When the formalist term systematic defamiliarization assumes a primary role in the construction of your self-image. By removing yourself from the family, friends, and social mores of your initial iterations—birth, childhood, adolescence, education—and placing yourself as object into a new system—city, subway, urbanity—you sought, by estranging yourself from the comfort of familial tradition and placing yourself in an insular new system with no job and $200 in your wallet, to find a new way of seeing yourself: As both artist and artifice, simulacrum and simulation. And then you get married in this new iteration, have children, find your artifices hardening into modes of being, and you finally feel equipped to begin the journey into the central questions this work of art that you call your life seeks to address. Only these questions are sublimated in daily struggles like talking to your mother on the phone when she believes—truthfully—that you are no longer the person who accompanied her through her own transformation from high school dropout to abused spouse through divorce and remarriage, or going to the beach with your new family and squaring the sand beneath your feet with the simulations of beach and mountains you only read about until first travelling over the Great Divide with a church group the summer after high school and first seeing the infinity-like expanse of ocean meeting sky for the first time when at Daytona on spring break in college. And finally, sneakiest of feels, when you wonder if your childhood, your education, your experiences were all simulation, and only recently, after years of faking it, are you penetrating the skin of what it means to be human.

What are the Sneaky Feels?

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AuthorJohn Proctor