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bewilderness

have you ever been in the bewilderness?

maybe i should explain what it is. “bewilderness” is sort of a portmanteau that i coined during dinner tonight. its contributing parts are “wilderness” and “bewilderment.” “bewilder” means “to cause to lose one’s bearings,” or “to perplex or confuse especially by a complexity, variety, or multitude of objects or considerations.” and then a wilderness is a wilderness, of course.

a bewilderness, then, is where you go when you’re in a prolonged state of mental confusion. in a bewilderness, everything is just slightly off-kilter. maybe it’s like being on a ship and never finding your sea legs. (i’ve never been on a ship, so i’m just imagining here.)

i feel like i’ve been in a bewilderness for a while. it’s not one over-arching, constant, intense confusion … it’s more like a hundred little whispery mouse confusions that come and go before i can quite make out what they are or where they came from. odd little things i don’t know how to react to. nerves, panic or blues i have to talk myself through. sometimes i don’t tell myself the things i do know are true and i get sucked into a mood of paranoid hopelessness, kind of like a mastodon getting stuck in a primeval tar pit. or, to be more poetical and john bunyanesque, in a slough of despond.

i don’t mind a little confusion, a little lack of clarity. but neither do i want these little panics and little confusions to grow up into bigger problems.

i guess the thing to do is to trust your compass and trek on resolutely ’til you find your way out of the bewilderness.

and, when you do know what’s going on, to look things as square in the eye as you can and not pretend you don’t understand.

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