How’s The Water?

Let’s say you have a cough, the kind that starts out as a splatter under your tongue, but rises with a hardened beat because you’re convinced it’ll slip away eventually, so you medicate with dips of lemon ginger tea between movements, but this cough grows and isn’t a splatter anymore but you don’t remember that point of time when it was a treatable circumstance because it’s now manifested into a full body roar that you’re sure all of your roommates can hear and are quietly cursing you for not managing properly sooner, but there isn’t a lot you can do now except saunter it down, divesting more useless energy into another careless side brawl and so you’re left trapped in a blanket fort opening tabs looking for something in the vein of a cable news site that can be called the “No Irony Zone” but no one on the Boomers end is familiar with self-awareness therefore you won’t be receiving anything from them and it appears that the only genuine voices from your generation that don’t get lost in sonic snaffus or meaningless mock debates are as much representative of “your” voice and your friends’ voices as elected officials are actually representative of their constituents and you’re sifting through the media muddles and only finding those that self prescribe themselves candidates for this position like Lena Dunham whom you’ve come to realize you actually hate for being part of this sonic snarling and whom you realize you can dislike without losing credentials as a feminist because you take personal offense to anyone who exploits rape culture for book sales and as all the sadness of this lack of due representation swallows you, you realize what a vain and pointless concept it is to want such a thing, not at a time when the spectre of racial inequality has reared itself for a rematch but in meme-able form this time around, or when climate change has descended far far below the rubble of the list of “concerning issues”, or when the unsolved crime that was the financial collapse continues to bleed dry everyone on the below, and how it may be hard to articulate but you know, that there is a direct correlation to this top down everything way of thinking and how most of you and your friends can’t find the jobs they want to have, because not even the film and art worlds are untainted by the big C, and how this disparity in a local sense has created a model of unrestrained inequality that will be replicated by other big cities, and then you remember that you’re saddled with a bill that’s going to take decades to pay off and it feels like retribution for the magical 4 years you were afforded to have, and you know that as you’re trying to cement your feet into the ground of the city that you love so much that if you bit your tongue and resumed to fold sweaters for eight hours a day all your worries would vaporize but you’re too stubborn for that and you want more, you want better for yourself, you know you can do better even if it means holding out a little longer because you can see through this kind of grind that everyone’s told you is a necessity and maybe it is attached to a type of anti-establishment thinking that’s outdated and belongs with the foggies of Haight Street stuck in a time warp but you don’t care because that’s how you feel and that’s that so your fighting head turns towards trying to make a sweet girl from Georgia adjust to feeling at home here but she admits almost too candidly that her attraction for you has waned because you haven’t been making any new work in the period of time that you two have been talking, which hurts deeply because it appears her level of liking you was based on an almost superficial fetish but what you can’t admit to her is that you have actually made work in the past few months it’s just not in a  necessarily passionate tangible form she would approve of but more in the vein of monuments to nostalgia in morgues and that’s been your defining “thing” but you don’t say any of that for fear of hurting her and because who wants “Purveyor of Almost Loves” on their resume? and so you waffle an answer about the above struggles to find your footing post-art school and yet you’re annoyed for even having to justify this to her, but a sadness sets in, because you know she’s right, and that you can find all sorts of reasons to not have gotten on course to making new work, but you’re your own barrier here and try as you might to not let it, it carries through into your personal life, not just in this instance, but in your interactions with the social apparatus of the outside world that isn’t in the bubble of school, and it’s the reason you find yourself uncomfortable at art openings interacting with folks because you dread the question of what you’re currently working on, or what you’ve been up to, and you’ll ham up an answer about operating the garage space, but what you won’t offer up is that you’ve been relegated to hustling doing everything from cleaning solar panels for the people ruining your city to projecting awful white guilt laden movies in Napa while you push ahead for something more substantial, less soul munching to get back to you, and you retreat and tell a ghost in London all of this, because she gets you like no one else does, and she tells you how this whole bizarre ordeal with this Georgian gal, reminds her of something out of Girls, and this makes you livid even as you laugh and acknowledge the absurdity of it and you briefly consider stating in the about me of your blog “incase Lena Dunham is too white for you” but you shake those thoughts because the dark quirkiness of these tales aside there is actual unmistakable darkness here, but it’s a darkness that is your own, not symptom of another person placing it there, and there is a brief happiness in this, even if it is an acknowledgement that this is the same battle you’ve been prolonged in since you were in high school, it’s a burning sadness with a name, a clinical term even, but you won’t name it, you wont give it its power, it’s the outer internalized, and as cliché as it is its why you turn to DFW whenever this bout happens, because you know he got it, and maybe that’s a silly, even arrogant thing to say but he’s the Mick to your Rocky on this one, the Rumble with Humble starring you and Loneliness, and you can go the distance where he couldn’t even if there are times when a similar ending doesn’t seem so far off, because you’re fucking stubborn and you’ve got a will to live a lot more than just survive it all, but at the same time you don’t want to be known as the boxer with the perpetual cough from a punctured lung from all those previous beatings but you know that’s its part of the whole grand scheme of things too, so you worry what everyone will see, how much you’ll have to hide, how much you’ll have to mask under being inauthentic, ironic, or self-depricating, and how being Truthful and Intimate with someone from here on out will be harder than ever, and this above many other reasons is why you see Gambino as a kindred spirit in these childish struggles, because he gets that Fear of all these things, and his solution to cut out the middleman makes a lot of sense too, because that’s what you want too, to slip out of this skin, and be a vessel for something outside your own, but you wanna do it right and do it for the right reasons because you know you have a lot of love to give and you know now that you have no bottom to that but you’re also afraid you’ll never see any of it back in return and you want to be ok with that but that’s harder to do than you ever imagined it would be so you’re wondering if that’s why you’re afraid to get started, if that’s why you’ve descended into this Borgesian maze of insecurities, to distract yourself from the Big Things, the things you came here to do, the things you’ve put off in virtue of lesser pursuits, the things that will make all the sacrifices your parents have made and continue to make matter, and how all these distractions are a means for you to buy some time from wading into the deep end of the pool because you’re still convinced you can’t kick and move your arms fast enough, so you’re relegating yourself to the shallows, to where the coughing bouts that would come from the taste of salt water are nonexistent, but that isn’t what you came here to do, nor where you’re meant to be, because you left that place, that tiny Grovers Corners-esque village of a mindset long ago, and you promised yourself you’d never be stuck there permanently, and this particular time, during which you’ve been practicing paddling for the deep and finding that the shallows can drown you as well if your sorrows know how swim with them, will be the longest you’ll ever contend with being trapped in the realm of fear and self loathing in the blanket fort, and you know all of this and you’re ready to escape it but you’re a week away from turning 23 and yet you still feel like a 16 year old boy discovering Che for the first time and shaking at the elbows when a cute girl smiles at you, but this doesn’t need to matter to anyone who sees or cares because it doesn’t equal what you are in totality, no matter what you or anyone else says, because you know, in the squishy parts underneath the Kevlar suit of scars that all you can be is what you’re going after.

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