mark undisclosed

Jacques Lacan threw a flashlight down the well. It spoke out from under the quiet, black water: “I think of what I am where I do not think to think.” A limpid, rippling shimmer up to the mouth of the shaft.

He writes of the preponderance of the self, manifesting unannounced to our internal psychic organs—webs to fill the cavern: crowded and complete blanknesses that thrive to motivate you. Action can often spring from blind intuition. What is it that we mean to mean?

What am I?

Certain categories generate these questions more readily, and more consciously, than others: gay, bipolar, infected, infectious, radical, unsatisfied. More. These all marginalize. Inhabiting spaces that cluster on the boundaries of the norm provoke the sinuous curl of the mark. The mark surrounds you.

I existed for a long time on the periphery, where reality pixilates, and coherence deresolves into component iotas; and vast, unsolved expanses lie bare to be considered by the thought of what I do not think to think. Access to this kind of understanding is restricted, but you can bang on the door.

Let me out.


Let me in.

Because standing on the boarder is as isolating as fuck.

Returning to school has been an entry to the interior of something established: an institution. Inside there are new examples of old hierarchies to contend with, and through all that I remain a visible minority. I am thankfully not often the oldest person in the class, but I am frequently close. Young people, confidently taking steps towards goals that I am still becoming reacquainted with, surround me. So I am enclosed but not quite of the experience; my parameters are differently drawn than my compatriots. I am forging an identity out of a disembodied age, under the premise that there is enough time to beat out a beginning, and inaugurate a different path, with enough left over to distinguish a career. There’s nothing for it. There’s no other way I can go about it now. I have come in and I cannot help but be exceptional—rare, conspicuous. It often feels like a solitary project, reinventing purpose in my mid-thirties, but still I am intimately accustomed to being incongruous.

The ages begin to differentiate as you advance the level of commitment to a degree. People take breaks. People return after long absences. This is one of the reasons that the prospect of grad school is so appealing; I will still be senior, but not quite so senior. I may have classmates who have accumulated some experience beyond the lecture hall, the residence; beyond money transferred to their pockets from their parents’ bank accounts. I may begin to make real friends.

Not that I’m knocking the few that I’ve garnered over the past few years. I’ve made a handful of connections. The summer I spent in Italy I joined forces with a brilliant young woman who has proven to be a fast and invaluable comrade. In her mid-twenties, we are separated by a decade, but she has lived, and she has priorities that I can relate to. Kicking about Tuscany and Rome in the brazen heat of August, we survived on a steady diet of novels and Prosecco. We worried about the quality of our writing and out thinking. We mediated on the value of our intelligence, on what it takes to distinguish oneself in academia; and in the shadow of the Coliseum we picked up sexually ambiguous pretty boys to go dancing with.

Maybe I’m not so grown up.

These past few months we have both been furiously compiling and revising our applications for Master’s programs—freaking out in whispers over our glowing laptops. We have been meeting spontaneously in the cool hollow of the library. Too stressed out to even check our messages, we convene through the sheer force of probability; we’re just so often there.

But sill, projecting myself out, and looking back to what I’m in the middle of, an elaborate complex of adumbrated vows directed towards the future, I am aware of the unanswerable vacancy that produces my own consciousness. What manufactures the distinction of my choices? How have I delineated the limits of myself? These are particularly poignant queries for the bipolar brain, where physiology plays such an important part in the discrepancies between what you do and what you mean to mean. I do not know where I disentangle from the illness, or how my flaws and my merits relate to it, besides that the meds make it plausible to say that I am chemically balanced at the fringe of the spectrum. Is there such a thing as a purely disembodied mind, in experience if not in fact?

I don’t know what I believe anymore, but I know that I’m ready for the next step. I’m going for the centre, however rare I might be there. I intend to look out instead of in when I contend with the next acute quandary. I am going to project labyrinths of surety from the vacancy at the heart of the mark.

It is myself.


~ by A Mundi on December 7, 2013.

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