my world was weightless

“I moved slowly, one strained step at a time, and as I did so I thought of my mother and father and all my younger siblings, who were growing into strangers. After countless nights of deliberately trying not to think of them, I now felt a distant and detached affection that I knew I could carry harmlessly. They were gone, and whether I would ever see them again no longer troubled me. My world was weightless, more so than I had ever thought it could be. I owned practically nothing and was obligated to no one; I felt more alive than I ever had before.”

– p. 103 of Dinaw Mengestu’s latest book, All Our Names

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I always felt out of place

“When I lived with my parents, I used to take long walks by myself, even when I was very young and was forbidden from doing so. I couldn’t help it. I was restless. I always felt out of place. I didn’t know it was permanent, though. I thought eventually I would find a house or a street that seemed to have been made just for me. I think I have walked more miles than just about any man I know, and I have learned that if I were to walk every day for the rest of my life, I would never find such a place. That is nothing to be sad about. Many people have it worse. They dream of belonging to a place that will never have them. I made that mistake once.”

– p. 99-100 of Dinaw Mengestu’s latest book, All Our Names

I like to be melancholy

I like to be in my pajamas all day and sometimes I don’t wash for days because I like to read and sit around, and there’s food in the bed. I like to eat in bed and read. And I like to be alone, I like to be melancholy. I like melancholy, the feeling of sadness a lot. But only if I’ve imposed it on myself. I like to pretend that I’m all alone in the world and that I am the raft of love and so on, I’m just sort of abandoned, and then I make my way in my mind. I like that feeling.

– Jamaica Kincaid, Time magazine