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“Desirelessness is the condition of deliverance and illumination.” –Aldous Huxley

Dear Proust:

Why is it that we want the things we can’t have?  I understand that, in theory, this ensures the longevity of capitalism, but, in reality, it sucks.  For example, there is nothing I desire more than to own a house, but there are several reasons (both standing and occurrent) why I should Never, Ever buy a house.  Or anything, for that matter, that exists in one place.  The primary reason being that I simultaneously desire to never live in the same place for very long.

Or is that just a habit? To move around.  To roam. To search for that proverbial green grass that lies just over that proverbial {locked} fence.  Some say nature; others say nurture. I say Bullshit. Anything can be changed, if I want to change it badly enough.  Unfortunately, I don’t always want the restlessness to go away.

Speaking of going away, as I write this, a group of underagers taunts me, both deliberately and figuratively. Do I envy their youth? Sure, who doesn’t? But I’m not treacly enough to want to go back to those days.  The days when it felt liberating to waste an entire night doing nothing, energy fueling the absolute refusal to be productive.  I’m lying; I would go back.  But only in order to accomplish something, which would defeat the purpose.

For you, it was a pastry.  My debilitating memory is a ceramic turtle.  I was young, but I don’t know how young. Prepubescent?  Still naïve.  We were waiting on my dad to come home: He had news of the next place we would live. I remember it as a hopeful, exciting night.  As a child, I didn’t pick up on anxiety or stress, if there was any.  He comes home, smiling. He got the job. We got the house. We’re moving! Everything is, momentarily, perfect.  Excited, I jump across the couch, on top of my mom, and kick a ceramic turtle.  Part of a collection of some sort.  I didn’t get in trouble. I don’t even think I felt badly about it.  Everything was okay, as long as we were moving.

Danger and excitement are, of course, a dichotomy.

Home, like love, doesn’t exist except that we allow/want it to.

No, I’m not drunk.  Maybe I should be.

My therapist thinks if I can figure out what I want, then I can go and get it.  Finding the perfect job. Living in one place. Marrying for love.  I’ve already obtained everything I wanted.  Still, I desire.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  Most of the time, both.

My therapist is wrong, Proust.  Wanting nothing at all is the real key to happiness.  Philosophically, that’s completely sensible.  Ain’t a bad idea economically speaking, either.  However, just as my past is filled with the search for that one perfect home, my dreams are consumed with Place.  Different places, actually—where I can one day live and finally feel full.  Intellectually, I understand that enlightenment comes without/outside of this.  I live in reality, though, where the possibility I dwell in hinges on having a Home.

With longing,
lee lee

19 responses to “Desire/Change”

  1. Owen Owen says:

    Great piece. I’m fairly sure that all the answers to life can be found within Proust. Now if I can just finish reading it…

  2. Avatar disperse says:

    I thought it was "Marrying for health insurance"? The being in love part is an added bonus.
    You lost me when you started making Proust references (Russ). I wanted to hear more about the little girl who broke the ceramic turtle.
    As someone who lives largely within their own mind, I've never placed much importance on the place where I live; but, wherever I live, I want you to be there with me.

    • llxt llxt says:

      It's interesting, though… i feel like I "live in my mind," too. How is it we each do that in such different ways. :-/

      • Avatar disperse says:

        I blame HGTV. (I kid, I kid.)
        I used to think that I /was/ my mind. Then I began to believe that my mind is my enemy as much as it is my friend. When I feel frightened or angry I try to step back and figure out the reason for these feelings. More often than not it's just my brain being crazy. The trouble with living in your mind is it's a wild, dangerous, place.

  3. acb123 acb123 says:

    lee lee,
    as someone who has spent a life in perpetual motion, this piece resonates with me.
    i sometimes think the only reason we want the perfect home, job, marriage, is that we've been told these actually exist. they don't.
    so we spend our lives searching for elusive, tangible things, never satisfied. it's been a while, but you might recall that was a theme of my MFA thesis.
    stability is temporal and fleeting. a fire, an office closing, an indiscretion–any of these can leave us floundering, vulnerable. i found that the only stability, the only certainty, was God.
    that has become my ultimate, eternal satisfaction. but not my happiness.
    my goal was never happiness. although i always thought it was.
    the act of seeking, the constant quest… the longing. to me, that is life.

    • llxt llxt says:

      Thanks so much, acb. It means a lot to me to know that other people struggle in the same ways I do. I hear what you're saying about God (or at least something bigger than just little ol' me!) being the only certainty, but I've haven't found long-lasting peace there the way you have. For years, I went with the "it's all about the journey" philosophy, but that no longer works for me either.
      Perhaps, like my tastebuds, my desires also change every 7 years. ??

  4. You're a kindred spirit, Lee Lee.

  5. Emmy em Emmy em says:

    While reading this I continuously nodded my head in agreement. In my experience, desirelessness will certainly bring happiness in the moment. Feeling fulfilled and recognizing just how nice that feels. Not a stuffed tummy or post-elation calm down feeling, but real peace. And really that moment is all we have. However, without desire on the longer time frame could lead to lack of motivation or stagnancy. Which can make you feel quite unhappy. If you ever figure out how to balance this all out short of an orphanage in Calcutta, please let me know.

  6. Kail Kail says:

    Lee Lee, this piece is badass. You even laid down some Dickinson. Word.
    To say I know how you feel is an understatement.
    To be perpetually on the move is something I thrive on…matched with laziness…means that I haven't really finished unpacking from moving to an apartment, and the move was a YEAR ago.
    I mean, I'm happy here, and it feels like 'home' some nights. But the same can be said for this one particular public restroom at Mohegan Sun.
    I dig the idea of wanting/desiring nothing…philosophers and the Tao have told me that for a long time. "He who knows he has enough is rich." That's Lao Tzu. Or Jesus, one of 'em said that. And it can definitely help leading to enlightenment more than hopes and wishes and dreams and whimsy.
    But still…I love wanting more! Of life! Of everything!

    • llxt llxt says:

      ha ha. it was an easy quote: it's tattooed on my arm. 😉
      i am truly loving all the collaborative responses on this issue, though. similar to feeling underprepared for "the writing life" i've chosen, i always feel like i'm the only one feeling that way. (whoa–that's a lot of feelings.)
      i can't imagine life without wanting; satisfaction seems so blase. ooh…perfect time to reference a pierces song: http://youtu.be/GXbk3OL-t-s

      • Kail Kail says:

        Damn. Maybe I should get some Poe on my bicep. I like his short stories more than his poems though; Cask of Amontillado would be some painful work.

  7. Avatar KFrayz says:

    I really want "psycho~analayze" this piece. However, the {ethical} restrictions of my profession are forcing me to resist doing so in a public forum.
    But I will say, I know when your writing is PARTICLUARLY off the charts and AMAZING, simply based on one fact: when I read it, I am too overwhelmed, in awe, and intimidated to comment on it. Simply put: this is some of your best, my dear friend. I find whenever YOU write from your heart, it is your best work.

    • llxt llxt says:

      hmmm…perhaps you just miss me?
      to be honest, i really struggled with this month. {i guess} i'm okay putting that out there. i don't think it's that i don't have tons of opinions about "love" to put out there (or, for that matter–summer)….just that i don't want to actually put them out there right now. this is a new feeling for me, as you know… ha ha.
      so, anyway. i tried writing from the heart. it's the most love-filled thing i could think of to do. 😉

  8. Avatar The Tailor says:

    Well done. Far too deep for me to comment on intelligently.

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