Concerning the Brief Flash of Awareness That, Upon Finding Oneself in a Hole, One Was Not Born in This Hole And, in Fact, One Instead Climbed Down Into This Hole of Their Own Volition

Well, it's not a great feeling, if I'm being honest.

It sneaks up on you with all the predatory grace of a panic attack. Like an amnesiac in a Hollywood movie: first, there was nothing, and now, the map fills itself in. A dotted-line, Family Circus thread of connective narrative tissue.

It's the harsh, piercing blue light of a rich asshole's luxury sedan cresting the hill in front of you.

There's a part of the human spirit, or at least of mine, that celebrates waking up in a pit. We like to wallow from time to time, don't we? The walls are clammy, the floor's uneven, and it's awful boring, but at least it's familiar. Like walking into the dentist's office every six months: oh, right. I don't want to be here at all, but at least I know where the good magazines are.

Once you wake up in your pit, it's natural to want to understand what led you back to this place. And it's an easy story to tell yourself: that you were wronged, that you were misunderstood, that nobody can relate. If only they looked outside of themselves. If only they stopped to listen to your story.

You pout a bit, maybe. Or you pace. Or you cross your arms, suck in your chest, and put on what you hope is an expression of defiance. Waiting for your critics to stumble — a loud yelp, a brief plummet, a dazed glance around the room as they regain their senses — before you breathe in deep and regale them with your Story of Woe.

That's the dream, anyway. But nobody ever falls in.

Why is that?

Recently, I realized two important truths about the hole.

Truth One: The hole not a real place.

Truth Two: If you know it's not real, you can't go there again.

Wanna know something useful? Here it is: once you've realized that something you accepted as truth is simply a story you've told yourself, the story stops being real. It doesn't work anymore. You can't return to it. It becomes what it's always been: just a story.

So. What stories are you living out right now?