There’s this really weird thing that happens to me every couple months or so where I suddenly don’t know where to place my jaw.
I know. It sounds absurd, but I’ll wake up one day suddenly feeling that my jaw is out of place. Not so much in the sense that’s it’s been dislocated or anything drastic like that. Only that I don’t know where to put it. It seems as though there isn’t a position that seems natural anymore.
I’m suddenly asking myself, “How do I usually hold my jaw? Do I usually have the teeth on either jaw touching each other, or do I usually have my jaw in a loose position?” And usually as a result of all this clenching and unclenching, I feel exponentially worse, my jaw have tightened into an unnatural position.
It’s the most confounding thing to wake up one day and find that you don’t know yourself. I mean, it’s something that we humans pride ourselves on, right? “I may not have a clue as to what’s going on in the world or if any of it has any meaning, but if there’s one thing I do know, it’s that I know myself.”
“I think, therefore I am,” right? It’s that one thing that the average everyman can agree with those lunatic philosophers on. That we may not agree with all the rational nonsense that follows that premise, but we can agree that the one thing we know without a shadow of a doubt is that #1: I exist and #2: I’m therefore the chief consultant as to all the nitty gritty details of that existence.
Because, well. I’m me. And who could know more about me than me?
Who could possibly know me better?
I’m the person most concerned with me despite what I might choose to believe about love and the nature of that loaded L-word. There’s no one on the planet who could possibly be more obsessed about my existence and the well-being of it than the wonderful, talented, consequential, worth paying attention to, special in every way, moi.
And yet, there are days when we wake up, and we suddenly don’t know how our jaw is supposed to go, or if it ever went, or where it went for that matter.
How can I, the one and only specialist on me, claim to know the stuff I’m made of when some days I don’t even know how to use my body. How can I when I find myself wondering if there was ever even a set way that I held myself to begin with?
If I can’t even figure out how to gain control of my body, how can I ever hope to gain control of my mind, never mind my spirit, the very essence of who I am?
I don’t want to act like I can speak for the rest of you, but sometimes I wake up and wonder how on Earth I got to where I am and if that even happens to be where I intended to go in the first place. I have these short and long term goals set for myself. I take note of them in journals and write them on my walls in the form of handy little sticky notes. And even while I find myself satisfactorily check marking and taking them down from my walls, I always ultimately end up in the same place.
“Wait, why am I doing this again? This is what I intended to do and where I intended to go, right? Have I accidentally turned down a side street and completely lost track of the main road?”
I always find myself questioning who I am and whether or not this is the stuff I want to choose to make myself out of. Will I be satisfied in the end? Will I be able to sigh a contented last breath and know that I took my freedom to think seriously? Will I be able to look back and see footprints burnt into asphalt from the sheer decisiveness of each step that was taken? Will the direction of those steps reflect my inner most thoughts and convictions back at me? Will I recognize myself and the distinctive angle of my jaw?
I guess all I’m trying to say is, I DON’T KNOW.
And I like to tell myself that this is a good thing, even though it’s pretty contrary to any linear and straightforward form of logic. Because I don’t believe in straight lines. When I was child a visual arts student once told me, “There are no such thing as straight lines. Only dozens and dozens of hesitant strokes that trick you into thinking they’re straight.” And at the time that I heard this, something resembling an unanticipated breath of relief escaped my body. Like I had been trying to conform myself to something I knew I never had been and could never become, and now I was free.
I didn’t know why at the time, but I believe that this revelation was one of the many beginnings of the unbelievably sketchy circle that is my life. I believe that I discovered the secret that it’s okay not to know, or maybe even better. If you’re constantly willing to admit that you don’t know, won’t that just keep you in check and make sure that you keep verifying whether what you think you really knew you actually know?
But who knows. Maybe that’s just another thing I like to tell myself.
After all, I simply don’t know.