Materiality of Language assignment 2: Owning Lonely Onliness
Reference: Eartheater's Claustra
This post is coming in way late (publish date is manipulated to chronologize my blog), as it's really not in my best interest to revisit this "dark time" of the semester—oddly, the "dark" came before we went into lockdown/remote learning, though certainly exacerbated by the impending doom. Every year for the past 20 years, I experience a bout of deep depression in March. I don't know why... theories include epigenetic trauma, pollen allergies triggering chemical imbalance (no sneezing though), or a deep despairing impatience with the stubborn length of winter creeping beyond the spring solstice.
All very rational.
In every case, it feels like a deep and total loneliness. This March was particularly bad. Besides the impending doom, I was experiencing the consequence of pursuing a controversial topic for thesis that I also happen to care about a lot. While I undoubtedly had support, I faced some incredibly difficult conversations with classmates and advisors that pushed me further into aloneness to the point that remote learning was... actually kind of a relief (still, sort of a frying pan -> fire situation since it meant I couldn't find solace in solidarity on the other side either). The thing that strikes me about loneliness is its sometimes contradictory causes. Loneliness caused by all the expected things, sure: isolation, imposter syndrome, existential dread, life is just fucking hard. But also loneliness in feeling unique, in recognizing the boundaries of empathy when all you want to do is share *exactly how you feel* especially when you feel good, pursuing something wonderful that takes you away from all you've known and loved before. Things that "shouldn't" make you feel lonely, making you feel all the lonelier. Loneliness on a molecular level, severance from ancestors, imprisonment by construct...
How do I lonely? Let me count the ways.
Anyway. A couple years ago, I heard a song that sort of encapsulated it all for me. It's called "Claustra" by Eartheater—her music is on heavy rotation for me as is, but this song in particular hits home. One lyric at the end on repeat: "This moment marks the owning of my loneliness // And the end of the loaning of my onliness" (lyrics and Video if you're interested)
I used that line to experiment with creating concrete poetry, but really didn't have much success in achieving something I felt really happy with, or at least in control of if that makes sense. Still, playing with the provided code as a sketchbook template resulted in something close to how I feel when buried in loneliness. I'm screencapping the beginning, middle, and end of the screen for reference, there is also a gif at the end of the post but it can get pretty... painful.