I write out my dreams mostly because, if I do not, I forget them. Many times I've reread dreams years later and was initially unable to recognize them, as if someone else had written them; but, as I further contemplated them, in a flash of insight the entire dream landscape returned to memory. I have no doubt that, had I not written out the dreams, they would be lost to me forever.
The idea that I write out my dreams for therapeutic purposes is an afterthought, at best. Yes, I do it for this reason also, but even if I didn't, I'd still do it. There's something about the process that is in some obscure way efficacious, even when the "therapy" aspect is totally absent. To have a written-out dream before me is a satisfying accomplishment. I get exactly this same feeling from painting.
Writing is the same motive, although I don't get quite the same feeling from finished written work, if it is not literally a dream. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because too much of a rational process has been injected into it. That's a good working theory anyway. Or maybe it's because I write out a lot about personal information that I'm too close to, like all of that crap in January about my brother:
If he really wants my help, he's going to have to ask for it. And, if he does, I'm not going to cater to him like I always used to. I'm not going to be that brother I used to be who went out of my way to accept him as he is. I don't see how my acting that way has helped him at all. If he wants my help, he's going to have to hear the truth. I'm not going to try to spare his feelings any more, because that hasn't helped him a single bit.
If he really wants help, he'll listen to what I have to say. If he doesn't want to hear it, he really doesn't want my help, all he wants to do is to complain to someone and wallow in his misery. And the first thing I'll tell him is that he's 58 years old, way past time for him to grown up and take responsibility for himself and stop acting like a spoiled little kid. If he can't do that, any help I can provide is going to do him any good.
If he really wants my help, he's going to have to meet me halfway. He can't ask for my help and then blow me off as if I my time, energy, and feelings don't count for anything at all. And, if I call him, like our sister suggests I should do, I feel like I'd be admitting that I did something wrong and need to make up for it; and that is not the case. He's the one with the problem. If he really wants my help, he'll call me.
I think (and would like to say to him, though I probably never will) that he could care less about how I feel, about how his antics disturb me, how I am negatively affected as a result of his involving me in his problems, how much turmoil he has caused in my life. In general, he could care less about what my problems and difficulties in life are. All he cares about is himself. He can't see beyond his own pain.
He's so wrapped up in his own problems (which he has created for himself; they're not problems that have been externally imposed) and if now I can't help him live his life, then he has no use for me at all. I'm just yet another person who doesn't treat him well. Well, he doesn't treat me so well either. And it's generally true in life that, sooner or later, you get back what you give out. Whaty goes around, comes around.
So now, he's stopped calling me. Which has been a great relief, actually; but I worry that he's not calling for exactly the wrong reasons. Instead of understanding that he caused me more difficulty than I could handle at the time, instead of undertstanding that he (and, especially, his wife) severely overloaded me, I think he may feel that I have let him down; when it is exactly the opposite:
He has let me down. He probably does understand this to some (small?) degree. In some of his self-deprecating moments, I've detected a certain degree of self-honesty in him. He may occasionally get an insight into how he is the cause of my January withdrawal from him. He is, in fact, not the "cause". I am the cause. I willingly take responsibility for my own psychology. And so should he.
But his need to see it this way sometimes, that he has ruined his life, may provide him with insights into how his antics drive people away from him and set up his situation that he doesn't feel that he can tolerate. So, he's stuck wavering between self-blame and denial and projection. It's a difficult battle, I know. I've been there. I understand. Unfortunately, I feel that he is far less understanding.
Meanwhile, (dream) life continues on. (At least I still got that going for me):
You mean that blonde groupie with the film crew? Shit. Think he sodomized her? [He chuckles.]
That's right, laugh about it.
He's gluing her eyes shut right now man.
Peter Boyle and Bill Murray
Benicio Del Toro and Johnny Depp
in one of the movies
Semi-lucidly: I approach several women, strangers, in several different places, one after another (and, as if in a simultaneous thread, all sort of the same women, though perhaps in different places), each encounter being a sort of trial, as if I'm trying out a new "technique": I suggest various activities that we could engage in: we could go to my place and have sex; we could rent a hotel room; we could sit here on the (bus stop) bench and pretend we're lovers; we could go somewhere else pretending; or (in an attempt to be more innocent, in case she might feel I'm too old for her) we could pretend that she's my daughter.
I awaken with my "eyes glued shut", a post-hypnotic suggestion from having read that Hunter S. Thomson quote before I fell asleep, or could it be more than just partially due to the glycolic acid face cream I put on before I fell asleep?
Dreams could be(come) my primary writing format: I can, with impunity, write anything about anyone doing anything if they are not literally themselves within my writings, but are dream characters; with the excuses that: 1) I can't help who I dream about; 2) I have the right to document my dreams as art, maintaining accuracy; 3) These characters are not their real-world counterparts; they vary in sometimes significant ways, morphing into and out of other characters to some degree.
My dream characters and world(s) are (becoming) as real to me as the "real" world is. And even if you might consider them not to be, you have to at least give me the fact that they're as real as those created by fantasy writers. I would say that they're far more real since I don't create them out of my imagination; rather, they happen to me in exactly the same way that the real world happens to me, except that, within the real world I am fixed in place and have to exert motive in order to move about, whereas in my dream worlds the motive is provided by the same mechanism as the images and ideas.
Ideas in the "real" world are provided by this same mechanism, usually; unless I intentionally conjure them up. Ideas often simply "come at" me and I must sort them out and disregard many of them if for no other reason than there are far too many, time is short, and I have other things to do. This is why I've been theorizing lately that "successful" (meaning primarily Hollywood) authors seem to make their work a lot simpler by choosing one or two ideas and building a complex of words around them to create a work of fiction or a screenplay. I, on the other hand, try to jam all of "my" ideas (they're not really mine, most of them), or at least the ones I don't disregard out of hand, into creative works, for fear of losing them. Dream images and ideas are just one division of this idea category.
But what if, in my writing (like in my life), all of the ideas were dream ideas? What if even the "real world" stuff were imagined as having come from dreams instead (because, actually, they do, in the sense that the waking state is really just another form of dreaming, a la the illusion of Zen), with the added quality of motive being included, exactly the same process as lucid dreaming? That would simplify things a whole lot, wouldn't it? My art would then become an art of rendering my dreams, and nothing more. The fact that much of it wouldn't be literal dreams would be irrelevant. Nothing much changes except the format. As it is, now, I do exactly the opposite with the same material, write out "real world" and dream images and ideas in a real world format. In this new way, all I'd be doing would be eliminating the real-world conceit1.
This is what I would like to do, as an experiment, for the rest of this pastiche, to see how it works out. [But maybe I don't really want to go to all the trouble of changing my well-established (well-worn) method/format, and/or maybe I don't want to publish this rationale, lest any "characters" involved should choose to sue me, citing that (some portion of) my dreams are not really dreams at all, but reality; and I will have given them the evidence for that (whether or not it was actually true in any given case) by stating my intent to conflate dreams and reality. It would not in logical fact justify their contention because (I believe, as I have earlier argued) reality possesses no "real" fundamental difference from dreams; but copyright laws are an arbitrary bitch (that should be assassinated) and I seem not to have so much courage in my convictions as I would like to have.
Of course, all I would have to do would be to simply change the names and those people who might one day want to consider suing me would be completely disarmed because they would be rendered all but unidentifiable, becoming creations of fiction; and any identity that might be derived from the fiction will have to be revealed and verified by their own admission, ahead of any lawsuit, thereby making them complicit in the supposed libel (i.e., if they hadn't revealed it, no one else would ever have known).
But this name-changing tactic violates my sacrosanct principle of truth-telling [which I was taught, erroneously, when I was growing up, was the freedom of speech we have in this country; we should have it, but we do not, freedom being a relative term]; but it would be no worse than what many authors have been doing for millennia. Convention is a bigger bitch than copyright; in fact, it is her mother. My parents, especially my mother, taught me a lot of supposed absolutes like freedom of speech that, due to my basic genetic nature, I chose to interpret quite literally. They (and society in general) never bothered to point out, even later on in my "advanced" education (except via implication, which I was supposed to pick up on, like "normal" students did), the relative nature of experience; and one of those classes of relative experience they never said a word to me about was the (true) nature of dreams. (All of the psychologists at the time had it all wrong.) I had to discover that enormous body of knowledge entirely on my own:
My father tells me I am idea my mother had. I like that idea.
He shows up here occasionally, just to have a place to stay.
My brother does this too sometimes; they're a lot alike.
He behaves a lot like our father did, when he was alive.
I behave differently. I have always been the odd one out.
Something happened to me, maybe during my birth.
But more likely before I was born, at conception perhaps.
My parents genes fused together in just the perfect way.
So I am different now, though it's taken a while to actualize.
My life has become a perpetual dream, which is not unusual.
We all live in a dream state that we share and call reality.
But mine is different. Mine is magical. Mine is out of control.
Most people feel that they control events in their lives.
We don't. We control only the smallest fraction of activity.
Mostly, our lives happen to us, much as our dreams do.
These two states predominate, altering back and forth.
Like night and day, for those of us who sleep regularly.
I do not. I used to sleep whenever. Now I sleep forever.
Or that's what others would think, if they knew my mind.
I see myself differently, being perpetually awake and out.
Reality is a dream you only escape from via dreaming.
Bathrooms have always been an important part of my life, probably because that is the one place where you can be pretty much assured that you will be left alone. Which is one big reason why I hated the army so much: communal bathrooms. Having a quick slash is not so bad, but taking a crap in public is just too much. Whatever general officer first thought that was a good idea must have been a sick asshole.
I've been in a lot of bathrooms where the sinks and toilets have been stopped up and I have to wash my hands and/or face or relieve myself, but I cannot because the plumbing is not functional; and sometimes the toilet and/or sink has been removed completely, creating an impossible situation to resolve: How can anyone live without a toilet? Sometimes there's a second bathroom where I am but it is always either in use (by visiting relatives who have claimed it for their own and tie it up endlessly) or is non-functional in the same way as the main bathroom. This is a state of affairs that has a significant meaning in my life, I'm certain. But I don't even know where to start to look for it.
I think of this now because I have to relieve myself and am nowhere near a bathroom, which is as bad as being in a non-functional one. I'm visiting an old workplace that is now a supermarket. Like non-functional bathrooms, these are also recurrent themes in my life. I leave work for the day and I go outside and can't find my car, one more recurrent theme. It seems that I'm always forgetting where I parked my car. I begin to wonder if I even drove to work today or got here in some other way. I'm with a lot of other people, one of whom is my aunt and cousin, both (don't ask). We are a group with some significant, yet unstated (and unknown) trait in common. I know this because my therapist told me. We catch a bus to the intersection at Rodi and Frankstown roads, because this is where this group goes every day and I must go somewhere because I have no car, so I go along with them. After we get off the bus, we try to decide in which direction we should head; each road will take us to an office of a "therapist", although, as a group, we don't realize this. We each individually know where we are going, but as a group... What we're really trying to decide, we eventually understand, is whose therapist we are going to go and see; that is, which one of us is the one with the therapist who is most likely to be able to help (all of) us, together.
