Something odd happened to me this morning.
The experience lasted about twenty seconds.
It was like a dial turned inside me. Or like the chips of glass inside a kaleidoscope made a new pattern.
I was still myself, but somehow in different proportions. I felt, for that moment, what it would be like to be…different. More light-hearted, more easy-going.
One fact about me is that I’m intense. There’s a relentlessness to my nature. And I don’t mind that. My discipline is my freedom. My sister Elizabeth tells me that I’d make a good monk. I’m an Upholder, and I love being an Upholder! Even though I recognize the downsides to it.
But for just a minute, for some reason, I felt like a different person. Then I snapped back to normal.
Something like this has happened to me once before. A few years ago, I was walking down Lexington Avenue, and suddenly I felt all my ambition vanish. It was as if I’d been carrying a heavy backpack for decades, and suddenly it slid off my back. I’d never consciously realized it before, but I have a voice in my head constantly saying, “Did you…?” “Should you…?” “Could you…?” For a moment, it was shut off, and then it returned.
And that was what I felt, this morning. I experienced myself as if I were just a little bit different. It was odd, and exhilarating, and a little sad. It would be fun to be less relentless! And yet I must Be Gretchen.
This is the music that was playing when it happened — Rachel Portman’s Main Theme from the soundtrack of the movie Chocolat. I guess it set off some kind of unexpected response.
Also, for a writer, having a new book out makes everything feel very heightened, so I’m sure that also contributed to it.
Have you ever had an experience like this? It was very odd. For a moment, I was someone different. Not very different, but different nevertheless.