14 September, 2012

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I never understood the expression “world weary”. It sounds weighty, and is always said with a tone of exhausted ennui. I have heard it many times, read it in books, and yet it always eluded me - what does that really mean? How weary must you be? Must you be emotionally drained, or is this a physical affliction - or worse, both? How much of the world do you have to know, to be weary of it? Do you have to have lived a long life? Is there a certain amount of strife you must suffer?
Is world weariness something like holding the world on your shoulders - or is it the product of holding the earth for far too long? When we can travel to the stars, will you become universe-weary? Does it feel like having a monkey on your back, or is it more like you are canoeing a river of shit with no paddle?
I have thought about it many times, with no resolution. People who are world weary rarely feel like listing out the way it feels - the reasons, maybe, but not the feeling.
I think I understand it now, though. I am not old. I am not worldly. My negative experiences likely do not amount to more than my positive experiences, but I certainly remember them more. I have been thinking about it the past few days. Maybe my definition of world weary and how it feels doesn’t match with yours, but this is how it feels to me.
It feels as though I am carrying around a howler monkey that hangs from my shoulders with his fingertips, squeezing tightly, and he is howling a cacophonic symphony that surrounds me. He is heavy and resents me for not holding his legs up, although my arms feel like noodles, and my fingertips ache from carrying buckets of sloshing water.
It feels like there is constantly a thistle stuck in my throat. My eyes feel weighted with lead, sandy and constantly a moment from being washed with tears. My legs feel too weak to carry me, like there is always a chance that my knees will buckle, and my hands are full, so I can’t hold myself up if it happens.
Everyone is one step too far away, but five steps too close. I go to draw them in, but then reject them fully, pushing, pushing, because I can’t carry their weight. I can’t hold them, my buckets, the monkey, and my own body, not now. Their sadness, stresses, and even their happiness balance on my head like plates. If I tilt the wrong way, they fall, shattering and causing a mess I have to try to clean up. If I stand still, they weigh me down, down, farther into the ground.
I lie in my bed and it feels like the bed is made of gravel, and my pillow is just a rock. Sleep is never enough to rid me of this exhaustion, and every day more and more of my energy seeps out of me, like sweat on a too-hot day.
This is more than just my normal pain and fatigue. This is not affected by pain medicine or caffeine or any healthy choice. It just sits there, hanging on to me, and it won’t let go.

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  1. To me, "world-weary" is the realization that the things we experience are, to a certain extent, ubiquitous. Humans keep making the same mistakes over and over. The young think they know everything. The older realize they know next to nothing. They try to explain this to the young, who don't think they'll ever grow old and don't want to hear it. Things get recycled. The novelty wears off. I guess that's what it's always meant for me.

  2. It kind of makes me sad.

    Why is the world like that?

  3. I think it's just human nature. When we're young, we experience a bunch of things for the first time, so part of us thinks that we're the only ones who have EVER experienced it, and that no one can possibly understand. Then we get older and realize oh, nope, everyone goes through this. But we can't really pass that along. Everyone has to figure it out for themselves, and if we're lucky, we don't screw things up too much in the journey.