Friday, 24 June 2011

Some 2 AM jibberish

There's this emotion I have felt from time to time since childhood, yet have never been able to describe. "Numinous" is the closest single word, but because of the religious connotations it carries, it's still not quite right. Full sentences have failed me completely- I can string together enough to give people the general gist, but fully articulating what I'm feeling is incredibly difficult. I've never even managed to clarify it to myself in proper words, never mind to others.

I'll explain the easy bit first. The emotion itself is a mixture of sentimentality, a feeling of being moved, intrigue, wonder, and nostalgia, with maybe a touch of wanderlust sometimes. Normally, some of these emotions are more prominent than others, and nostalgia regularly occurs where it makes no sense for it to. I'll feel nostalgia when I'm seeing or doing something for the first time; or when I'm thinking about something I've never done, or could have done had I made a different decision somewhere along the line. Sometimes it's even as though I'm feeling it on behalf of other people, getting nostalgic over something because I know it is or will be nostalgic to someone, somewhere, sooner or later. Whatever the combination, however, the result is always powerful, and I often end up with a burning desire to go somewhere (if it was a place that triggered it off) or do something (if it was people).

Ah, yeah... that thing about places and people. That's what really complicates matters. You see, the feeling itself I think is pretty common. It's just... how easily it gets triggered off with me. If I can see a long way into the distance, or have a panoramic view of somewhere, I'll probably feel it, even if the place I'm looking down into isn't the most pleasant of places. For instance, there's a road opposite Bitterne High Street that goes down a steep hill. If you are at the top of it, you will get a good view of... a football stadium, a rather grimy part of the solent, several dodgy council estates, and possibly fragments of Southampton city centre and the business district. It's not a pretty view, nor is there anything of much interest to me down there, but I still get moved. And this is the part that's hard to explain. For me, just knowing that there are possibilities, and a million types of potentia, and an intricate web of people going about their many lives, and just... the world happening... over there, in that place I can see. That's enough. That sets it off. As it ever did. I have memories from when I was a child of three or four, getting moved by looking out my Brother's bedroom window and seeing, rooftops, then, fields, then the skyline of Southampton. I also remember a distinct interest in passages and footpaths and what was down there. If I didn't know where a pathway led, I'd invariably want to find out, even if just for a moment.

That's the bit about places. The bit about people is tied in, but a lot harder to explain. Basically, the very idea of close relationships, of people knowing each other, of people being unique... of, I suppose, people having privilege to know things about other people that remain a mystery to the vast majority, or people being a part of something, triggers off serious intrigue and nostalgia. On a couple of occasions I've ended up paying attention to the goings on of friendship groups I wasn't part of, because I could relate to the people in them somehow and was fascinated by how they interacted with each other and were just... familiar with each other. I also frequently think about the families and friends of, for instance, musicians, wondering what they know and feel.

In my head I named the (to me) fascinating closeness between people as 'familiarity' or 'proximity'. This... basically fits, and maybe goes some way to explaining something. I have lots of memories of feeling on the edge of things, and not really part of a group, yet wanting that to change. I suspect my fascination stems from that. Me feeling curious and drawn in when confronted with something I didn't feel I had and didn't know how to get, but wanted.

Anyway... it's now nearing half three in the morning, so I'll bring this ramble to an end, and hope it wasn't entirely incomprehensible, and didn't make me sound like too much of a nutcase. But if it did, I suppose it doesn't matter much. When I started writing this post, I was beyond caring much about how it turned out. So... goodnight, I suppose. :)