She doesn’t appear that way to other people, not immediately, not until she interacts, i.e. starts speaking without expression, staring a little too long. Jane lacks the charm, originality, and charisma that other people seem to naturally have.
While her intelligence and ability have always been strong, they’ve never transpired into anything substantial because she lacks the ability to engage and enact them. She has no idea how to use her intellectual talents.
Jane is trapped outside herself with only a view of who she could be. She feels locked from her self and her life.
She can’t identify them precisely, but Jane knows she’s different in significant ways. Little of what she says, does, and lives represents her because she trades as someone else, not as an escape but as a viable identity. Apathy and indifference, toward who she is being and her life is rife.
The main difference with Jane is that she knows who she’s not. She can look at herself objectively as most people can’t and know clearly what she wants. But knowing doesn’t incite doing; Jane’s stuck in between psychic and social worlds.
She’s living the wrong life and she’s aware of it so well it’s like dragging a chain by her wrist. Other people look relaxed and happy so much of the time. They seem normal, calm, and free. That they look like that Jane knows they don’t feel the same chain. It’s sad and lonely living a life that she doesn’t belong to.
There’s a wildness inside her, steaming and intense, that she has to stop from boiling over. Conflicting voices, desires, and feelings clash and clang inside her head, pulling her toward things she doesn’t understand.
She cycles through moods and addictions, it’s impossible to live without them. Men, alcohol, and too much food are among many troublesome behaviours. But perhaps worse is what she desires — those thoughts that feed her impulsive mind.
Jane looks for a reason.
She sees how broken she is, about to shatter. She’s like a bushfire, charged with hot, spitting flames. But her objectivity is her saving grace — she knows she’s different and wants to find out why and how to get closer in.
Why isn’t she liked by others? What can she do to change? There’ve been theories. The doctors think they know in their quick and thoughtless summations of who she is and why. But they only have access to surface information, and we all know how deceiving appearances are.
Besides, there’s an overlap. Many conditions fit but her cycling and life influences them, so as diseases, they don’t fly. Her behaviours have dramatic and fast turnover.
She cherry picks her addictions and diseases, like anorexia, for example. It’s a hard one to sign up for, she tells her doctor. In a slum of endless drinking, I’ll better find something else. She hears his thoughts like they were painted on his face: are you playing with me, he asked. Except she’s not, that’s the whole point. She knows exactly what she’s getting into. And he asked her, do you want to be here?, are you trying to take me for a ride.
But actually, her mind is much deeper and different from the diseases themselves, she knows she doesn’t run that way. That’s why there’s always been second opinions, different diagnoses, some strange, some familiar. None quite fit Jane. For example, Jane continues to seek answers, to understand herself and life, and her will is strong. It’s why stock standard ideas don’t fit even though everyone tries to force them on her.
She is her problem and her solution.
A diagnosis is just Jane’s mirror image. The label makes no difference, it’s just pocket lint. She runs the entire show from start to finish. The plot, the theme, the conflict, the climax is all hers, all self-created, right down to the final round of applause. She is her own ruin and her only solution. As long as Jane forfeits her power as stagemaster to a label, the mess will remain and her locked and unchanged.
Jane teaches us this: only once we’ve grasped that we command our own dysfunction and ruin can we become competent enough to become who we truly are.