It's so easy to become jaded by intelligence. The older you get, the more you can find to take issue with. The world sucks. It's portals to snake pits and failure. Things go wrong, people are corrupt, and here we are, the elite in coffee shops, acting as though nothing is happening. Or worse, we acknowledge it and do nothing.
Having an extended childhood is a fortune permitted to the most industrialized nation. There's something almost biblical about how we worship innocence. The unquestioning, unknowing purity that comes with simply accepting something for what it is has a lot to do with how faith works, but that's not sustainable. Much as we laud innocence in ourselves, losing it is how we learn to survive. People who don't lose any of it become twisted somehow. If you remain innocent because you never question anything, you accept what you've been taught as dogma. If you remain innocent because you avoid everything, because you're afraid, you become clutched by self imposed rules, you lose the ability to integrate and adapt.
Innocence is what makes one child hurt another, before seeing that pained expression that teaches them not to do it again. Nature is innocent by default, there is no self examination in most creatures to take that away. Innocence goes to waste if left to its own devices. Innocence is not sustainable, and it can't take care of itself.
There's a point in time where we lose innocence, either through learning about the world or having it robbed from us. It doesn't have to be dark, it's just a part of life; you will get older and more worldly. Innocence is the uncarved block, losing it sculpts you. It's hard not to feel an attachment to it, something we see in kids who are still learning about the world, but I think we confuse innocence with wonder, and wonder is something you can get back. There is magic in the ineffable and inexplicable, the things even the most robust sciences fail to answer.
I have, and continue to lose innocence. I make terrible decisions all the time, but I learn from them. I've started doing things that I think are bad ideas just to see what will happen. I wonder about the results and how they work, and that gives me the feeling of magic. Meaning is magic, and that's something we have can always have, innocent or not.
I believe that reality is objective, but I believe that perception is not. We're given an objective world like a reference point, we can all look at a cat and learn how to describe it to one another and reach some consensus for how to describe it again if need be. Beyond that though, we filter through so much stimuli at any given second that our methods for pruning and processing are bound to be different. Whatever value we assign to things, whatever resonates with us with meaning will always be personal.
I've been in Chicago for a few days. True to my methods, I didn't do a lot of planning. Every time you go to a new city, you have to start over, at least a little bit. If you do it enough times, that process gets easier. You learn what kinds of questions to ask, which facial expressions to make and the language of getting what you want or need. I've seen enough shit in my life that believing that everyone is kind is how I protect myself. I have to believe that terrible things are uncommon. I know it makes me naive and susceptible, but without that I will feel nothing, there will be no wonder.
We celebrate childlike innocence but very rarely stop to appreciate mature wonder. To me there's something fantastic about what you can accomplish when you don't know, or you endure something that changes you. If you try to hold on to who you were before, you feel damaged, of course you do.
It was only a month ago or so that I admitted to myself how broken I felt over Jay. I was so angry that it didn't work. I had tried so hard to make it work. There's something in me that still wants to. I felt nervous before this trip because I felt like I was yet again putting myself in a position where I wouldn't be able to mourn, and therefore I'd get stuck in this frustrating cycle of not dealing with this huge emotional shit storm that I had been avoiding and therefore elongating.
Turns out I just cried on trains a bunch. I still think about him a lot. At one point my lips felt like they were stinging and that superstitious part of my brain thought that he must be kissing someone else. I haven't talked to him in awhile. I wonder if he'll read this.
(If you do, hello, I hope you're well. I saw a raw honeycomb at a store and thought of you.)
Whether it's the actual distance or the implied distance of time, grieving has been more bearable than I thought. I do feel pretty broken, but I'm no longer trying to put the pieces back together. I'm rearranging them, figuring out what fits and how they feel. I wonder about things and what they mean to me, and that was the reason I left in the first place I guess. I had begun to feel numb.
Being in a relationship restricts you, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, and in some ways that can be very comforting. You are with each other so you never feel cold or alone. You're always understood and cared about by somebody. I had been with Jay for so long and from so young that I didn't know what feeling cold or lonely meant. I can't say that those are enjoyable experiences, but they give me a reference to look at my world, and they teach me how to connect and adapt.
In some ways I do feel like a child. I am learning how to hurt. I am learning how I hurt people, and more importantly, how to stop. I am learning what it means to be close to people, and to choose not to be. I'm getting nuance back.
Even as childlike as I feel in my emotion and social capability, I do feel a sense of maturity. There's a kind of wildness, something dark that is mine that guides me. I am older now, I have experience. I am very detached from the idea of being comfortable and even being safe, those things take time and maturity to come to terms with. I know what I can handle, and I'm not afraid, I have nothing to protect. That's a skill that age offers, and it's one we don't celebrate enough because of our desire to see things with novelty.
My favorite people have magic. They are adults, and I'm not talking about them being naive or innocent. They know what they want and they understand their values of the world. They can take care of themselves, and they can laugh themselves silly for the sake of it. Everything has a meaning, and the ones who have magic look for it in everything, find it when necessary and have the experience to know when to let it go if the meaning becomes detrimental to themselves or others in any way. That's what I want, that's what I'm figuring out. I'm shedding an evil innocence in favor of magic.