Motions Of Burn-Out (In Three Parts)
Updated: Apr 23, 2019
BURN-OUT/ PART I
If only I could get my hands on a walking stick. It is becoming more and more difficult to walk. There is a long straight road ahead of me, sunflower fields on my right, cornfields on my left. The whole scenery is burning slowly under an eager sun, fully determined to show, today of all days, its full power. One more step. And then one more. I have been taking it one step at a time. Sweat is pouring down the totality of my skin surface. I am the only singular vertical entity in the middle of a road so straight it seems impossible to attribute its construction to human engineering, vast carpets of sunflowers and corn from either side lead my eyesight to the far end of the horizon. One more step. I’ve got no sense of time but I am pretty sure I am limping for quite a few weeks now. I am determined not to have to crawl but my heart is full of fear that this limping’s deteriorating future is inescapably some dreadful version of movement prone to soon have major similarities to crawling. I am taming my imagination as much as I can at the moment. It is not advisable to succumb to the horror of possible scenarios about the outcome of my situation. I try to keep my focus on the geometry of my situation, straight road, sunflowers right, cornfields left, brilliantly radiating horny sun above, one leg walking in vertical movements (up, down, step), other leg limping horizontally, drawing a thick trace line parallel to the symmetrical traces of the foot steps of my other leg. One more step. Focus on geometry. There is no visible ending to the path ahead of me. No visible destination. Am I doomed? No such thoughts now. There is no point in them. This is where I am. If anybody were to be looking for me just now these would be my co-ordinates. But nobody is. I am at no state to be manifesting search groups for my salvation just now. In a way my present fate feels like some kind of divine justice. I do not mean punishment for misbehaviour or for rotten character qualities. I mean just the sense of being exactly where you are supposed to be. Do you know the feeling? It is not acceptance either (this is not an art I have yet mastered). It is something else. If you were able to watch yourself from above, to look at the whole globe and then to know exactly where to place your finger on the big atlas and say here..here is where I am..It is indeed the strangest of sensations to feel as I am feeling right now, to feel that being here, limping across an endless line as part of a particular geometrical formulation, to feel about your condition as if there is a point to it, a meaning, and as if it is pointless, purposeless all at the same time. One more step. Focus on geometry. This word from Poe’s Raven suddenly begins to lure in the back of my head: nevermore..What does it mean? Am I ready to give up ? (At the very thought my one and only healthy lower limp begins to shake). It would be completely out of character for me to give up. On the other hand geometry does not lie. Things do not look favourable for me - and this can be confirmed - sadly, you can look at my situation from all possible angles and draw the same conclusion: not favourable. Nevertheless, even given the current circumstances, as I said, it would be completely out of character for me to give up. Is it possible that the appearance of the interesting and famous word is implying some underlying sense of hope? What could the unimaginable turn of events be? There is absolutely no way I can clarify this issue at the moment. The issue of despair versus hope regarding my deepest motivations will remain for the time being - once again sadly- unresolved. It is -and I repeat it so I can hear it myself - not wise to give in to neither my imagination (how vivid and tireless it can be!) nor to my ever so capable rationalisations. It is time to just stay with the facts: One more step. Focus on the geometry. And on the -unavoidable as much as plagiarised- obscure “Nevermore”.
All motion has stopped for a while now. I am lying face up on the one side of the road (the left side, the cornfields side). The sky is spotless blue, stubbornly unwilling to offer such entertainment as shapeshifting clouds or even passing-by birds. If I am not experiencing the absolute zen just now I do not know who is! I am unable to move. The ailment of my limping lower limp has expanded like a severe case of gangrene to the rest of my body. It has already been happening for a few days now. Slowly and gradually I was brought down. There is no charming description to sugar-coat this, to make the scene more poetic, transcendental, cinematic, theatrical or any other aesthetically pleasing way of communicating this. I was brought down. That was it.
