The Monologuist

Every morning I have more or less the same routine: wake up, pee, meditate for 15 minutes, make coffee, journal, crap, continue journaling and, when home, write for a few hours. The meditating and journaling are pretty indispensable (I suppose the evacuations are as well). The meditation first gets me into a place of stillness and self-control; from that meditative state I can let the mental flotsam and jetsam rise and disappear. From that place of stillness, my journaling helps channel my thoughts on the day—what might have been missing the previous day, what I should probably incorporate into the day ahead of me. The writing gives form to the discreet patterns in my life. Through these patterns, I can tweak things accordingly.
I live alone, so generally speaking there isn’t any impedance to me carrying this out. I don’t need to find a place to meditate that’s out of the way because everywhere is out of the way. I don’t need to ask for quiet when I write because everywhere is quiet when I write.
This was not always the case. When I lived with my ex in our one bedroom apartment, I had to negotiate with her morning schedule. She was a meditator, had a different practice than I did and usually woke up before me and frankly, didn’t like to meditate with me. With the limited space, the only thing I could do was meditate in our small bedroom as she’d be out in the living room doing her thing. Then when I wanted to write, she’d often be scurrying around before work and I’d have a hard time writing, and I had a hard time asking her for quiet.
Today, I’m in Florida where some of my family descends every year. I’m staying with my dad and step-mom in a condo near the beach. This morning, I woke up and meditated and because I thought my dad was still asleep, I went downstairs to write for a bit.
Turned out my dad was awake. My initial thought was, “shit, I wish I had my own space.” Yesterday, I’d written in bed to avoid contact with him or my step-mom (this was not anatomically an easy task). Then I thought about the “Magic Moments,” I thought about creating conversations, I thought about letting people into my world and given that I wanted to write, I said to my dad, “I’m going to be here, but pretend I’m not here.”
I said it flatly. He didn’t seem to care. I proceeded to write. I waited for him to disturb me, but I realized it was in my mind. In my journal, I wrote about the real source of my discomfort: that I’m not really that keen on inviting people into my world. I mean, on the surface I am. On the surface, I want to be open, generous, forgiving and imperturbable. But just below the surface, I’m shut down, stingy, harsh and sensitive to the point of being touchy.
I wondered why this is? What I realized is that letting people in on my life—even if it’s the simple request of asking for privacy—has a couple consequences I’d rather not deal with. First, it opens me up to disagreement, disapproval, disappointment—basically all the disses. What if I show someone what I’m doing, and they don’t respect it? What if I make a request and it’s refused? What if my dad didn’t respect my request?
I realized that there was something deeper going on too. That my journal represented my inner life, and even having a witness, albeit that he would never to read what was written, represented, to me, the opening of a conversation. I think I really didn’t want him to know what I was writing about, even though it wasn’t really about him (and what if it was?). This reluctance to share and have my internal life known is symptomatic of something I was talking about the other day: that I don’t want my worldview called into question. I preempt any conversation that might compromise my worldview. This is akin to the crazy person who, wanting to maintain his own narrative, engages in a monologue in order to not have his reality questioned. So I scribble my pages, and I write my treatises, and I never read aloud because someone might disagree.
This projected misunderstanding leads to personal isolation and makes me really fucking touchy in the morning. I don’t like it.
So I made my request, and my dad respected the request. And I kept writing. And I fleshed out these ideas and I thought about Coelho’s cheesy book and magic moments and I thought: “This is a magic moment—I can have my dad witness me in my process and by asking him to help me, I’m creating a conversation.” It was no longer just about me not wanting to be bothered. He was important enough to me that I wanted him to understand my process. Moreover, when I was done writing, I let him know what I wrote about. And in the sharing about what I wrote about, I was able to let him in on my internal life. I was able to let him know that I have difficulty sharing, but that I want to change. It’s no longer good enough for me to direct and star in my one-man show. I am done with monologues.

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