Searching for the downside

I should be thrilled .. yet feeling melancholy.

Good news today – an unsolicited 17k raise.

So why not thrilled?

A little bit disappointed at first that I could not celebrate.  Honestly, I don’t feel like I have things to celebrate that often, and typically feel let down.  Thoughts of my birthdays and things like that.  Want someone to celebrate ‘for’ me, or at least start.  Partially I bring this on myself, but I am honestly not the type to throw my own party.

My feelings are not limited to that though.  So what else is it?  Renewed feelings of missed opportunities — thoughts of Reed this evening.  Earlier today, it was the missed opportunities of youth.  Reading about my colleagues at work who in their twenties spent time in Japan, or Chile, or Guatemala, etc.

Let’s look at the facts though.  I just received an enormous raise, bringing me to a competitive salary.  Moreover, it is a job that I enjoy, and I even enjoy the people that I work with.  Plus, the schedule, attitude, and atmosphere are perfect for me.  The only area that is lacking is professional development, but at the very least I have the opportunity to pursue an education here.  All in all, very little to complain about.

And yet.

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half thoughts and mixed, poor metaphors

Another milestone approaches, and once again I feel that I am passing through with my head tilted back, barely above water.

I move on to a new stage, and a new place, and all that I want to think about is all of the things that I have missed at this stage, in this place. If they are truly not available to me though, then am I truly missing them?

I went out to do laundry at 4 AM this morning. As I returned, I noticed two girls sitting together on the stoop of the building across the street.

Maybe they were a couple, maybe not, the point is they were just sitting, talking, enjoying an early summer morning. These are the things that I miss.

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The miracles of modern pharmacology; discussing the merits of temptation and distraction; bad metaphysics meets ill-informed biology

Thank god for drugs.  I think.  I’m not going to be one of those people who fears losing themselves to psychotropic drugs.  I used to be.  Or at least I used to protest that I was, or perhaps pretend is a better word.  The non-prescribed type never bothered me much.  A chance to escape myself — usually a sojourn to a darker and even less appealing self.  A self that always lingered as the drugs receded, like a piece of tape repeatedly applied and removed from the same surface, leaving just a bit of that gray sticky glue behind each time, soon to be covered by dirt and hair and any other opportunistic filth that was nearby.  Or maybe the opposite was true, perhaps it took a little bit of myself each time.  No matter at this point.

I feel better.  Somewhat.  I have energy again, I feel alive, I no longer move through my day in a fuzzy shadow punctuated by moments of terrifying and terrifically clear noise.  I forgot feeling normal.  When I have a bad cold or the flu, and I am laid up in bed miserable with fever and pain and congestion, I try to remember what it feels like to be healthy, to no longer live through that filter.  I can never do it.  I can remember the pain and the misery looking back from a clearer state, but I can never see out through the fog.

Depression is being stuck in a police interrogation room.  Staring at the window, but only seeing a scared and suspect version of yourself.  From any clearer state, it is encouraging to look through the glass from the other side.  It instills a healthy fear of relapse.  Though if relapse is inevitable, or at least not consciously avoidable, then maybe the fear isn’t all that healthy.  A recursive symptom not eliminated by SSRIs or tri-cyclics.  I’ll live with that one just fine though.

I am still propelled towards distraction.  Though my distractions have become more daring, and maybe more meaningful.  TV is a mild narcotic, the internet a mixed drink of red bull and vodka.  People can be dangerous.  Verged on catastrophic last week.  Still may turn out that way.  Either modern pharmacology is making me more reckless (an apparent side effect I am told), or I feel strong enough to court some catastrophic metamorphosis.  Growth through emotional violence.  A toss of the cap over the wall, otherwise I’d surely be too scared to jump. I could spare some pain for others if I simply bore down and climbed, but I do not think that I have recovered or developed that much courage.

Which brings me back to the beginning of this ramble.  My actions, my pursuit of this particular distraction, was inspired by an induced state of hypomania, or an infusion of a modicum of courage.  If it’s the right decision, should it matter?  It is still me making the decision, whether it is an effect of the drugs or a side effect.

In addition to the cells that make up our organs and systems, our bodies are home to 10 times as many “foreign” bacterial and fungal organisms.  Their DNA is distinct from ours, but for all intents and purposes they are just as me as I am me.  The first organism to develop a nucleus is said to have done so by ‘ingesting’ a smaller organism.  The organism survived within the host in a symbiotic relationship.  Many other ‘organelles’ (mini-organs inside of cells) are thought to have come about this way.  Either by infiltrating the host or its DNA.

So who I am is a collective.  And it is fluid.  Consciousness is the representative existence in our non-physical world of all the components of that collective.  Changes to the collective may (shall?) effect the way ‘I’ experience the world.  Rats who contract toxoplasmosis are no longer frightened and repelled by the scent of cat urine, but instead are attracted to it.  The virus lodges in their brains and leads them to sacrifice themselves to the virus’ intended host.  Humans are thought to be affected in a somewhat similar way by the illness.  A subtle change to our consciousness, to our personality, can go unnoticed.  Fundamentally I am still I.  The sum of all of the chemicals and cells and organisms in my body at that point in time.  The chemicals are part of me, just as the filthy tape residue is.  The person that I will always be, at that moment.

