Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fragile

You can't tell anyone the truth, because it's either self-serving or self-centered.
You can't do anything about it, since you can't afford the treatment or the cure or the courage.
You can't make anything to distract yourself, because nothing in the beginning is ever good or inspiring.
You can't play games anymore, since they are all made for young kids with good bandwidth and twitch reflexes.
You can't draw to just imagine away the pain, because all your doodles are shit.
You might as well just give it up, man. Or you might... who the fuck knows?

The last time anything was good? Elementary school. Before the move. Before the racists. Before America. Before puberty. Before the beatings, and the shootings, and the bullying and the disappointments and the wasted, wasted hours.

I think a lot about the last moments of life, knowing you're already dead and feeling the fog and unconscious take over.
Trapped under a collapsed building, in shock and coughing from dust, three long hours of darkness, wet blood, and regret.
Panicking behind a steering wheel, tree limbs and glass and plastic pieces everywhere, silence in the forest, wheels still spinning, upside-down and sideways, and all at the edges the nothingness creeping in to take it all back into itself.
Delirious and dry, skin peeling and burned, breaths shallow, the hot desert sun standing perfectly still like God commanded, hundred miles in every direction hopeless.
Bleeding out from the crocodile bite and drowned, tumbling in churning water, sludge and glumk and salivating reptiles mixed in my lungs and stomach.
Tubes and machines and IVs and doctors and registration bureaucrats and pillows and flowers and cards and sealed shut window and the industrial skyline beyond, and the beeping and whirring and chuffing and knocking and dripping ever-present as my presence fades, vanishes, stops.
It will not be quick. I will know it's there. I will hear it, in my own mouth, in my own heart, in my own fingers. I will have time enough to tell myself about all the things I could have been but chose not to do, chose each moment to throw away, chose every opportunity to not act, chose each day to close off behind me, behind closed doors where no one is home, underneath this bed where the monsters hide I'll hide with them, and wait. And die, slowly, painfully, hating every breath, saying no goodbyes because there's no one there to say it to, since they are all at work, or at jobs, or working on projects, or protesting in lines, or listening to live music, or negotiating multibillion credit contracts deciding the fate of billions of people.

Is this therapy? It doesn't make any sense. Write about it, they say. It all just sounds so fucking stupid to write it out. Like, I cannot be serious about anything. She asked me if I really did believe those columns of clouds are the result of worldwide weather manipulation. Do I really believe that? Of course. Same as I believe that if you say enough times that you're a good person or happy or living the positive life, it will happen. They tell me to believe in that. They say it's a Law of Attraction: we create the world through the material reality of our own thinking. Focus on the positive, and it happens. Focus on the negative, that happens, too.

But the flaw is that it's not true. What is happening is not good or bad, positive or negative, real or imagined. What I am for myself is not anything I can ever know. The system referring to itself breaks down into inconsistencies. It cannot prove itself. Before any system interprets the universe, it must first create the REAL through which it judges what's important to know. The real for me they created before I got here, and every day it changes just slightly by how they removed it.

You see? The issue is my insanity is deepening and not going away. The moods are not getting better but more dangerous. The hands hurt because I've hit them against the immovable over and over and over. My arm didn't heal; it covered over the pain. I'm not getting better. I've gotten lost.


This is stupid. Writing is stupid. You are stupid. You are the most stupid. You're talking to yourself because you're stupid. Say it enough times, stupid. Go on and do it, stupid. Why are you so stupid? Because you are stupid. No one cares about one stupid person's stupid. You are not better. You are not healthy. Stop lying to people by pretending to be smart. All the smart people laugh at you for being stupid enough to think you're not stupid, but you're stupid, so you don't get it. How long did it take you to build the bookcase? Oh, right, you did it so stupid you undid it and didn't rebuild it. How stupid is that? Very stupid. Blah blah blah stupid.

Feel better?

No.

Want out?

Please.

