Sunday, 21 February 2016

Iconoclastic Ramblings

It’s odd to find yourself a misfit among misfits, to be outcast by the outcasts, to realize that your kind of broken and their kind of broken are so much at variance that the edges don’t even begin to match up. It’s even odder to know that you and they value many of the same things, but in such different ways and for such different reasons that it seems frankly impossible that those things should be the same at all, appearances notwithstanding. You’d think a sane person would just walk away, but as everyone knows by now, that’s easier said than done, and the deeper the investment, the stronger the ties. (And forgive me for descending much deeper into woo than I am ordinarily wont to go, but it does seem that there’s something to the concept of initiatory links after all, which renders those ties stronger still.) And, of course, some things are valuable and worthy of keeping, if they can be sorted out from among all the ruinous other bits that are the bad fit, the psychic thumbscrew, the spiritual allergens that make them ecstatic but only give you a rash.

But all of these things are part of how one becomes an iconoclastic traditionalist, and I’ve been around (and online) long enough to know that I am not the only one.

It’s uncomfortable and exasperating and often depressing and occasionally exhilarating. You don’t know that you are one until you try out and discover the things that you aren’t, or aren’t quite. It’s isolating, a hermit’s path, not suited to the gregarious, and it may well also be the sort of path that chooses the walker and not the other way around. I’m just now coming to grips with it and starting to understand it myself, though it seems I’ve been on this road for a while now. A lot of the landmarks look familiar, but the places they’re leading me are considerably divergent from where I’d always heard they ought to go. And all depression and discomfort and disorientation aside, I think—she says bravely—that I’m finding my footing at last. It is, after all, the path I’ve been walking in one way or another for nearly half a century now, and it’s the path I expect to follow all the days of my life.

And just maybe, if you’re lucky, like I am lucky, you may find others now and again along the way whose paths intersect or run somewhat parallel with yours.