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    Run For Your Life, Black Hockey Jesus!
    « Dead Hooker Sutra | Main | Shuffling »

    The Story

    So there you are and you hate your life—I mean, you do, but you spend a lot of time trying to deny it and spin it certain ways, relativizing it by comparing it to people in 3rd world countries and so on—plus, you’re insightful enough to know that your life isn’t actually this substantial “thing’ that has absolute value, one way or another. It, your life, is lodged—all bound up and tangled—in the context of the stories you tell yourself about it.

    You wish you had a different life, a different story. You lay in bed a lot and stare at the ceiling, crying, dreaming up a story in which you’re noticed and seen and loved in all the ways you envision real love occurring and the subsequent feelings of contentment that flow out of this realer love in which you actually appear. That’s it, isn’t it? You crave proof of the fact that you appear in the world, day in and day out, and that this perpetual appearance is beautiful. That’s not too much to ask, is it? To merely be noticed as someone who appears? You are that which thus comes, flashing into the morning like a smile on the day’s face.

    The only reason anything appears at all is to reveal itself as something beautiful and worthy of notice. Flowers, fish bones, empty tin cans, you.

    But these are just stories, you tell yourself, chastising yourself, and you wonder which one is true. I mean. Couldn’t you just tell yourself different versions of the story you’re already in? Re-write it? Make it better? Could you? Do you think? And then your dream story—isn’t that just a fiction you use to cast a shadow on the story you think you hate? Seriously. If you’re brave enough to seek your dream and find it, won’t it eventually just collapse into your new real story, the newest thing for you to hate while wishing for the next something else?

    Which story is true and which one is false and to what extent are your stories real versus interpretations that can be amended and why can’t you sleep? What are you missing?

    Here, fatigued and hungry, you realize that this idea of your life being a story you can write via your own will toward positive thinking is just another story, a story one step removed from the self-involved stories about your biographical life. You follow me? This new You is a bigger You than the little yous striving toward happiness and you just kind of look at yourself—dissociated, feeling kind of weird—torn between the story of your life and what your life might be and it strikes you as—I’m sorry—ridiculous. You get a little kick out of yourself.

    But now some deeper Youier You sees the You looking at the little yous and it occurs to this Youier You that this could go on forever, an infinite regress of losing track of which you is really you. Your ego just cracked open like an egg from which oceans and stars are pouring through a crumbling dam and what you do not know swallows what you thought you knew like the dark swallows the sun at dusk.

    It occurs to you then that all the stories these infinitely regressive yous tell themselves are merely the dreams of a hibernating polar bear who sleeps on page 270 of a magical book that a gentle old woman reads to her grandchildren in a castle made of sand on heaven’s highest cloud. This must be the Ground of Being, you imagine, the myth from which your life—indeed, all our lives—emerge, and you are stunningly peaceful, no longer torn asunder by the vicious circle of your contradictory stories because you are birds and fish and trees. You. Me. We’re everything between.

    But, of course—you suddenly realize—that the last word’s not in some mythological book about a dreaming polar bear. That’s just, AGAIN, another story you’re reading, right now (now now now), on the Black Hockey Jesus blog. That’s where you are (not). Put your hand to the left of your screen. Look at it. Read these words. Look at your hand again. Wiggle your fingers. Look around. Read this out loud:

    What’s the story?

    Reader Comments (22)

    You. Me. We're everywhere in between.
    Ain't that the truth...

    Funny thing, this story called life.
    Everyday we wake up wondering what the day has in store for us.
    Will it be a good witch or a bad witch?
    Who will piss on our cheerios today?
    Best thing is, it really will be exactly how we make it.
    Make lemonade from the constant avalanche of lemons.
    Everyday can be rewritten.
    We can be the Hero or the Villian.
    The Fair Maiden or the Wicked Witch.
    Or the Tree.
    That's my story.

    February 14, 2011 at 5:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterHeather

    I was sure this post about be about a lovely lady with 3 girls of her own.

    February 14, 2011 at 5:51 AM | Unregistered Commentermuskrat

    Keep it simple. That's my story. I can only write one page per day. Perhaps I will never know the ending.

    February 14, 2011 at 6:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterOut-Numbered

    Darn you for making me think first thing in the morning! :: ponders ::

    February 14, 2011 at 6:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

    Right now the story is either that, because of time and the infinite span of our universe (probably an atom within other, larger universes), my story is irrelevant. Either that, or the story is I'm not really here at all. Why must there be beauty? Why should I expect to be considered as such? Hopefully I will come up for air soon.

    February 14, 2011 at 7:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterLisa

    Bleak, Lisa! Someone needs to tell you you're pretty.

    February 14, 2011 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterBHJ

    Well, MY story is a constant work in progress. Did I ever think I would be who I am today? No..... but MY story made me who I am today, which is ME. ME for good and for bad. And that's all you can really hope for. To BE the YOU that YOU are and for ME to be the ME that I am.

    February 14, 2011 at 8:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterLaura in Michigan

    i not so much a story. more a collection of rough van halen logo and superhero doodles in the corners of old notebooks.

    February 14, 2011 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered Commenterc

    The phrase 'some deeper Youier You' knocked me sideways laughing.
    I hope your day is happy and good.

    February 14, 2011 at 9:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterJett

    I tell myself stories, especially when I can't sleep.

    They are never my story.

    Now my story has taken an odd baby...and I don't entirely know where I fit in it any more.

    Shade and Sweetwater,

    February 14, 2011 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterKyddryn

    Ah. Yes.

    I've had those trains of thought, and they're good while they last, though comfortingly, I suspect that they're all pretty meaningless in the scheme of things.

    I think that there is a time for lying on the bed crying, and a time for thinking and turning inwards. But I also suspect that ultimately the time must come for just doing doing doing,and nothing will really move until it's time for that. Who knows when that time will be though.

    My mother once told me her party piece was a country and western song that went 'I've got tears in mah ea-yers, from lyin on mah back, in mah bed and cryin over (yodel) youououououououou.

    That makes me laugh on the ocassions when I feel the uncomfortable salty trickle into my own earhole.

    February 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJo

    occasions, dammit.

    February 14, 2011 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJo

    all my yous liked this.

    February 14, 2011 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterleel

    in this moment, my children are my story.

    February 14, 2011 at 5:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterMommyNamedApril


    February 14, 2011 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterErin

    Well, goddamnit, you just told it, didn't you? My story, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, right there on your blog.


    February 14, 2011 at 6:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterIrish Gumbo

    Lorem ipsum dolor sit

    February 14, 2011 at 9:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterKaren Maezen Miller

    Thanks for a great read, Youie You.

    Meee Me.

    February 15, 2011 at 8:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterHolmes

    The locus of control that belongs to me is a shiny dew-dropped lotus of control. It is supremely important. I just yelled-sang, "I don't care! You can't make me!" Bet that you didn't see that one coming, did you gods?!

    February 15, 2011 at 6:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterVernacular

    Sometimes its best to break the prozac in half.

    February 16, 2011 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterinsane

    You just told the exact story (in much more beautiful youie you style) that I tell myself in miniature every night when I walk from my office to my car. Wild.

    February 17, 2011 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterLaurie

    Terrifying that you wrote something so close to what I feel. I've been despondent lately. I lay in bed, feeling like my life is one of those 'choose your own adventure' books from the eighties. I go to sleep wishing I had chosen page 74 instead.
    I should just be my 'youier you' and tell my story.

    March 21, 2011 at 8:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterEverydayjill

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