Laptop failure. Turned it off at four a.m. to watch Me and Mrs. Jones on PBS. Tried to turned it back on at six. NG. Nothing at all, although the power indicator lights up when the AC cord is plugged in. Maybe a bad switch or a bad screen-close interconnect. But when I shut it down, I'd first taken out the floppy, forgetting that the briefcase database was open, so it crashed windows. But that couldn't have anything to do with it not starting up again, could it? I guess the first step is to take it apart and check the switches. But I don't want to be bothered right now (or at any time in the foreseeable future). I'm suffering from an escalating case of ennui that seems to be threatening to become chronic. All I want to do is lie in bed and watch tv and knit--although I have been experiencing a renewed interest in reading. I just received two shipments of discount books: The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons (Brown), Unfinished Tales and The Silmarillion (Tolkien), Pigs at the Through (Huffington), and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Pirsig). Add to those a mini-collection of half-read books from the last several shipments and I'm set for the next few months (which if they go according to previous years, will be angst-ridden and good for not too much else but reading--which is not a bad thing. I'm mean, I could do a whole lot worse with my time.) But the laptop... You remember the laptop? This is a song about the laptop... I rely on it during the cold months to do a minimum amount of work, writing and posting, when I want to remain in bed and stay warm rather than get up and go to all the trouble of firing up the wood stove and heating up the house, etc. (and I rely on it during the warm months when I go out and work on the back patio). But I don't want to do the electronic maintenance, or anything else, like backing up files, etc., which is another thing I've got to get to, now that I got the new CD-RWs. I don't want to do anything except the bare essentials. But I'm being haunted by the feeling that the imp of digital perverse is creeping around again, getting into the circuitry, planning to play some havoc with devices, and the laptop is only the first of many incidents to come. I wonder if that old Brother word processor still works.
After a partially sunny morning, the sky is now totally grayed-over and threatening to rain. Half an hour ago, the wind picked up significantly. A front must have come through. I think I'll go back to bed, despite the absence of a laptop. Maybe I'll put this machine on standby and run out here occasionally to do a bit of work when the mood strikes me. Who am I kidding? I say that all the time and then end up falling asleep for three or four hours.
I've been having a lot of dreams that I've been ignoring--complicated ones with elaborate plots that would make good stories. This afternoon's dream was an epic about Australia, dogs raised from puppies until they just became trained and imprinted on our family when they had to be turned over to the army to become soldier dogs, vast rolling landscapes where troops (I was a sergeant) maneuvered for position along ridges prior to a battle; I was ordered to choose five men and advance and take a farm house in the middle of a wide open field. I didn't feel too good about it, but I was a good soldier and so began to comply when the dream ended. This must mean something because I would never do anything like that in real life, submit to that kind of deadly authority, although I might attack an isolated target out of my own noble motives, as long as the purpose was worthy and I saw some hope of surviving.
I am quite scattered and overwhelmed with motive over the last few days--not getting enough sleep and consequently being worried with heart "pre-palpitations" when I finally settle into a prone position. I complain about lack of motive for long periods of time, and then when I find it, I complain about having too much. My mind is everywhere, doing dozens of things at once, with no time for doing any one thing thoroughly. As a result, I want to resurrect my old pastiche writing style, thinking it will better reflect my current state of mind. But every time I decide that this is a good idea, I further decide that it's a lot of trouble, creating a lot more work than is necessary. I might as well go back to writing fiction if I'm going to decide to work that hard. And anyway, my state of mind will change after a certain period of time and I will want to abandon the format in favor of something else.
And I'm thinking that I could be out looking for someone with whom to share my life, an offshoot of my recent ideas that I actually do have something to offer in this regard. But then I wake up [out of this fantasy] to an idea that is probably closer to reality: Who would want me anyway, the way I am, desultory, tending toward the depressive, which my fits of moody introspection and obsessive preoccupation serve to (attempt to) remedy, or at least to compensate for, despite the fact that they seem to be a mere expression of it (which is the function of all external symptoms)?
