“Our lived lives might become a protracted mourning for, or an endless tantrum about, the lives we were unable to live. But the exemptions we suffer, whether forced or chosen, make us who we are.”
As I move on from creating films as my method of storytelling back to writing as my mode of communication… it will be a new path I take, writing a semi-autobiographical novel.
In the gap between who we wish one day to be and who we are at present, must come pain, anxiety, envy and humiliation. We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. But we are just as well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we could’ve been, the people we never were, the people who perished in the abyss between our ideal selves and our real selves.
The unexamined life is surely worth living, but is the unlived life worth examining? It seems a strange question until one realizes how much of our so-called mental life is about the lives we are not living, the lives we are missing out on, the lives we could be leading but for some reason are not. What we fantasize about, what we long for, are the experiences, the things and the people that are absent.
We refer to them as our unlived lives because somewhere we believe that they were open to us; but for some reason — and we might spend a great deal of our lived lives trying to find and give the reason — they were not possible. And what was not possible all too easily becomes the story of our lives. Indeed, our lived lives might become a protracted mourning for, or an endless tantrum about, the lives we were unable to live. But the exemptions we suffer, whether forced or chosen, make us who we are.
Our lives become an elegy to needs unmet and desires sacrificed, to possibilities refused, to roads not taken. The myth of our potential can make of our lives a perpetual falling-short, a continual and continuing loss, a sustained and sometimes sustaining rage.
I am tired of this myth running my life. I have grieved my female filmmaker life and awoke to find my words again. The lens on the relationship between language and image, shape and sound, thought and expression is no longer through a lens, but words on paper.
“The future enters into us,” Rilke wrote in a 1904 letter, “in order to transform itself in us long before it happens.” But the past also penetrates the present long after it has happened — and out of that dynamic dialogue we wrest the meaning of our existence as life courses through us from both directions.