Where do you want to go?

I want to fly. I used to fly.

Fly where?

Back home. I want to go home.

Where is that?

Anywhere but here. Far out there. Where I came from. Everyone all the time keeps reminding me how far out there I am. Where are you from? they ask. Not from around here, obviously, because I look different. You look so exotic, they say. Yup, because I'm not from around here, obviously. Where'd you learn to talk? or Is English your first language? they ask. I never learned to talk; that's why it's all fucked up and weird and hard to read, asshole. Yes, English is my first language, but my immigrant mother taught me and poetry saved me and fuck all of you for this. For making me hate my own voice when all I want, all I want, is to go back home.

I'm asking about that. Where is your home?

I don't know. It's not been a home for me for a long time.

Well, maybe this could be your home. What do you

No. It can't. I can't sleep here. I can't dream here. I can't rest. Every day I bring home more abandoned books and lost memories. I bring home fantasies while the opportunities fade. In their places, I just have scraps of paper. Receipts, doodles, phrases, names, dates, call numbers, phone numbers I am never going to call and bills I am never going to pay. This isn't my home. It's not a home. I have no home anymore.

Okay, so then where would you fly to?

Where there are no names. Where the world isn't divided up into 9 square meters having three assigned names. Where the asteroids tumble silently and unnamed and unimportantly.

But everything is important.

Who told you that?

Nobody told me that. It's just one of those things I believe.

Oh, really? Why do you believe that?

Because it's important to believe things are important. It helps overcome these loose moments, where you swing out from yourself and bounce from emotion to emotion, pretending like nothing matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters, to you.

You're trying to make me feel better.

And why not? You're a wreck right now, and people love you and want to help you.

Then where are they?

Like it's their fault? No, you are right. You did make choices. You withdraw because you are ashamed, you go out because you're not. Right now, the shame is so much more intense than not, and people do not want to push against that when you make it so difficult. Besides that, it's not easy to help people who probably need regular mental help.

I already do feel better, but I say ridiculous things.

Yeah, but so does everyone when no one is looking.

Is that for real?

Oh, totally! All those shiny happy people really are struggling these days, but they're practiced at it.

Do you think I need help?

Honestly? Yes, I do think you need help. I mean, look here, you're well aware you're talking to yourself, but it's peaceful to do it. You think you know what you're saying and going to write, but it just comes to you, so long as you stick with it.

I can't, though. Just... this is what makes me cry. I feel like I'm

Going to cry, yeah, I can feel it, too. But it's okay. It really is okay. There... there. Just let it cry.

Why am I like this? What's wrong with me?

Nothing and everything. The same as it always was. It gets worse after you go back into the shell.

So, stay out of the shell?

No, just pay attention. Take care of yourself better. We have a lot of work to do, you and me, all of us. We need to work these things out. Of course you're going to die. But focusing on all the ways you will die won't help you do the things you're here to do.

Unless I'm here to

Stop doing that. Start understanding that you're not normal, but tasked.

Tasked? That sounds ominous.

Or perfectly ordinary. Besides, 'ominous', really? You're going to act suicidal and then worry about the darkness being a little too scary?

Yeah... I don't know. I don't know what you want from me.

I don't know what you want from me, either, but we're all here now. We were always moving towards this moment where we accepted ourselves, you and I. You were right to focus on the grammar, but proving this will be much harder.

I tried to write the dissertation, but it hurt too much to get there.

It's okay. It was understandable. The research got you to think more directedly.

Is directedly a word?

I think so. Maybe it is. But you know what I mean.

Think in a direction?

Something like that. Not everyone writes a dissertation. I bet you, in the whole world, many more people didn't write dissertations than did.

But it goes back further than that. What about Georgia Tech? What about the depression I suffered then, or not going to work for days in a row?

Why sit on a bench outside your apartment and cry as a little boy when no one was home? Who knows? But it's not for you to know. Like you said, you can't keep going back to these same moments and expect them to tell you more about your life than the ones you've forgotten or don't revisit.

