There is only, to this day, one person in the world I can really fight with. She’s my get-it-all-out with person, the only person I’ve ever known who I can get so angry I don’t speak to but who will keep calling and keep texting and eventually make me break – because my silence, when induced, rarely breaks – and we can have it out. The shouts, the tears, the truth. She’s my person.
Yesterday on our phone date, 12 pm in Columbia, 9 am in Los Angeles (where she is), she began telling me about the play she’d just recently seen called Terre Haute, based on the communication between Timothy McVeigh and the author Gore Vidal. (Side note: I was hugely entertained by the fact that the actor who plays Hoyt in True Blood played the character of Timothy McVeigh.)
“I heard this great thing that made me think of you,” she began, “but it’s going to sound weird that it’s coming from Timothy McVeigh.” I’m not sure why that would be weird that something the Oklahoma bomber said made someone think of me. Perfectly normal. And by that I mean creepy. “McVeigh was explaining to his interviewer that there were basic, everyday things that he just stopped doing because he thought that they were wasteful things to do with his time, time he would rather spend reading and learning. And it made me think of you and how you always seem to be doing something like that – reading or learning or writing or something. Trying somehow to figure out how to better the world around you.”
Well 1, that’s partly bullshit. I’ve recently taken up dating Netflix. The best boyfriend ever because, well, Netflix doesn’t talk back. And Netflix ALWAYS shows up when Netflix says it will. And Netflix never makes me feel inadequate and always gives me the warm fuzzies. And well, what I’m trying to say is, I’m pretty sure I haven’t been out bettering the world quite like I should be. So the guilt truck just pulled up and started taking passengers. 2, was she saying that I’m going to become a serial killer?
All this makes me think of a subject of conversation that always links us – this quest we each have to fill this God-shaped hole within us. I started recently re-reading my favorite book, God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo. I did it because I’ve been finding myself unable to get through anything and also because there’s a part of me that wanted to remember something that my memory told me I loved with such a thickness. DeBartolo wrote in the book, “We’re all searching for something to fill up what I like to call that big, God-shaped hole in our souls. Some people use alcohol, or sex, or their children, or food, or money, or music, or heroin. A lot of people even use the concept of God itself. I could go on and on. I used to know a girl who used shoes. She had over two-hundred pairs. But it’s all the same thing, really. People, for some stupid reason, think they can escape their sorrows.”
When I think of that hole, my mind swirls around the word passion. I have felt, over the past 4 years, my grasp on what makes me passionate, my proximity to my own ecstasy, has been weakening.
In the meantime I make lists. I leave lists everywhere. Here are my options, spewed upon a post-it. Lists of things I can do, things I should do, things I’m going to do but I haven’t gotten around yet to doing, things I believe I could do, and things I don’t believe in myself to do. And when I can’t sleep at night or wake up early in the morning, that’s what I find myself doing. Writing lists. Lists of my faults, lists of my dreams, lists of people I know or places I want to go or things I want to change about myself.
Lately I’ve been waking up wondering when I’m going to start checking things off.