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Give My Best...

     Sometimes the mind of a man becomes so complacent with itself, so copacetic with a milieu of pain that imparts a feeling of comfort, that the only way to jettison him from it is to impart a great concussion on his psyche. Unfortunately, sometimes that catalyst is none other than your exodus from his life. It is the sacrifice none wish to make, that which results in two equally undesirable outcomes. Either you watch your loved one suffer alongside you, or give him the chance to be reborn while he fades into memory. Your only reward is the possibility that you might not be the object of someone's eternal resentment. The choice, though difficult, is yours to make.

Step One Two

     I picture me and another, a burgeoning fire that has broken free, unstoppable, rolling and tossing around like dried leaves on the wind, until I pin him down, deeply stare into his eyes, kiss him deeply, and make love to him aggressively, protectively, securely, and vulnerably. I would wake up the next morning, staring out the window into the morning sun, a tear falling down my cheek, both lamenting the crack of my shell that had occurred the night before, but also heralding the potential savior who lay not a foot away in the cradle of my arm.

Consciousness And Purposelessness

     I am rather unsure as to what is supposed to come next. My entire life feels like one big non sequitur. You're in this existence where the people in it constantly remind you that you mean something, you do something, you have a place, you are an integral cog in this tedious wheel we call a consciousness. Except consciousness isn't real. So I am to conclude I am an integral part of an illusion. Am I the smoke, or the mirrors? Or do I get to choose? How exciting.
     I am completely out of control, not in the colloquial sense that I'm robbing liquor stores or am guilty of arson. I am, quite literally, out of control. I control nothing of my own life, except perhaps its very existence. Maybe that's why scholarly arguments advocating my right to toil with it in the way I see fit make sense to me; at least it's some semblance of control in the cubicle of my so-called consciousness. Others have their protests, of course, bringing up all those aforementioned reasons it should be let be [you mean something, et c.]. But what do I mean? What do I do? What place do I have? What does my cog accomplish, and as such, what would not be accomplished in its absence?
     I am not chased, no pun intended. I have never been chased. If I disappeared tomorrow, other than the emotional reactions of those accustomed to my presence, the world would continue as if nothing had happened. Not even a blip would describe my existence. I have accomplished nothing.
     Now many people like to retort with responses like "lots of people can say that about themselves." Okay, so say it. I'm not stopping you. You have your own journey. If you are inviting me to try to prove you wrong, I will gladly take a look at your place on this earth and evaluate if you're being true to yourself, or you're just emotionally unstable at the moment.
     I have spent a great amount of time actually trying to objectively evaluate my worth, even when not depressed [which for full disclosure, I very much am right now]. The only major difference is that when not depressed, I believe I can eventually make up for my lack of worth in some way. What that in fact means, of course, is that I still agree with the basic tenant of my point; purposelessness. No one relies on my existence. Oh how I would love that. Some people like to tell me that they do and get mad at me for suggesting it, except then they just punish me by continuing to live without me just fine, staying away from me, telling me I am making everything worse, thus almost proving my original point.
     I am being a little selfish by expecting the world to act in accordance with the way I do. All of us do it to some extent at some times, some more than others. But that is the rat of consciousness; it is our reality. It makes sense to us. And I'm not sure it's a force I can compete with anymore. My time is spent almost entirely questioning everything. In a masquerade of conspiracy theory, I insist I must question because everyone lies and schemes and dissembles. Yet most remind me that I should just accept much of what people say about themselves and their intentions and actions. One of my best friends would always just say "okay" when someone boldly lied to her about their feelings because her reasoning was "if they aren't going to be honest with me about it, then I won't sweat over caring." It's a lovely thought, except my overworking brain doesn't offer me such a respite from reality, or rather, my "reality" à la my consciousness.
     All life is a consciousness comprised of fun house mirrors. Oh how I dread foraging through a bloody mass of broken glass for a way out.