This is actually a crime drama unfolding, which none of us yet realize, because we have not yet been to a therapist. These people are my family now. I took me a while to recognize this fact, both because I have been so attached to those people purported to have been my real family and because we have not yet been to a therapist. But families, when they are neither functional as such nor self-supporting, fall apart and tend to be replaced, if they ever are, by strangers we grow to love and cherish by virtue of the commonality we find in everyday and extraordinary events. I continue to travel with these people, whom I begin to recognize, a new sister and brother and his kid. The others who were with us refigure later in different roles. We're traveling through the Midwest, somewhere in western Ohio, on vacation, heading back home toward Pennsylvania. We stop at a grocery store, where I see a woman to whom I am incredibly attracted, though she is not all that beautiful by the standard American cultural definition. She has dark, frizzy hair, like she's been shocked (though the shock is yet to come). She's with a guy so that at first I think it may be her boyfriend (she isn't wearing a ring), but I learn via their conversation as we stand in the checkout line behind her that he's her brother. Outside, I decide to follow her and I tell the people I'm with to meet me up on the main street of the town, which reminds me a lot of Plymouth, MA. My new sister decides that she has things she wants to do and goes her separate way, out ahead of me in my direction, planning also to meet us later. I head off, following the other woman, who seems not to be aware that I'm behind her, although in the store I had gotten the idea that she was aware that I was paying attention to her, though she exhibited no evidence to indicate this. The kid, my new nephew, follows me. This is unknown to me at first. He was supposed to go with my new brother, but in a mix-up, they got their signals crossed and thought the kid was supposed to go with my sister. (I'm the kid's hero and role model. He follows me everywhere. Smart kid. Or maybe not so smart, as it will turn out.) Later, my sister meets up with my brother, compares notes, and when I never show up, begins a search that eventually turns into a statewide manhunt, though far too late. Years pass and no one ever learns what happened to us that day: My nephew and I cannot return back home, for some dramatic reason that is unknown, even to us. When I tell the kid I'm going to send him home, he wants to stay with me and threatens to cry and act up if I ship him off. So we continue to live on in the town. We stay in a hotel for a while until a federal agent who has been tracking us breaks in and shoots me while I'm sleeping, killing me. No longer myself, I am now freed to become someone else, a person with more adaptable abilities. Now I can watch the scene unfold from the fed's point of view, as if I stand behind him. The kid, awakening in the adjacent bed, sees me die but doesn't have time to react before the fed shoots him also. The fed thinks he's doing this for "good" reasons, acting extra-legally but, he thinks, "morally". But someone else is involved that I am not yet aware of. Before we moved into the hotel, we had been living in an upscale apartment building, up high on a mountainside, so that we had a wide-ranging view of the town and all of the terrain around it. The apartments "hang out" from the side of the building as if they were porches, one whole side being a huge glass window that spanned the apartment width. The woman I had been following years earlier lives in the apartment above us. I had managed that day that I followed her, to hook up with her, though we chose not to live together, but only near to each other, mostly because of the kid. Later, after we move into the hotel when we become aware that the agent has learned of our location, she follows the agent to us and discovers us in the hotel room, murdered. Aware of her existence but unable to communicate with her, on the verge of entering another world that I know absolutely nothing of, I am helpless to influence the events that unfold. I have completely lost all sense of time. I have no idea how much later after my death that the following occurs. Could be the same day. Days later. Weeks. Months. Years. She vows revenge. I hear her thoughts as if she says them aloud. She hunts down the agent. Meanwhile, another agent, the first agent's partner, operating independently from him, has been trailing him, trying to figure out what he's up to. He finds the agent and confronts him, but they're interrupted by the woman, who shoots them both. The killer agent, though, is wearing a bullet-proof vest and begins to recover as she's about to leave the room, so she walks over to him, stands above him and with the silenced weapon she's using shoots the stunned agent in the neck five times, literally tearing his neck apart. Blood gushes out of the arteries. She checks out the other guy to see if he has a vest on. He doesn't and is bleeding from his chest. But the second agent does not die, but regains consciousness after she leaves and managed with difficulty to call 911. After more than a year of recovery, he's back on the job and hunting down the woman.
Since I have been incommunicado and/or excommunicated, I've been quite stable (subsequent to my period of "recovery"). It's been occurring to me gradually over time (long before this most recent episode) that visiting my (former) brother, even on the few occasions that I do, has been disturbing me and destabilizing me via making me "feel bad".
I know that he and his family don't make me feel bad, that I am responsible for my own feelings, which arise out of and/or as a response/defense to my genetic predisposition (socially conditioned reaction to it--for which, despite its initial and persistent unconscious nature, I am nevertheless also responsible); but, even though it's my responsibility, it feels like they cause it, as I transferentially take on their problems and affective "disorders".
In order, then, to take full responsibility for the way I feel, I must act to negate the negativity that arises up out of me, no matter the cause. And the only way that I can see to do that in this case is to stay as far away from them as possible. Never mind that the cause is within myself, that I am incapable of resisting the negative influence. That's not their problem, it's mine. And I must deal with it in the only way I know how.
I exist alone, detached, sequestered in this place that I have made my home, generally losing all track of time, barely connected at all most of the time to any semblance of a "real" world (whatever that has come to mean; it seems to mean little to me any more), until one day, as if fulfilling my fondest dream, Maureen comes over from across the street, walks straight into my house, crawls into my bed, and, as I stand in the adjacent kitchen watching her, asks me to get into bed with her. I'll leave out the detail, seeing as how she might read this.
Actually, her name's not really Maureen. I made up that name by combining her real name with the name of someone else, whom she reminds me of, someone I knew a long time ago. I've been thinking of her a lot lately, not that old friend and not this new one, but the two of them together (no, not the two of them in bed together, although now that I've thought of it...) I've been comparing how this lady and that other look and act a lot alike, rolling the idea over in my mind over the last several months (probably a lot longer unconsciously), how they physically resemble each other and share other traits (e.g., they both smoke cigarettes and subtly flirt, apparently without realizing it). So I've been wondering if Maureen's psychology resembles that of her prototype, which is a definite possibility, since my subconscious mind seems to have connected them. But I kind of hope it doesn't, because disastrous consequences could ensue, since my relationship with the prototype were not all pleasant.
In any case, my subconscious mind, apparently responding to my conscious desire to bring Maureen more deeply and intimately into my life, has combined her with someone with whom I much more easily related; which could be a good thing, that basic difference, the ease of the relationship. Maureen is far less willing, far less suggestible, and quite a bit older, being around the same age as her partial namesake, which would make her maybe all that much wiser. So the fact that she shows up on her own after a great deal of reluctance is maybe a testament to her difference. I've been imagining how it would go if Maureen would abandon that resistance and show up for a visit. I've been thinking how I might convince her to do exactly this without coming right out and asking her, because I just don't do that any more, and it never really went too well back when I used to do it. It's far better when they decide to do it on their own, of their own volition, without having to be coaxed, or even prompted, because this behavior seems to short-circuit the few social skills I can manage to invoke. I can become overwhelmed with the anxiety and confusion that increase as I approach social situations. I tend to start to shut down, become taciturn and withdrawing, and internalize my thoughts instead of communicating them. In the past, this process has caused me to misinterpret and thus bumble relationships, if I even tried at all to work at them.
When I finally began to come out of the fog of my oblivion and realized that women, many women, were attracted to me, I became so self-conscious that I could hardly (even want to) continue to pursue them; or, more accurately, I did continue without admitting to myself that I really kind of hoped I never actually succeeded; or, even more accurately, continue isn't quite the right word, because I never really pursued women (girls back then) in any way except within my mind, allowing them to approach me to hook up, and only then for immediate sexual gratification, since, as far as I was concerned, establishing a "relationship" was entirely the woman's duty.
Later, when I hoped to interest and catch them in a more permanent way (or, more accurately, let them catch me), I (idly, theoretically) allowed for a relationship apart from sex, maintaining an illusion that conflicted with the increasing self-consciousness that prevented it from happening. Until, finally, it happened; and my life became as much about relationship as sex. (Relationship was always the woman's word; mine was friendship, or communion). But a conflict established itself, as I hovered back and forth among fantasy, self-conscious reality, and actual (albeit somewhat mentally reluctant) relationships.
I write out these ideas (all of my ideas, but especially the most personal insights into my past behavior) from a (theoretical) position I've adopted that anyone may know anything at all about me, all of the embarrassing, stupid, regretful things I did in my past, in all my jobs, in my personal life. I have no problem with anyone "seeing" who I have been, because that's not who I am now; I've changed. I'm an entirely different person, literally. I've changed myself into someone else, and a different person did all those past things, someone who is now dead or who experienced all of that only in dreams. So it doesn't matter if anyone knew that other person or not; he's gone or else he never even existed, being perhaps someone I made up, as a character of fiction.
And, since I never liked my name, I've changed it often. Every time I've changed it, I ultimately didn't like the new name. I feel like I should be nameless, like my identity should be all people; or least a large number of them; or, at the very least, several. Those people whose names I changed are also not me. I named them like I name my characters; in fact, they are some of my characters.
All of my writing about my present (which is what my past is when I write about it, memories, electrochemical traces occurring in a currently experiencing brain) reveals (some of) these things about me and casts it as if in a present context, what I would have people know about me now, except that all of this quickly becomes the past again: by the time anyone gets the opportunity to read this stuff, I will have changed again. For example, the book I'm right now publishing is material from 2005-2006 and I can feel relatively secure about publishing that because I am hardly even that person any more. (This is not so true of my blogs, especially if I ever get myself to the point where I finally catch them up and publish them monthly (auto-bio), or even daily in the case of some of the smaller ones; but then no one I know ever reads those blogs, they're more like a tentative writing format, a way that I "practice" ideas that will later go into books.)
I feel this same way, though for different reasons and in a truly present instead of fictive past, with the same nonchalance I'd have with anyone seeing me naked. I (would) have no feelings of shame or embarrassment being naked in front of people, except that I would be hesitant to do it for "social" reasons; e.g., I might be arrested. I could be an infamous exhibitionist if society would promise not to punish me for it, an idea that I find very interesting, since I suffer from severe stage fright when I must perform.
It seems that my "performance" issues are tied somehow to verbalization and, if I would never be required to speak, I could do just about anything in the public arena. This is consistent with how I have lived my life: I can go anywhere and do anything without anxiety, unless I am required to participate by talking. Thus am I taciturn in crowds.
I used to dream all the time about being naked, occasionally with some embarrassment at being seen, but not so often, and never recently, when I am, dreaming up my life; because my real life and my dreams have come together, I experience less trepidation both when I am dreaming and when I am awake (which are now, I know, the same state of existence.)
