Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A woman's place is inside a bubble?

I have just returned from a nine-day solo vacation, visiting friends and family in New York and Massachusetts. There is a mood I get into while away from frequently-seen faces and practiced routines that is a sort of pleasant isolation, as if I am in a bubble of non-judgmentalism that has a sheen of good will. It may come off as pleasant to others as well, though it is not necessarily my usual style. Since I am not investing daily in the outcome of the situations I enter while on a trip, I can be generous and calm. But it’s not a personal generosity. My mind feels empty, unattached. I imagine it’s Zen-like, but it could be merely repression (my dreams during trips are quite complex and intense). But during the day, though conversation abounds, emotions were either absent or stifled. I could barely detect any within myself, aside from the two flares of irritation that burst briefly when my parents called my name as I was leaving a room, forcing me to pay attention just as I was about to do something else. This happened once with each parent. I hope I made up for this by simply staying in the room next time as long as possible, giving what seemed to me benign (non-resentful) attention. What did it cost me? I could only act like this because I had little else to do. I participated in social events with friends and at-home time with family without experiencing a strong sense of involvement, whatever that means. This cannot happen in my “real” life. I have too much energy to remain detached. I often throw myself into my non-vacation life the way I used to with the pretend games I played as a kid, like “cops and robbers,” or “house.” This suggests that my non-vacation life is, in fact, a collection of games, such as “job,” “marriage,” “creative community participation,” and so forth. If so, I am happy to be “winning” some of them. On vacation, I could place bets, but I wasn’t really allowed to play. You know what I mean?

1 comment:

Matt said...

That's a pretty neat set of observations about life. On the one hand you have the set of routines and patterns of your regular life that you treat somewhat as a game, but apparently a game that you have some residual attachment to. But being free of "the ordinary game" for a bit you could just observe and didn't have to let your habitual patterns come into play. Have you, by any chance, read about Carlos Castaneda's idea of "controlled folly"? You might find that perspective interesting and useful.