Sunday, July 24

zero sum

I was thinking about masks, how we wear them even when we’re trying hard not to. It’s an onion thing, I think, peeling them off one by one only to find another layer of them. When we peel the last one off, do we cease to exist?

The inversion was about getting rid of masks, or at least minimizing the number of them. I try not to have a work mask now, for the casino slavery, but I know there is one. Maybe, on the good days, it’s more translucent than any I’ve ever worn, but I still bite my tongue too much to think that I’m not wearing one.

Mom’s definitely receding. I saw her Community Care nurse and worker on Friday. They don’t make diagnoses or provide prognoses, of course. They concentrate on the now, on the care. An appointment with her psychiatrist will be next. He should be in a better position to provide insight into what to expect, what the timelines might be. I both want to know, and don’t. We’ll still be measuring in years, I think, but small numbers.

That led me to think about minimalism: What we need as opposed to what we want, or even what we think we need. My working theory suggests that the less we use, the more we have to give away. It’s the opposite of modern consumerism. For me, it’s still an ideal. I can trim more, perhaps actually develop enough self-discipline (a virtue I lack) to create more space for giving even when I am in a place where using much isn’t an issue.

One of the reasons that getting out of the casino is so crucial is just simply to not have to wear that work mask. I think maybe that I’ll be able to measure success, my version of it, by how few masks I have to own. None would be ideal, but that seems like a dream more than a goal. I’m not sure humans are meant to be mask-less. Or maybe capable is a better term for it, not capable of being mask-less. At least not in our culture. We can only strive to limit the number and make the ones we do wear as authentic to what we think our true selves are as possible.

When I die, I hope there’s no more onion left to peal. That’s a nice thought. For Mom, and for me, I need to remove myself from the equation of her care. She deserves something as selfless as possible, so I need to not be worrying about me. That will require some intense peeling which, in the end, will actually help me. And that’s how the universe works on the good days.