to myself.

But the world is wider than those two outcomes. So, want to get pizza with me?


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