Yet there is, still to this day, no lack of potential applicants who could fit the role. But they want me for what I appear to be, not for what I really am. When they learn who I really am, they don't want me so much any more. It's like when a man wants a woman for her body, not her mind. It's a kind of insult, the way they want me. They're attracted to the rogue male, the outlaw, and/or the successful businessman who has opted out of an overbearing corporate postmod culture, retired early to live the good life. ["I am not a success object." No, really! That's not sarcasm. I'm really not.] But when I let them see through the facade to the real inner me, when they recognize the danger, when the reality of the intimately awesome cosmic self [the guru phenomenon; that is sarcasm] (combined with the psychologically devastated conditioned pathology that is itself both a defense against the truth and my own personal regressive refuge from it) replaces the Hollywood-influenced macho stereotype, they demure, and sometimes even go away altogether. I'm tired of being abandoned, even though they deign to do it in so nice a way so as to (try to) avoid hurting me, delicate being that (they will learn to think) I am.
There are a lot of things that I could be or do, a lot of facades I could further develop or create, a lot of tasks or goals I could pursue that I don't at this extended (weeks-long) moment want to, not because I am not so motivated, because at least some of them are routine stuff that I do every day without motivation and/or in a token way; but because I am searching (or motivated to search, without actually doing it) for something else, something more important, more significant, a new way to express myself maybe, or a new way to be. For the last month I've been interpreting this motive as a new writing format, and this certainly is a valid expression of this imperative. But maybe what I'm really looking for is something more personally interactive--like a relationship, or at least contact with someone real, rather than a relationship with words. Whew! Heavy.
Perception seems to be everything these days. Therefore, reading becomes more significantly influential than usual. I should more carefully choose my reading material.
Phrases from a lighthearted spoof of his profession by a psychoanalyst spark recognitions in me from a time past, perhaps as far back as childhood, hinting at pathology:
"parental intrusion, rejection, or manipulation": my father, in his jocular manner suggesting a serious, repressed state, intruded on my privacy; my mother rejected me.
Wow! I never realized how I was pulled (and/or pushed) in those two different direction. The psychic forces must have been paralyzing. No wonder I'm so confused.
Everyone else throughout my life (well, almost everyone) attempted to manipulate me, so much so that it must be my problem, not theirs, that I'm preoccupied with.
People "manipulate" me in two ways: they intrude on my privacy; they threaten to withdraw their attention and support. This is obvious object relations if ever it existed.
"...oral gratification is a regressive reaction to what feels like hopeless activity." So that's why I can't seem to get back to Atkins and lose this extra ten pounds.
"While the American Psychoanalytic Association has removed homosexuality from its list of illnesses, everyone knows they didn't really mean it." Thus the recent uproar.
"embarrassed hands" (nail-biting, nose-picking, knuckle-cracking) reveal repressed emotions (in particular, anger/hostility) that are threatening to overwhelm you.
Hmm. And all this time I thought that my knuckle-cracking was repressed anxiety. It may relate somehow here, though. I think I concluded this once, but I can't remember.
But, maybe I crack my knuckles as a kind of physical therapy, to enable an increased flow of body energy along "meridians" (ala acupuncture, etc.) It's a theory.
[All of the above quotes are from How to Make Your Analyst Love You by Dr. Theodor Saretsky, who is just too damn flippant to be someone who can be taken too seriously.]
I think "This is it. I'm an asshole. I'm going to end up in hospital again." But I settle down and wait and the missed beats go away.
No more caffeine, I decide. I'm pushing the envelope. I've got to gear it back. Besides, it doesn't give me the same rush it used to.
My lack of sleep is starting to result in psychedelic flashbacks as I try to settle down in bed; I can't slow down my brain enough.
I have this complicated self-image I haven't been all that aware of: though I've been relatively thin all my life, yet I am still a big person.
This is a major unexplored theme in my life. I fall in love with pixie-like women. Elves in Tolkien hold special interest for me.
Someday soon I've got to take the time to get deep into this stuff. I am so far behind right now I'd be better off starting over. No!
It can go too far and become pathological, when celebrity worship displaces normal relationships in teen lives. But who can blame them?
Lonely, isolated, insecure, overly-stressed adolescent/ young adults substitute fantasies when reality is too difficult, or worse, boring.
Social skills development suffers when they increasingly exist in their imaginary worlds far beyond ordinary teenage luminary adoration.
Okay. It's a fact. It happens. So what? What do you expect from a society that alienates certain individuals through lack of opportunity and alternatives to mainstream monocultural pap? Dangerous minds.
I tried to take a nap this morning, but I still can't sleep. Down to three or four hours a day now. This is the real cause of the palpitations.
