Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Living Just Under My Skin

I am having the odd sensation of living just under my skin.

Living under your skin, you may ask. A self-evident truth. We all have skin. We all live under it, mostly because keeps our internal organs inside and we would look disgusting if we did not.

But that, of course, is not really what I am speaking of.

There are days, weeks, even months where I live in a small core of myself, hidden away, and there is a space, a detachment, between myself and the outside world. I'm not truly sure what purpose the space supports: my best case scenario would say that it is a needed buffer from reality, my worst case would say that it is a defense against reality. Perhaps they're really the same. All I can say is that most of the time, I am buried somewhere beneath the joviality and song and silence.

But there have been times - like now - where that space, for whatever reason, is removed.

It's almost painful, like having your skin exposed to the biting wind that comes off of Lake Michigan and pierces straight through your clothes. It brings one into the jarring harshness of the real world. The pains and joys I hide within myself suddenly become open and easily exposed - "Wearing my heart upon my sleeve for the jackdaws to peck at", as Iago would say.
Raw emotions are no longer buried and safely controlled; they race through my system like the Highland Charge, a horde of howling warriors charging hither and yon with the intent to take all or die.

To most this may sound inane - "This is the way I always live" is often the common theme when I try to describe this - and to attempt to express the level of discomfort this sometimes involves usually makes my words fail.

But is it a bad thing?

To live just inside your skin is to allow the possibility to grow and change, the difference between having endoskeleton and being able to grow and an exoskeleton, being able to only grow by shedding the whole thing and only ever reaching a particular size. It also makes you more sensitive - sometimes painfully so - of the world and emotions around you. There is no more buffer between you and others; there is only you and them.

But perhaps the most unanticipated thing (at least for me) is the amount of dreams and longings that come screeching the surface, as if the Charge of the Highland Emotions has stirred them all as well and has dragged them along. Those dreams and longings never really went away; they just embedded themselves deep within because apparently that buffer is there to protect them as well.

There's a risk of living just under your skin, of course: the skin is a fragile mechanism, easily torn and bruised, and bears the scars of the wounds we carry (literal and figurative) in life. It is hardly the emotional protective that an inner space is. If I am emotionally cut living within a buffer, there is little damage. If I am cut living just under my skin, I bleed.

So in the end which is worse: to dwell in the safety of a silent buffer or to dwell within the easy reach of life - and the pain and possibilities that lie therein?

No comments: