For I am—or I was—one of those people who pride themselves in on their willpower, on their ability to make a decision and carry it through. This virtue, like most virtues, is ambiguity itself. People who believe that they are strong-willed and the masters of their destiny can only continue to believe this by becoming specialists in self-deception. Their decisions are not really decisions at all—a real decision makes one humble, one knows that it is at the mercy of more things than can be named—but elaborate systems of evasion, of illusion, designed to make themselves and the world appear to be what they and the world are not. This is certainly what my decision, made so long ago in Joey’s bed, came to. I had decided to allow no room in the universe for something which shamed and frightened me. I succeeded very well—by not looking at the universe, by not looking at myself, by remaining, in effect, in constant motion.
I’ve always been a slow learner in some areas of my life.mostly the areas known as myself. Or maybe I should say ‘selves.’because the fact is, I’ve never, even as a child, felt I’m only one self, only one person. I’ve always felt I’m quite a few more than one. For example, there’s my jokey self, there’s my morose and fed-up self,there’s my lewd and disgusting self. There’s my clever-clogs self, and my fading-violet-who-cant-make-up-her-mind-about-anything self. There’s my untidy-clothes-everywhere-all-over-my-room self, and my manically tidy self when I want my room to be minimalist and Zen to the nth degree. There’s my confidant, arrogant self and my polite and reasonable and good listener self. There’s my self-righteous self and my wickedly bad self, my flaky self and my bsentimental self. There are selfs I like and selfs I don’t like.there’s my little-girl selfnwhonlikes to play silly games and there’s my old-woman self when I’m quite sure I’m eighty and edging towards geriatric. The self I show in action at any moment depends on where I am, who I’m with, the circumstances of the situation and the mood I’m in.