Is this the thing? Aristotle's idea of living a happy, flourishing life. Do people do this? Now?
All at once, I peel my shoulders from the sky and let go. I feel that I have come far enough, been around long enough that I should have some idea, an inkling of what kind of vector I am on. I am only puzzled. I inflate my ribcage and allow myself the luxury of softness, as if I have stepped off the pitch; I'm out of the game for the moment. Swing arms, shoot hip, let head fall back.
Is this the thing? Aristotle's idea of living a happy, flourishing life. Do people do this? Now? It sounds to me like mirrored days of planting velvet-petaled violets in clay pots, crossing the road to get the letters from the mailbox, then humming some phrase while angels settle along the garden path, drowsy from all that glory.
How does this work? How do I sort out all of the causes, or, have none? How do I tell myself, "Oh, they have chosen to have that experience," and believe it? The children in the rubble. You, tossing your fast-food garbage into the ditch. Both lie there, the child, the garbage, until someone does something. Both are the result of a decision: Synapse and the tensing, flexing of muscle wound and nourished by free will.
Look away. There is nothing you can do. Clap your hands.
Existence precedes essence, Sartre says. I am born. I am. My parents hand me back and forth and hope that I don't notice, but I see everything. It 's all processed and stored and informs every single thing that I do now. Thanks a heap. 'Showin' up. If you say that I have chosen this experience, I will step back onto the pitch and run at you, cleats blasting chunks of Earth behind me, and you and I will fall to the ground and sort this out. Angels cheering on the sidelines. Ump throws a card.
When does this happen? Is this a goal to work towards, so far off? I am fiercely authentic now; passionate and vulnerable as hell. I have tried to pretend but I'm a shitty actor (I no longer give a royal fuck about that). It seems that all of my effort has come to a screeching halt, and in my exhaustion there are no arms to fall into. There is no grace. I feel that I move as a freak, jostled and pushed by legions feigning normalcy while the Earth herself wonders if we even notice that she spins.
What about agency? Is agency only for getting the most out of your portfolio? Is it? Does this kind of agency help us to flourish? I want to make a difference. If you tell me to just go out there and make someone smile, I will take another run at you. I will ground you into the soft Earth enough so that when you get up, you will have grit in your teeth. Her grit. Spit.
We are all in this together. Arrogant to judge worthy/unworthy, but you do, and then go about your day revelling in your triumphant seizing of a fantastic deal on Triscuits and paper towels.
Believe me, I don't want this. I would rather oblivion than this awareness. I want to pot violets all day and watch the angels.
- Suzanne Crone