Natural Death • 14 October 2009

This morning a mentor asked: Is your Mercury in Scorpio? Translation: Damn but that’s a sharp wit you have. Not sure if it’s planets or too many years on the debate team, but the quick-draw retorts can have a self-generative power. This is not a part of myself that I like—she’s grown boring—but for a long time I was all about being her.

Arrogant academics don’t make me bristle if they are actually smart, but the occasional status-obsessed academics with no real love of understanding or history are the worst. The Scorp-Merc wants at times to make them feel stupid. That’s very gratifying; and it seems to put my professional world back in order. Almost as tempting are lonely ashtangis trying to construct a self out of the sect, and lording their faux expertise over others. Viscious inquiries, preening disclosures: there is the possibility of giving them a withering look, or shining a little light on the utter emptiness of their so-called authenticity.

Pretty deep reactions; and I guess I can see them today because I am holding back from acting on them. Instead of feeling a release, though, there’s some bitterness. The words I am eating would have tasted good to say.

It has become tricky. Repressing the strike forces the energy of it to take a hairpin turn and make me annoyed at myself: God! I could have said the perfect thing! How could I have been so stupid as to let the other go about their stupidity?

The bitterness is strong enough that it sets my stomach on edge, puts a little curl in my lip.

And it’s funny—there are one or two intimates who enjoy this side of me, who love the irritability. Is this energy actually benign—a little charming? Or is it just gratifying to see my dark side? I don’t know.

If I had an established habit of making and then silencing smartassedness, I’d probably be self-directing a bit of irritation all the time. The bitterness I’m feeling today would be so normal I wouldn’t notice. That’s no better than just being a harsh smartass. Maybe, even, it’s worse. I’d be full of repressed, unconscious negative emotion.

There’s got to be a better way to use the arrows when they appear in my hands. Maybe something like acknowledging them, recognizing that they were useful for many years that I was a carnivore, and then putting them down. I don’t know. But otherwise there’s no point in behaving all nice and shit when the harsh witticisms come up. I’d just be faking myself out and trying to pass off mechanistic self-directed bitterness as humility. Striving to preserve a positive inner state because I’ve enjoyed so much of it and lost patience for anything else. Sounds like a good way to fill my unconscious world with strife.

So this is my tongue’s edge: repressing the action, but not repressing the feeling. Not allowing it to multiply, but allowing it to die a natural death. The allowing seems helpful.