Dreams, for me, like my "reality", always have a utilitarian purpose, which in the past I most often did not know (of). Now I do: Dreams and "reality" are each my life, no longer in different phases, but attuned in transition, moving in and out of me in the same way that (and as a result of the way) I sleep now, in short or long fits of awakening, remembering awakened periods during dreams like I remember dreams when awake, for periods of time not absolutely certain any more which is which, advancing toward a state of being where they become indistinguishable, where there is no real difference any more. In this way, dreams become as much a functional part of my life as waking activity is.
Everything, like dreams, should have, I believe, either a utilitarian or an esthetic reason for being in your life. ([Esthetic reasons include memorabilia as well as what you might consider art, even though others might disagree with you. Art that I created within previous dreams that I don't remember play a significant role in later dreams; and it's much better art than that which I used to create when I was only awake.] Get rid of anything that comes into your life by accidence. (Although what you might consider accidence could very well be intentional by others; for example, people might give you presents that you loathe, but you keep them anyway so as not to hurt their feelings, or sales flyers may come in the mail that you wish to hang onto until their sales period is over, even though you may have no real intention of going to that store.)
I dreamed (up) all of that, and now I am still dreaming. I dream a lot about going into stores, especially grocery stores. I am in a grocery store now, shopping for something I have forgotten to write down and can't remember what it is, something that I saw in a flyer that I forgot to bring with me. I write while I'm walking through stores now, making notes on my PDA. I'm writing about writing (like I will sometimes dream about dreaming):
(Some) writing "experts" say that, in order to become a "good" (or at least prolific) writer, you should sit down at the same time every day for a predetermined amount of time and write. And, if you run into a block and can't find anything to write about, you should just write anything at all, any garbage, until you get the words flowing. That whole determined process seems to me like a taunting invitation to writer's block; or at least like a lot of wasted time.
I "write" when I feel like writing. If I don't happen to have immediate access to one of my computers, then I either jot down my ideas on my small clipboard or a mere scrap of paper, or I record them on my mini-recorder or my PDA (like I'm doing now; but not really, because now, i.e., later, I'm transcribing the taped notes, and even later I'll be editing them; or else I'm dreaming about doing this, because I've been having an increasing number of dreams about writing down my ideas and experiences which, formerly, I would regret not having actually written out in my waking life, thereby having lost all of that great material that I oneirologically created; but no more. Now, I produce concrete text even as I dream), and then the next "morning" (which can occur at any time of day or night; i.e., whenever I am first awakened out of sleep, which is the time of day or night when my mind works best), when I dream that I awaken, I transcribe my notes, converting them into "writing" by associating them with any other idea(s) that happen to pop up as I make my way down through the lines and paragraphs to get to where I feel I have to go, to the point where I've exhausted all I feel I have to say about the subject.
Never, in this way, do I get writers' block. If it happens that my notes end up provoking several pages of writing, great; if it happens that they produce only half a paragraph or so, no worries, I'll produce more in my dreams. My writing ebbs and flows in this way in accordance with my mental activity and my motivation to want to preserve it. Next, I take all of that work I created on any number of diverse subjects and I combine it all together or farm it out to one or another project I'm working on. I guess it could be said that I actually do sit down to write at the same "time" every day, if you consider the "same time" to mean not any specific time of day, but the time when I awaken out of sleep; or else dream I do.
Being awake and asleep at the same time, I am in a number of different places, though not all at once this time, but sequentially, although it's become impossible any more to determine the order in which my life occurs, almost but not quite as if it all happens at once as simultaneous threads of experience in the grocery store I'm in, which is also a department store, the backyard of my early childhood home, inside that home, in the alley behind that home, in the area above that alley, on the other side of the street at my current home, and in the area at the end of my current street and up the hill on Hoover Drive, where I seem lately to be spending a lot of time, although I'm not sure why.
I've been trying for hours to understand this situation.
This is a seemingly impossible idea to grasp hold of.
But I'm going to try anyway, because it seems so important:
I'm shopping in two store aisles at once, which later I discover there is a very logical reason for, which I have actually been gradually discovering for a while now (i.e., becoming aware of since my waking transformation into dreams) is always the case when two separate temporal situations seem to be happening at the same time: logic is malleable, because human perception is malleable, and logic, material logic at least, depends upon perception, so that if, for example, you have insight into another person's personality, especially in situations that are intimate, although any time, really, because, like perception, intimacy is a very personal matter and can be achieved in ways that are not necessarily so conventional as many ordinary, everyday people might think, then you just might experience the perception and thus the logic of another person at the same time as you experience your own.
So I'm shopping on the right hand side of this store for non-functional, i.e., aesthetic quality, decorative kitchen products (which I don't think I should want, since they are non-utilitarian) and at the same time I'm looking for equally non-utilitarian knick-knacks like sun-catchers, etc. on the left hand side of the store. A few minutes earlier, I briefly encountered a young lady, a teen, in the kitchen aisle. We glanced at each other, made eye contact, and then moved on in opposite directions in the aisle. Now I see that same girl in that other aisle; now, when I look at her, just as in that earlier brief moment, though feeling as if both encounters occur at the same time, I feel like a teen myself. And there she is in this other aisle, on the other side of the store, alone, pushing along a cart that sports, mounted on its front (although she is pushing the cart backwards, in the preparatory process of turning it around since she has walked out in front of it to examine items on a shelf), a small, handmade charm woven out of (for lack of a better description) sea grass. For some reason, she is "challenged", although not in any kind of confrontational or accusatory way, about the charm, not as if she's stealing it, yet as if it is not hers. From across the store, where I am, now by myself and as if I haven't yet met this girl, I know she's having difficulties justifying/explaining herself, so I appear in her aisle (as if I walked over there) to help her out, verifying to the guy that, yes, that charm belongs to her, as she explains that Jackie O. gave it to her as a gift and it is very precious to her. I continue to investigate this problem in the backyard of my childhood home many years ago, trying to get at its meaning, looking in the grass (a la "sea grass") for clues, which I cannot find. The girl is here too somewhere, but I can't see her. In my "mind", I look inside the house; i.e., I don't go inside, but I rather imagine while I'm standing in the yard what the inside looks like and I examine it as if something in there is relevant. I wonder if there are incidents in my childhood that I have repressed that is this "content" that I can't find. As I continue to look in several other places where I have been earlier (or later?), in the alley, the area above the alley (and elsewhere), I can feel the (existence of) content I'm looking for, but I can't specify exactly what it is, as if it's "missing" or never existed, and yet I feel that it does.
These words do not adequately convey the experience in any way. I know, although I can't now, writing it out, recapture the feeling, that the missing content exists ('missing' is not quite the right word; it's more like 'empty' content). And the content is "spread out" across all of the locations I am in at the same time, yet as if it is just one thing that exists, one specific (set of) experience, that I conjecture might be material that my unconscious mind doesn't want me to know of; or that I conjecture might be someone else's content, the girl's perhaps, that she doesn't want me to know, or doesn't know herself.
I think of Maureen, holding her in my mind as a frozen picture of her walking away from me wearing jean shorts and a gray t-shirt. She walks with her usual strut that, frozen in this moment as an image of how her knees sort of momentarily splay out to the sides as she spreads her legs mid-step, which is not so obvious as she proceeds in motion because it happens so very fast that the mind doesn't catch how she actually does this but sees only the characteristic strut-motion of her walk.
I remember her at the top of the hill on Poketa Road; in fact, over the top and a short way down Hulton, in an area that no longer exists, paved over as if I have done that very same thing to areas of my mind, changing ordinary experience into nostalgia, as if my mind is in the process of creating a past I do not have to replace the one I formerly imagined that I do. I have forgotten here much detail as I change myself into a different (kind of) person in order to try to remember.
I walk up to the intersection, leaving Maureen temporarily behind. She follows me a short distance and I tell her I have to go home for a minute, but I'll be right back. She waits for me at the top of the hill. I remember heading for home, but have no memory of having arrived there, but only having gone down to the bottom of the hill; and I return with two clean t-shirts, one of which I put on and one of which I give to her. I point out that we need clean clothes, but she contradicts me, telling me that she just took a shower this morning and put on clean clothes. I'm disappointed because, as I was walking up the hill, I imagined I would get to watch her remove her shirt and put on the clean one.
This is a memory of a time long ago, before Maureen changed herself from a younger person into the woman who now lives across the street. I didn't remember this until she came to visit me and took off her t-shirt, that same gray one she had been wearing in that frozen picture in my mind. I understand how that complication works, how at first she is one woman and then another, perhaps how she is even the same meta-person manifested in two spacetime locations in my life, first entirely one woman, whom I no longer want her to be, and then another, whom I do so much now want; so, if I can have figured this out, why can't I understand where that empty content from what was supposed to have been my past that I recognized in the store comes from? Although, maybe I haven't really figured out the true mystery of the two women yet, maybe, since I see aspects of each woman in the other, they are more a mystery to me now than before, and Maureen will be as devastatingly seductive as she was before I met her this time round. I struggle with empty content now in the same way that I struggle with Maureen's true identity before I finally thought I had it figured out, so hopefully I will figure out this second mystery also eventually; as well as clear up any remaining mystery about the first.
[The process of trying to figure out the two Maureens, and especially the vision of the second Maureen taking off her t-shirt, prompted me to write an entire chapter of my new book, for which I am using the working title M, wherein, in a local bar that is the setting for the first half of the novel, I (i.e., the novel's protagonist, who as it turns out, as it usually does, is not really me) encourage, via verbal and psychological manipulation, a woman (based upon the second Maureen) whose name starts with an M, to remove her t-shirt.]
I massage Maureen's back (in the same way I massaged the first Maureen), noticing how "strong" it is, much unlike the first, which I think may be a good sign. Her strong back indicates, I think, as I work my thumbs up and down her spine, that she bears a lot of responsibility, or that she is a highly responsible person (in conventional terms, she is; at least until now). Her back is not "delicate", like a "thin" or "petite" woman's (girl's) might be (like the first was, though she was much younger back then); and yet she is herself petite (short) though no longer so thin as she probably once was when she was a teenager), but her back has a "heftiness" to it that is belied by her overall image. I slide my arms beneath her as I recall and again hold frozen in my mind the image of her walking away from me across the street. I conform my body to hers, wrapping myself up along her torso and entering her, though with minimal sexual feeling, whereupon we become one person.
Images that she and I together envision, mutual dreams, shared insights of possibilities never spoken of yet mutually known. She could be my new family, I imagine, my new brother or sister, intimate, like in the film Hotel New Hampshire. I am her; she could be me. We are together one whole person. Lying together in bed after sex, fondling me, she whispers, "I wish I had a dick."
"You do," I whisper back, close to her ear, teasing it with my lips, and my words. "You have mine."
"It's not attached," she complains, because she's already forgotten how moments earlier it was.
