I had never used cursive since maybe the third grade when I learned it. “You only need to know your name,” I was told, and the other sixteen letters of the alphabet vanished from memory. I had no need to even be able to read cursive until this last spring when my literature professor wrote exclusively in this flowing form of script.
I never expected that would become my gateway back.
Did you know today was Flag Day in the United States?
I did, but I really didn’t care. So what, it’s Flag Day? Just another day with a name, it didn’t phase me or make me think of anything special. I slept in late and exercised when I woke up. I played on the Wii and my iPad. I replied to some comments, transcribed some calculus notes, and went shopping. It was just another day. Who cared it was Flag Day?
That’s what I thought, at least, until I saw the news a while ago. They spoke a little bit about the flag and showed a class of immigrants talking about becoming citizens and what the flag means to them. It gave me a new perspective on the oft-ignored holiday and left me feeling thankful for our flag.
Have you ever stepped outside to see everything in high definition? The leaves on the trees in glorious three dimensions? The fractures in the asphalt, the oil stains in thirty shades of grey, and the skid marks like brush strokes painted upon the road? Or the sunlight shining through every blade of grass and the diffractions of shadows cast from the heavens onto the ground?
I’m in a foul mood for sure. Suppose it’s a bad mood rising. But I guess it’s not a bad mood, just a sad mood. The day started out so beautiful, too, so cheerful and upbeat and I was so high on life. Now I feel low. Now I just feel so low I don’t know how much lower I could go.
But I must be thankful. It’s about that time of week anyways.
I had high hopes for Pesach–in fact, I had planned in my head an amazing series of posts in emulation of my week in December covering Chanukah: I had planned to speak about the Seder on Friday evening, about being a slave on Saturday, share a Pesach story on Sunday, talk about freedom on Monday, reminisce about traditional Pesach songs on Tuesday, delve into my personal history of the holiday upon Wednesday, and give thanks today.
As you can see, school has once more kept me away.
It’s not that I haven’t wanted, it’s that I haven’t slept. For nearly the past week, I have run so wild that I have missed deadlines, missed meetings, and missed entire homework assignments by convincing myself I will only sleep for a few minutes before getting out of bed to finish my work and then instead sleeping the entire night. It hasn’t been hell–I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve done, I’ve had plenty of excitement, and I love life in general–but it hasn’t been the happiest time of life. I’ve been critical upon myself, hating myself for my own failures, but unable to figure out how to best pull myself to succeed, how to hold onto everything without letting it all fall.
Life is a lovely conglomeration of chaos at the best of times. At the worst it is pure tovavo, that bleeding existence before creation where there was something, something so beyond human understanding, it was purer than any chaos we could hope to understand.
The irony of chaos is that it can feel very calm at the center of things. Take me for the moment: Right now I’m very at ease. I spent the afternoon sleeping. I woke up around six or so and didn’t even know what day it was. Things seem serene.
But right beneath–no, not “beneath” this at all; my awareness is somehow transitory, superficial, as if I am a fish and it is the fishbowl and I am looking out at a world distorted by the very medium that keeps me afloat–right around all of this, I can see and feel everything unraveling.
Thursdays are awful days to be thankful. Thursdays are not Fridays when the week is almost up and the weekend is right around the corner to look forward to. Thursdays are not Saturdays when I get to sleep in. Thursdays are not Sundays when a new week begins and there’s freshness in the air, inspiration everywhere, and new potential bleeding forth from every orifice of the world.
Thursdays are not Mondays when I get to return to the interesting topics discussed in my classes and see my friends after a lonely weekend. Thursdays are not Tuesdays when I get to go to my creative writing class and indulge myself in my deepest passions. Thursdays are not Wednesdays, the busiest day of the week, when I get to see all my friends in the SGA and then, in the evening, be thankful for surviving all the chaos that inevitably erupts every Wednesday.
Thursdays are Thursdays.
Thursdays are just deep enough into the week to feel exhausted and overwhelmed, but not near enough the week’s end to look forward to relaxation or another week rising on the horizon. Thursdays are Thursdays–and Thursdays are awful days for thankfulness.
For the first day in about ninety, I felt…relaxed. Well, not the whole day: I woke up convinced I had woken up early, and then went back to bed and overslept. I ran to get dressed, print my assignments, and then–remarkably–only arrived fifteen minutes late to class. I wasn’t even winded from the stairs.
Class went well. My second class was less a class than a test, and of the twenty questions, there was one I really didn’t know (and will kick myself for getting wrong, since I should’ave known it) and two more that I could have argued for each option. Not exactly the kind of feeling I like having after a test, but I got out of class an hour early, and isn’t that something?
I’m at a loss for words. It’s not because I have nothing to say–there’s always something to say, and it’s the obligation of the artist to say anything in the most elegant way just because he can–but because I have no energy with which to say it.
It’s a strange concept. Yellow wallpaper and casks of Amontillado and roses make me weary with words and passages on past events elude me entirely. Heroes converse daily, and creation occurs now in its place. From driven snow to western apocalypses and fallen angels and odd-ball superheroes to clones with no memories.
I said my mind is chaos. And these are only my homework assignments.