The puzzlement began very early on. I was increasingly feeling something was wrong. In this dense, slow, and heavily-weighted world, I appeared to be the only one thinking we had a situation on our hands. Looking deep into people’s eyes I saw sincere, complete, enthrallment. They believed the dream. They believed they actually were who they were playing at being! (I so loved train stations as a child. It was the one place in this world where people were playing the only role that was true. Suitcase in hand, they became my unacknowledged fellow traveller.)
A dull panic began to build in me when I saw there was no one to speak the truth with. My only choice was to censor myself, my knowing, my very being. I asked myself to start pretending, lying, imitating, pacifying. I was stuck in this movie and had to make the best of it. A burst appendix when I was three was an attempt to get out, I think, but it was not meant to be. I was to stay and figure it out…somehow.
While the loss of one’s ability to defy gravity in the world of phenomena is insignificant, the gradual sense of loss in one’s personal freedom to act and to speak truthfully is felt deeply. It causes a split from one’s own self. I remember being eight and told in class that we could paint anything we wanted. Naturally, I was going to paint about “God” (which is the only thing Life is made of). Then I remembered that the true nature of “God” was something people didn’t believe in. I felt I had to paint something they could see and believe, so I painted a church. I went on painting churches (i.e., what I thought people could see and believe) a long, long time before I realized how I was killing myself. I’m not painting churches anymore. There must come an end to self-denial.