Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by a feeling. I know it’s not fear though, because fear is fierce and bludgeons the wind out of my lungs, and this feels like an assailment to the vital organs: ubiquitous and potent. But fear is small, too, and localized: it’s a concentrated needle charge. But this apprehension is large. It encompasses the threats of growing up and the unknowns of everything I’m yet to divine, if ever. Is this existential angst or am I attributing a much simpler, naturally occurring dread of the future to grandiose language (and concepts)? On the few occasions that it strikes, I feel as if the world is too threatening a territory to be navigated, as though its monstrously innumerable workings are too inscrutable to be rationalized, or at all reasoned with, or maneuvered through sufficiently well as to forge a modest path. I feel as though I am someone too incapacitated and the world—everything in it of people, places, adversities and possibilities—is too impossible to surmount. Life seems impossible.
But then the feeling passes – sometimes as soon as a few minutes have passed – replaced by a slightly ecstatic lightness, and life seems manageable yet. And I’m flooded with hope and resolute ambition, the way only an eighteen year old can: wildly, elaborately, with expertly utilitarian delusion. Despite your better judgment (or any judgment at all for that matter) you build universes of fortunate possibility to be wrecked in the same second, and build others just for the rapt fun of it, often realizing how absurd the constructions are mid-production, but never caring enough to sound the alarm and force the assembly line to a stop: you like it too much, how it grants you ultimate mastery too sweet to abstain from because you need it most now. You plough your deepest desires and in your own mind, attain perfect, complete realization of it all, and only later on will these creations be revealed for what they truly are: defensive palliations, just as mechanically triggered as their cause. But you can’t realise that yet; no, you must bask in its grandeur first. Life seems fine again.
And then you think maybe this is what they mean by teenagers being “erratic”.