A gray sky threatens rain and the wind picks up as the temperature drops and an eerie silence settles in that is still yet not quiet.
Twenty-four hours without caffeine. Scattered. Distracted. I'd say distraught if it didn't connote activity of some sort, at least mental.
I feel like I should be leaving on a walking quest into the East as darkening clouds roll in and obliterate the remaining daylight.
I expected a loss of motivation and was prepared to live with it when awakening out of a melatonin-induced eight-hour afternoon siesta.
But the depression! I didn't expect it, let alone for it to hit me so hard. But just one cup of coffee countered it. Nobody expects the Spanish...
Catching up. Slept tonight for what seemed like eight hours after sleeping eight hours yesterday afternoon. Woke up and discovered it was only an hour later. Then went back to sleep and did the exact same thing again. And then again! Three hours sleep was like a whole twenty-four hour day. I remember one day a long time ago, when I was really stressed from work, I came home and lay on the couch and fell asleep and had all these complicated dreams and woke up thinking that I had slept all night; but then I saw that was only ten minutes later. That was the best sleep I'd ever had. I wish I could sleep like that all the time.
Just as the fascists think that these people are threats to them (they are; not directly, but in the sense that if they end up exposing fascists' illicit activity, the free citizens could depose them), so are fascists a threat to free people.
The problem arises because the fascists, because they (desire to) hold all the power, believe that a threat to their oppression is a threat to democracy, when in fact the exact opposite is the case. They are not the heart and soul of America.
But then, maybe someone already is keeping files on them. I seem to remember seeing several websites on this theme, but I don't know where they would be right now.
The populist movement Rolling Thunder is the new anti-fascist peace movement sweeping the country, a possible example of the Fourth Turning.
And if property taxes are lowered (which is the justification for the proposed sales tax changes, along with more income being generated for the state) as a result of the new sales tax categories, more affluent people will save far more than the poor will. The rich have more expensive houses and thus will save more money on property tax reduction. Result: a downward-shifted tax burden.
A fairer method of taxation would be to eliminate all income and property tax and increase the sales tax to compensate for revenue loss, maintaining the same food and clothing exclusions that now exist. The more people consume, the more tax they would pay. Add to that system a premium tax on luxury items such as expensive cars, boats, furs, houses over half-a million, etc. and the tax burden is shifted upwards, where it belongs. If you are in a position to make a lot of money, you should have to pay more to support the great social system that allows and enables you to live the way you do.
I go through these periods of learning spurts between long, relatively dry periods where I advance in small, painstaking token steps.
Insights have been coming at me so fast these last few days that I cannot assimilate them. I hate this. I suppose it's normal, though.
Eventual assimilation occurs, I imagine; but I don't like to leave this kind of thing to chance, especially since I now have "a method."2
Dreams assimilate material unconsciously. But I am so anal, OCD afflicted, that I want to deal with it all, consciously and exhaustively.
I've got to start getting more sleep. Besides lack of sleep affecting my heart rhythm, I don't dream as much when I don't get eight hours.
But even when I do remember my dreams, I often write them out and try to interpret them, another attempt at conscious assimilation.
6023: my old room. There are serious structural problems with the door/doorway[¥]. The door has been taken off and the frame has been torn apart and is in the process of being (poorly) reconstructed. Dad had been doing this work, but I show up after a long absence and begin to help out--actually, to take over. It looks as if Dad (in my absence) has been shimming the frame with small wood strips on the left side where the door is hung instead of trying to shim the right side where it locks (which I seem to think would be better although I can't now see why that would be)--in order to position the door closer to the frame and thereby allow it to latch securely instead of the bolt slipping out of the plate. (The recurrent dream, which I haven't had in quite a while now, had been that the door would not stay closed when I was in my room doing things requiring privacy. This new twist means, maybe, that I've been living out Dad's script, but now I'm beginning to write my own? Dad's script: intimate friendship with a few people; magnanimity toward lots of people that you keep at a distance, despite overt behavior that appears to be to the contrary). Mom is in her bedroom, which is filled with clutter (completely atypical of her behavior, which may be a clue that this is not about her, but me, because I am a clutter-bug and, typical of the winter months, I have a number of obvious nests that I need to get to and store away). Mom has gone crazy in my absence. [I have gone crazy in Mom's absence? Her sober, leveling influence/expectation no longer functions in my life? Did it ever? Maybe when I was very young. But it did, I suspect, keep me in check, at least in her presence.] She wanders around the house babbling and has invited Holy Rollers into her bedroom to conduct prayer services. [Well, that's certainly not me.] CUT TO:
Churchill Valley neighborhoods that transition into one another via connected streets. I am cutting grass at the house of an old black man with a new ultra-light lawnmower and with the aid of a book on gardening that I found in my bedroom among stuff that was going to be thrown out. But the lawnmower is tearing up the grass and leaving raw dirt along the strip of lawn in front of the hedges. The old guy is there watching, but he doesn't seem to care about the damage. But I decide to get the hell out of there anyway. CUT TO:
A place like Red lobster across from the municipal building: db and I have been to dinner and when we come out, we can't find our car. Actually, it's Mom's car. We'd gotten new ties put on it before we went to eat. But apparently we went and bought a new car also, and it's the only car sitting in front of the restaurant. It's late, around nine or ten o'clock.