Later, I conjecture that the "empty" material may be hers (or the first's) that she doesn't want me to know. Jackie O. gave her the woven charm, so she had to have received it a long time ago; therefore, this could be evidence that the girl in the store was all along another manifestation of the meta-personality of which the first Maureen was also an expression, thereby being, in essence, a replicate of the first Maureen as a teenager. It's a nice theory, but I can't shake the idea that the missing material may also be mine, repressed. Which, if it is, disturbs me, because I don't want to have things about me that are unknown (to me), I want to nuke it all so that no one can know who I used to be. It would be okay if that material were very early experiences that occurred within the first few years of my life; but, judging by my imagery of the house, yard, and alley, the missing material is from a somewhat later, grade school period (represented into adulthood, judging by the current street and street end imagery). And it would be okay if the material were simply repressed in the sense that the unconscious is a repository of material that is accessible but is never or seldom accessed because the conscious mind can only attend to so many things, being limited by time and attention. But to try to access the material (which is what I try to do repeatedly among the several locations) and to fail and come up with a feeling of very real content that has no memory counterpart is unacceptable to me.
And then an odd thought hits me and threatens to reestablish a former self and awaken me to a time before my reality became a dream: "Am I a boy or a girl?" It arises out of me almost as one of those voices-from-nowhere experiences, except that it's missing the actual auditory component. This is not a new thought; and it's not a questioning doubt about my sexuality. I'm completely comfortable with who I am sexually and I know (from past experience) that, if I were ever to discover additional layers of sexuality that I have thus far repressed (and which I doubt actually exist; but you never know), I would be comletely comfortable with the knowledge. As for how I understand myself sexually right now, I am very much male in a lot of ways, especially re my attraction to women. And, in the past on a number of occasions when I have questioned this, I have thought that, if I were homosexual or bisexual, I would have no problem with that. I'd welcome it because, in a way, I find it a whole lot easier to relate to men than to women; yet in another way I don't: if sex is not overtly involved, i.e., if we are not engaged in the mating game (dating, etc.), but are relating on a different level, such as in a business venue, with sexuality sublimated to lower levels of the conscious or subconscious mind, then, by virtue of that subconscious behavior, I get along quite well with women. It's when I have to adopt typical sociable "coupling" rituals and behavior that I have difficulty; that is, with those women who will not take the lead. This is not a sexual problem, but a social one, caused by Asperger's.
Conversely, relating to men is difficult for me if there is any hint of sexual intent on their part; not that I wouldn't welcome it if I were attracted, but I'm not. And I also have difficulty relating to men when it's on that typical macho, good old buddy level; partly because I easily see through to the possibility of what dumb asshole men repress when they engage other men this way (homosexuality), and partly because I hate that false bravado, macho bullshit with its lack of sincerity and instinctual bellicose underpinnings. Yet, simply talking to men, without all of the agendas, is as easy for me as simply talking to women with the sexual agendas sublimated. All of that being background material for my past insights that I have pronounced "female" traits (non-aggression, non-assertion, waiting for others to approach me; in general, yin traits) and attenuated male ones (machismo, etc.). I am, I have in the past concluded, not so much a specific gender-defined person as others of my nominal gender; and yet I am quite "male" when it comes to sexual attraction.
This is an argument for a far more diverse definition of sexual identity than the either/or one that conventional society wants to impose on us: male or female, straight or gay. We are not black or white, but many shades of gray. And, to change the subject for a bit in order to present an analogous argument: How many people are actually either completely black or white? Not Obama, certainly. And probably not a large minority of whites and a large majority of blacks. Thomas Jefferson and his contemporaries have seen to that. I hate society and its government for its black and white approach to life. Yesterday, the census arrived in the mail. It contains only two "sex" (by which I assume they mean gender) classifications: male and female. I feel like I do not want to choose and resent that I am required by law to do so. I want a much wider variety of choice. Ditto re "race". My consideration of race is complicated. I want more choices, or at least a classification of "multi-racial".
On the other hand, the question, "Am I a boy or a girl" that arises again now could belong more to one of the Maureens than to me; or not. They both have a sort of boyish charm, and both act a bit masculine at times: the way they throw themselves around when they walk and talk, not very delicately female like some women will behave; and I've seen the second one play basketball and she's not bad. And the first one told me once, early on, that she wasn't very "ladylike". Making an excuse for herself, I suspect, lest I discover it later for myself.
Along these same lines, I feel like I want to reinterpret a few of my earlier grade school acquaintances, specifically J.J. and Rocky, both of whom approached me, not as other male friends did, i.e., in that typical way that boys develop friendships, but in more of a "forceful", demanding manner: "You will be my friend, or else." That was probably too early on to be seen as overtly sexual, but it did bear the suggestion of how a guy, especially a macho man without a more refined and polished seduction routine, might "hit on" a woman. This interpretation, whether it is true or not, doesn't surprise me. I have long known that homosexual and bisexual men find me attractive. It never bothered me as long as I could feel in control and free to thwart their advances. Apparently, the message(s) of attraction that I subconsciously broadcast is independent of my intent and is perceivable by both men and women. Many women have thought I was trying to coyly attract and even surreptitiously seduce them when I had absolutely no awareness, not only of intent, but sometimes even of their existence. In fact, even when I intend to attract women, it is not a sexual intent that I put forth. I am attracted sexually, but not in a physical way (or not consciously so); that is, I make eye contact (which most often seems to do it for them), but I feel neither sexual nor even most often a physical attraction (pheremonal, perfumal, shampoo-al, etc.) to them. It's a mental or psychological attraction: I like them, and even, if I have known of their existence for a while, love them.
I fall into love easily and often. The problem with this is that it is also just as easy to fall out of love. Even again and again with the same woman. I theorize that this is not a unique ability. People, I believe, do it all the time, and the people who might claim that they don't just aren't paying enough attention to what's going on semi-consciously. We fall in love with people whom we believe to be a certain type of person and, as we discover they are not (seldom are people what they seem to be), we become disenchanted and even begin to despise them; until, sometimes, we forget about our aversion and become re-enchanted. And the easiest way for that to happen is for physical existence to grab a strong hold of you; because reality as well as dreams is always at its best when felt most physically. It's not so much the perfect form of love as it is the next best thing.
So, when a woman responds to me in a potentially sexual way, that is, when she invokes all of her feminine wiles, however sublimated into her ordinary socially interactional behavior, all she is doing is indicating to me that I have managed to provoke her instinct to bear children. Most often, except under the most stringent of circumstances when she has decided that the time, place, and man is right to have a child, or except in the case of just plain, out-and-out stupidity, women thwart their "romantic" child-bearing inclinations and prevent or abort pregnancy. The "romantic" instinct also serves to convince women that men should do things to them, that they should remain "laid back" and be done to, in order that men further be convinced to take responsibility for what they have done. Women will determine with whom and when to get pregnant and yet try to wiggle out of full responsibility for it by insisting with as much (social) power they can muster to involve her choice of man in the experience (whether or not he is the actual father. Hey, don't get mad at me; I didn't create the instinct).
This more crass than conventional physical assessment of relationships always seems to want to modify my enchantment of love, which is my favorite form of dream reality that defies transition between the states of existing carrying one into the other most easily than any other type of content, putting the lie to any theory of separation. But, once modified into something else, love of any kind, romantic, platonic, familial, deteriorates quickly into any number of different pathologies. This is where the nightmares begin.
We might just as well call them daymares except that we always want to repress them. Their content lends itself far more easily to our illusory desire to separate it off into a different kind of experience that we would rather not deal with, in short, to repress it. And repression is effected by the reduction of the degree of consciousness, often by restricting experience to the depth and dark of night. But, being prone to seeing catastrophe in everyday events (anxiety and depression) and wanting, always, to know the very worst about myself in order to try to dispell all ignornance and thus improve and advance, I strive to know that darkness, which is what this past January with my brother was all about:
It's not that I object to my brother (and his wife) transferentially attempting to "use" me. People do that sort of thing all the time; it's what people do, it's who they are. Lots of people "use" me in this way, even when they have absolutely no intention of contacting me at all, even sometimes when they are totally unaware of my existence. If I am aware of theirs and I happen to take on their "case" (usually because I find correspondences between us so that my unconscious mind is attracted to them), then information is transferred and I process it with whatever degree of consciousness, and I draw conclusions, most of which (unless psi phenomena really do exist), they never learn of. Or maybe they'll learn of it accidentally through third parties who were in contact with me and learned of it themselves subconsciously, or maybe they learn of it via my writing and incorporate it into their psychology without ever realizing it was meant specifically for them. We all do this, taking on lessons and information that others have "thought out" for us, never intending to relate it and never even intending to provide the service, but merely considering our situations in each other's thoughts, which then in one or another indirect way gets related anyway; and we do it in totally non-specific (one-way, in our direction) ways when we merely read about others situations or see them on tv or in films.
What I object to is not the fact of my brother's transference, but the particular nature of it and the insistent way that he as his wife went about foisting it upon me. It's true that I initially welcomed it, which served to encourage it. (Well, I didn't exactly welcome it, but I tolerated it and allowed it for a time to feed my ego.) But they kept it up and with increasing vehemence, until I became so overwhelmed with the interfering nature of it that I acted to cut it off (though not in the permanent manner that it has been cut off; that's his agenda, not mine).
It all seems so distant now in the aftermath of peaceful calm that I have reestablished. It truly seems like a mere nightmare that I have managed to wake up from; except that I know that the situation is still out there in that dream world that we all want to think of as reality, just waiting for another opportunity, a perceived weakness in my defenses, so that it can once again break through.
Next insight proceeding out of the January analysis; i.e., next logical development: my brother's wife is the one responsible for "poisoning" (on an ongoing basis) my brother's attitude toward me--in the same way she poisoned it toward my sister and her husband, which I know of because she has tried to poison mine toward them also, both indirectly via my brother and also in direct conversation with me. I can see now how, when my brother thinks I am "superior" to him, that's coming from his wife, who used to, and probably still does, though I haven't noticed this for a long time, talk me down to him, saying that I think I know more than I really do (one of her projections), feeding my brother's inferiority complex while pretending to assuage it so that it looks like she's supporting him when she's really undermining his self-confidence, all of this being her attempt to make him subservient to her.
I understand these kinds of things about my brother, in a way that he can never understand me; and I don't say that because I think that I am somehow better than he is. I say it because I'm different. And, because I see that difference between us, which he, being of a more conventional (neurotypical) mindset, does not, I understand his mentality, his psychology, while he assumes that I am in this regard just like he is, that I think and act from the same motivation as he does. Therefore, until he learns that some people can be so fundamentally different, and until he learns to see that difference from those others' points of view, then he will never understand anyone except himself, the self he sees in others and assumes is what they are, when it is actually what he is, projected. I can see both his and my own projection; he can see only that which he assumes that he is not.
Getting out of our own heads can be difficult, especially if we are so thoroughly conditioned into the mainstream mindset. We can break out, but we must set about to do it so very consciously. I call this particular aspect of dream reality "Creation Magic". It is the process by which man created God:
Step One: Self-censoring
Standard social filters censor awareness and abet socialization via conditioning early on in life. And we also create our own private filters, either in the service of that socialization or for our own private (neurotic) reasons. And sometimes we create additional filters that alter the original censorship because it proved to inadequately encompass experience of a wider or at least a different truth.
