The melancholy. I have devised a theory throughout the years that the period-induced mood swings tend to amplify the dominant emotion, or emotions, that I experience at the given point in time. I am currently stressed out about the paper for the HKU workshop, as it's got into my head that the workshop could be a recruitment exercise; I am so sick of having no money of my own that I can't, can't, afford to make a bad impression with a shitty paper. The paper, as it stands, is shitty; and so even though I am at the Lake District with the guys, I can't bloody relax, can't hang out with them, can't be as engaged as I would like to be until this paper is done. It is due on Monday, hence the panic; and the hormonal imbalance is not helping at all.
I've also been feeling lethargic and sluggish. But it's more than the physical lack of energy; mentally, I am bothered by a couple of things. This perennial dissatisfaction, this sense that I would rather be, should be, doing something else, this sense of incompletion; this gaping hole through which all my attempts at satisfaction and happiness eventually fall. And related to this: Gareth said, most likely as an off-handish remark that he didn't really mean (for how could he when he still doesn't know me that well yet?), 'You should be doing literature.' I told him about this trip; told him that the reading I selected is Bernard Yack's 'Democracy and the Love for Truth'. 'Sounds boring,' he said (I would disagree, even though I haven't yet read it). 'You should be doing literature.'
I miss him. This house we're staying in, it's a sprawling mansion compared to what I've been living for most of my life, especially the past couple of years. It looks out to rolling hills and green pastures dotted with the white of sheep. It is quiet, the air is fresh, and I couldn't help but think, How nice it would be if he were here and we'd sit next to each other, look out to this easy-going tranquillity, and read something. Read some fiction; read a novel; read literature.
Am I simply denying who I am? Am I suppressing the self that I have always wanted to be, hiding it within the shadows of the facade that I put forward because I don't know how else to rectify a decision that I made 11 years ago, which I still regret at some subliminal level? This facade of rationality, of reason, of thought; the truth is, I feel a lot, and I think about my feelings, and one of the greatest pleasures of my life - if not the greatest pleasure - is the attempt, successful or not, in trying to give these feelings substance through the use of words, beautifully constructed words. This is why I am so drawn to him; we don't talk about abstract ideas of justice, principled reasoning, philosophical contestations over what the law is. We talk about what it means to be in the world without always being of the world, and he says things in a poetic manner, and it's not just my intellect that he engages, but this part of me that I try to keep under wraps; this part of me that he brings out without even trying or meaning to.
And so I felt wistful, melancholic, when the guys discussed Hegel's master/slave dialectic. Of course, the process of identity formation, of self-consciousness, of realising that one can only know oneself through the recognition of the other, is interesting and thought-provoking. But it seemed to me to beg the question of the existence of an essential self, i.e. what I wrote about in the previous entry. I begged the same question too when I referred to 'the self that I have always wanted to be'. Perhaps I meant the person that I have always wanted to be. I don't know if there is really a self, in the sense of a constant, unchanging 'me' that survives all the changes that a person endures throughout the course of her life. And what of someone on medication? Who is the real self in this case? So the melancholy related back to what I wrote about in the previous entry: will I ever know the real him? does this concept make sense? More importantly, why does life have to be so complicated? I finally meet somebody who shares some of my values, who understands in a way that nobody else in my life has ever understood the emotional need, craving, for reading something well-written that speaks to me at an emotional, sometimes intellectual, but always emotional, level; and it seemed at first that he had some personality quirks that I would have to accept if I wanted him long-term. They seemed to be annoying personality quirks, but I could deal with annoying if the good outweighed the bad.
But it's turned out that they are more than annoying personality quirks, though one could make a case for why it would be coherent to think that way. But mental illness is not an annoying personality quirk. It is a lifelong condition that has to be managed. I really like him, and I want to keep seeing him; but I am so afraid that...I am just so afraid.
I have always been more emotional than rational. Maybe the perpetual dissatisfaction, this feeling that I have sometimes when I'm with the guys and I feel out of place - maybe these feelings are provoked by my continuous, maybe futile, attempts at forcing myself to fit into a certain mould that I wish I could fit like a glove. And so at 4.40am, thanks to my out-of-whack hormones and these feelings for a man who reminds me of what I've always wanted to be, I am seized with familiar self-doubt, aware of the direction in which this train of inquiry is headed, seeing some light at the end of the tunnel; but afraid, foolishly afraid, that those lights would take me on a course to a fatal collision with an on-coming train.
And so I stay in the dark, and I will remain in the dark and I will believe for most of the month that I am happy there, until my hormones lose balance again and I am reminded of all the things that I try to suppress. The person that I have always wanted to be.