TALES OF AN ORANGEPEELER
an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
& other curiosities :: profile
I am an instinctively melancholy person. I like to mope, and daydream, and write notes about the bittersweet things that come to me in languorous moments. The melancholy is too personal for social media, and so remains preserved, sheltered, in journals, a mood for midnight and those days when the rain falls all hours, a shimmering soft cocoon around whatever abode you have found yourself in. Melancholy is a haven, what Italo Calvino calls “a sadness that has taken on lightness.” The wild night has passed, and though the road is full of fallen branches, you find your self, still inscrutable, but solace itself.
When this melancholy self must languish, between social encounters, Zoom meetings, the serrated call of the everyday, it manifests itself in random fits of weeping while watching telly. Not because of a story per se, but because an actor’s face, some subtle movement in the eyes or around the lips (Ellen Page comes to mind), perfectly expresses that inchoate feeling rising up from the depths of the soul.
What is the self but what it desires, even if the object of its desire is not known to it? Lack as lack of beauty, truth, home, meaningful connection, love above all. As Otessa Moshfegh writes in the early days of the pandemic: “Without it, life is just ‘doing time’.” That lack compells the actions of the self as it seeks wholeness—a crying fit, writing, a phone call to a friend. Perhaps we may propose that everything we do is done to address this lack.
But it may also be proposed that we are already whole. Wounds constitute the self, and to fulfill desire might snuff out the irreducible specificity of a self. Desire, that is the self, by which it knows itself; yearning, that thing the rain, midnight, deep winter, odd hours, notepads, diaries, an actor’s eyes, summon. Without rain, no sunshine, and vice versa.