Via censoring, we "choose" our past experiences, whether we accept fully the set that society has provided for us or alter it in whatever way, add to or subtract from it, in order to define ourselves within and without society. In either case, our past as we have come to know it is always an illusion, filtered and censored. Our personal history is the fiction that society and our childhood self built up in memory. Real truth is sub-nuclear and beyond our perceptual ability as ordinary, everyday humans; relative truth can be found by slipping past the filters to see what has been left behind.
Step Two: Creating our self
We can re-create our past, via fantasy and substitution, imagining ourselves to have been in fact the fantasy we now want ourselves to have been. We might as well substitute our own particular illusion tailored to our own liking since the one we are conditioned to by society is as much of an illusion as any we might subsequently create. By recreating our past, again and again, until it becomes a memory habit (which is what we have done in any case), we eventually become the people who developed out of the (created) people we initially fantasized ourselves to be and substituted, changed from the illusory people that society saddled us with. And we can do this many times for many different pasts, and not just one; and as our newly created pasts accumulate, our personalities become a tapestry of rich diversity.
Step Three: Creating our world
We create our world perfunctorily, by virtue of the fact that we exist as social beings who unconsciously agree on a consensual definition of reality [although, were we to exist alone--that is, if I were--we'd do it anyway; that is, I would, which I know to be true because I do it now, although the world, with its alternate definition, interferes with my unique perception as its consensual definition continues to break through into the idiosyncratic world I (am trying to) create].
I create my world(s) primarily through dream induction, although the reality that I dream (up) is as much reality as dreams, as much a product of a consensual conditioning as it is one of my own making. The two (or multiple; it's impossible to separate out all of the various derivations) interact continually, whether I am in a waking or sleeping state. (The same is true for you, if only you would allow yourself to know it.)
Ideas and images repeat themselves, like recurrent dreams, throughout my life, sometimes developing as they slowly change form (morph), but sometimes stubbornly remaining much the same as they have always been, back into my childhood. They (can) pile up like regrets, threatening to overwhelm any kind of hope I might otherwise wish to establish, when I so much want to believe that I can escape them by persistently continuing the conscious application of the world-creating method, deciding that I never experienced any of it, deciding that the change I (will) have achieved was not change at all but had always been who I was:
I had these two pairs of embroidered jeans (embroidery all the way down the front of the legs in various colors; very elaborate) and a third pair in development. Mom is the one who did the initial embroidery, and she does an about-face and throws all three pairs out, because someone (either herself or a very close friend of hers, a woman who looks very much like Wanda Sykes) doesn't like the way they "clunk" in the washing machine. I'm angry, still, recognizing that as just an excuse for something else, because there's no way that the jeans, being soft, could possibly "clunk". I vow to do my own laundry from that point on, but I recognize that this will never be enough because Mom (or whomever) has access to all my stuff and can throw anything out that she so chooses. It's her damn house. So I decide that the only thing to do is to move out. This is yet another of those family anger moments that recur, something yet to get over via the manifestation of my dream reality.
Change is inevitable; but it exists over a significant quality range: Change that takes places slowly over a long period of time is of a much higher quality than that which occurs suddenly and disrupts lives. Change, of any kind, but especially sudden and/or drastic change, is for me a primary cause of anxiety, which causes stress, which can cause headaches, backaches, and heart palpitations; all a series of excuses, really. Real problems, yes, not at all psychosomatic; but which I neverless use as excuses for why I will not strive to overcome my basic nature, but give in to it instead. This is a relatively new strategy I've adopted (even prior to my diagnosis), it's a conscious manifestation of my lifelong unconscious motive: Anxiety is pain. Society causes anxiety. Stay away from society. I've always battled this orientation, so that I might survive and prosper. But now, having managed to succeed (financially) despite it and consequently needing society far less than previously, I find myself in a position where I need not be anywhere near so accomodating or compromising and can exclude myself for long periods of time.
Now I examine my life in the same way that I peruse novels I read, wondering how they will turn out in the end but changing my own text to suit myself in a way that I cannot change the novels I would like to midstream, rewriting my past to make it more convenient, adapting it to my present instead of the more usual converse tactic, looking for and often creating the best moments and collecting them into a self I am more comfortable with. Never forget that we all do this unconsciously; but I want to make it a more conscious and self-determined creative process, the same as everything else in my life.
The critical point in this analysis, I think, deals not so much with the self-change as with the best moments collected (real or fictive; never forget that it's all fictive). I want to assemble together the best of these moments and leave the rest behind (but my psychology, my obsession, wants to force me to include them all, and so far it's been winning hands down). That's one problem, but a bigger one is that you never know the best days of your life until maybe years or even decades later. Actually, now that I think about it, you could never possibly know the best of the best till you're on your deathbed. All you can really know is your best days so far, and so I'll have to settle for that as I progress, unless I can figure out how to write the novel of my life after I have died. (Considering my continually developing persona, the novel of my life, if it would ever be written, would be more like a long series of novels, an oeuvre akin to one of our most prolific writers. Agatha Christie or Arthur Conan Doyle come to mind.)
I will never, of course, write these novels. The best I will manage (and if I do manage it, I will consider myself a great literary success) will be to finish a portion of the forty or fifty books I've got in the works (sixty-four, to be exact; but as I work on them, they tend to get combined into each other); and these books are not, as I've previously indicated, the best moments of my experience, but of the more ordinary variety, and far too many of them. They are what I am, as I have said so many times before.
But, just as I persistently have pared away at all of the "normal" activities (a job, daily showers, housecleaning, grass cutting, etc.) that typical people think are so important to their (lame, respectable) lives, in order to get done what I feel I must get done (writing, art), so must I now pare away at the more mundane daily journal entries that fill up my creative work, so that I can use the remaining "best" moments in concise and pithy works. But I don't want to do this; or, I don't but I do. On one hand, what I'm doing, right now, is what I am meant to do; but, on the other hand, I see how I could do so much less, but do it with so much more "quality". But who's definition of quality am I using here? Hollywood's? Academia's? I've come full circle once again. I am who I am, nothing more (or less). It's a living dream, always threatening to become a paranoid nightmare.
Along these same lines, I also have another dream, an idea that I could make this home I live in into a showplace of creative artistry. And I've taken a few steps in that direction; but I'm still very far away from my ideal vision for what I'd like my house and gardens to become. And this is not a standard social vision, like books (short novels) I might write. This is very much my own idiosyncratic idea that departs significantly from the typical American standard. Maybe I'll accompish this vision one day, but it seems so distant sometimes, and it conflicts with how I otherwise use my time, writing. It often seems that it's got to be one or the other, but never both.
To bridge this divide, I have a home in my head that is more hospitable than many habitats I've been in. All I need is a corner somewhere that I can curl up into and feel safe enough to close my eyes, and I am in the most luxurious surroundings. I've always felt this way, and I've (unconsciously, without even trying) turned my bedroom into such a place. I'm as much inside my mind as I am inside my bedroom; the two places are pretty much the same place. And the same is true wherever I've stayed throughout my life. I make my little corner of the world, even if its only a one-night accommodation, into a welcoming place of respite from the world, a place where I can dream my life into something more than it would appear to be from all externally observable data.
A more recent addition to my hovel of a bedroom (or any potential place, really) extends my inner escape immensely: my laptop. If only I had had this in my youth, my isolating nature would have been more perfect. I got, initially, my first computer and, subsequently, my first laptop, to help me with my writing; I never at all imagined that it would help me with my life. I had no idea how far I would end up extending myself into the digital realm. And it all happened so gradually that I was hardly aware of how I was "developing" in this regard. I had the idea somewhat early on that a paperbound procedure (later I realized that it would require the plural) could help to organize and control my life if only I could manage it. But I never seemed able to do it, on paper. Maybe, with all the "free" time I now have (it's not really free, it comes at a rather high cost), paper might work. But it'd be a whole lot clumsier. The laptop is a lot more convenient than the desktop, of course, for procedure documentation and obsessive record keeping. Technology is a wonderful mechanism for maintaining (the illusion of) control. Virtual reality is the next best thing to dreaming.
This kind of obsessive activity goes a way toward reducing anxiety. Not all the way, of course, usually only the shortest distance beyond the actual activty; but it helps. I need more potent therapies to deal with the anxiety. It occurs to me (based on an earlier idea) that I might mitigate my social anxiety by pretending to be mute. I could carry around printed cards stating such and a pad and pencil, so that, when required to respond, I could hand people a card and then write out my response on a piece of paper. Most people, then, considering the additional burden placed on communication, would quickly move on.
But it would seem that I've uncovered the basic flaw in my conditioned reactions (social anxiety): I've known for a while that I experience anxiety only up until the point where I engage/am engaged by people, when it will then all melt away as I interact. Speaking, then, is not a problem for me after I engage; so the printed card and pencil and paper would only need to be a private prop I would use to mitigate the anxiety that precedes interaction. In other words, the anxiety is a fiction; or it's not a performance issue, but a pre-performance one: simple stage fright.
When I get "stage fright" (anxiety, the stage being the society in which I am out attempting to function), it's because (unconsciously, conditionally) I fear making a mistake in public, saying the wrong thing or experiencing a momentary lapse of attention that leaves me wordless, which leads to embarrassment and regret. This is how anxiety, rather than being the primary problem, is a derivative of the Asperger's symptoms of making inappropriate remarks and/or lapse of attention.
I have a private defense against this (though I doubt it'll help me in a public arena): any time I experience an autistic symptom, I announce it as such; i.e., I label it. This is a kind of excuse-making mechanism, as if it's all right to be this way because it's the way I am. It is all right to be this way, when I am alone; and so I announce it and leave it be, 'nuf said. But, society being what it is, when I am out, it is often not enough just to classify the experience and move on, because society expects me to be like the people it conditions to be the way it wants them to be.
Two of my common labels are "compromise" and "Asperger's". When I recognize that I'm doing something I would rather not do just to keep society off my back, I "announce" to myself, "Compromise", which means to me that what I'm doing is not important, that I should just get it over with and get back home where I want to be; and when some autistic symptom causes a difficulty or faux pas, I simply mentally announce "Asperger's", meaning it's inevitable that I behave this way, so no regret, no worries. This is especially effective re memories of past experience that I regret or feel embarrassed about. They're in the past, they were Asperger's symptoms, and they're not me now anyway; and in a different way, they never were me to begin with, that was someone else, someone no longer here, so forget about it. I consider the fact that I am now free to escape back home and forget about it, whenever I feel the need, to be the primary hallmark of my "success".
One (or many) could make a case for my ultimate failure at production supervision; but I would disagree. I didn't do any worse than any of my peers; in fact, I was better than most and far, far better than a few at establishing and monitoring procedures, cost analysis, and quality. But I lacked the single skill that all of the other supervisors seemed to intuitively grasp: I didn't do very well, nor did I even so much care to, promote myself. I did know how to do it. Once I learned that it was necessary, I studied the matter diligently and learned how to apply myself to the problem of putting my best foot forward and networking; but I did it poorly, mostly because I did it sporadically and usually in crisis mode, because I hated doing it, because I had to do it consciously after planning it out, and because my basic autistic nature conflicted with the effort.