Geometry. An endless straight road like a beautifully drawn line separating the sunflower fields from the cornfields, me lying flat, face up in the middle of it all and a vast burning spotless blue sky parallel to it all. Hope is not easy to hold on to at a moment like this. There do not seem to be any escaping scenarios available to my imagination. I am lying in the middle of it all, motionless, watching Jarman’s Blue on the mute, feeling significantly closer to finally mastering the art of acceptance. There is something ironic about this realisation and I attempt a smile but it seems that those muscles are not active either. I panic for a moment as I come to remember that breathing is the result of some muscle movement as well as blood circulation and although I could possibly survive without smiling I would definitely need to keep my lungs and my heart going. I decide to focus on my breathing and I mentally scan the rest of my body for other discomforts. Nothing. It is all good. Apart from being unable to move, I seem to be breathing easily and I experience no other indication of further ailments. I do not seem to be hungry either. Such is the human nature, full of surviving forces, that I am immediately tempted by a suspicion of hope. I am aware there is no logical argument to support the possibility of salvation. This thought is followed by a struggle between negotiation and misery: I am drifting between triumphant convictions that the situation will be reversed as unexplainably and unexpectedly as it was created and pathetic monologues permeated with the usual “dear God, why me?” drama. More inseparable hot days - or a really long one- go by like this.
BURN-OUT/ PART III
I am somebody who always wanted to understand things. It is why I was attracted so much to psychoanalysis during my years as a student and why I have always enjoyed a good murder mystery. Understanding has always been both my way through and my way out. My need to understand would get me through a difficult communication conflict, would help me to find alternatives when I got stuck at work, would always lead me safely to solutions. It is the reason why I am so good at finding things that I lose or that other people lose. Instead of starting to look around frenetically to locate the lost object, I spend some time trying to understand the “story” behind the disappearance. What was I doing with the object lately, how often was I using it, when was the last time I used it and where was I standing or going to at that time, what were my emotions during those actions and what was the timeline of emotions regarding the lost object. Like a good detective I fill in all the gabs of the story of the mysterious disappearance and, most often than not, I get my “aha” moment and I go straight to the location where the lost object is to be found.
If I tried really hard I would find it very difficult to remember a time when my method had failed me. But as the popular saying goes, there is a first time for everything. There comes a time where one’s blessings become their curse, when your most powerful tools are turned against you and they start destroying you. It is admittedly a dreaded moment but undeniably one that has all the characteristics of full-on , proper revolution.
After spending what seemed to be a real eternity trying to figure out all the hows and whys of my situation, after having exhausted all the vital potential of my memory, and even if all my findings have been - and they most likely are- spot on , as to what caused my current predicament, I am still sadly on the same spot: I am lying motionless in the middle of a long straight road leading to an infinite horizon, sunflower fields on my left, cornfields on my right, blue spotless hot sky above me. It is clear to me that I am as from this moment done with trying to understand.
This decision is not the result of an “aha” moment. I have not got the slightest conviction that ceasing all effort to understand will improve my situation. I simply stopped. There is no more to understand. Trying to understand is becoming an opposite striving force of resistance, with which I can no longer side. It is a sweet moment giving in to this fate. You would think that a shift like this - or any type of shift for that matter- would take its sweet little time to show its repercussions. But it happens much faster than what you would think. In fact it all seems to be happening in the blink of an eye:
There is no more to understand. The moment I think of that thought I feel the hard surface of the road beneath me softening and I know I am lying on the soft thick carpet of "allowing". This feeling is immediately followed by the appearance of a big round egg-shaped space opening up inside my belly. It starts to rain almost simultaneously and the water drops are falling into my mouth and I feel them as they go down my oesophagus, through my stomach, in and through the big round egg-shaped space in my belly, and all the way down to my legs and feet. My tongue starts moving and licking raindrops.
There was a previously undetectable knot inside my pancreas which starts to loosen up as the rain water runs through it until it unties itself gracefully and jumps softly a few centimetres outside my chest and starts dancing softly like a skilful ballerina.
I am not dreaming.
I am not dying either.
It feels more like I am being animated.
And suddenly this craving appears inside me, something that had not occurred to me all this time, but it comes to me now like an old insatiable intense longing, and with all my body and heart I want so desperately to see and touch another human being.
Text by Birds WG
Part I : Photo by Benjamín Gremler on Unsplash
Part II: Photo from https://goo.gl/images/Uyehc8
Part III: Photo from https://goo.gl/images/zEExU3