I'm just surviving, but I like the idea of the condition. When I was prospering I felt kind of lost in an alien world, trapped in a state of malaise, even as I was required to push myself beyond my limits in order to accomplish work goals and get the job done. The combination of chronic stress and debility was overwhelming. Sure, I'd like to be prospering now instead of watching every penny and hoping interest rates will rise again so that I can watch my net worth rise without constantly monitoring the situation to determine the exact point where, if I spend more than a certain amount, it will begin to fall. But not if I have to pay the price I had to pay before. My success back then was not only in achieving the socio-economic level I'd achieved, but also in surviving the effects of long-term stress (heart arrhythmia, CFS, insomnia). Now, my success is surviving, maintaining, and actually, still, despite the economy, increasing my net worth, if only minimally. But the tide will turn--as soon as Bush is booted out. Oh, god, I hope he doesn't get re-elected. I can't take four more years of this. Well, actually, yes I can. It's stress-free living and, after all, I'm a survivor.
I moved to New York a long time ago, but only for a year; but looking back, I realize that my motive had been simliar to the one in the above epigraph. Now though it hardly matters where you move. Any place in the world pretty much will serve. I suggest somewhere in the Mideast. That would be a great place to disguise your paranoia.
(I'm trying to be humorous here, I think. What I really mean is that..oh, hell. I don't know what I mean. Typical.)
I realize today that the state of bliss that I've discovered through many years of meditation is with me all the time now. I just don't happen to notice it during the ordinary day unless I stop and take the time to meditate. It's become a permanent condition, but remains an unconscious state, having replaced the anxiety that used to be my underlying affect. Yes, I'm definitely progressing.
However, if I'm ever going to do it, now is the time, in the winter when there is a greater likelihood that no one will see me during the several weeks it takes to sport enough of a new growth to disguise the "real" me. But, then again, in the summer, I can sit out back and get some sun on my face to erase that rat-like look that men always seem to get right after they shave a full beard. It's a toss up as to when to do it, if ever, which condition tends to freeze me up and preserve the status quo. But one of these days...
We are warned in The Book of Deuteronomy [Deut. 5:6-10; RSV]" (6) I am the LORD your God...(7) You shall have no other gods before me. (8) You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; (9) you shall not bow down to them or serve them; So shall you not worship such graven images in place of nationalism, nor nationalism in place of humanity. nor humanity in place of god, nor god in place of...
Wake up people. The flag is just a symbol. It's not the real thing. And anyway, it's the symbol of freedom, which means that people should be free to burn it if that's what they want to do. We're supposed to have a right in Amerika to protest against our government/nation when we feel it is wrong--which it often is. When we burn the flag, we're not burning the nation, we're burning in effigy the assholes that are running it. Burn, baby, burn.
I did it again! I inadvertently set the VCR recorder to p.m. instead of a.m. and I missed one of the reruns of "The Practice." Shit.
And more evidence:
"That wasn't nice, Bill," [Rooney] said. "I didn't get old on purpose. It just happened. If you're lucky, it could happen to you."
I know people who are exact opposites who are best friends. And we hear the same thing all the time about married couples. So, if these compatibility tests are measuring similarities (which I think they are. It would take a really sophisticated test to take into account how conflicting traits blend into a measurement of compatibility), then theoretically, two people could have a match of 100% and be at each other throats all the time, playing off and projecting onto each other. Or, despite the fact that they might intuitively understand each other, they might find each other totally boring. As they say, "Variety is the spice of life." So, how does "tested" compatibility (i.e., possessing similar traits) relate to true compatibility? I'm not necessarily looking for an answer here. This is mostly rhetorical. I'm not even sure there is an answer beyond it being something deep inside, a kind of "chemistry."
