Some of us have been discussing anxiety. Est-ce que je l’ai, ou ai-je autre chose? I think in general that I have reasonable fear that I ignore, and that this creates malaise. Anxiety at its most basic level is knowing one is not living well and needs to live better, yet having instructions to live still worse, on pain of death. It is knowing you are giving more blood than you can afford, but that you must give still more or face execution, so that all options are bad.
I have always lived with the feeling that a sword was hanging over my head, except in college and graduate school, and when I was working at my R-1s. Anxiety: about the real power the irrationality of others can have to determine the material conditions of our lives. I have this. Anxiety: about complicity in that, about not knowing how to refuse complicity. I have that.
But then at another level the anxiety I have is not situation bound, but is about not daring to define oneself fully. The idea that this may be done, but only at the level of hobby, only around the margins of the central personality in the room which is someone else’s. One must define oneself to thrive, but may not survive if one does. Will probably not. Has not healed yet from what happened the last time one was caught.
Waiting to jump to the side of thriving. Concerned that this will invite utter disaster.
People do not believe I have anxiety because it is not severe enough and not generalized enough. But I think I have it, only discreetly, and that it is around a primordial knot that can be untied. I think I should jump, define.
I also have anxiety because what must be done (today, and not by my choice) is not what must be done (ultimately, for my reasons) and there is not time for both (realistically). What must be done (today) has to be cut down but I need permission I lack.