“Growing old is like being increasingly penalized for a crime you haven’t committed.” The thought of growing old doesn’t bother me, but I’m feeling very vain about my looks changing. Not long ago I took a self-portrait of myself, with direct sunlight hitting my face. It was just like looking at the future, or what I would look like in ten years. I didn’t like it.
Then and there I decided never again will I take a photograph of myself, or allow anyone to do so. I have a wrist watch, and that very day I threw it on the ground and stepped on it. A dead watch represents time being stopped. Yet, even with that, I can feel the energy being sucked out of me. The only thing that still lives within my system, is anxiety. It is just like a leaky faucet that drips consistently. No one else can hear the sound, except me, and I feel cut off from my fellow citizens. I’m sure there is a pill to make it go away, but I don’t want to cut off the only thing that I can feel. Even though it’s misery, it is still, essentially, a feeling. When one doesn’t have that many choices, you have to roll with the dice.
I have read that today is the winter solstice, which means the daylight will be short, and the darkness longer. The temperature has dropped, but for the life of me, I just don’t want to turn on the heater. Once I do that, it is admitting to oneself that things have changed, and although I like to think of myself fading into darkness, it is more like time standing still. You can’t go forward or backward. My editor Diana told me this: “I’m not sure that digging in our past guilts is a useful occupation for the very old, given that one can do so little about them. I have reached a stage in which one hopes to be forgiven for concentrating on how to get through the present.” At the moment I feel like a wrapped present, covered by ugly Christmas wrapping and a string with a bow that is too tight. I just want to do away with all that packaging, and just become my natural state. In my normal skin. The skin of a ventriloquist’s dummy.
It would be an interesting experience to sit on one’s lap, and not have a thought in my head. I’m just responding to the ventriloquist - it’s an one-sided conversation, where I ‘m pretending to respond, but in fact, I’m nothing but wood and pieces of plastic. Not exactly alive, but neither am I dead - more like ‘living a life’ that’s imagined.