I dreamed about my grandmother's house again. This must mean something. I don't think I ever interpreted this recurrence, at least not thoroughly or adequately. Lately (maybe this has always been so), people who are more recent in my life have been showing up there, creating strange juxtapositions. Last night it was Susan and either her brothers and sister or mine (or both, juxtaposed). And my mother was there too, but in another form, as if she were an aging movie star, someone like Blanche Dubois, losing it because she's no longer as attractive as she once was, going off the deep end. [In that other dream, she was in her bedroom, becoming inappropriately sexual and socially distracted = my superego is going insane? inappropriately attracted to younger relatives (Sue)? which is a part of this dream that I didn't document.] Susan and the kids sneak out of the house while I sleep on the couch in the living room. I overhear them planning to leave, cautioning each other in the kitchen to be quiet so as to not awaken me. I get up and catch them going down the basement stairs, planning to escape the house undetected. (Paradoxically, the basement has no exit and they are trapped). [Basement = unconscious mind. There is no exit out into the social world through my unconscious mind. The kids are would-be social aspects of myself that are trying to escape my rational(?) influence.] I ask them what they're doing, pretending that I don't know. Susan makes up some lie, which I confront her with. Then she tells the truth and admits that they're going to the mall. I ask her why she didn't ask me to go along, to include me in their outing. She has no real reason, except, I conclude, that I, being the oldest, have become an authority figure, and the primary breadwinner now that Mom has compromised her position of authority over us. I am hurt to have been excluded, become disgusted with them, and let them go. rai: When I awaken, still hurt, I consciously finish the dream by deciding to leave and go out on my own. I pack up all of my meager belongings (being poor, none of us had very many personal items or even much clothing) into a backpack and abandon the family, figuring I can survive much better on my own if I don't have to support all of them also. I understand how hurt and scared they'll be, especially Susan (who will become the next de facto authority figure), when they discover I am gone for good, never to return, never to be seen again. Years from now, they'll still regret that they did not invite me along. When they do discover I am gone, they suggest that I've just gone away for a short while, but Susan says no, I'm gone for good. She's checked in my dresser drawer in the guys' bedroom and seen that I've taken all my journals. This little scenario represents my basic psychology: I am rejected and so I must respond by rejecting back, in which behavior I actually find a great deal of bittersweet pleasure and satisfaction. I haven't thought about this motive in years, I don't think. But it's obviously still in effect, given my current isolated lifestyle. From time to time I act to negate it temporarily, but the attempts are short-lived and I revert back to this same theme/lifestyle. It's a permanent pattern, and not one that I so much disapprove of. I still get some satisfaction from knowing that I can exist without them (whomever), especially when I realize (or hope) that they regret the fact that I am off alone.
I don't understand what's been going on exactly. I've had a hard time following the sense of a lot of different online posts as well as influences in my "real" world recently, but it would seem that there's a kind of ugly psychic "mental virus" being passed around. I'm usually highly susceptible to these kinds of things, but so far I've been immune (maybe because of the increased meditation I've been doing). In any case, I'm kind of a non-professional expert on fear, having been somewhat paranoid all my life, so I feel like I should be pursuing this strain of human experience more closely, trying to detect the truth beneath the mystery. But as it is, I am just barely interested in a disinterested sort of way. I'll continue to follow the clues as I come across them, but I'm not going out of my way to solve the problem, whatever it is. There are no solutions anyway, to anything. There is only existence. Or, to put it another way: we make our own problems, which unravel only when we change our belief structure. To wit:
Coming around the bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
"Come on girl", said Tanzen at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.
Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself.
"We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzen, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?"
"I left the girl there," said Tanzen. "Are you still carrying her?"
Over the last few years I've been contemplating my distant past, times when I was not so aware of intentions/motivations, my own, but especially others'. Lately I've been realizing that, if I had been fully aware, I would have been hurt by the way that people acted toward me. It's funny. When I was younger, I could disregard people's fucked up agendas and proceed on my own way through life, obliviously happy. And even if I caught a glimpse of what they were up to, I could pass it by without another thought, preferring to repress it than to be hurt by it. It was the way I protected myself, refusing to be consciously hurt. I was on my own path, determined to do what I felt I had to do, and no one could divert me. But I grew up.