I'm better now, I think. I'm not crying so much anymore. What is this? Why is this happening?

Yeah, I wonder that, too. I think a lot of us people just wonder about that. You help people to see that they still do wonder, when they think about what you say. You're not a bad teacher.

But I go unrecognized nor am I supported in it. All this work to innovate and explore the possibilities, and peers don't bother to ask what's going on. It's more important to gossip and talk about you behind your back.

You don't know that. You don't know what they're saying. For all you know, they love you.

Love is not enough. Politeness in passing is not enough. I do want more.

There it is. There is your fundamental. How can you want the glory and the suicide at the same time?

Lots of famous people suicide. They aren't incompatible.

Sure, sure. But you're not famous. You could be, but maybe not worldwide Kanye West or Immanuel Kant famous. You don't need that, though. You need the respect and acceptance of the people around you, and you want friends who understand you. Lovers who get you as completely as you think love compels them to. You want more than sex, more than intimacy.

I want a home where I am not alone, but also where I can have peaceful solitude.

Do you know why people go to coffee shops or move to the city? They get their brains and bodies charged by being around such diversity and humanity. Even if they are not leading the groups, they at least share those moments with others. Like Arendt says, sameness in utter diversity. The public space invites you to shine and do something.

I don't know what to do.

Why not try writing again? You used to write a lot.

You mean, when I was younger or really young?

I mean like a few months ago, a few years. You wrote for the conference in less than a week a decent and exploring presentation. You didn't even present on a third of it. You have so much to say, man, just right now. Just write now.

It doesn't work. The slugs are my fingers and they always grumble. Nothing comes out. Get down a few paragraphs and it's all stupid.

No, it's hard work. That's true. But you can do hard work. Let the past go. Don't tell me about The Party or doublethink and changing history on the fly. They have a point and that's been your point. You know the choice is yours. You figured it out from the dissertation research. "It is probably better to change your mind as soon as you see another door leads nowhere." It is the religion of evolution. It is the spirituality of change. It is what you sincerely believe deep down, which is itself the logical foundation for the anarchistic promise Shevek commences in The Dispossessed.

Humans want to be immortal in a universe who itself knows for itself nothing is forever but death.

Yeah, but isn't that already weird?

Weird? Weird how?

Okay, okay. I agree with the Hidden Voice inside who says I always say everything is weird. But, I mean, it's like what Kolakowski is saying at the end of Metaphysical Horror: is it more or less reasonable that we'd learn how to ask questions of our own sanity and hope in a universe deadset on being irrational and uncertain and closed to any possibilities for meaning? If it really is true that we keep comng back to the same problem but with different, evolving solutions, and each time we try to assert transendence enough to declare there are no meanings, then isn't it important to work out why we have this habit, this tendency, to want to get outside or beyond it, especially ourselves? What the nihiilists want is acknowledgement that things are far worse than meaninglessness. Ligotti's MALIGNANTLY USELESS. But asking the question is already important.

It drives us out, into the world itself.

Right, and once we go out into the WORLD, we are among those who can help us to get better.

And we move through the open door

into the other side, right. You got it.

Is this therapy?

Well, it's something like it. People also listen to, you know, music. Or climb mountains. Or go for walks. Some old people even ride around together on scooters, or golf carts. An open door is most happy when someone passes through it.

And if I am a doorway, then someone must pass through me.

Or some people, but that's for another day. It's enough for me to just make sure you don't despair, or wreck things. It's okay to get angry or frustrated or sad or despairing. It really is okay. But how you walk away from it, and what you leave behind, that matters.

But then we're right back at making a difference, and my life has not been great at making a difference.

Maybe not the way you think, but there are a lot of people who have been opened up to themselves by knowing you. You've hurt people, but I think they'll be okay about it in time. They also made their choices, too, and they learn to live with them as best they can. Honestly, you can't change how people react or respond, and you shouldn't. But thinking about the ones you've hurt won't make them better if you don't change your life to make it right.