Faithless

     I heard a song tonight that felt like what I imagine feeling the presence of god must feel like. It wasn't that the song was particularly good, well-written or melodically superior to any other. It was that in a split second it transported my mind and my heart to a place devoid of anxiety and malice. For a brief, infinitesimally small period of time, I was flying high above the nighttime sky. I felt the coolness of the spring dusk over my face and my body, smelled the beginnings of life adrift in the air, looked down upon a vague apparition of what my life used to be (ideally). It was a flash of imaginary reminiscence fast as lightning, yet experienced by my brain as a moment of ten thousand seconds. It was happiness. And then it was gone.
     I sometimes wish I had a faith. I am not an atheist, nor am I agnostic or just lazy. I rather leave the speculation up to social gatherings and substance-induced monologues about the nature of the invisible universe. That's the extent of my faith, with the occasional weighing-in of my two cents about how something perceived as insurmountably beautiful could be the existence of something we know not. But the faith I need is not that which is a conversation topic, a musing, or a passing line of music. The faith I need is the type from which true believers draw hope and fortitude. In my existence, my soul—whatever form that may be—is the source of my fortitude, my morality, my essence of being. I have come to find out, however, that this is not a perpetual stream. Without replenishment, the ebb of strength from the soul dries up much like a watering hole for a hungry, weary state of being. Others then draw on their faiths to inundate the dry earth of their parched consciousness and restore it to life. I have no faith. My cotton mouth is bubbling at the source, waiting for a drop of rain, which would never come.
     Something went wrong. Where is my compass? Where is my magnetic needle, floating toward my destination? Please tell me to where I am supposed to go. I guess that's another tenant of faith of which most take the greatest advantage: purpose.

Recapitulation

     Always looking for the magic line that will deliver you from despondence, those uttered will always differ from what you wanted to hear by even a tiny bit, just enough to tempt that ever-present faculty of man so well-tempered as to have absolute pitch of the darkest sadnesses of the heart. Even in the most well-intentioned words will there be a thorn, a harbinger of implications and a panderer of dark affections so adept at its danse macabre as to render its victim paralyzed by its mortal beauty, capitalizing on such intense vulnerability of circumstance, apropos as usual. It is a state of mind masquerading as a state of heart in which even the most basic and objective of arithmetic realities becomes an ad hominem assault. Every accidental misstep becomes a salacious affront to a virginal sensibility hypersensitized by an intense and insatiable yearning for something as simple as love.
     I've always chased after the unattainable: a predictability afforded only to those events of the past, an emotional validation that exists solely in hindsight, yet finds a way of tempting the present curiosities in such a way as to risk, and many times succeed at, upsetting the current precarious state of affairs. In an unamusing but nevertheless intellectually curious and logically paradoxical cycle of events, this rather predictable and unwanted outcome becomes a gambler's fallacy in perpetuity, doomed to manifest itself as a providential escape from the monotony of sweet doom, yet whispers barely audible curses into the ears of its victims, relegating them to an eternity of hope and hopeless disappointment.
     It is not others who transgress; it is we against ourselves. Or rather, to be fair, it is I against myself. I must learn to speak not of others' states of mind and heart. In the undying struggle to liberate myself from this hell of pulchritudinous misery, I manage to juxtapose my sensibilities in with the rest as to render them ordinary and therefore forgivable.
     There is no forgiveness. There is no deus ex machina. There is no semblance of serendipitous reform. There is only I, my efforts, my struggles, and my will.
     All we want is to be loved, and work toward that end spending all our time finding reasons to doubt those bold enough to try. Mea culpa.

     But no more words today, only the hand by which my struggles will cease to exist.

