Every time I try to stay silent, I end up on the brink of wanting to explode.
That's my state for the past month. Yes, work has been good, I have been productive. I have tried not to talk more than I needed, tried to step away from things and people that I love, if I felt they were a source of distraction. I am interested in far too many things, but in reality have so little time to devote to most of them. Can't help but think it's also because of a lack of confidence, a heart that's too small to devote myself fully to any one thing. I am a melange of half-baked interests. I have too much to say, I feel like there are conversations I avoid because I will ooze out from underneath my words, bound to be misinterpreted, or worse, bound to say something that's purely buoyed by raw emotion and nothing else.
There is too much of me, yet not much as well.
I thought I needed to stay silent.
. It was a verb that had always obsessed me, but I realized it for the first time only in that situation. I wanted to become
, even though I had never known what. And I had become
, that was certain, but without an object, without a real passion, without a determined ambition. I had wanted to become something--here was the point--only because I was afraid that Lila would become someone and I would stay behind. My becoming was a becoming in her wake.
I had to start again to become
, but for myself, as an adult, outside of her."
That's one of the most debilitating passages from the third book of Elena Ferrante's acclaimed and stunningly powerful Neapolitan Novels. I don't have enough apetite to give it a review, except to say that it's mandatory reading for women. The anger of Lila and Lenu, the acute desires, the consuming refraction of image and perception and other people's gazes--it is astounding and back-breaking to read. I am swept away by its furor. I read it at the right time; I am ripe for it. I felt, many times as I was reading the third installment, that I needed to take a breather. It featured a kind of arousement that made my chest hurt, a desperate anger fanning the flames. The questions bubbled up with rage.
Who are you? What are you fighting for? What are all these things
in your life, why do you talk the way you do, are you fucking up everything you hold dear underneath that veneer of calm? Why are you trying to prove what you are trying to prove, and who is the intended audience?
I cannot remain silent, is what I'm trying to say! I feel so much violence about both the inertness and the volatility of my own potential. It consumes me so much, in so many little thoughts that don't seem to relate to each other except for the anguish that ties it all together. Yes, violence, anguish, I use these words without restraint. I am keenly aware of the turmoil and the tyranny of trying to be pleasant, of trying to pass off rough seas as the opposite and dress it up to seem like a serene and opaque lake, a placid, precious jewel, where there's no danger lurking. But I am a minefield! I am booby-trapped and beset with history and ready to destroy barriers, emotional or otherwise. I do not feel trapped, but I feel too full, like I was subjected to too much inspirational affects that are actually garbage. I am fucking furious at myself. I can barely grasp at the precise reasons why, but it feels like such a struggle, to become
, and to have this becoming be something acceptable, something I deem at par with my expectations for myself.
But those expectations of myself, I have come to realize, were developed as I, through the years, internalized what it meant to be a cool, intelligent, self-serving woman, a woman oozing with promises of both sexual and intellectual satisfaction, for herself and for whom she feels are worthy, a thought giant, a world unto herself, an ecosystem of epithets and unapologetic behavior and effortless, incalculable cool
. My dream becoming
is a pastiche of things that don't matter now, if they ever even did, ideas that have been projected at me as the province of women, details that I've nitpicked throughout the years without a second thought.
Everything I thought I want to become means nothing. The standards I have set for myself are all imagined.
I fear that I sound self-defeatist here. But you see, I can feel, I can taste it in my mouth. The change, the riptide, the thing that will tip everything over! Soon, it will come. Soon. I am afraid of looking like an idiot while I figure out my becoming, but I am more afraid of being razed to the ground by desires that will leave me empty. So let it come. Let me be angry, let me be unpleasant.
Let me be.