For a long time now I haven’t been I

Remedios Varo

For a long time now I haven’t written. Months have gone by in which I haven’t lived, just endured, between the office and physiology, in an inward stagnation of thinking and feeling. Unfortunately, this isn’t even restful, since in rotting there’s fermentation.

For a long time now I haven’t written and haven’t even existed. I hardly even seem to be dreaming. The streets for me are just streets. I do my office work conscious only of it, though I can’t say without distraction: in the back of my mind I’m sleeping instead of meditating (which is what I usually do), but I still have a different existence behind my work.

For a long time now I haven’t existed. I’m utterly calm. No one distinguishes me from who I am. I just felt myself breathe as if I’d done something new, or done it late. I’m beginning to be conscious of being conscious. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll wake up to myself and resume the course of my own existence. I don’t know if that will make me more happy or less. I don’t know anything. I lift my pedestrian’s head and see that, on the hill of the Castle, the sunset’s reflection is burning in dozens of windows, in a lofty brilliance of cold fire. Around these hard-flamed eyes, the entire hillside has the softness of day’s end. I’m able at least to feel sad, and to be conscious that my sadness was just now crossed – I saw it with my ears – by the sudden sound of a passing tram, by the casual voices of young people, and by the forgotten murmur of the living city.

For a long time now I haven’t been I.

The Book of Disquiet, 139
Fernando Pessoa

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