- Harry Jensen
May 6, 2020
“Do you remember last year, when I was cool?” I asked my lover.
“I’m pretty sure I was cool last July,” I explained. “And I thought so, too. Remember that, when I told you that, that I felt cool and that I thought I was cool and now, you know, that things were going to be cool?”
“Oh,” said my lover. “Yeah.”
I didn’t wake up for Ramadan today, but I didn’t eat enough yesterday to warrant another day of fasting. I was twenty minutes late to the Amharic class in my living room, and then I took a walk with my roommate to follow my other roommate, just to see if we could. I don’t think he noticed, so I feel safe to mark today as a success.
Going dry off of the meds, or, as they say, “raw dogging reality,” has been a rollercoaster on rockets. One moment I’m sad, and then — the very next moment — sad again. Every day is a new adventure!
But still, the meaning-making is a must. I’ve been reading a bit about pessimism and existentialism and absurdism lately, all of which view the world as inherently meaningless — unless you’re pretty close with this “God” that everyone’s been raving about lately. All of these philosophies hinge on what they call the Absurd, the tension between the human striving to make meaning and an irrational and chaotic universe. In regard to the pursuit of meaning in one’s life, they disagree on whether there is any resolution to this tension.
Sound familiar? Sometimes the depression voice says these things, sometimes I do(!). It’s all meaningless. Is it true? In a sense, but there’s optimism to be found in the cracks: It [might be] all meaningless [without us].
When I lost my father, the grand illusion finally shattered: there was no purpose to my father’s death. For years after, I could not figure out why it so enraged me when people told me, “it wasn’t fair what happened to you.” I think part of my anger lay in that this is another euphemism, used to differentiate the speaker from me, to explain how my father could die when I needed him. By saying that something unfair and awful happened to me, something strange and ungodly, they were implicitly telling me that this was an aberrant event, not at all definitive of the mood of the universe. I do not know if I have ever taken the world to be this way; I struggle to feel that the universe is a hearth any more than it is an inferno. Can I be content flailing and squawking in an indifferent universe?
I have had my own moments of grace, spiritual seconds, but I have not yet attained a resilient faith in a divine presence in the world. Though I sometimes feel I am edging on faith (lmao), I’m not there yet. And what I am getting closer to? Logos, the Tao, L. Ron Hubbard? I don’t know; I just hope one of them can tell me where God is to be found, because July was a long time ago, and I only have so many roommates to stalk before people start to suspect that I’m not cool.
Before suffering is sublimed into tragedy, it is just suffering.
— Harry “In His Feelings” Jensen, pre-editing
Secret cartoon by Cecilia Bahls and Harry Jensen!!