Certainty is a word that I find enormously difficult. I have spent so long trying to disentangle ‘certainty’ from ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ that I am much more comfortable with plain old ‘doubt’. Talk of certainty puts me on the defensive, reminds me of all those years feeling that I was a fraud, before I understood that ‘faith’ doesn’t necessarily equate to ‘belief’, and that ‘belief’ that isn’t strong enough to amount to ‘certainty’ is equally valid, anyway.
Go off in the other direction, and the mundane starts wobbling, too. I’m suddenly very aware of how relative everything is. I can say for certain that it is five past nine on the first of December, but then I remember that time is an artificial construct. I start wondering about certainty, and I start wondering what’s ‘really’ true, and before I know it I’m wondering whether I really exist, and what this bottle of nail varnish I’m looking at is made of, I mean, really made of. And that way leads nowhere useful. What can I say for certain? Absolutely nothing at all.
I’m not certain of anything, particularly myself. My mind doesn’t really deal in certainties. As someone who spends a lot of time in a state of mind where it is necessary to discard apparent self-evident truths about who and what I am and what is my place in the world. I am constantly questioning my own perceptions, for my own sanity.
I cannot afford to let myself be too certain. And, even when I come out the other side of all that, what I emerge into is something entirely different from certainty. It’s more reality than certainty, I suppose; a fizzing, sparkling reality that I don’t have to be certain about. Certainty is a state of mind that I can’t produce with any kind of reliability, and over the years I’ve found that I don’t feel the lack of it.
What can I say with certainty? Now, as ever, not very much at all. All the same, I don’t really think that matters.