Move or Die

move or dieThe second season of True Detective was disappointing. I laughed my way through bad one-liners and wondered what was up with all the fucking nothing.

Then Frank Semyon dies. In the desert. After making a poignant comment about staying in motion. It’s his damn mirage of a wife who breaks the illusion—“oh babe, you stopped moving way back there.”

So much for self-motivating, self-assured perspectives.

So much for the certainty that you’re still in motion and headed toward your destination at a steady, if sluggish, clip.

So much for lying down when you’re already dead.

It wasn’t the end of my curiosity over this particular curiosity. No, I began compulsively re-watching a protracted departure on a bewildering, opaque show specializing in non-sequiturs.

Neither the blood trail nor the disappearing/reappearing vultures were that compelling so what the hell was I looking for?

“No rest. Never stop moving.”

Oh. That. Turns out I’d been thinking that ‘moving’ is a relative word. Turns out that like Frank I’ve been on an impossible march inside my head and nowhere else.

I’m used to being alive and getting shit done. I’m less familiar with putting one foot in front of the other and sleepwalking out of revision and into habit.

Order breeds stability and stability productivity. But this trifecta is naturally inclined to stagnation as well. My nervous system fell asleep while my ability to reconnoiter fresh ground atrophied.

I failed to realize I’d grown adept at something—good enough to move on and get better at something else.

Nothing in my life is wrong—nothing is wrong at all. But then again, nothing is so fucking right I can’t stand it either.

It’s not the outside that’s gotten rusty—my life is full, complex, and rather entertaining. It’s the inside that’s gone rogue. And by rogue I mean avoidant, immobile, and anesthetized.

This is not the result of a happening. Nothing has happened. I just got so good at mobilizing along my chosen path that I’m no longer in danger of falling.

I know this path intimately. I’ve practiced. I’ve got it down, I’ve got it right, I know how the fuck to get there, eyes closed, senses disarrayed by substances legal or otherwise.

I don’t really need to be here anymore—I have Arrived, and part of me wants to stay, to ‘relax’, to tune out and surf the waves I programmed to roll at regular intervals, waves I once fought to protect and maintain.

I battled hard for this dubious luxury. You do know that, don’t you? Every place you’re bored of being is somewhere you fought to get to in the first place.

I’m here because I chose to be. But I’m no longer choosing it daily. I’m no longer jazzed by the view.

How amusing.

The routine I currently call my life is efficient and effective—impressive even—in its scope and range. It wasn’t always so. Each time I added or adjusted another commitment the rest of the whole became unbalanced. Sometimes it came utterly undone and I would have reconfigure.

Adversity is necessary. Where do I think I’m going, walking in the same direction? I’ve confused sameness with discipline, discipline being a malleable, internalized force rather than a tool for building and supporting particular tactics. Rather than an unchanging force content to feed off routine.

The loss of fulfillment derived from such routines is surprising, but nothing lasts forever. I schemed to get here and now that I’m here I cannot stay. It’s the motion that I’m after, not the arrival, not the digging in.

Arrival points are not permanent after all but way-stations marking progress when I can’t see far enough ahead.

My argument is not with the struggle to get here but with feeling obliged to stay.

There are no permanent goals, no end-posts absolute. There’s only what comes next. And then what comes after that.

Staying still is not an option. How wonderfully, horribly marvelous.

Staying still is never an option if one intends to remain alive instead of sliding into the semi-somnambulistic bliss of adulthood while waiting for death as a permanent distraction.

But even that is suspect.

Death is billed as the ultimate standstill, the ultimate rest allowing you stay put, content you finally made it somewhere after a long, protracted haul.

Not that different from life if you aren’t going anywhere except around and around in the same plastic ball believing in the illusion of motion even when the scenery never changes.

I don’t want to go around and around, coddled by the illusion of progress. I’d rather fall out of the cocoon, knees scraped, and reorient myself in alien territory.

I would rather start again even if it means fall down harder each and every time. But the only way I know to climb higher is to begin on bloodied knees.

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