A Co-Scavenging We Go?


I missed you, and want make you drink broth, eat eggs, and retrain your palate to glories of salt! Indulgence and warmth.  Hot Cocoa! Tamales! Dulce de Leche! Or, when all else fails, eclairs and Cheetos (Rich’s eclairs, from the frozen section are highly recommended).  Mochi! I am realizing, as I type, that both my exclamation points and food combinations might be nauseating at the moment.  Strangely enough, apparently today is “Love Your Body Day,” set up by someone somewhere who wants us to say “hey bod, you’re neat.”  I know your skinny isn’t about food, but I am glad for that cheeseburger.

Oh, the wilderness.  I feel very much there, and would even view you as a step closer towards a lighthouse and a village.  But, this goes to show that there are all kinds of jungles, Siberias, wolf-lands  (which I think is part of the rub of the idea that once an answer of purpose arrives, the wilderness is released to the background of one’s daily musings).  I will be 28 in a few months, at the cusp of the possible “Return of Saturn” and I can already smell my crisis (it’s been on a low simmer for years): how to handle what is my life with the version I supposed for myself, how to understand and make peace with a path without acclaim, how to not beat my head against a wall because I drink too much wine, sleep in too late, and watch too much frivolous television and yet can’t find the ‘time’ to sweat as much as I swear I am capable of.  I think I will, as they say, freak the fuck out.  I will probably take up something that involves all of my attention, like raw-foodism, and then calm down because I think I will be helping the world with my juice fasts (when really, we all know, that a juice fasts does nothing for the world, but does make the faster talk incessantly about toxins and the glories of  clearer thinking and purified skin).  And after all this strange clamorous panic, some job will say “hey, future right here, stop thinking so hard,” and all will seem part of an embarrassing, compelling, and fully fledged youth.  Which of course, right now, makes my tummy hurt.  I wish my panic was about how to get more midwives trained in Afghanistan, or how to increase civic engagement, but no, it will be me whining that my kinda special can’t find it’s place in the world, and that I might have to work temp jobs for the rest of my days.

In Lost in Translation, Scarlett is just scared and unsure.  That is her crisis.  I don’t think it can count as a quarterlife crisis.  It was a state of not having enough to do, and of being asked to do nothing.  I don’t want to crap on her angst.  I love the movie, and, probably because it speaks of such a large swathe of emotion and common experience for most privileged folks in their twenties, have identified with it.  But really, it boils down to a scared and unsure person who has nobody expecting anything of her.  In Chinese Medicine, Youth is defined by Joy, Expression, Gratitude, and has a bitter flavor.  Adulthood is defined by Overthinking, Cooperation, and Faith, but its flavor is sweet.

As far as the apes…I wonder.  I have left behind friendships from wildernesses I am less knotted in (my attempts to prove myself feminine, intellectual, popular).  Somehow, things did arrive to calm some of those mysteries (I figured out that mascara was always going to be a rough road for me), and the relationships dissolved from mutual change (but they didn’t dissolve very gracefully, so I really have no idea about any of this). Is it like not buying new music anymore? And, I have to say here again, that Tarzan never waved goodbye to his apes.  He knew they were the best thing he had going for him.

Do you think that there is a part of growing up, or of settling with yourself where you buy in to something to stop some of the racket in your head? Does it happen naturally? Or as I will be mentioning in a future post, according to the films of the sixties, do babies scream so loud that all the racket about what you’re doing with you life has to stop?

Eat something. That’s what I’m gonna go do,

Did I mention I love you? For reals, I’m not sure if your an ape to me, or one of the civilized who really knows how to wear a tuxedo, but either way, I’m keeping you, no matter what happens to the jungle.


Bildungsroman BigFun!

Dear Millicent,

I just finished reading Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, and the ending very much reminded me of an old Jezebel post from this summer about the quarter life crisis versus the return of Saturn.  You know, how everybody in their twenties tends to have a moment where their world breaks a bit, and it is often framed as, oh are you 27 or 28, must be your return of Saturn? Or, oh, are you isolated and living in Tokyo, you lucky full-lipped thing?  They did a great job or parsing the subject, pretty much boiling it down to the flummox before we get a sign that our life is going to make sense.  In the Jezebel writer’s case, she got a job, and calmed the fuck down.  This calming does seem to depend on that very important thing (job, plan, opportunity) actually arriving (which I liken to the comet Dimmesdale sees in the sky in The Scarlet Letter).

Lessing’s characters seem to go through a similar process, all self scrutiny and intense panicked thought, until, voila, jobs and marriages are agreed to. Then it is a fast, slap-of-the-hands, end.  Which, brings me to the bildungsroman ending where the young hero, after his or her adventures, has to decide whether to return and join the community through marriage or job taking, or keeps going into the wilderness, decidedly a lone wolf (much like the Amish rumspringa tradition).  Molly and Anna are not immature women, and their decisions arrive in middle age, after children and full histories.  They also need less of each other once their decisions have been made, much like Scarlett leaving Bill Murray and going off to her future, probably publishing her first book through her richie-pants connections and going on to write provocative things about how boring the culture class in America is.  I want to puke on my future version of her, and also be her, wear her clothes, and write her scathing richie-pants words.  But that is not the point.  I wonder if we leave behind the structures of support we find in the wilderness when we agree to go back to the fold, something like Tarzan waving good-bye to the apes as he puts on his tuxedo.  But, isn’t part of why Tarzan is awesome is that he never actually does that? He and the apes keep in touch?

Back to the bildungsoman, there is something in this…is all angst calmed by an acceptance of purpose, with the search being traded in for any answer at all?