A few months ago a very, very good friend of mine, at the prospect of having a Mormon for president, revealed a sentiment along the lines of, “I know it doesn’t matter to you, Nahida, but it feels kind of sad and strange not to have a president who’s not your religion for the first time.”
No, in fact, it did not matter to me at all. I did not care about his sadness.
Okay, I kind of cared. (I experienced for a moment an amplified sense of unbelonging and felt an unprecedented rush of empathy. Don’t ask me why. I do not understand my heart or why it breaks.) But I didn’t really want to care. Let’s just pretend I didn’t then.
Dear readers, I have my Bachelor’s at the end of May, and I’m pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in the coming Fall, and I am working part-time at a job that both pays a little more than I expected and is delightfully flexible.
And I am somehow unhappy.
I am not fond of being exhaustingly aware. I’ve had a sense of detachment my whole life that I’d attributed simply to my nature. (I don’t doubt it really is.) I simultaneously feel very deeply. The unfolding compassion of my childhood resulted from a belief that everyone was this way. The increasingly defiant silence of the years that followed resulted from a slow discovery that they are not.
Let me tell you how to teach your classes. Are you at a loss of how anything like sex, or race, could ever be a question as grand, as impactive, as universally poignant a statement on the human condition, as the literary analysis of life and death, of monstrosity, of virtue and its loss, of good and evil, of the injustice of justice?
Discuss the ways in which the individual is lost to history.
You can have it, really. You can have all of it. I don’t care anymore.
Anais Nin writes, “Had I not created my whole world, I would have certainly died in other people’s.” Apply.
After all, as they say, it was never mine.