But, further making my case for my success, I wasn't hired to schmooze people. It wasn't a part of my job description and if it had been, I probably wouldn't have taken the job in the first place. I turned down quite a few jobs because they involved the necessity of dealing with the public in a cordial and/or manipulative (salesman-like) manner. And any employer who does not state up front that social skills are a part of the job is being, at best, unconsciously deceptive. People like me are defeated right from the start by employers' unstated definitions of success.
The problem is that, being neurotypically oriented, employers automatically assume that hirelings will be competent at social interaction. It is in this sense a part of the job, so that a part, sometimes a large part, of the job is in fact to schmooze customers, clients, your boss(es), your coworkers; and, to fit into a definition of company "success", you must show at least some modicum of talent in this area. But this is, as I have said many times before, simply prejudice, against non-sociable types of people, people with difabilities.
Not only does self-promotion elude me career-wise (on whatever path I might choose to follow), but it eludes me personally as well. Relating to people is my weakest point, which does not bode well for establishing relationships. In fact, it amazes me that I have done as well as I have in the intimate relationship department. (We postmods tend to call it success when we have had numerous relationships, although, in a different, more traditional sense, success might be best defined as having had only one that lasted a lifetime.)
[Actually, in a different sense, I can be quite good at relating to people one-on-one, after a basic relationship has been established, though I'm not too good at initiating and establishing the relationship to begin with. The nature of small talk bores me to death and causes me to think that people who engage in it are superficial people, because I neither feel the need nor admit to the logic of oiling the machinery of social interaction. If you want to interact, just do it, and skip the boring preliminaries. When confronted with small talk, I always change the subject as soon as possible to more complex, "larger" matters.]
My "success" (if that is what it is) at intimate relationships is explainable both by my so desperately wanting that aspect of my life to go so well (you might say I am well motivated in that regard) and by the very nature of relationships: You don't really know what you've got until a while after you get it; and, once a relationship is established and you finally see through the bullshit to formulate an accurate personality assessment, it's a bit difficult to break it off. You've grown attached and developed an emotional attachment, which is a big part of how I "succeeded" at my all of my relationships: I am quite good at developing emotional attachments that are very hard to break and cause much angst in doing so.
Performance in general is affected by a lack of self-promotion. You might even say that performance is almost entirely self-promotion. Whether you are performing before a crowd of people, for a cadre of management evaluators, or for a single individual, most of the task at hand is to mount a convincing show. Unfortunately, it is seldom enough to perform well. You also have to let the specific significant people know how well you're doing, and you have to let others who know those people know so that they might also influence them (networking), and you have to do this often enough to counteract those people who will try to convince those others that you are not performing well; and there are always people who will try to do just that, for whatever reason, whether for professional competitive reasons, or simply out of spite, sick puppies that some people are.
Success, in the end, is a matter of definition. I succeeded at every job I had because I did what I thought was expected of me, and quite well at that; in fact, excellently, as judged by my evaluations. The fact that unstated (and unevaluated) expectations existed is, as far as I am concerned, a prejudicial matter. (All of my job evaluations included a category called "cooperation" at which, like all of the other categories, I was evaluated as being "excellent" or "very good".) So, I succeeded, by my own personal definition and by my employers stated ones as well (not to mention judging by the fact that I made a whole lot of money, which is one of our most American definitions of success). So, thanks a lot, neurotypical employers, for all of the times you failed to mention all those qualities you expected of me that I knew nothing of. Assholes.
It suddenly occurs to me that maybe I'm not using the same definition of autism as others, even some autistic people, are. People, it seems to me, are not either autistic or neurotypical. They're both; it's not an either/or situation. I believe that autism exists a long a spectrum, with autistic being at one extreme and gregariousness being at the other. The center of the spectrum, and not the extreme of gregariousness, is what I would consider "normal" (i.e., the height of the bell curve). But neurotypical people always assume that gregariousness is the norm since they believe themselves to embody that ideal; but it's just not true.
I've been contemplating for a while now, trying to understand how it is that NTs think so well of themselves (at least re autism) when so many of them seem to me to exhibit non-sociable traits themselves. I have seen the most normal-looking people, people who consider themselves quite ordinary and mainstream, struggle (unconsciously) with the society they exist within, imagining they are integral to it and function well within it when in fact they are borderline and exhibit much awkwardness in social situations, even as they via criticism deny and project their own sub-par traits onto others who are less or differently adapted than they are.
My conclusion is that these people, all people really, exist to some degree on the "autism spectrum", which I now re-label the gregarious/autism spectrum, because autistic people do not exist along a spectrum that spans the distance from completely closed off to slightly socially dysfunctional; rather, all people exist along a spectrum where the most severe autistic traits exist at one extreme and the least severe exist just slight off-center on the autistic side. And those highly "gregarious" people (maybe gregarious is a badly chosen term, true gregariousness being maybe something entirely different, more akin to a kind of spirituality; but maybe not), people like, for example, Tony Robbins, are as "abnormal" as severely autistic people are. I have watched these kinds of people "in action", socially schmoozing crowds, shaking hands with artificial smiles frozen on their faces, talking up a storm and listening when they feel they must while leaning toward the speaker with such obviously practiced rapt attention. In past years, before the styles and fashions changed, their hair would be slicked back (the men) or piled up high and stiff, supported with a lacquer of hair spray (the women; and occasionally a few of the men); in short, they were slimy and sleazy, and they still are, except that they've wised up to the conflicting message that their former stylistic appearance projected.
Among this extremist group are the out-and-out con men, the sociopaths who try to pass themselves off as ordinary people and legitimate business people; and legitimate business people themselves whose ruthlessness alone put them in this category. They escape easy detection via their practiced art, but the people who emulate them but fall short of their ideal of expertise reveal themselves in awkward moments when they let down their guards, unable to maintain the false front in moments when their energy levels drop. Their attention drifts away as their false enthusiasm drains from their faces and their shoulders slump out of the perfect posture they otherwise maintain. They are typically used car and aluminum siding salesmen (or whatever; any kind of high pressure sales will do). These wannabes exist closer to the center of the spectrum, their relative degree of "autism" expressing itself as ego concerns that interfere with their "gregarious" nature.
This way of looking at autistic traits across an entire spectrum of society can explain both how it is that prejudice persists against auties (denial and projection) and how differences and prejudices among autistic types seem sometimes to be so prevalent. Auties are only different in degree and not in kind. Everyone has a little bit of autism. It's an ordinary human trait that explains egocentric behavior. The more of it you have, the more of a dream world you live in, because "reality" is defined by people who have far less of it; and that definition is created and maintained by language, so that, when you do not "communicate" so well in language, when you see content in the world and in yourself that defies word classification, when you come across "empty" content that you cannot put your "verbal finger" on, when you lack the labels that society has failed to provide you with to communicate to others what you know to be true within yourself and also within others who may or may not have the same problem, who exist at varying levels of self-awareness because the culture has provided only so many tools with which to define communal experience and to use only those tools and ignore any experience that lies outside their reach is to limit a more complex and detailed self-awareness (some of us are more prone than others to ignore this "other world" and I would rank these people on the "gregariousness" end of the spectrum), then your more idiosyncratic world/self-view presents you with realms of experience that is unclassifiable, except when you go to all the trouble of creating your own specific system of classification, which is not a communal process and so is not communicable, except perhaps intuitively, via poetic devices for example.
Language is the common denominator of communal experience. Without it, or with an esoteric use of it, we live in (a different kind of) dream world, where reality is distorted in ways that other, more "sociable" people cannot know. Dreams do not handle words very well. This particular dream that we (suppose that we) all share, uses words (labels) by consensual definition, and we use that establishment to (re-)define experiences we have in other dreams (which we erroneously label 'non-reality') to communicate to others and to our reality-dreaming self what we experience in, for example, the "literal" dreams we have. But this translation from "dreams" into "reality" significantly distorts the experience, because "dreams" do not handle language very well; only "our" consensual dream does that.
So, in order to understand the true(r) nature of the dream-reality (or reality-dream if you prefer), we must learn how to use language in a different way, in the way that "literal" dreams use it (or we must abandon it altogether); that is, we must allow our pre-cognitive brain functions freer reign (or rein), so that we might more accurately (less arbitrarily) perceive what really exists, prior to its distortion via language. In other words, we must become more aware of our non-social self.
To be non-autistic (i.e., to have a relative lack of autistic "traits", to exist on the gregarious side of the G/A spectrum) is to have a tendency by your very nature to be less aware; not that you cannot achieve an awareness equal to or exceeding that of people on the autistic side of the spectrum, but that your willingness to comply with the consensual definition process makes it less likely that you will do so. (Of course, there are always external factors such as LSD that can mitigate this tendency. That's right, folks. Don't touch that dial. LSD can make you autistic; but usually only temporarily.)
Words distort experience. All logic, pursued to its ultimate conclusion, becomes first tautological, then circular, and finally paradoxical. The proper use of logic (and reason) is limited. The rational brain "understands" via contrast and comparison. It pits one concept against another. Consequently, when increasing amounts of data are introduced into the logical system, it must work increasingly harder to maintain the classification system that develops out of its contrast and comparison efforts. Imprecise language is a result of too much data. Increasing numbers of words try to describe similar but differing phenomena. Extend the system too far and it breaks down. No matter how hard we try, we can never adequately describe the true nature of sub-nuclear phenomena or quantum mechanics in words. We can only vaguely approximate them and hope for an intuitive jump. The "poetic" use of language (metaphor, etc.) further confuses the issue. This highly complex process hides the truth of experience behind a confusing barrier of words.
Dreaming simplifies this process by dealing with words, when it does, which is rare, in a more literal way. The words you think you say and hear in (non-reality) dreaming are most likely waking translations of a more basic means of experience via images, which are also concepts, but non-word ones, a more primitive means of "thought", based upon feelings that are in the process of becoming "objectified", though not in the conventional, logical, sense of that word, but more akin to the idea of "manifestation".
Pursuing this line of "reasoning" far enough, we run into an area of "thought" where words begin to disappear altogether, melting into a fluid mass of image and even imageless (pre-)thought/feeling (prototypical) experience. This is autism, pure and simple, unpolluted by the language of society. This is the aut, experiencing life directly, without filters, insofar as it is capable with its limited sensory capacity (i.e., it cannot see the sub-nuclear "truth" of existence). We can "think" at this level; but it's not any kind of thought that we might recognize as such from our consensual point of view. This is truly a dream world, a reptilian brain experience, even though the "content" (as we have learned to know the word) may seem "empty". We can use language to try to describe this experience (as I am doing here) but something gets lost in translation; and that something is the truth of raw experience. Moderns are addicted to language and seem to be "lost" without it. Primitives know experience more directly. Autism (like earlier-evolved feeling that later evolved-thought developed out of) is a (more) primitive experience of life. "Gregariousness" is (social) advancement. [Do not fall into the trap of thinking that "advancement" is a greater "good" than primitiveness; otherwise you run the risk of alienating certain classes of people who believe that feeling is a greater "good" than thought.]
