Consider the following fact. You — and everyone you’ve ever known and loved — will die one day. You can read what I just wrote, and even understand and believe it, but it still doesn’t seem real to you. That’s the magic of denial. Denial is better than booze or drugs or even sex.
But normal is an impossible, undefined ideal. While it feels decadent, possibly destructive, to only worry about being happy with yourself or at least happy with the ways you are unhappy, you can’t exactly go around comparing yourself to all the people who have no better idea of the holy-normal than you do.
Probably neither of those. We define ourselves through our relations to other people. We are mother, husband, lover, sister, teacher, friend, son, enemy. Without links to other people, we disintegrate. We need anchors to society. To label someone is not to negate them. Even derogatory labels, whilst unpleasant, acknowledge a place in society, somewhere to belong. An identity.
Uh-oh. Did someone just discover the inherent paradox of human consciousness within the context of limited lifespan and the physical laws of the universe? Is someone going to be our next Sartre? This 6-year-old existential poet is Julian, the son of a redditor, and soon to be among the ranks of Camus, Pessoa, et al.
When you were mid-20s, you realized the extent to which ideals and theories could take you, so as you approach 30, understand reality’s limits to be unfortunate. You can not experience maximum pleasure without opening yourself up to maximum pain; ‘dreams’ are theoretical and therefore impossible to realize fully; your ‘dream girl’ cannot exist, and that is why she is your ‘dream girl’…
In less than four hours, the purple fermented love potion which had been trapped inside for over 8 years had finally been exorcized into a glass, briefly, where it swirled as a miniature kind of hurricane-and then was emptied into my mouth, down my esophagus, where such swallowed Gods resided in my stomach, softly rippled by the faint beat of my drunken heart.
Almost Transparent Blue (1976) was written by Ry? Murakami (b. 1952) while he was a student at Musashino Art University, where he was enrolled in the sculpture program. It was his first novel and was awarded the Akutagawa Prize (Japan’s “most sought after” literary prize; previous winners include Kobo Abe and Kenzaburo Oe) and sold ~1.2 million copies (~1% of Japan’s population at-the-time) in six months.
Have another minor epiphany, this time about your family. Realize that none of them have done any of the things they said you could and would do. Bring this up to your father. Say “everyone in our family is average. No one has done anything. I feel really average. None of you have done anything.” He can only offer that he realized this way later in life than you did, so you must be off to a good start of some sort.
The writing is so fresh, so honest, so revealing, that at times the reader may feel that he should not be reading these notes – it is almost a violation of a cherished intimacy and, like the greatest of loves, something not meant to be known to any but the participants themselves.