Now, having awoken over the years to the motives of the human unconscious, I look back and am hurt by things that people said and did, things that I remember, but had chosen then to disregard. They didn't hurt me then, but they hurt me now, even though all of the people who did those fucked up things are gone away. It's strange. I kind of wish I were now more like I was then, more unconscious, more inside my own mind, more intent upon my own idiosyncratic purpose. Actually, this is a bit disingenuous. I am that way, except that I am more aware of the malicious intent of others. But it can be a trap, awareness, a distraction away from the righteous path you know you should be on. I feel like I have to be so much more careful now than I had to be when I was a kid. Awareness has a high price.
Well, I missed another one. Today, in five minutes (at noon on Flagstaff hill in Schenley Park) a peace protest begins that will include PBS personalities, not as reporters covering the event, but as participants. But I just learned about the event yesterday and I couldn't manage to get my schedule adjusted in order to participate. And then there's the parking difficulties, etc. It takes a lot to be a protester these days. It was a lot easier in the sixties when the protests took place on campus and were a short walk from our off-campus apartment.
1:00 p.m.: Thunder. Definite threat of rain. The protesters are going to get wet. They may already be getting wet. The protest is eight miles west of here.
1:10 p.m.: Heavy rain. Glad I stayed at home. Yep. I'm definitely a fair-weather protester. Things sure have changed since my youth.
Each day for the past three days just before awakening I've dreamed about writing out long and elaborate entries into my journal. But when I awaken, I can't remember what I wrote.
I suffer from the two great sins of the postmodern world: I am not (so) young and I am not a woman. I should disguise myself within venues where I can get away with it, like now, online.
I never want to choose. I am non-committal, toward life in all of its diverse forms. But not choosing is a choice I make. I cannot escape.
I am here, in this place, now. This is where I am. Wherever else I may want to be, whatever else I may desire to do, this is where I am.
If I am here, it must be, that this is where I am supposed to be, either because I have willed it to be so, or because this is the fate I've chosen.
When it became obvious that I was not going to get to sleep, I finally got up, took off all my clothes, and thoroughly raked myself all over with a hairbrush. Glorious relief.
Of the many ways there are to insult the French, one of the most prominent is to speak their language badly and with a foreign accent, especially an American one. It's roughly equivalent to being a cultured northerner in The United States and having to listen to an ignorant Southern hick, except that we tend to be far more forgiving of accents in America than the French do in their own country--or anywhere in the world, for that matter.
Therefore, I've concluded that, in the best interest of truth and justice and for general comeuppance, one should always speak French with as much of a foreign accent as possible. It's fun to watch the natives turn their noses up at you, and it's far better to know that you intentionally provoked the attitude than to experience it ad hoc, because they will take the attitude, one way or another. That's the French for you. It's what they do.
I've been dieting for less than a week. Glory be to Dr. Atkins.
I've achieved ideal weight, though it's maximum of the range.
So I anticipate cooking a pizza for dinner tonight.
And, oh, what joy it brings to me, this anticipation.
I am definitely an abnormal person. That appellation doesn't have to mean anything bad--just that I am different. My ego has been undergoing a lot of changes over the past few years: I now realize I'm male, big, abnormal (actually, I've known this for a long time), an asshole (also known for a long time), and lots of other things besides.
This comes down on me all at once, this realization. I have so many threads to pick up, so much I could be doing, so many things to think and write about, so many projects that had been awaiting the missing pieces that I have since collected, but I just don't want to do any of this stuff right now.
I know that one day in the relatively near future I'm going to feel motivated and then everything will be all lined up and ready and I'll make great progress. Meanwhile, though, I guess I'm just going to have to continue to feel guilty that I'm wasting time lying in bed watching taped West Wing and The Practice reruns and eating pizza and chocolate.
I keep a journal to try to concretize the gist of my current thought, to document what is important to me in my personal life, and to capture odd and erratic bits of information and content that happen my way, all with the idea of processing all of this into coherent formats as I reread the material, ponder it, combine entries, and generally make sense out of it all. Sometimes I like to write in "line prose," which often gets awkward and overly strained, but the practice tends to constrain thoughts as it forces them into lines, thereby making them more effectively terse. Other times, I write in garrulous prose, examining every tortured nuance of a subject, usually myself. And occasionally I write in free verse, when I want to allow the thoughts to flow to where they want to go all by themselves.