Language is a tool, nothing more. When we confuse it with being, then we limit ourselves to derivative experience. We lose touch with what we are deep inside. We presume that social interaction is an advanced form of being and the individual is an isolated and anachronistic entity. "Feeling" people should more easily see the light of this analogy, but most often, also being language addicted, they do not: Feeling : Thought :: Autism : Gregariousness :: Primitive : Advanced. Eliminate the value judgments, please. We are not each one or the other of these labels any more than we are each either only female or male, or heterosexual or homosexual, or black or white, or good or evil, or dreaming or awake. We just are. And to believe otherwise is to limit and delude ourselves.
So that I might not make mistakes (limit or delude), I wait. Waiting, for something (specific) to happen (or not) is just okay. But when you add an irregular heartbeat into the mix, it's too much. I'm awake at midnight after five hours sleep; six hours last night. Six hours until morning, when I can have my next cup of coffee. (I allow myself two per day, and I had two this morning, but I've had 2 5-Hour Energy drinks the previous two evenings, and my heart has been skipping beats. I've gotten a whole lot done. Now I have to pay the price. Oh, well. Waiting until morning. Just sitting, up in bed, to pass the time. Awake asleep. It's all the same any more, so that I start to lose awareness. My head nods, muscles stretch, vertebrae separate in relief. If I fall back into sleep in the wrong position, I'll awaken in pain. I have to warn myself awake, shouting internally, "Pay attention".
I think that I buy insights, which I pay for with attention. Meditation is not making any specific kind of experience happen or preventing any other kind of experience from happening. It's simply observing what is happening, in the ordinary moment, seeing it for all it's worth, experiencing it fully, whether it is "good" or "bad". Because, apart from value judgment, all experience is valid and valuable and worth experiencing fully. And all experience is fleeting. If you think you feel "bad", just wait a while, and you'll feel good again. Even your "worst" day, if you will but pay attention, is filled with lots of "good" experience. Meditation is not something you do, it's what you are, when you pay attention.
Meditation, I conjecture, could be a "cure" for autism (temporary though that cure is): When you meditate, you focus on the nature of (your) thought, pay attention to each fleeting moment, let it pass into the next. The process negates the stress caused by the symptom of overwhelming data input via the recognition that each data point is separate and sequential, overwhelming only in that you believe them to be coming at you all at once and that you feel you must deal with each one consciously rather than let it pass and fade. Your thoughts and perceptions are the same ones that others have; only the way you process them is different. Let them fade. Your plight is the plight of the world, your over-sensitivity its perception. As the stream of moments pass and fade, the world stills for you, becomes one with you. Your separateness fades away.
I suspect that people meditate out of needs created by the autistic part of their nature; but I wonder if this is really true. It's seems logical, given that truly gregarious people should have no need to rectify the division from the social whole; but suspicion itself is a suspect activity; and I have suspected people of doing things behind my back all my life:
I'm in a corner store in West Oakmont, at Allegheny River Blvd and Hulton Rd. I feel like Tim Allen, after having watched "Home Improvement" earlier, objecting to moving, out-of-town. Patricia Richardson is looking at pictures of rural properties (the corner store is both our home and a realty storefront. I don't want to move. Al stops by and we go out and "borrow" a garbage truck, which we drive down the road that runs parallel to the Boulevard, sort of as a joy ride (since it's a huge diesel), but also with some practical purpose in mind. We stop and get out for some reason, leaving the truck running on the side of the road and two guys steal it, which is not such a big deal since we ourselves "borrowed" it. We chase after them, trying to get it back. Al goes off in a different direction and I end up getting it back. I'm driving it through a construction site where I meet a woman I used to know. She looks a lot like Patricia, but she's more of a Harley Jane Kosack kind of character, i.e., a very ordinary looking American woman, yet sexy, in a mature, toned-down way. A part of the construction project is a house she's going to build on a part of this site, which is being cleared. She flirts with me in her laid-back, subtle way, and so I agree to help her clear the site, which is a foundation that contains a lot of garbage, trash, old rotted wood furniture, and dirt. I start up a backhoe left at the site and I drive it through the foundation, clearing it. I take a break at the north edge and talk to her. She's trying to convince me (without words; innuendo only) to come and live with her after the house is built, but I decline, because I'm with Patricia. We're walking through the cleared foundation and come across a passageway not yet cleared between the two sections of the foundation. I say, "Oops. Missed some." I get back onto the backhoe and clear the passage.
This is what I'm doing here now, meditating, clearing passages.
I remember Mom and the family and have them all confused in my mind with other people now. I'm still trying to decide on what the true nature of family is and who, if anyone, should be a part of mine. We drove one day down to a shopping mall with a huge discount store, maybe at Eastgate or maybe it was earlier than that; East Hills, maybe. We went there to buy something specific, but I don't remember what it was, I was just along for the ride. There's a long line just to get into the mall and another one to get into the store. I remember thinking how odd that was, or maybe I'm confsuing that time with another one. In any case, we're at the front of the line, the next to go in; and, after we're in the mall, we're at the front of the line to get into the store. I say (or else I only thought it), "Did we jump the lines?" Mom says, "Yes, we did." We're sitting in a vestibule just outside the store, waiting for our turn to enter. The older members of the group sit across the room from the younger ones, except for me. I'm with the younger ones (although I don't feel that I'm so young). A teen girl, about fifteen years old, sits between me on her left and her brother, a tough-looking teen who I know in fact to be a nice guy, not at all how he looks, which is all black leather and teen-dirty. His sister has a squeaky clean appearance, but I know her to be flirty and of rather loose morals. Her leg is pressed up against mine in an obvious way. I am wary, not about the opinions of the others (which is what should be wary of), but about hooking up with her, which is what she wants, I know. I stand up and step aside, trying to decide if I want to leave. She asks me, aloud so that everyone can hear (she could care less) if we're going to get together later. I know I should say yes, but I hedge my bets and say, "Maybe." I want to get with her, but I know it's a dangerous social move. I leave after telling her that she can come with me to my place and arranging to meet her later. She says, "Won't your parents be there," (even though she has to know that my mother is sitting right across the room. I tell her that I have my own place. We meet at the intersection at Verona and Poketa Rds. She tells me she'll be right back and she goes to her house, which is immediately across the street. I can see into her house through the living room window and hope that she hasn't changed her mind. She comes back out shortly and we walk up Verona Rd. to a wooded area east of the roadway. I've been here before in these woods, I know, but I don't remember when. It's an area very similar to the woods along Rodi Rd., so I may be confusing the two areas, which seem to be somehow conencted in my mind. I seem to have fused together memories of several areas and experiences in my past and have difficulty sometimes trying to determine a timeline, which came before the others, which events belonged to which, even sometimes which is happening now as opposed to in my past in my mind when I sometimes walk or drive down my street to a mini-mall where the Sunoco station is, excited by the thought of hooking up with her or anyone these days like on Poketa Rd. when I ask her how old she is and she replies, "Fifteen". I'm so immensely disappointed that I have to tell her that I can't take her with me and I leave. I remember db when she was fifteen, and how I waited to do anything sexual with her until she was legal.
Time, like a lot of phenomena (waking and dreaming, for example; waking out of dreams or dreaming you're awake), is a paradox. Events that happen(ed) in my past still happen to me as if only moments or days have passed or as if they are yet to occur. When this alternate experience of time occurs, I become confused. It's not unlike the age-old argument of determinism v. free will: The future is not determined, but we can't do anything except that which we do; what we do is determined by everything that we are and what has happened to us. What cannot be determined is how we interact with each other and the world of animals and objects that move independently of our volition, except that what we do when we interact is the only thing we could have done (per above), although the specific details are so complicated that no one could ever predict them. So, when we say that the future cannot be determined, we mean that we cannot determine it, because we do not have the brain capacity nor the observational reach to do the determining. And, as for God, well, does such a phenomenon really exist, after all?
Since there is no conscious, personal god independent of human awareness, nothing foresees the ultimate destiny of any given person, group of persons, or of mankind as a whole; even if there were "psychics" who could foresee the future, the incredible complexity of interaction would obfuscate their vision (as is often detailed in the tv series "Medium" when Allison gets the future wrong because she misinterprets or disconsiders one or another significant factor or event, unlike in "The Ghost Whisperer", which is juvenile by comparison). Psychism of this sort is merely intuition, which is imaginative guesses using logical jumps to arrive at "visions" of possible future events, some of which happen to become reality, but otherwise remain ensconced within our "dreams".
Initially, I express reluctance to reveal my message. I state that, if they are to take me seriously, then they need time to adjust to my idea. Beacuse, if someone from the future shows up, any sane person's first reaction is to disbelieve, think the person is crazy, dismiss him, and never see him again.
The memory of him fades as the years pass. But if the interaction is extended over a period of time, then years later, when what he says comes true, they are more likely to remember. When they're old, they'll think back to this time they spent with me, and they'll think, "OMG! He was right!"
And then they'll know for sure:
People really do come from the future. Which, of course, they don't. Because if they did, no matter how fastidiously they tried to obey any preestablished rules not to interfere, they would, if only unwittingly. They'd introduce change; if only via the use of language common to a future era not yet in usage, unless...
I am stuck in this time and place, not because I want to be, but because time freezes me here. My past exists right now, in memory; my future is my present day potential, determined.
Autistics report experiences of being "stuck", frozen in place, unable to move. I get like this often, though not physically in place, but in my mind, when to act doesn't make any sense.
I will not (want to) do things that I (will not) want to do, sometimes because I just don't want to do them at that moment, but often even though I do. Because the time is not right.
Time determines everything in a world that has made itself so dependent upon it; and also in a world that has not. As time passes (which is another illusion), perceptions change.
And perception determines everything in a world that has made itself so dependent upon it; and also in a world that has not. As perception changes, our reactions also change.
Auties, especially higher-functioning ones, contrary to some expectation, can be quite "sociable"; as long as they disregard the signals they get that their verbal and perhaps also physical behavior is being perceived by normal people as somewhat odd. Auties can be quite outgoing in this regard, even though they're looked upon unfavorably and probably derided behind their backs. (The kinds of characters that Eddie Deesen plays in movies come to mind; also the cast of Revenge of the Nerds.) The problems arise when auties become aware of their "difference" and so, rather than accepting themselves for exactly what they are and continuing on in their outgoing manner, they withdraw out of an overwhelmed sense of self-consciousness, become reclusive, experience symptoms of social anxiety, and begin to resent society for its prejudicial attitude toward them.
In my own case, in some ways I withdrew early on out of an unconscious sense of difference and prejudice that provoked a "repressed" anxiety reaction; i.e., I never really focused on how much distress I was actually in when anticipating social situations. Rather, I engaged in my favorite distractions until the difficult social times arrived and, even when I suffered as a result of having to stumble into and through social events, embarrassed and/or intimidated, I minimized awareness of the interaction to as short a time as possible and went on about my withdrawn (within society) and reclusive (without it) behavior.
