LEANING INTO DISCOMFORT BY KAT HOLLERAN
Ambiguity had been my closest enemy.
As a child,
I would sit by the windows as clouds filled the sky, trying to predict what the weather’s next move was. My mom said I’d grow up to be a weatherwoman.
My nightmares were plagued with fears of dinosaurs coming back to life and eating me—unknowingly irrational.
There were far too many nights spent lying awake in bed in fear of robbers/murders/strangers stalking into the house, as though my being awake would stop them.
I would climb into my parent’s bed around 3AM every night until I was ten years old.
Death is my biggest fear. I have no control over when it will happen, and no idea what will happen once it happens.
Afterlife is not a concept I adhere to.
Fear is a big motivator for me: fear of getting a bad grade, of rejection, of embarrassment, of loneliness… the list could go on. Expecting failure whilst being afraid of it is cyclically torturous.
As I’ve grown, I’ve learned to embrace situations of ambiguity with open arms, asking myself “what can I do here?” instead of “I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HECK I’M DOING!”—though I still experience the latter on occasion.
I cannot pinpoint a shift during which ambiguity went from a fear factor to a success factor, but I attribute it largely to: my passion for mind-twisting, low-budget indie films; an enthusiasm for diversity affairs and cultural differences, through which I’ve had to ask many challenging questions; and getting sick of looking for answers all the time.
I question relentlessly and I’ve found out that I don’t know much, which is okay.
I don’t know how atoms came about and what caused the universe to explode and ever-expand into what it is now, but as an atheist I don’t believe it was God’s work. That said, I don’t pretend to know whether or not God, or a god, exists—I just don’t believe in one.
I don’t know that George Washington was the first president. I know that’s what my textbooks say, but I personally have no way of knowing.
I don’t know what will happen, as a Resident Assistant, to the girls in my corridor. I can tell them to be safe and smart, but there is nothing I can do to control their actions.
The list of things I know to be true is short.
I’m learning, slowly, how to thrive in my biological ignorance.
cul-de-sacs approach slowly
when you drive down the wrong side of the street.
I never know which way I should go around,
but once I do I stay
until I’ve made a perfect circle.
nirvana is round.
an egg full of nothing but transcended muscles
in permanent relaxation,
like the afterglow
of restless nights.
I don’t know about death,
but I fear it has many edges.
ones to get caught on while drifting
into eternal anti-being.
I will join old stars and galaxies
that got stuck on the way too.
for now, I have left the car
to settle into the donut end of the road.
it sinks into asphalt covered earth
as I enter the wooded grounds of the orb,
slowly disintegrating as my feet say hello.