Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ellipses

When I lost my job last month, I had imagined that I would be able to blog and write to my heart's content; after all, it's not as though I have a real job to get to! However, I find that I have less time now than I did when I was full time. I spend my time trying to plug the gaping holes in my life that have suddenly yawned open, and I can smell the threat of destitution swelling and ebbing. I spend a great deal of time praying that the band-aid plugs hold for longer than I expect.

Some of my very good friends tell me that I should take this time to finish my book, that it is a gift from the Universe, a sure sign. I am very grateful for the comforting thought, but my book is finished, has been for a couple of years. I don't know how to work on it since I am too close to it and don't have an editor or anyone to advise or suggest. So touching that project is out of question for now. I continue to write stories and try to get them out; some of them are even accepted and nothing else helps like those. At any rate, my writing is a necessity and not contingent upon the amount of free time I have.

There is another activity that eats up my time, staring out of windows and worrying about all the big and small things that are now different. I stare outside the window with the cats and watch the leaves, worrying as the sky darkens and the rain begins. Staring into the internet window is a different kind of worrying: I scroll and apply most assiduously for all full time jobs that I am capable of. I worry that I am not visible to these jobs. I know what my perfect job looks like, and I think that I glimpse it often from the corner of my eye. However, the right constellations have wheeled away, some bridge has broken down, there is a cosmic disconnect somewhere, and it remains out of clear, direct sight.

Weekends are the worst. During the week, as I make phone calls, apply, grade papers, organize and prioritize, I have the illusion of doing something, somehow progressing. But on weekends, the world naps and I am at a loss. During my lowest times, I fear I have turned into a citizen of Eliot's Unreal City, of Wasteland; how could I have, when did I allow such a large part of my self be dependent on my job? By now, I should have begun to feel the relief of less responsibility. Granted, I am teaching part time at the same place, but I am teaching only the courses I have written and created from ground up; this situation should feel like a wonderful thing! And I must confess to enjoying the time in the classroom; yet it is tinged with the awareness that the institution and I owe no fealty to each other any longer, that our tomorrows are irretrievably severed, and as time goes by, these classes, these classrooms will only move farther away and finally set below my horizons.

I suppose what I miss the most, besides the obvious benefits that accompany the friendship of an institution, then, is belonging to an institution. There is so much comfort in owning a place of work as one's own; I would argue that it is as imperative to being meaningfully alive as having a room of one's own. It feels like one belongs to a wider circle of reference, and since the circle is wider, one will be well taken care of. This circle of reference provides a temenos and we all need firm land beneath our feet. This awareness of a temenos is what is liberating, not all these oodles and oodles of undefined hours. What I have right now is not free time; this is chthonic time. It does not belong to any earthly concern.

If my life were a research paper, this time would be indicated by ellipses enclosed in square brackets; not relevant to what came before or after.

July is almost done. Soon, the festivals will begin. The year wheels on and when I blink again, it might well be December. However, the Upanishads, one of my major touchstones, claim that there are forests of eternity contained between eye-blinks. This post goes out in hope that the eye-blinks wheel my world towards a belonging that brightens the horizons and puts my feet back on terra firma

2 comments:

  1. Beautifully written post about a very painful topic--here's wishing for terra firma and soon!

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  2. Thank you Kristin! Things will settle down, but I fear I am impatient and everything makes me mopey. Thank you so much!

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