I’ve probably read Miss Wyoming a dozen times. After Microserfs, it’s my favourite Douglas Coupland book. That man narrates the post-modern conflict so beautifully. He’s got a gift for depth in simplicity. And he’s funny. Which is something your standard issue Canadian novelist tends to overlook
all the fucking time too often. Sometimes the pain of life is ridiculous. We need to laugh, people!
The basic premise of post-modernism is that there is no truth, just an aggregation of perceptions informed by social norms and structures. Multiple truths. Multiple realities. All camouflaged in glittering superficiality. And so this world, what we see with our eyes and feel with our bodies, it changes as we do. We construct what it means to be living as we go along.
Anyway, there’s a line in Miss Wyoming that resonates perfectly with the state of my life, right now. I’ve got a lot going on. I feel like I’m moving imperfectly in infinite directions, and my identity – while whole – is transitory.
… when you grow up these days, you’re told you’re going to have four or five different careers during your lifetime. But what they don’t tell you is that you’re going to be four or five different people along the way. In five years I won’t be me anymore. I’ll be some new [self]….
I have to do it now – act quickly, I mean – because the current version of me is ebbing away. We’re all ebbing away. All of us. I’m already looking backward. I’m already looking back at that [self] that’s saying these words.” (Coupland, 1999, p. 256).
So, the self that wrote the life List three years ago is gone, now. I’m looking back at her with her endlessly nursing, colicky baby, and her scraggly hair, and undereye bags, and constant state of frenetic desperation to live this life, and I’m waving. Gently. Because for now, for this iteration of me right now, I don’t need a list of terrifying new things to try, and I don’t need a list of monumental goals to reach, and I don’t need the little reminders and the group accountability to sit for a minute with my Bug on a bench and remember that ice cream is cold and sweet and perfect on a totally shit day.
Somewhere along the way, about three years ago, the post adolescent going through the motions in that perpetual treadmill of What-I-Should-Be-Doing stumbled and fell and figured out the indoor track is far more fun. And then, about a week ago, she stepped outside and found the trail. I’d show it to you, if I could. It’s lushly green, right now, pitted in places, somewhere uneven and steep with jutting rocks. There are shadows among the trees that make it hard to breathe. And bands of sunshine like flying.
That uphill? Just there. Can you see it? It is going to be epic. I’ll tell you about it when I come down the other side.