To Anaïs Nin (first letter)

Dear Anaïs,
I too had a sheltered existence in a delicate world, but I thought I was really living (having been afraid of not living for most of my life). I didn’t wonder if I was awake.  Then I started writing not sent letters, found comfort in solitude and nature (I know this word, like most, is problematic), talked with others in the absence of expectation, and discovered that my fear of not living had already come to pass.  I’d been hibernating. The symptoms were undetectable (I assumed they’d be immediately apparent, based in part on your musings).  I’d blame my restlessness and absence of pleasure in the everyday on my desperate efforts to be truly alive.
The attempt to become oneself and no one else is the innocuous illness of now.  This is where monotony, boredom, and death have gone. Perhaps millions are living like this (and will die like this) without knowing it. They hope to be affirmed by others in pursuing unique careers and experiences, expressing themselves in new ways.  Our fears of not living are being used against us.  They feed the way things are, the economy and those it serves.  They’ve put us to sleep.  And yes, sometimes a shock treatment might still take place, a person, a book, a song, and awaken us despite current conditions.  Even now we might be saved.
I once believed in ideas of freedom too, of writing as one thinks, in the order and disorder in which one feels and thinks, in following sensations and absurd correlations of events and images, in trusting the new realms they lead one into — cults of the marvelous and unconscious, mystery, evasions of false logic, efforts to transcend the rigidness and patterns made by the rational mind – but these too are now a part of what we are expected to chase (and be seen chasing) in slumber.  Most of us never seem to wake up.
Living well and rightly, really living, does not depend on the acknowledgement of others.  I’m no longer afraid of being me as I am (even when I’m unwittingly not being me) regardless of who else might know it or not.  I’m out from under such comatose nonsense.  Writing these not sent letters helps.
One can wake up to life carrying on regardless.  It’s happening this very moment.
jeremy