Seven Deadly Jobs

     The first, Gluttony, was the first real job I had, and while in college, the only job that was consistent and not seasonal or part-time. At the convenience store I would eat and drink with reckless abandon, gaining forty pounds in a period of three months. This was in addition to the food that I would bring home off the clock.
     The second, Greed, was my first job outside of school, at the bank. My job was to earn as much money as possible, opening credit cards for the gullible, promising benefits of account ownership to those with no need of more, increasing the bottom line of a company that would later defraud its investors and beg for help when its assets turned against it.
     The third, Sloth, was the law school after the bank. An incredible benefits package and a job that I should have been thankful to have, and taken advantage of by a complete lack of motivation to do anything in a timely fashion, half-assedly hurrying through the purportedly mundane tasks at hand in order to have time to do more nothing.
     The fourth, Wrath, is my current position at the call center. An unending assembly line of frustration and hate being force-fed into my head, comingled with an excessively micromanaged work environment and an almost feudal caste system of responsibility. As yet I have not had a moment of sheer emblazoned rage as I figured out this emerging pattern before its ability to overcome me. I believe the struggle continues, however.
     The fifth, Pride. What will come next, if anything? Will this seemingly coincidental series of events yield another position as a model, or maybe even something more benevolent, like a popular charity worker or volunteer who becomes so enamored with his position of power and admiration that it destroys him? We shall see.
     The sixth, Lust. I can only surmise that once the fall from grace at the volunteer job takes place that I will have to resort to internet sex shows or public acts of depravity to make ends meat, no pun intended.
     The seventh and final, Envy, shall be when I am no longer a marketable human being, devoid of hope for the future, and who spends every waking hour remembering what it used to be like to have hope and skill, and yearning for the days when potential reigned. Jobless and destitute at an early age, the only path left to take is one of jealousy.

     Armed with this knowledge, let's try to stop the cycle, shall we James?

Stream Of Consciousness

     Cold stones of fire, melting a frozen ghost of what was and never is, no longer seeing, always believing, unsure as to what to say next. Never has it happened before, never will it happen again. No one knows what it is, no one knows what to say. Frozen ball of empathy, raining down upon the sands. Assault from above, everlasting plague of indignation. Unsure of what is to come, complacent with what is. Never good enough, always struggling, never satisfied, always content. What once was no longer is, never again will what will be have been. Tears of fire shoot across the sky of my eye, emblazoned with the histories of sadnesses, the weddings of disappointment, marriages of victorious failures with an everlasting ember of hope, a bellows of rage, and a towering chimney of smoky ash billowing into the cold stream of a zephyr of forgiveness.

Red Shift

     He looks up. The feeling of sickness and dread in his stomach is unavoidable. Another sleepless night. The dreams he should be enjoying in a stasis of invincibility must now manifest themselves in his consciousness, able to hurt him, able to render him incapacitated with a fraction of the intensity that would be required in his wakeless state. Although fighting these apparitions and pervasive thoughts is possible, it is so exhausting as to render him vulnerable and weathered. After only so long can a man exhaust his energies and faiths. And so he looks up, staring at the dark, hoping there is only an abyss of nothingness into which to stare.
     He should be spoken to and not heard. But when he listens, his interest is unsatisfactory. His apparent restlessness is abrasive, his pondering caustic, his caution inauspicious. He is browbeaten in his futile attempt at obligation. His eyes grow heavy and lined with blackness. His lids close gradually, the world falling into a meshed haze of uncertainty. Just as he opens the door to the traumatic, he is jerked conscious briefly by a shutter. The nightmare continues in a complacent co-conspiracy between prostration and acquiescence.
     He needs salvation. He needs absolution. He needs fortitude. And so he hopes.

