So Be It
Amuck the pandemic, disorientation has become a mode of being. It is the only fluidity available to me which permits survival. But it dampens my feelings, the inability to rely on any given circumstance forces me into an inner retreat, even as the world around me and my spectrum of options within it transform on what feels like a moment-to-moment basis.
What’s new, right?
Sometimes, I parrot my old, younger voice. I mock hope, giving it time and space, in which it echoes and echoes, but I am beginning to fear that I am only listening to its dissipation. Each day becomes a little more disorienting. Locked up, in isolation, it seems there are fewer and fewer ways out. Where once I was steadfast in reaching my goals through dedication, now I take precious care, on unsure footing, of uncertain dreams.
I just don’t know anymore.
I am here, ideally, to gather, embody, and share. To learn and to earn, so that I can, in turn, give it all back—to everyone, much as I muster. Much as I suffer and toil, walk, run, and lie. Much as I breathe in and breathe out. As I laugh ‘till crying, and the other way around. Much as I gaze at the stars and believe, and follow through. As I dance. As I comfort. As I remain, living, much as I am.
In living, we are all already teaching one another what it is and what it can be to be human. That’s why I want to teach for a living. The gig is just a scam to do what I am meant to be doing and make rent at the same time. I figure college level teaching uniquely amenable to my character. I can die alright if I know that I’ve co-created space(s) designed to nourish and sustain interpersonal engagement, threaded cross-conceptual webs for the exploration of students, shared in knowledge and creativity, made contributions when and where I could, and listened all the more, in mutual reciprocity. That’d be alright.
I mean, that’s like, the idea.
That’s the life goal, the path I’ve been treading and tracing, stitching together in paces and pieces, gathering and gathering shiny things along the way to share with those intrigued. The intrepid (or not). Those who are moved, and moving, I hope to gift you a little something along your way. I’ll be a professor, I said, in my old-soul teen days. Okay, I replied. And I believed them. And I am still trying to walk that way. My heart says, stay true.
That’s the idea.
I’d thought aging would be a regimented adventure. So that, if you live, there are clear markers of that—pronouncements of maturing sensibilities. I’d thought proceeding and demarked stages would follow. Abrupt shifts in perspective would come, I’d thought. And surely, in (no) certain terms, I’ve grown. Being human yet, I am prone and ever-changing. Animated. Aloft, I’ve optioned toward certain refinement in my stylings and persuasions toward the consideration of risk and possibilities. Yes. Stopped selling dope. Balance and options. Invested in more fully explored and reliable ideas concerning my future, my path. But I’d learned myself by the sparest of means and through the unforgiving conceit(s) of trial and tribulation. There never came a day or age or moment when suddenly, and all at once, I was a new, different person. Until a couple of months ago.
It’s just that… things fall apart.
I accepted my own death long ago, only I have been charged with life. Only my heart to follow, and still, this is the way.
Old heart got me this far, and, it doesn’t lie. Tells me what’s wrong. Where not to go. Told me, in sublime scenarios, exactly what I am supposed to be doing, by teeming over with joy because I was actually practicing that thing, at the time. It boils down to a combination of virtues toward which I continually strive, to garner and procure knowledge, to engage with humor, love, and respect toward all other forms of creation. To behold wisdom and honor its amortal embodiment. And maybe, one day, if I live well and make the Creator smile, and become an elder, and if Raven is laughing, I will even glean some bit of wisdom back, before it refracts through me and I am finally able to let go. One day.
My registrar took a deep sigh when first we reconciled, early this semester. I’m sorry, but due to necessary adjustments in the course schedule, it looks like you’ll have to return next semester in order to graduate. There’s simply nothing to be done. It reminds me now of the doctor who diagnosed me that day at the hospital. Her words were muffled, quieted and distant to me, although still decipherable. It was her eyes, after all, which spoke to me clearly. There is nothing I can do to help you.
So be it. I’ll make the best of it, keep mocking up renditions of hope and find out how much gas is left in the tank the hard way. It’s nooo trouble. I just don’t have a grip on anything anymore—it’s no trouble—I’ve been headed in a specific direction my whole life, only now, the autopilot is on.
I keep pushing forward, I just don’t feel it anymore.
That’s the virus, for me.
I have no more worry for variabilities, which strike and recede like so many snakes. I just need to move forward, something tells me, I know who I am.
And there’s nowhere else to go, but forward. The world is mutating, and all at once. My adolescent self was right. To anticipate abrupt and conspicuous revisions, although it is the world beyond me that undergoes this violent change, I am only numbed. Dumbly waiting out turmoil, automatically aimed toward one day, again feeling hope.
Teklu is a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts.