Shell and Sensitivity

ARM:
I'm sitting on top of my bed cross legged with my laptop resting on my shins, and my left foot is falling asleep while I can feel the half-pint of Haagen-Dazs ice cream, which I got from a canceled DoorDash delivery, giving me an unwanted sugar rush; my window is cracked open a car alarm has started and stopped in the time it took me to write the phrase; I am surrounded by a small pile nest of half clean laundry that will grow to an unmanageable size if I don't take care of it tonight.

One of my roommates moved out of the house and took his spare bookshelf that I was using, so now there is a pile of three dozen books that I stare at when waking up and going to bed. And it feels like it must be a metaphor whose meaning I do not want to discern yet. 

A note taken while grocery shopping for a tight-budget Sunday’s meal prep:

“This moment is a part of your life.
You don’t have to like it.
But it’s best to pay attention to it.
This moment, right now, however beautiful or pitiful it might be, breathe it in, even if it hurts—especially if it hurts.”

I felt pain for no discernable reason. Fluorescent lights, price tags, and the gazes of approximately fifty strangers in the North Lynnwood Fred Meyer left me feeling sensitive, like skin under a freshly torn blister; such were the consequences of really trying to feel the world.

Most people have a tendency to build a shell and then wear it out in public. It’s made of brands worn on t-shirts, and it’s bits of language and tics they’ve picked up from their circles—semi-rehearsed repertoires and cliche sayings wielded by half-autonomous blind habits function like living, self-repairing armor. But the Soul is a soft thing, easily bruised and liable to bleed everywhere, which the public finds disturbing.

But there I was, breathing in the light of the world, comparing prices of store brand peanut butter, standing beside what I figured to be an East African family who must have been in the middle stages of moving in to a new home, given what they had in their cart. And they seemed busy with life in a way that seemed pleasant, and all I could think and feel was, why am I here doing this and not doing something better and more important?

But that moment was the best I could do. Maybe next time I will feel the world with more subtlety, more poetry, less solipsism, and less pain but greater sensitivity.