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January 10, 2013

I had coffee with a new friend this morning. We spent two hours enmeshed in one of the more memorable getting-to-know-you conversations of my adult life.

I’m not gonna lie. I’m pretty psyched.

“I’m thinking of cutting off my hair and going all short and edgy,” I confessed.

Oh, my, g-d. I’m talking about my hair. She’s going to think I’m self-centered and superficial.

“When we do that, it’s always in reaction to something else,” she said. “What’s really going on?”


I thought for a moment. “It’s this conservative morass we’re stuck living in. I just want to make it obvious that when you scratch the surface, I’m a radical.”

My new friend looked at me.

“Really, I am.”

She looked at me.

“All right, I have this old theory, a really old theory that I came up with when I was in my teens. If you really get to know someone who is heavily goth, or punk, or whatever, you find out that they’re quite often just a regular person with the same insecurities and anxieties as everyone else, and the look, goth, or punk, or whatever, is, to a large degree, compensating for just feeling extremely normal. I’ve typically had a very conservative look, compensating in the other direction. And I think I want to move away from that.”

“So you’re telling me that you’re a punk, a part of the counterculture?”

I thought about it. “Not quite punk. It’s more of a strong gothic streak.”

I blog about death.

“Is this new, after your illness? Or have you always been this way?”

I’m stunned.

“Always been this way. I was a goth little kid with a morbid sense of humor, a little Tuesday Adams. In the seventies. In retrospect it was hilarious.”

I think I’ve always known. When I heard the word cancer, I wasn’t surprised. It’s as if the first half of my life was one big opening act for me to live out the second half of it in this semi-undead state of post-life existence.

I’m  not a woo-woo kind of person, generally speaking, but I wonder how it is that I’ve always known this about myself, and I wonder what else I could find about myself if only I were open to listening.

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One Comment
  1. Fascinating!
    I love the insight, and am ecstatic for you that you have such a brilliant friend, too.
    Write on!

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