Although I had no way to redirect myself, the sudden shift in expectation within my inner world produced little outward change. Definitely nothing obvious enough for friends or family to notice. But the confusion of having a gap in my brain where previously there had been at least an idea of pathway or passage was just shy of palpable.
Instantly transformed into a fish with no fishtank, I didn't/couldn't stop to analyze what had happened, largely because in my my heart of hearts I didn't know how to absorb it. I had no ideas about how to do that, no serious talk with anyone about my disconnectedness, especially not with anyone who said it would be beneficial to question the questioner. When I finally managed umpteen years later to ask Clint about it, he had no memory of the incident; but he was clear he hadn't meant it as a put-down. He said he always asked students he felt were interested in the theatre about their intentions because the world of professional theatre can be so tough, so cut-throat competitive.
Which no doubt was fair enough as concerns go, but in the liminal sliver of ego-vulnerable time that is the final year of the adolescent phenomenon of "high school" in America, I managed to take it as a slight. Thus rendered suddenly directionless, the consequent loss of containment, my fearsome "fish-out-of water" state along with an accompanying loss of self-recognition, was invisible to others. Was veiled even from myself.
It might seem self-evident that not to recognize thirst is dangerous. Water is a necessity for all living creatures on planet earth: even so-called "air-plants" require atmospheric moisture. Without water, not only will we humans die, the earth itself, all things living on it, will also die. Fish with no water - oops!
But I didn't die. Nor did I, in my 'lost fish' mode, notice the absence of water the way an actual fish immediately would.
In my impenetrable state of not-being-the-same, a fish sans previously known container, I had no idea what I was supposed to do to continue to exist, much less to know how I was supposed to be, where I was supposed to go.
Lacking certainty, with no firm assurance of self, it is one thing to go through the motions of socially expected behaviors. As a performance trick, I didn't find that awfully hard. But it's another thing entirely to practically demonstrate that you and those behaviors are nicely integrated, to show that they belong to you, that you belong with them.
That, I am sure, I could not, did not, pull off very well. Still, despite the absence of conscious articulation about the gap between my outer life and my inner life, I did manage to get through my senior year even though now I'm pretty sure that I did it without knowing how to pause - much less pause compassionately, pause mindfully, to reflect very carefully, to look at my own reactions, take stock of my feelings.
Common wisdom has it that 20-20 hindsight can be a terrific aid. You just have to live long enough, well enough, to make good use of what you see when you reflect back. And I can see now that, lacking analytic tools, I did "get through at the time" - more or less by not thinking about my feelings.
In the worlds of my childhood, feelings - while not necessarily tabu - were subject to criticism more than analytic scrutiny. Such children quickly become experts at interpreting the subtleties of adult irritation, signs meant to convey a negative response to one's behavior. In my own world, for instance, beating was unnecessary: an adult's deliberately raised eyebrow could signal fierce disapproval of something said or done by a child at the supper table.
Was any or all of that why Cosanti was the profoundly visceral experience that it was? Was any or all of that, or that which was related to it, why Cosanti provoked such a profoundly, existentially challenging, kinaesthetic shock as to awaken me to a need I hadn't been aware of - a need to explore my own unconsciousness?