There is no such thing as ‘losing myself’.  The decision is always my own.  Just as the rat’s is.

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5 Feb 2011

Is it just a clog?

Will all of the water flow right through once sufficient pressure has built behind the obstruction.  Will the shit and wads of paper give out before the plumbing? Porcelain is tough, but prone to cracking.  Do the stress fractures accumulate over time, weakening the structure further with each successive blockage, until a final catastrophic failure? or does the plumbing, given sufficient time, recover after each event.

Do I just need a plunger and dran-o this time, or do the pipes need to be replaced as well?

I don’t easily recall feelings of relief after previous clogs were freed.  Thinking back, they were most often abandoned, and not fixed at all.  Shame invariably followed.  But because the clogs were never actually cleared, I don’t really have a basis to assume that the shame will still follow if this time it is.

What a crappy metaphor.

I couldn’t be good enough for me.  Ever.  The tragedy is I never tried.

Is that the only reason that I am in this hole? Obviously, emotional issues have exaggerated the issue, but is the solution just to fix the underlying problem? Would I feel the same way right now if I could complete my task?

Such an easy question to answer.  A simple experiment.  And yet, I can’t fucking do it.  Five years I spent hiding because I couldn’t face someone and simply ask them a three word question.  30 seconds of awkwardness.  Even abject shame perhaps, but still, I could not do it.  I just spent all that fucking time fucking torturing myself.  Two years no three years at least debating my own sanity.  The next two spent accepting (alternately my sanity and my reality).

I know the answer.  Removed from the chaos and self flagellation, I was still the same person.  That was worse.  Maybe that is what I am actually distracting myself from.  Giving my mind something to obsess over to distract myself from the fact that I hate myself.

I can remember this behavior going back to fifth grade at least.  Maybe fourth.  What the fuck? Can a person really hate themselves at that age? I had surgery in 5th grade.  I probably didn’t even need it.  Was that part of it too? I remember thinking to myself, even at 10, that I would have to confess that sin eventually.  Were we still going to church then? I don’t think so.  My confession fantasies by that age took place in a therapist’s office and not a dark booth.

A couch is ok, but I think it’s the wrong approach.  Are confessionals dark because the church understands shame, or because it cultivates it? I know that I would feel more comfortable talking to a therapist through a shade in a dark tight room than sitting on a couch in a room with bland artwork and a bit of natural light.  What I don’t know is whether that was instilled in me, or is inherent.

If penance works, it has to be one of the greatest gifts of any religion.  I gave up my true faith before I could put it to the test.  I wonder if it really does offer relief.  I don’t think it could.

I dismiss religion as a crutch.  That makes me a hypocrite.  It suggests that I can make it through without a crutch.  Clearly I can barely muddle through it without one.  It’s the dismissing that’s the problem.

So the theology is bullshit.  Alcoholics acknowledge that there is a higher power because they can’t make it through without a crutch either.  It’s an even trade.  I don’t know why I never understood that before.

I don’t want to believe that that is the right crutch for me, but maybe it is.  Not because it is ‘true’, but because that’s how my personality was created.  If the solution to growing up (being happy even?) is acceptance of who you are, doesn’t it make sense that that would need to be part of it.

As much as I hate it, I have never been cool or hip or innovative.  I have never done anything to stand outside of the shadow of my family, I have never been able to escape it, have had no success even in trying.  The exception is moving 3000 miles, but even that is growing tired.

Maybe the only children who grow up different from their parents and their childhood influences are the ones whose parents were in their nature different.  In that sense they are just as trapped by genetic and historical destiny as the rest of us.

Back to the distractions.

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just this one time

is this slowing me down, stopping me up, or is it a necessary instigator of change?

it is likely not an either or situation. i don’t understand life. at it’s most basic level. reincarnation has always seemed like an undeniable fact to me, an idea that i would not even term as faith, because therewas no sort of willful trust or surrender of logic or better judgement. maybe that is exactly what faith is.

regardless, the point is that i have lived my life like a video game. if only my parents had not bought mike that nintendo in 1987. i have always assumed on some basic level that i could hit the reset button when game over popped up. that the things i wanted, i did not have to work for, they would eventually appear in a few panel scrolls. perhaps it is time to compile that list, distill it, determine what can actually be achieved, and begin actually working.

i spend all of my time cataloging regret and missed opportunities all the while cultivating the very same ones. the panels keep scrolling and i make the same mistakes. the same mistake. inaction. indecision? no pun intended. ( i guess that is ironic and not a pun).

yes i have missed out. i know that now. i knew that five years ago, ten years ago, probably fifteen as well. that is not what i want to be worrying about five years from now. (goal 1)

live the next year and a half. the last year of my twenties. fucking twenties. shit to show for it. where is the reset button. this really can’t be my only chance can it? a universe that works like that just does not make sense. i want to say that it is not fair, but that just proves my earlier point. when it comes down to it, i just think that it is nonsensical.

ugh, writing. love……. infatuation………. obsession…….. complacency. apathy. resentment. regret. guilt. anger. resignation. resentment. apathy.

distraction.

life is what happens while you are busy avoiding what you need to get done in order to begin living.

john lennon. fucking overachiver.

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