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Listen - none of this is steeped in reality. I’ve never understood the real world. All I know is my own perception of the world. And even that is tenuous and changing. So I guess I don’t even know that. Why even write? I don’t know that either. I know stories. I read them, watch them, play them, invent them all the time. But do stories convey anything about meaning? Are stories real? They change the way we think; stories whether true or fiction change the world around us.

I spend most of my life scared. I feel a vast distance between me and anyone else. Strangers in a bookstore, petting the same cat (her name is Emma and she’s a sweetie), looking at the same books… I… just don’t feel a connection. There’s a gap. I desperately try to think of something to say, but everything feels inadequate. Everything I say means nothing. Surrounded by great words and works, how can anything I say be meaningful? I want to say something profound, but I don’t know how to express that to them. Trite pleasantries, platitudes, nothing more comes out of my mouth. I’m so scared of them seeing that I have nothing to say that I don’t even introduce myself. I just freeze. Anything would be preferable, more personable than the silence. Perhaps they’re going through the same stresses, trying to think of something to say. Or maybe they don’t care. It’s meaningless to them, just another small event in their day. I… just don’t know.

The multitude of perceptions drives me insane. Hearing viewpoints vastly different to my own, it shocks me to realize that people actually view them as reality. Especially the hateful ones. That it’s okay to do things I find abhorrent, or that things I find innocuous are actually great sins to them. The abyss opens up beneath my feet. I feel like I’m staring into a vast void of perceptions. Everything swirling around, no two viewpoints the same, humanity a vast sea of chaotic pushing in all directions, expanding out, all different, no two alike. How does it all work? It makes no sense. It’s all built on belief. Terrifying belief. Belief in the system, belief in society. Like society is some rigid thing that anchors their lives. Society is so damn fluid. Constantly changing, and has always changed. It could fall apart at any time. The belief holds it up - the belief is what makes it work. It all falls apart as soon as a strong faction realizes that they can change it. We’re building our own chains with the systems we believe in. But what’s the alternative? Anarchy? Something new? The bad known system is infinitely more preferable to the unknown one for most people. Focus on the comforts, stay content. Ignore the bad. Ignore the voices screaming out.

Everyone has a multitude of voices in them, right? That can’t just be me. A personality is not a rigid, singular thing. It can’t be. Everyone is a society unto themselves. Hesse knew this. We think of ourselves as a ‘one’ - a singular being with unified goals and thoughts. But that isn’t true, is it? It’s terrifying. Our goals and perceptions are fickle and change at the drop of a hat (note to self: what the hell does that expression even mean?). So what are we? An aggregate of different selves, in which new ones can attach and detach themselves at will? Is there a core set of selves at the center? Or is even that fluid? We like to think of ourselves as the same… but I wonder. How many of us would recognize ourselves 10-20 years in the future? Every cell in our body would have changed by then - a biological Ship of Theseus. Are our personalities the same? Replaced with similar but different pieces? I’m scared again.

The flowing current of life scares me. There is nothing that stays the same. Constant change, constant wear, constant tearing. You can never stay still. “This is my life, this is how I behave, this is my group of friends, this is what I do on the weekends.” Lies we tell ourselves. That will change, and sooner than we are content with. I feel like I’m standing on sand. The sand is flowing beneath me, moving on and on. I just want some peace. Give me some damn sure footing. But even then, I’m seeking change myself. I want to be different, yet I want things to stay still. A contradiction. It makes no sense. The only way to make sense of it is to get rid of the singular “I”. I am a multitude of personalities, and my outside persona and life is a constant tug of war between all of them. Some want change. Some want stability. It’s exhausting to be sentient. No self set in stone. Everything we “perceive” is just a snapshot of a moving object. An instantaneous transitional period in a state change. How can we know anything if everything is changing? Everything about this feels wrong. I’m scared again.