Friday, October 14, 2011


“I believe one has to escape oneself to discover oneself.” ~ Rabih Alameddine

The other night, I had a wine glass in my hand that was half full, my body immersed into a couch as I waited to watch a movie. I stared at it for what felt like an eternity, studying the fingerprints ... my fingerprints, creating a sheen over its once translucent surface. The burgundy liquid swished from side to side as I slowly twirled the stem of the glass, momentarily mesmerized. I felt lost that day ... I feel lost today. But as I stared at that glass, studying my fingerprints, my identity smeared on that glass for all to see -- it mocked me. I wished, in that moment, rediscovering my identity were really that simple. And as I continued to swirl the wine around, I imagined it washing my fingerprints away, as thought wiping clean my very existence. I pictured the glass submerged in a cleansing, crimson sea, leaving behind trails of its potent, aged, grape-fill scent. And then, just as quickly, I was pulled from my trance back into reality.

And when I glanced back down at my glass, the prints were still there. It was in that moment I realized my existence was there to stay ... and no matter how often I felt lost, I'd always remain and find my way back to those prints once more.

Nevertheless, the moment got me thinking about a tendency I have that I really haven't talked to many people about in detail, if at all. Sometimes, I mentally "leave" during times I'm overwhelmed, which may be a blessing or a curse, depending on the situation. I'm often always in my own little world in some ways ... and always have been since I was a child, staring off, pondering life,  thinking about the next story I'll write, trying to figure out other people's stories.

But that kind of escape into another world is not the kind I've recently come to grips with in myself. Because there were times, in my recent past, where I would literally feel as though I'd left myself for a few moments, as though I was no longer present. It's a defense mechanism and it happened when whatever was going on around me was too much for me to handle, or was a situation I was desperate to escape, but couldn't physically leave ... so I mentally left. It still happens now sometimes, even if for just a few moments when I feel filled to the brim without an ounce of space left in me.

To try and put it into words -- more for myself to comprehend than anyone else right at this moment -- what usually happened in the past was I'd try to verbalize that I'd reached that point, but inside, I was too weak to actually do something about it, so I just remained frozen in place, looking down or at some nondescript object. And if I'm being honest, I still do that. I always joke with people that the moment I have no fight in me about something, even if it's just not teasing someone back who is teasing me, that's when they should worry.

Well, joking aside, that's kind of true in a lot of ways. Because in those moments, when I "leave," even if it's just for a few seconds like I've done recently, I'm unresponsive with a blank stare ... and whatever I'm looking at, I kind of melt into. And whatever is happening or being said begins to blur in the background. It's hard to explain, but it's literally a feeling like I'm bursting at the seams, crying out from the inside, yet feeling muted. And then my brain just shuts off momentarily.

The question becomes, is this a good or bad thing? Is it simply my mind trying to protect itself the way it was in the past or is it simply me running, escaping? Is it an instinct I have to overcome somehow or does it still have purpose? I don't know. Perhaps it's a little of both.

Either way, it's something I've just now begun to analyze about myself, something I've only more recently noticed. I know I'll begin to find some of these answers, as I tend to do upon discovery of the questions themselves, but for whatever reason, vulnerable as it may make me, it's something I've decided to share.



  1. I feel like I also dissappear sometimes, deep in thought... although for me, it's very different. I don't feel as if I'm hiding or anything, it just happens... A lot of times, I'm thinking about fighting... lol. Not in the traditional sense, I mean you can take thinking about fighting as being aggressive, or angry, of defensive... but i'm more so imagining situations happening, and being prepared mentally for them. It's not always fighting lol. Sometimes it's like you mentioned, not a wine glass and finger prints, but like looking at trees... seeing the beauty in them, when they are probably one of the simplest things in life, it would be hard pressed for a picture or painting to capture the depth, the motion, the eyes can see. But you get lost in that sometimes, become unaware that you're driving, and the car in front of you could have hit their brakes causing you to have a very bad day due to it, but thankfully it didn't... but, if it did happen, would you have responded even though your mind was elsewhere? seems like it... but then how? Almost as if time stops... I can see myself through your words looking at the glass as you've described it. Very nice read. :)

  2. You know ... it's kind of funny you mention the fighting thing because I've done that, too, lol. I'm often deep in thought about many things, especially in more social situations. It's as though my brain gets overwhelmed and zones out for a bit, but not in the way I mentioned above, just in a more pondering, inward thinking way. Or I'm capturing something in the moment and mentally embedding it for a story later. And sometimes when that happens, I imagine possible situations (like having to fight or defend myself;-) and how I'd prepare myself, etc. So yeah, that hit home with me and makes me feel a little less strange ;-) ... a little less, haha. And of course, thanks for the feedback Todd :-)