A Yearning To Escape From Myself

When we were growing up, I chatted all the time with Yngve and we never had any secrets, but at some juncture, perhaps as early as when I was at gymnas, this changed: from then on I was immensely conscious of who he was and who I was when we were talking, all spontaneity vanished, every statement I made was either planned in advance or analyzed retrospectively, mostly both, apart from when I was drinking, then I regained the old freedom. With the exception of Tonje and my mother, that was how I behaved with everyone: I couldn’t sit and chat to people any more, my awareness of the situation was too acute, and that put me outside it…Often it felt to me as if I were false, or deceitful, since I never played with an open deck, I was always calculating and evaluating. This didn’t bother me any more, it had become my life, but right now, at the outset of a long car journey, now that dad was dead and so on, I experienced a yearning to escape from myself or at least from the part that guarded me so assiduously.

– Karl Ove Knausgaard, Death in the Family (My Struggle, Book One), p. 225

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