Right, ok…where do I even start here?
I’m not even going to attempt to express this poetically or even vaguely nicely (I sort of did that in my last post, which perhaps wasn’t poetic as much as it was chaotic, although the two are sometimes synonymous); I just need to laisser this crap sortir already. I’ve had a personal shift of sorts, and although my last post concerned a less defined version of this very shift, I need to chronicle it more clearly for one final time before I can move on.
Great. 3 sentences in and I’ve already started sounding like I’ve just had a breakup. I guess it serves me right for letting ideology, of all things, define my character and shape my development for two and a half years.
Ordinarily, I would start from the beginning, from the psychological, even aesthetic, process which I underwent before reaching the phase of my life which started in early 2014 and ended a few hours ago. But I already did that while speaking as my hypothetical 26-year-old self. And in any case, such abstract ruminations are meant to be crafted elegantly into delicate, shapely prose, not splattered onto the screen in a colourful mess of realness. This is not the place for that.
So this is what actually happened in my life – which, in comparison with my ‘inner world’, I barely ever discuss. I was a communist for two and a half years, and during those two and a half years I did a lot. I met some people who have influenced me considerably, read more theory than I had ever read before, got a column in a newspaper, amassed a reputation at school as ‘that communist girl.’ But more than anything else, I moulded my identity. During those fragile years at the start of adolescence, during which everything seems so uncertain, Marxism was what gave me purpose, a sense of direction, a sense of self. Paradoxically for someone who does not believe in a non-grammatical ‘self.’
I’m not really succeeding at the no-abstractions thing, am I? Oh, screw it. Maybe I can’t think outside of abstractions. Another paradox.
Anyway. It’s quite scary how much of an influence Marxism had on me, psychologically, over those two years. For a while, almost everything I said, read or did related to it. I tried to construct a persona for myself based on it. I tried to be an ‘intellectual.’ I tried to ‘fight the system’, even if that just meant not handing in my physics homework and calling someone reactionary on the coach. The result was that my entire reputation was based around being a Marxist. People only saw me in relation to Marxism, because I only saw myself in relation to Marxism.
Now, although others’ perceptions of me have generally not changed, my own have. As the dialectic goes, there were some quantitative changes before the qualitative ones which inspired this post. I grew increasingly interested in language, and then in the arts, and then in science. At the same time, although I tried not to show it, the utter ineptitude and plain pitifulness of the left was eating away at my energy. I realised that perpetually forcing myself to rebel did not make me content, or even fulfilled. And I don’t want to waste my time on this anymore. I want to contribute. I want to take pleasure in things. I want to learn and adapt and take the future as it comes, and I want to be happy.
Honestly, some part of me wants to run as far away from politics/economics as possible and never come back after this. I already know that my career will absolutely not involve it and that my true passions, rather than veils for my disconnect and stereotypical teenage conflict, lie elsewhere. But I know politics is too important to ignore, as well. I’m not ready to commit myself to an ideology yet, and I may never be ready again.
So all I will say for now is this. Today, I renounced the socialist sclerosis to which I had been bound for two and a half years, and I have never felt freer. We are living in an entirely new society today, where political and economic divides are disintegrating as we speak. And it’s exciting – not because our predictions will come true, but because we can predict nothing at all, and doing so will result in more faith than sound sociology. As for me, I’m going to devote far more time to the things which genuinely lift my spirits, and when it comes to politics, I want to be completely open-minded for a while. I want to know how that feels again. There is plenty of intellectual merit to Marxism, and some of it will stay with me for a while yet, most notably dialectics, structuralism, and the notion of a scientific outlook on and study of society. But however influential it was, I am closing that chapter of my life. I’m not a communist anymore.