When I process my journal, it is with the idea that other people will read it. Yet I do not edit to that end, but hope that I am conveying the original "truth" in a more finished way that will not cause readers to find me (too) amateurish as it reveals delicate subjects that are often too personal to say outright to people in person. The published journals are glimpses into my soul--or into my personality, at least. Whatever. I value this venue to expose myself (I'm a verbal exhibitionist), since otherwise I seldom am able to achieve this state of freedom except when I am perfectly alone (which I am, when I write out all this crap).
This is the essence of my association with the corporate motif: categorical imperative; organizational structure whose collapse I welcome, though its demise will negatively affect me too. [I survive and even from time to time prosper because I live in a mass-producing industrial welfare culture.] My life is a movie of the news--or news of the movies. I don't know which. I'm obsessed with each medium. I can opt out, but I can't not watch the drama, especially if it's free [i.e., broadcast. The worst thing that the corporate media can do to itself, in terms of my tacit, passive participation, is to insist that all their content be paid for], but I can't not watch the drama unfold. I come to the unhappy conclusion that I'm as much a media junky as I am a culture junky, no longer in denial, but weaning myself away from it instead of going cold turkey, chipping via broadcast television and radio and a dial-up Internet.
I have a new diet: Eat nothing except chocolate and peanuts for three days and be prepared to spend a lot of time in the bathroom.
Last night I finally finished the long scarf I've been knitting. And the weather just turned warm. Sixty-five yesterday. Seventy predicted for tomorrow. Guess I'll have to wait until next winter to unveil my creation. But this is a big accomplishment. I'd been thinking about doing this (learning to knit) for many years, even since my ex-wife used to tell me how hard it was as she defended women's "home-bound" domestic skills as valid work every bit as complicated as that which husbands do out in the work world. Part of my motivation was to master a new skill, something that men do not ever learn, and part of it was to prove that the women's domestic skills were not, in fact, at the same level as those required in the working world, at least at the more technical levels of employment. And I think that, over the years, I've proven that this is true. Housekeeping, while every bit an important job, is more on the level of ditch-digger than of, say, computer technician. And the sewing arts (I also sew, occasionally--when absolutely necessary) are only the smallest step above that lower level (except when they approach the artistic). These domestic skills are important to society. But they are not rocket science. I've always believed this to be true. But I had to prove it, if only to myself. Maybe next I'll learn to crochet or do needlework. I no longer have anything to prove, really. I'm just kind of grooving on it. I'd like to raise my skills up to the level of an art. Maybe I'll end up proving that it is not so much artistic as, for example, painting or sculpture. But that's not important, really, is it? Art is art.
There is no reason to think that this message is appropriate to anyone in particular. It may be simple paranoia, prompted by non-response to my comments in online blogs that could have many benign causes. This is doubt, the first step of the DWAFP syndrome, which I've noticed hanging around recently, trying to insinuate itself back into my psychology (it's spring again, after all). But I'm resisting it successfully thus far, by maintaining a positive outlook. But all it's going to take to blow it up into a major episode is one unexpected caustic event. I am on guard and experiencing that familiar "excitement" that could suddenly turn around into anxiety. But for now, it's still a positive experience.
This is a great learning experience for me. If I'm going to interact online, I'm going to have to learn to deal with this. (And even if I'm only going to interact in person. The lesson will generalize.) What I've got to say, when I'm being truly open and honest, is who I am. I should not have to feel guilty, embarrassed, regretful, etc. about having expressed myself. I have a right to be who I am and to express that self I am freely, even if I am occasionally wrong, stupid, or pathological. I'm human, after all--just like everyone else. [Oh, no!]
And yet, people don't criticize me, at least not that I know about, that is, not to my face (except for my brother, when he's drunk; and I understand his feelings of inferiority and accept them for what they are, for what he is). But I criticize myself on others' behalf, when they will not respond, either in person or online, to what I've said or written. But maybe they don't respond because I overwhelm them; and if so, then I should take this behavior as a compliment. Either they are intimidated, or they are dismissive and rejecting, or they are simply distracted and/or disconcerned. In any case, the problem is not theirs, but mine. I need to deal with it. And I do, by asserting my right to be and by documenting who and what I am.
