I'm an "actually" person.
I work my way into the lives of others, sometimes briefly, sometimes not. And (and this is not meant to be self-effacing or anything, but I think it's true) and I do a lot for the others.
It's like -- at least this is how I've been imagining it lately -- the world is like this antique shop or a really old house with all of this crap in it, piled up to the ceiling. There's furniture, and lamps, and some things are bigger than others. And then there are people kind of vibrating in between these things, but they don't see that there are things around them -- preventing them from moving freely, or ready to topple over onto their heads. And I see! I see, oh, if I moved that vase, or that lamp, or that divan, or that chair, then it would be better, it would be easier for you. So then I do, and I'll move it, and then the people will just keep on vibrating and moving around, and they might move a little more easily and a little more freely, and this makes me happy.
I know that there are others like me. I am friends with some people like this. People who, when you're with them, it just feels natural, easy. It's because they put themselves in front of the lamp that's about to topple onto your head, while you're moving the ottoman that they're about to trip over.
And then there are the others, who go on vibrating and moving around, because that's what they know best to do. And, that's all good! I wish we could all be that way, just, blithely bopping around, free from worry that there are these things all around us that may slow us down. It's groovy.
I know that they can't always see all that I do. But, it's always kind of funny. I don't think of what I'm doing as being totally invisible.
So here's the thing. It's always like this: I'm moving and lifting, and delicately preventing things from tipping and toppling. And then I have to go away, or move on, or be absent for a little while. And -- somehow -- it's in my absence that people realize. They say, "You were actually really nice to me when I was living in Pittsburgh," or "You actually helped us a lot this Spring." Sometimes it's also personality stuff. "You're actually pretty funny!" and "I actually really enjoyed our morning conversations." Professors in college, "You don't say much, but when you do, it's actually well-considered and very much to the point." Then there's all of this stuff about my physical appearance: "You're actually quite pretty!" and even more shockingly "You're actually really tall!" How can my six feet go unremarked?
Am I just so enmeshed with the background, so still that their vibrating selves can't see me until I'm gone? It's just funny. I am pretty aware of my presence, and I feel like for those who know me, my presence, or non-presence is pretty palpable. But it seems like for the gross majority of people, they brush me off, and make some automatic assumptions about me, which then, only when I am absent, are disproved. Actually embodies this notion that there was a sort of revelation involved -- that they had not thought something to be the case, where actually it was. I am thinking of this because I am tired of being an actually girl. I want people to look at me and know that I am (not actually) am a great person. And not have to wait until I'm gone to call me up and inform me that they actually hadn't even noticed me before. Informing me seems like a form of rude altruism, as though they wondered if I actually knew who I was, or what I was doing in the first place. Gee, thanks. I had no idea that I was smart, tall, and kind to others. I was just kind of mindlessly bopping around, when there you were to stage this grand awakening.
For the record: I am very aware, and waiting for the rest of the world to wake up. And I'm not actually, I am.
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