I’ve been reading Jean Paul Sartre’s Nausea. And I don’t know what to do. It’s the most devastating thing to read…especially at this time in my life. There’s something haunting and gut wrenching about it. It’s also a lot of text. It’s been one of those books that I hate the idea of picking it up and actually reading it– but the minute I do so, I stumble upon a glorious moment of vulnerability and I wonder why I questioned my desire in the first place. It’s beautiful. There aren’t words that accurately depict Sartre’s writing style. It’s intense and dramatic and filled with hopelessness. But at the same time, there’s an air of honesty that keeps the book readable and true. I’ve nearly finished it (only twenty pages left), but I find myself savoring the last few moments I will spend in this book. I do nor normally express emotion publicly, but I have found myself weeping on the train as I read this book. It has a profound effect on me as of late– and I’m not sure why.
Life has been really difficult this summer. Hell, this whole year has been difficult. It’s had its highlights and its tragedies. But the pendulum swing of emotions and circumstances leaves me feeling worn out and too old for myself. At one point in Nausea, Anny, one of the characters says that she feels she has outlived herself. I feel her pain. There are moments of undiluted sorrow where I wonder why I go on. Why continue in life when it has lost its glow and charm? Sure, there are moments of beauty and joy, but I feel the anguish more each year and wonder what one is supposed to do when all that used to beat and flutter ceases to affect. The growing air of indifference is what worries me. I feel so much that I have lost interest in it all. Life has become too much to bear and I so I stop it all. Maybe it’s more complicated than that. Sartre describes the change he witnesses in Anny and says: “Something in her has irremediably dried out.”– I like that. It expresses what I’ve been sensing and feeling in myself. He speaks of her having a ruined look and I tear up whenever I read that sentence. There’s something utterly heartbreaking about this novel and the writing and the truth and the despair and everything it describes. It is all too real.
The knife has been twisted and yanking it out now, without irrevocable damage, is impossible.