I should be writing something else right now but I am not. Instead I am writing this because at the moment, this seems more pressing. I find myself a bit lost these days, much like the character I am writing about, Alice in Wonderland, asking myself, "Who am I?"
And asking everyone around me, like the famed Caterpillar with his hookah, "Who are you?" Time and again, I am questioned, and like Alice, I don’t have all of the answers because Wonderland, like the world, isn’t such a nice place after all. In fact, Wonderland is the world. There is no Garden of Eden. There is no real love to be found, not in the space I presently occupy anyway, and if it is offered it is disingenuous.
As Humpty Dumpty would say to me of my name, “What does it mean?” Well, I could tell him, because I have traced it back from its original roots – from Sarah, for which Sadi or Sadie is a nickname, and that traces back to Cytherea which ultimately traces back to Aphrodite. Somehow I managed to do this a while back and discovered all of the relationships I had and who my father was – of course, Zeus, but who wasn’t Zeus the father of? I found I was involved with Hermes. That we had a passionate affair and gave birth to none other than Eros – god of love. I found that Hermes must have been true to his faculty with languages because our relationship didn’t last and that he had many other lovers – hermeneutics and all that – so he had other loves and left me in his dust, but then, Aphrodite was the goddess of love and wasn’t exactly committed; though I believe from what I read that it was Hermes who was the great love of her life, depending on which source you trust. So it all depends. And it all depends if you believe in that at all. Frankly, it could all be nonsense. It’s mythology after all. Myth.
So who am I? Or as the Unicorn says to Alice, and some might say to me, “What is this?” in a contemptuous tone. As I come out of the other side of some rather life-changing events at the end of a summer that I could never have predicted would be so breaking of the spirit, I think of the Caterpillar again saying to Alice, “So you think you’ve changed do you?”
Well, I know I am not who I was a month ago, just as Alice knew she was not who she was when she woke up that morning. That between the Now and the Then there have been many changes. I have lost my faith. I, an officiant in the church, find myself, as Michael Stipe would say, in the spotlight, losing my religion. That’s me. Or perhaps it was taken away from me and I was duped. That’s highly possible. After all, you can’t always go around offering something that is close to your heart and sharing it unless you are dead sure that those you are sharing with are not going to turn around and fuck you later on. I hate to use the word “fuck” but I can’t think of a better word. As a friend said to me, “You were fucked and without the foreplay…” I realize I am being vague here, but the story is too long and I fear if I tried to explain it would not be understood.
What I do mean to say is be careful what you share of yourself – the places you consider sacred and that you consider holy, the places I called “thin” places – that are neither “here” nor “there” but simple places of meditation where one can just "be" without interruption from the rest of the world. Once you share those places, they are no longer yours and yours alone. They are, for lack of a better word, in the public domain. PD. Part of Project Gutenberg, pages there for anyone to read and you, my friend, you become the open book; where once perhaps you were a mystery and interesting, you become by contrast dull because you have given the key and allowed easy access.
I am not saying these things defined me, because they did not, and they would not again. Nor am I saying that people can steal who you are, but what they can do is make you question who you are and they can in and of themselves question you – ask of you, who are you? And different people can do this in different ways. You can have a friendly who are you? An angry who are you? The vehement, full of fury who the fuck are you? Who do you think you are? All of these things or one of them, but it all adds up the same – it’s a questioning of identity, and if you can’t answer this basic question – which I can’t right now – then I think perhaps Houston, we have a problem.
What you need then is for something unbelievable to happen, which is nothing short of a miracle, and as Graham Greene said, we don’t believe in those, do we? Perhaps we do. Perhaps we do not. What I do know is that I read in the depths of my research of the unicorn in Alice’s Adventures Through the Looking Glass of her encounter with the unicorn that she strikes a deal and maybe this is the deal I need to strike. Alice has never believed in unicorns, and frankly, at this point, I believe in nothing. Not anymore anyway. I used to say of myself I was a Believer. I would believe in so many things, but I find myself disillusioned with so many things – but here is the deal that Alice and the Unicorn strike after she does find him…
"Well, now that we have seen each other,” said the Unicorn, “If you’ll believe in me, I’ll believe in you. Is that a bargain?"
Now if only I could find a unicorn – but then, I wouldn’t believe it even if I did see one – unless we struck a deal.