I’ve been learning a lot of strange new words for strange intangible feelings. Mostly because I experience a lot of strange intangible feelings, and without words to name them, I feel lost.
Sure, I could jump into how words are cages, and pigeonholing emotions and states of mind is faulty guesswork, but I think in this situation it would make me a bit pretentious. The thing is, while words aren’t the be all end all to naming and ascribing meaning to emotion and mental states, they are a good jump off point. When you don’t know what to call something, it makes it harder to process because you spend your time trying to nail down what it’s called.
It’s all semantic bullshit, but never mind that. Monachopsis is a subtle yet persistent feeling that you’re out of place. Like your entire environment just doesn’t feel right, and you don’t belong. Somewhere there is a place fit for you, where you belong and can act and move freely, but you don’t know where that is, and it can’t be recognized or realized.
Holy shit that punches me in the gut. This is a feeling I’ve struggled with my entire life. I’ve basically lived with an underlying unease that I don’t belong. When I’m in one place, I feel like I should be in another, but when I get to that place, I feel like I should be somewhere else. It’s endlessly frustrating as I never feel 100% comfortable and at ease unless I am thrusting myself fully into some kind of project, or carnal indulgence.
Yeah, art and other similar projects keep me focused away from that nagging feeling that something is wrong and out of place. And art and projects are all I can do to keep myself from acting out in self destructive madness.
I think I spent a lot of my life following those hedonist pleasures of alcohol and drugs and women because it could shut off discomfort, if only for a time. I often believed the trade off to be worth it, though in hindsight it most definitely was not. Nights of regrettable actions, mornings of sickness and loneliness. It was in no way an even trade. Note: I was far less successful with women than I was with alcohol lol
Yesterday I was talking to an old friend, and while this particular topic didn’t come up, our shitty behavior did. We both agreed that our baseline behavior gravitates toward being awful people. It’s not the we ARE awful people, but all the awful things come easy and are very attractive to us. It’s just easier to be angry, spiteful, drunk, high, promiscuous, and wildly irresponsible. And hell, a lot of the time, it’s fun.
Except when it’s not fun, it’s really not fun. Devastating would be a better word. All of those attempts to escape a world in which we don’t feel at home only amount to suffering, and we’re back at square one.
Acceptance is an important part of growth and finding peace, and it’s especially important for addicts, who run to their drug of choice because of an inability to accept things as they are. My coping strategies have traditionally been shit, bourbon being my favorite way to deal with problems. It’s easier to accept things when you can see a possibility for change, but what about when you see no end and no escape? A lot more difficult.
That’s what this feeling is, this monachopsis. An endless sense of disconnect, like you’ve been thrust into a life that somehow isn’t yours, even though you’ve created it from the beginning. I mean, I know this is my life, and I made it through active decisions, but what is it really? Is this mine? Should I have this?
And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house
With a beautiful wife
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?–David Byrne
I don’t know how to stop this imprint in my psyche. Sometimes it’s a slow creep in the background, barely scratching the surface. Like it’s sitting there and making me say “wow, this is my life.” Other times it’s a runaway train, screaming through my head “IS THIS MY LIFE?!”
No matter what, it’s still there to some degree. It used to make me angry when things went wrong, because it felt like it was derailing my plans. Then it would make me feel guilty when I had nice things because I felt I didn’t deserve it. Eventually, both of those stopped, and now I just don’t identify much with the good or bad, because it all seems inconsequential. It makes for a more peaceful life, but it also picks me up and detaches me from it. Indifference cloaked with ennui.
My biggest fear regarding monachopsis is that it’ll one day take over. That one day I’ll stop identifying with my life entirely and fall into anomie, which is a word for a whole different blog. But in the meantime, I’ll continue to practice acceptance, because it’s the only sense of respite when you remove hedonism. I’ll practice acceptance not just for the bad things, but for the good. Because a lot of the time, they feel the same: foreign.