Sudden realization: I withdraw (in general, as a pathological state of response) because I don't want people to reject me and what I have to say. (And I write for this same reason, because I can do it out of their potentially rejecting presence.) But I automatically (i.e., unconsciously) assume (ahead of time) that they will reject, always. It's the mother-rejection thing. This is the real issue here: my assumption that I (will) have been rejected, even though the truth could be a number of other possibilities (in the present or future, and in the past, but not in the critical formative distant conditioning past, because that is true), including intimidation, distraction, etc. (See the list above.)
When I am awaiting a response, to a phone call or an e-mail or a comment I made in someone's online journal. I feel both a fear of rejection and an excitement/anxiety that what they have to say might/might not be to my liking--the second half of which is the same rejection response and intensifies to merge with the fear of rejection as the first half, the excitement, begins to wane.
[My proactive solution (if only I could keep these kinds of affirmations in mind, if only I could incorporate them into the automatic operational procedure of my daily mentality; but I guess I do, eventually, if I repeat this kind of cognitive therapy enough, year after year, until the conclusions begin to take root): don't repress the hurt (which is not genuine in the present, after all, but is based upon a feeling of primal rejection), which causes anger, which causes guilt. Instead, break that syndrome by feeling merely disappointment at the fact that people are...whatever they are--dismissive, rejecting, intimidating, etc. It's unfortunate that they can't accept me for what I am (if they can't; or it's unfortunate that I can't accept myself, when I think that these kinds of mental behaviors is what they are thinking). Don't allow their (or my) agenda to the cause withdrawal that stops me from expressing my own self/personality and exercising my right to be exactly who I am. And, short of that lofty goal, go ahead and do what I've been doing (posting/responding) and allow them to be intimidated, or disgusted, or whatever into non-response. Make it their problem, not mine. (But I should be careful and try to be as polite and respectful, etc, as I can. Anyway, it's not so much that I've been rude or caustic as it has that I feel like I think either "Did I say something wrong?" or "Did I reveal too much about my inner self that people found bizarre" (even though they are probably just as internally bizarre in their own way, but refuse to see it in themselves) Cf., this livejornal entry.]
[And, as a halfway measure, when I am not quite feeling up to the lofty ideal that the previous paragraph outlines, I can substitute feelings of superiority for those of inferiority, believing myself to be the winner in a battle of wits, because I got in the last word, the last response, I am the dominant personality because they do not respond and so choose to feel intimidated, disgusted, whatever...]
But, after all, don't you know, I'm crazy. I don't mean this in the sense that postmod writers on the Net and off often state it, as a kind of self-depreciative badge of honor. On the other hand, I don't mean it in the sense that I should be institutionalized. But I do mean that what I discover, deep inside, has little to do with social concerns; and, after all, society defines mental illness. This is not a craziness with which most people are unfamiliar. Yet, at the same time, their familiarity is usually repressed, and so most often unrecognizable within themselves. We're all crazy at the core of our individual selves. It cannot be otherwise. I have learned to recognize this craziness within me and to let it out, most often in my writing.
People need leaders because they're incapable of leading themselves. Thus government becomes necessary. Leadership is not a mass trait. It's based on the exception to the rule, the desire to be out in front, independent, separate, and superior. Unfortunately, those are the same ego qualities found in outlaws. There's a fine line between these two types that is often crossed in each.
You can know things without knowing them. But you act on that information as if you knew. I acted, and then I learned what I already knew. It didn't hurt, having acted unwittingly earlier.
Or else I repressed it well, and the anger too. Later, looking back, I see how this all worked. There is no longer any guilt or recrimination. Life goes on as if we weren't ever stupid kids.
One of these days, soon, I'm going to have to get serious about life, buckle down, and do some long-postponed work. I experience this attitude twice a year, in the spring after a long winter spent inside my house and mind, and then again in fall after a long summer spent outside luxuriating in the warm weather. The seasons (the two real seasons, summer and winter) lull me into a false sense of security, which the false seasons face-slap me out of, back into reality. Or is that the other way around? Are the peak and trough (two separate) realities and the means the delusion? All of it, of course, is reality, which suffers from the illusion of variability, because we are human and must exist along a narrow spectrum between extremes, as we exist within our minds, polarizing experience via the necessary compare/contrast function that the intellect uses in order to pop itself into existence; i.e., there is no we/them without the intellect's ability to dichotomize.