Nevertheless, I still forged on ahead, despite the inevitability of running headlong into anxious situations, steering myself around them and around an awareness of them as best I could while seeking the rewards that social participation provided (most specifically, income). And since familiar social situations afforded me the least distress, I acted to familiarize myself as quickly as possible by establishing a social routine. All of this was for the most part unconscious behavior. I did this because I had to, to get by. But, once I became aware (it didn't for the most part actually happen all at once, but very gradually over time) of the true nature of my (social) difficulty and, along with it the awareness of how others acted behind my back, what they really thought of me when they pretended to be my friends, I began to severely curtail my social activities, because I no longer wanted to play that game, wanting instead to find either a genuine society or none at all. (And is there, really, ever in this sense any genuine society, given the duplicitous nature of social interaction that "normal" people seem to take for granted?)
But before that awareness hit me big time, I participated, albeit with some difficulty from time to time, as if I were normal, even being thought of in that way a lot of the time by people who did not know me well. On occasion, I could be somewhat gregarious in a precarious sort of way. And I still can be, though now in a much more guarded manner, always on the lookout for how people might be in the subtle process of dragging me into their little psychodramas for the purpose of easing their own distorted ego discomforts at my expense.
Some people, people very much unlike me, use social interaction as a sounding board for the ideas they spontaneously generate and echo, on and on, without any seeming end. (Some of them probably even talk in their sleep.) This is what I do when I write, because my social interaction has been short-circuited by my genetic predisposition. Which prompts me to wonder: What do these people who blurt out their creative spirit in direct social interaction have to show for their efforts? I, writing, generate a form of art that is manifestable; their art drifts off into the aether, never to be seen again. Maybe it influences further thought in others, future thought, future art; maybe. But it is in fact a true art, an art of the moment, akin to dance, or improvisation. That's what they have to show for it, I conclude: a performance well delivered.
This is the antithesis of my idea of social orientation. Social interaction with the necessity for verbalization creates anxiety. Verbalization without in-person interaction (i.e., telephone)creates increased anxiety. But social interaction without the necessity for verbalization produces no anxiety at all. [And yet, still, I might not want to go out/interact, a consequence of (mild) depression.]
And, after the interaction's over, I always wonder what the big deal was. This awareness should be enough in and of itself to defuse anxiety. But it's not. Nothing is. It's going to happen in any case. The trick is to get out into it as soon as possible. Once into it, the anxiety is short-circuited. The anticipation of social interaction makes it all the worse. And postponment builds anxiety as the event nears again.
And nowhere has my social difficulty inhibited me more than when having to play the dating game, which for me has always been a performance that I did not appreciate, but for the reward. I would not have had it be a performance, but I was too conditioned to ever allow myself to be myself, and too inhibited to act to my true purpose.
Do you really want someone who wants the act that you play, or wants *you* as you are? If the latter, then honesty, not playacting, is called for.
It seems like I'm always more or less in love.
Love is like art: I know it when I feel it.
I want to be in love; but often it is not returned.
Yet love is never unrequited. When people talk about 'unrequited love', they're talking about something else, something that is similar to love, but not quite it.
Love requires a response to it to exist; however, often that response is felt but withheld, or unfelt but exists unconsciously; and yet the lover feels it, which in this case makes "unrequited love" not quite so unrequited, but...well, let's call it something like 'begrudged', or 'unrecognized', or...
And love is never lust; though the two often go hand in hand, like two lovers who can't get enough of each other and must hold onto one another at every possible moment.
What I don't understand about people who are in love is why they will, as a result of their feelings, allow their lover to take advantage of and manipulate them. I can almost understand why a woman in love would allow that, because women have instincts in that regard that men don't have; nevertheless, in order to become a whole, independent, self-responsible person, women must learn to rise above that instinct, just like men must rise above their machismo in order to free themselves to become whole people. I can understand why men do not, when they don't, allow women to manipulate them, because they assert their machismo to that purpose, which is exactly the wrong way to go about achieving their independent personhood. But I can't understand why men will allow themselves to be manipulated like they do because they are in love. You can be in love and disallow your lover the manipulation s/he will use to get you to act the way s/he wants you too. The argument that lovers will use in this regard ("If you loved me, you'd...") is invalid. When you hear it from your lover, run away. S/he doesn't really love you, s/he's trying to manipulate you into being less than a whole person. Refuse to allow it. And, whatever you do, never, ever use that argument yourself. It reveals you as the asshole that you are.
Lies beget change and destroy love. And I hate change. I always want everything to be permanent. I want everything to stay the same. It's a function of my genetics.
Going out one day, or even two days in a row, can be kind of fun, a break in the ordinary monotony of everyday affairs. But it can also be intense, especially if the nature of the reason for going out is less than benign, such as, say, going to the dentist, which is actually a somewhat benign experience for me, my dentist being an intensely amiable person; but even the most amiable person in the world drilling into my teeth is going to generate an intensity of anticipation that is not at all to my liking. Add that experience to other less intensive yet nevertheless experiences beyond my safety zone two days in a row and I have had more than enough of being "out" for the next month or so. And I have to go back to the dentist in a week.
It's interesting to be out for a while, especially if I get dressed up so that people think I'm someone I'm not, really (or else I am, but only for the very smallest part of my long, long life); and coming home can be a little bit of a letdown because my house is kind of dumpy in comparison to the bright and shiny postmod imagery of the outside world. But my home is peaceful and stable, the haven I've created it to be, free of intensity, except for the stress created by anticipation of leaving it for experiences unknown. The problem is that, often, I don't actually become aware of the stress as it builds up toward the day when I will go out, until after I return home, when the relief provides a contrast to it.
And then my real work begins: the analysis, not unlike that of dreams, wherein I determine what it is I will learn from having once again engaged society (in both "reality" and dreams). The intensity of the experiences, especially when they are intuitive or "psychic" are just too overwhelming until I process and absorb them, incorporating them into the fabric of advancing nature. (Until I do this adequately, thoroughly, I am destined to repeat behavior that is most probably causing me unknown distress; in just the same way as dreaming recurrently until I adequately deal with dream material, I must also deal with recurrent waking experience. And, until I do, I am stuck being who I am. Not that there's anything wrong with that; but I always want to be so much more.)
Before I go to the dentist, I have to go to the bank, because I've created another cash flow problem by having moved money around to take advantage of higher interest rates and unwittingly locking up an account that has limited withdrawals per month.
Maureen now has her name on a nameplate in front of her teller window. She was still at home when I first went out, but she comes into work while I'm at a different window. I look over at her when I hear her exchange greetings with others. She looks over at me and says, "Hi, Joe." I say, "Hi, Maureen," as if we are simply neighbors once again. A guy manning the drive through window says, "Hi, Maureen."
I look at him. My intuition informs me that he speaks because he feels left out. He's a brawny, macho-looking guy. I don't like him. He and Maureen exchange a few words that I don't hear because my teller comes back, having been elsewhere arranging to cash in one of my bonds.
I'm semi-aware of this guy and Maureen heading off toward a back room. (Later, I either remember or imagine that the guy asked her if she needed help with something.) They return a short time later, Maureen first, the guy following. As they pass by, I see that she is blushing.
That seems odd to me. The guy, back at his window, catches my eye and stares at me. I look away. I don't like this guy, even more now. Later, I wonder why he looked at me. I wonder if he's gay and a confidante of Maureen, who has told him all about us.
That was after I wondered, off and on, throughout and after my dental stint, if they went into the back room so that they could quickly kiss and embrace, being workplace lovers and not having not seen each other for a whole night.
And then I think, Hey, wait a minute! What is this? Am I jealous? Holy shit! I am! The relationship between these two is irrelevant. I have no claim whatsoever to Maureen; and I don't think I want one. So what's relevant is that I'm jealous.
But how could she do this to her husband. Yeah, as if I care. But I do care, not about her husband, but about how she could be that kind of woman. But what's the matter with me? Of course she's that kind of woman. She spent some time with me, didn't she?
Any, anyway, all women are this kind of woman, whether or not they choose to act it out or not. [And so are all men. But that's an entirely different thing as far as I'm concerned. Nothing for me to be concerned about. I'm not. I'm not married.]
There's more to this mini-drama, but I don't (yet) know what it is, I haven't yet deciphered the content that I may or may not have subconsciously apprehended, encoded in ways I have not yet discerned. It may reveal itself over time, or I may need further encounters. I may need more material to feed analysis. The guy may be more interested in me than in Maureen, who maybe blushed because she saw me watching her, though she looked straight ahead, peripherally; but I seem to want to think that she was blushing before I looked at her, that she was already blushed when I looked, though this is not definitive since she could have anticipated walking through my line of vision. I've noticed this before with her, seeming to be aware of my presence without ever looking at me, saying hello without ever looking at me when I would look at her, as if to look at me would reveal something more than she was willing to reveal, or to feel, watching her turn her head at right angles to her line of travel when I watched her from behind, as if she could see me clearly out of merely the corner of her eye in a way that I cannot myself see, perhaps possessing a visual talent I am incapable of experiencing; or maybe she is affected by the way in which, when she is safe at home asleep and I am awaken in the middle of the night with nothing else to do, I imagine I am with her, a subject of her dreams that she does not remember well or not at all yet which influence her waking behavior in ways she cannot even imagine, not having as of yet, if ever, managed to break down the barrier between her dream and waking states. Something is (it feels to me) going on here that I'm just not quite perceiving. (Or is this simple paranoia?) Or maybe I'm saying that I want something to be going on, I really do want to know that I'm influencing people (women; or at least Maureen) from afar. In any case, I don't think this is the end of the story.
A fine yet fuzzy line exists between pessimism and a realistic outlook on life, but the line between optimism and a realistic outlook is much more clearly defined. There's a new Citibank tv ad that says, "Every night, when you sleep, dreams never sleep, visions never sleep, aspirations never sleep, goals never sleep, hopes never sleep, opportunities never sleep." I hate to quote that obvious kind of pandering, especially when it comes from tv ads, and, these days, very especially from banks; but I like that idea so much, especially "goals never sleep."
My dreams (and even my non-dream sleep when the unconscious "descends" into realms we know not of and does we know not what), I theorize (and I believe that I have presented plenty of anecdotal evidence for this idea over the years), advance my goals agenda, working non-stop while my less qualified conscious bodymind rests. And, I believe, this process continues on during the day beneath the surface, though in a somewhat more distracted way since my ego is constantly interfering, commanding supplies of available time and energy. I frequently experience "Ah ha!" moments that I know not whence they came. It's easy to conclude that some extrasensory (i.e., psi) process is at work; but probably not. It's probably an ordinary, everyday, non-sensory faculty at work beneath the surface breaking through, which we might, for lack of a better term, label as "waking dreams" that interject meaning into our more oblivious lives.