On Wanting Things
Each happy tribe rebukes in its own way the magazine line “be happy alone”, the “you’re enough”, the “you love you first”; I’ve never bought it. There’s a blushing wish to fuse with others that a standing invitation, in cultures that won’t sell salvation, offers to resolve by pushing it down deep in the individual where no words can pet it; your dread will be resold as inspirational.
Well, I’ve never met a human being not set alight by a chance to laugh, by a friend remembering to call, by a touch on the arm, no one really puts on make-up for themselves, ever, no one tries, no one cries l’art pour l’art, you’re never solo with a book’s text, you’re never invisible, you can’t be because then you can’t be. Solitude is good and should be sought out as a kind of minimalism of the self, a temporary taste, a fast, when unwanted it’s a contracted state of being, survivalism, all is boiled down to the basics, the impersonal, the banal — what differentiates one lonely life from the next? — and there’s irony in how it’s the interplay that makes what’s unique definite and our cliché sensational. It’s easier not to want all that, not better.
“Akar” is a wolf of a word in Hungarian, it barks at you with two old Uralic stresses, rhymes with the words for “maul” and “scar”. Girls do not “akar”, never, it’s not well-bred, not von Haus aus to say it, you’re told until it’s gone from every public sentence, even thought. A polite society just wishes that you would, perhaps for your own good: there’s a dark belly of risk to “want”, you come out to play, you bare a plan, you show where it hurts, your shame-filled longing not to fail, and you stand and fight visible to everyone.
I first said “I want” in 2018, because I wanted things despite a lot of other things, and a lot of other things warrant resistance, and I said it out loud, despite, despite, I wanted things and I would make them happen, despite, despite all that circumstance, and I let it, out, all that want to run freely and try, and I built with it and on it, and I let it, to slap into walls, to crumble and fall, and get up and find new ways again and again, and I celebrated when it won once, and I cried when it lost again and again, and I watched proudly and in shame as it went fully untamed and I paid for its education, and I saw all its shyness and cunning and realness as it stood naked, my reconnaissance, my scribe. And I knew I probably need to apologise.
I don’t want my “despite” to be people, I’ve built things so it isn’t, if wanting is something we won’t talk about then so is its shadow; to make want not into war, a flight into the desert, to feel for hands until you’re certain, until you know.