I rushed through Ariel, the Colossus, Winter Trees, and Crossing the Water, so not much beside a few well turned phrases clung to me. I retained the ability to analyze poetry only as long as it was essential for a grade. Reading comprehension for pleasure is negligible, but I think I mentioned that. I am working on Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams, and perhaps Plath’s short stories will stick with be better.

I find it hard to avoid being a conspicuous consumer. I was in the Electric Fetus today and decided to leave before the urge to buy five CDs overcame me. I am still breaking myself from the thought, “it’s only money.” I do not need more stuff to be happy, but I did buy a brand new used vintage suit at Vintage Duluth, which I am sure I look snazzy in. The suit was my first clothes purchase since being stateside. My aversion to American fashion is waning, and someday soon I might again gleefully run through the aisles of Target and Old Navy en route to Ragstock and Hot Topic. I am a whore. Not at this moment, but soon.

Today I allegedly finished working on the Communication Arts Teaching Portfolio template I have been working on this summer. I doubt my competence and the practical competence of my supervisor in the project. She is a free spirit, and I am clueless. A professional person we do not make. Perhaps a return from the east of another personage will solve these problems.

Competing for jobs with friends sucks. So does my ability to not go on tangents.

Listening to the radio on a six hour drive from Duluth to Brookings, South Dakota makes me want many things dead. Listening to KUMD (103.3 FM) at night in Duluth makes me want a radio. It also makes me want my friends back. Calling the station to ask for the call numbers and not acknowledging you’ve slept in the same bed as the person who answers the phone seems suspect. Maybe I was just task orientated. How does one work, “remember that time you made me explain how to give good head, and why don’t we call each other?” into casual conversation? Later that night, which was last night, I realized I knew yet another dj. I called to confess my love, but conversation was brief. Most conversations these days are lacking in either length, breadth, or depth. I think the problem might be on my end.

The problem is self. Identity. Individuality. I missed the realization of my own awareness somewhere along the line. Only now, at age twenty, am I starting to grasp that other people are not the same as me. My ability to control and manipulate the actions of others can only go so far. I have been trying to avoid acquaintances as of late (acquaintances and solitary figures walking towards me in empty hallways being my biggest social fears), and I think I am starting to understand.

I fear the conflict of unknowns. I have absorbed the personalities of friends into my consciousness. I can predict (not always accurately) their responses to my actions. Running into a half-strangers forces me to put my self-awareness against theirs. I have no idea who motivates them, what they are thinking. They are entirely apart from me, which emphasizes that I am apart from everyone else. Whether or not a collective consciousness exists, loneliness and isolation are much more readily apparent. I am a mote in a dust rag of six billion entities. We exist on the same surface, but we are not contiguous. The realization of self (loneliness, isolation) scares me, yet my current line of thought is based on mundane observations. For example, I realize I like different music from my friends and others; personal preference is still alien to me. In high school I assumed my friends liked what I did, and they did. Is liking bad music a sign of personal growth?

Aging, maturing, and time become paradoxes whenever I focus on them. To my five year old self, the concept of being twenty was impossible. In two or three years, months, or decades, I will look back on how stupid I am now. I am the oldest I have ever been, but I continually recognize my ignorance and shortcomings in everyday living. What can I learn from my new mental isolation, real or imagined? I think it’s different from teen angst or college emo, because I don’t feel sad. I feel empowered by my disconnect; I control me. On the other hand, my unique identity often means no one wants to go to Perkins with me every night.

I believe this is what Milan Kundera meant by the concept of “eternal return.”

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