The idea was to spend a few weeks in Lisbon, away from the Amsterdam depression, and write. So here I am, in Lisbon, still vaguely depressed, still not writing. But why would I waste my time in this sunny city writing about my move to the Netherlands, something that happened ten years ago? I just can’t do that.
Right now I feel I am living in limbo. “This is not my life”, I keep on telling myself every day. I pull the shutters, open the window, and let the sun in. I am in my soul city, as someone so well called it for me. I am in my soul city and yet something is missing. My enthusiasm to absorb the energy of being here and let myself inspired by it is missing. I guess I am not used to be living in limbo.
I try to live in the moment instead. I walk the streets of Lisbon like I walked those of Bucharest the entire month of April: with no purpose other than to see. To put myself out there, in the world. Not doing this would mean to stay in my head, and my head is not where I want to be now. I used to like the company of my mind. For most of my life, my mind has been a loyal companion. Together we came up with ideas, associations, things to write about. But, man, I’ve grown so tired of this. I’ve created this web of unreality I kept myself trapped in, thinking this was some sort of higher life. The life above life. Above the real and the mundane. But it is such a lonely life. It estranges me from relationships. Most people I know don’t live in a castle; they live in the world. They don’t write; they do. They don’t stay on the side; they engage. And I want to be more like that.
I am currently reading some of Pessoa’s essays. I found his “Book of Disquiet” at a book fair and bought it to better understand the Portuguese way of thinking and looking at the world. Now, I can’t rid myself of the feelings of pity, of thinking he was one lonely and depressed man. Creating all these personas, thinking and writing from their perspective, which was, of course, his perspective, looking at the world from the window, never engaging with life, only imagining it. I am reading his essays with a pencil in my hand, underlining his beautiful words. He was a master of words. A poet writing essays. I love his writing. And yet, I pity him as a human. Did Pessoa ever live?
Dancing is not for everybody. Just like writing is not. And yet, no one feels pity for a dancer or an athlete, thinking: poor guy, if only he could write a poem or paint something. And yet, when dealing with people who don’t like the spotlight and instead feel better in the shadow – behind the camera, behind the written words etc. – we feel some sort of condescendence. Somehow, they fail at living. They must be. They spend most of their time alone, at the writing table or in their studio. Poor creatures. Life is passing them by. But excellence asks for isolation. The dancer and the athlete spend just as much alone time, training. But we somehow find them more convincing, more winning at life. It’s the physical winning over and over again against the mental. Had Fernando Pessoa been a dancer, I would not have watched him dancing. There would have been no interest nurtured from me toward him. In my mind though, I would have imagined his existence more exotic. Because there is sensuality in the physical, never in the intellectual.
I am not a dancer and I am not an author either. The difference is I sometimes fancy the latter, never the first. I crave for the physical, I’ve been watching it unfold in front of my eyes ever since I can remember. I am attracted by physical types. And yet, for me, excellence is in the mind. The mind is the magnet, the revelation, the purpose. The very mind I am afraid to be with right now.
I need to find a way to come back to terms with myself. To remember it is ok to not know. Not knowing is, in fact, the only way there is. It is how life works. And I need to resume writing. There is sensuality in dancing with ideas, I should know that much.
June 5th, 2019