Masochistic Hedonism

     Out of pure frustration will I write this. It will lack subtle beauty, expression, or any of many other literary elements that make reading it a joy. Instead, it will have the one thing no one gives two shits about anymore: realism.
     I am lambasted from all sides for being realistic. People who think realism is some depressing disease, people who think realistic people are debbie-downers, people who think realistic people are jealous, callous, misanthropic enemies of happiness hell-bent on destroying the good humors of everyone they meet. Go fuck yourselves. I say this for a good reason.
     Realism has a quality to it that is hard to be against: it's fucking real. Real, as in not fake. Unless you pride yourself on being fake, then you should probably be real. Optimism isn't fake, it's optimistic. But being against something real isn't optimism, it's delusion. Not wanting to hear something real doesn't mean you're a happy-go-lucky person who enjoys happiness, it means you're afraid of reality. Being afraid isn't commendable, so shut your mouth.
     I'm sick to death of people not appreciating the things they have had, have, or will have. We have all done it, and we should all point it out when we see it so that eventually, it becomes the norm to appreciate things. Unfortunately, as I pointed out before, being real is evil incarnate, so caveat emptor. I've grown inpatient and tired with people who insist their lives are piles of dog poo with few redeeming qualities and even fewer redeeming memories. If you've had the ability to live in another country, or TWO, that's an experience. If you've regularly lived out fantasies you've had, whatever those might be, those are experiences, not to mention you're pretty lucky. If you have something you can't live without and have absolutely no problem getting it when you need it, then you're fortunate. You might not like needing it, you might not like asking for it, but it could be worse!
     People act like being addicted to sex, or drugs, or alcohol are the worst things ever. They are unpleasant, I can imagine. I can think of something I think is far worse though: being addicted to feeling inferior, feeling ugly, feeling less than, feeling like complete shit. Maybe addiction isn't the right word since it's not like you go out of your way to feel that way. What about the inability to shake the underpinnings of complete worthlessness? When you're addicted to substances or actions, people are so sympathetic with you, coddling you and easing you through the pain. When your problem is negative thinking, no one wants anything to do with you. You are tossed aside like some garbage bag with a rip in it, left to rot and stink, leaking your rancid negativity around you. And when you try to pick yourself up, you are confronted with the aforementioned people, the ones who brood over what they don't have, when they've had so much. It's disheartening on both people's parts.
     In some twist of fate, the sort-of-but-not-really converse of optimism is downplay. You know what you had was awesome, enviable, rare, your fantasy, yet you act as if it was flawed to the point where it became just as ordinary as the rest. Except it isn't. It never was. Maybe your mind perverted it to some dimension of skewed impression, but it was everything you said you wanted, say you wanted, and will for the foreseeable future say you want. Yet you say it was just okay. I don't believe you.
     I hope I said everything I meant. Emotions are just so annoying sometimes. Strange that good-intentioned positive thinking can cause just as much pain as negative thinking. Why? Because both are skews of what is real. All dreams come to an end. Or was that too real?

Comfort and Repression

     When I was about eight, I used to love the Disney version of Robin Hood. I loved it so much, in fact, that I used to attend my Saturday morning bowling league as my alter-ego, Prince John. I would parade around the adults whom I knew and demand payment of the taxes I had apparently levied without their consent. At first they would smile and fake-laugh, a sort of "oh how adorable [but not really]" reaction, until they saw me still standing there with a "well?" expression on my face. After a short burst of incredulity, they would muster up some sort of spare change, candy, or anything a child would enjoy just to get me to leave them alone. I suppose that was the sort of thing Prince John would have done, so I felt accomplished. One my favorite payments was a little toy purse filled with plastic coins of varying denominations. Enough taxes for a short while, I supposed. One day, I got a little mesh bag filled with golden coins in amazing detail. Granted, they were chocolate-filled, but I still felt wealthy. I think I stopped after that, and after my mother told me to.
     I thought about that tonight because I realized that, despite my fierce independent mind, I can't deny the fact that I like, in some way, being cared for or watched out for. Every time an opportunity presents itself, I feel like I'm downplaying it because it is viewed as weak or indicative of some apprentice succubus.
     I don't like logically knowing something is completely okay but be emotionally devastated by it. I think that has to be one of my biggest problems, as well as one of the most dire hindrances to reconciling others' pasts with my present. I am thoroughly aware that "the past is the past" as well as aware that there are things other people do that are completely none of my business, and I wholly recognize that...rationally. Emotionally, I greatly struggle with various feelings of resentment, anger, disgust, and jealousy. A seemingly reasonable solution would be to, like any emotional problem, talk about it in a structured environment and try to remove the cause, or at least abate it. Nothing could be worse than muting it and burrowing it deep into the recesses of the gut where it festers and ferments. My problem isn't expressing it, it's that the emotions themselves have no basis in reality, and so expression yields the same results as repression: nurturing a perverse hyperbole of the original emotion. This leads me to believe there is something in my lesser consciousness feeding these feelings.
     I worry a bit that as I shed the drapery of negativity and seclusion that I have come to find warmth and solace in, I will be faced with an onslaught of these perversions and will subsequently risk the destruction, or at least the severe handicapping, of relationships I've made.