What do you mean?

I think you know. I mean, you wrote this, same as I did. You know you need to change. You know you need to make it right. You know what means. It does not mean making a million dollars and living comfortably and healthy and safely. It does mean stop hurting people with dark love. It means start healing people with open love. Letting others heal you with what they love in you. It also means, you start working on small things, again. You have ideas that will help other people connect dots in ways you're not supposed to predict, ways you won't know about, won't ever. You have ways of sharing those ideas that infuse other people with new life, vitality, curiosity. Even if you don't share with their full enthusiasm, it's more than enough to help them see their own enthusiasm in the mode of wonder. You like to say that Richard Branson or Elon Musk have the same 24 hours that you do each day. It's true, but they also have a lot of people around them who do their things. You need that kind of support, and you need to build that support. But it's not going to be easy, and it's not going to be always successful.

I want to climb mountains. I want to fly. I want out.

Me too. We both want the same thing, and we will get it. But work with me. I'll work with you. Is that okay?

I think so. I think I can try. I want to try.

Then reverse it. Undo the magic.

I can build.
I can write.
I can live.
I do love all of you, each and every one.

Every day. Make it happen, every day. It's okay to wake up crying. It really is. But let it happen and let it go and then make the day anew, make the night aagain.

It feels silly and fake and phony.

Hey now, how would you know, Mr Depression? Maybe it just feels like that now because it takes time. It took time to bring you to suicide; it'll take time to bring you to life. It took years before I learned how to talk, or how to drive, or how to read a map, or how to assess a situation. It'll keep taking years to keep doing excellence.

Okay. I do feel better. Maybe this is therapy. Maybe it is all just for show. Maybe it doesn't matter what any of you think, because certainly I'm not the only fool on the Internet who writes in the back corner or scribbles nothing. But I have to do this, and I have to get better. I know I am going to die. I want to go the other side more than the chicken, wiser than the chicken. I want to be proud when I die that I did my life, and fade into inexistence, even if I'm choking on my own blood and viruses, knowing my regrets inspired me to hope and act.

I feel the same way, my friend. Now, go get cleaned up. And go doodle.

2 comments:

  1. So much to say...

    You're a good teacher. I know praise makes you uncomfortable but I want to share some of my truths with you, I may have already done this in pieces.

    I was at the beginning of my second big cycle when I first met you and I was still very clueless in how to heal and control the depression. What I wanted was clear, it was also clear to me how to get there. But I had no confidence to do it. I was actually pretty frightened of you when I first met you, not because you're frightening but because you gave me some hope. I had never been told that it was okay for me to be me even in my worst of mental states but you told me it was and that was the push I needed.

    None of this may matter but I completely get these feelings and thoughts you've just written about. It's so easy to fall into them because for so long that voice is all I could hear and the only thing I could draw comfort from. This back and forth. During a smaller cycle, I asked my Bible teacher why I was afraid of living forever in death. I almost prefer the big cycle's, I close up and don't talk to anyone but in the smaller one's my anxiety needs attention and I couldn't help but ask. It was eating away at me. He looked at me very strangely and told me to go see the preacher. I didn't of course but a lot of fuckery happened. After that I kept the fears locked away. But I was and am attracted to the peace I think death could give me but the fear of nothingness stops me, most of the time.

    But when I found the courage through your words and your teachings and just the genuine love in your face when you talk to anyone, it makes the cycles not so destructive I think. Those connections you mentioned that people make with your influence is a beautiful thing. You do have a gift. You're able to rub the sensitive parts of your heart against another's. That takes more strength than most are willing to surrender to.

    I know this is something you have to feel out but keep writing and keep talking to yourself. Feel everything and work them out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Felicia. You speak from wisdom learned.

    ReplyDelete

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