Perverse Satisfaction

“Shut down the gospel singers and
Turn up the old heartbreakers
I’m dying to tell you that I’m dying here.
Throw up the sickly joy and I’ll
Swallow the sweet self-loathing
I’m just dying to be unhappy again”

– Frightened Rabbit, Nitrous Gas

There was a time when I would have forsaken my own happiness for the sake of some misguided sense of self.  Life had dealt me a shitty hand, and goddamnit the world was going to know.  I took pride in holding that grudge, and a perverse satisfaction in spitefully clinging to the sadness.  The world wanted me to be a tragedy?  Fine.  I could play that part, and I could play it well.

Somewhere alone the way I decided that if the world was going to knock me down I wouldn’t get back up.  Even as it offered me hand after hand of opportunity and possibility, I stayed down.  I refused to accept its apology.  So I held on tight to the darkness it had thrown me into, refusing to look at the light.  I wanted people to know that there aren’t always happy endings, that sometimes life just sucks.  I wanted to teach people the lesson I had learnt all too early, and I would do it even if it was the last thing I did.  Even if it meant sacrificing my own life, my own shot at happiness.

I took satisfaction in being the tragedy, in being the cautionary tale.  In the sadness I knew who I was.

But I don’t want to be that person anymore.  Sure, the lesson still stands, but the world doesn’t need my help to make it any shittier- it does a fantastic job of that on its own.  If life is going to drag me through the mud then it’ll do it regardless of my own efforts, and I’d rather spend the time between sadness feeling happy.  I’ll take as much as I can get, because before long it’ll be gone again.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m still scared.  I’m scared of trying and I’m scared of failing.  I’m scared of the not-knowing, of the uncertainty that comes with foreign territory.  I’m scared of putting myself out there and getting hurt, because it’s easier to live with the hurt you know than it is to risk the one you don’t.  I’m terrified of that.

But I’m also thrilled by it.

Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

It’s not supposed to be easy
That’s why it feels so fucking good.”

– AWOLNATION, Jump on My Shoulders

Writing’s a bitch.

She really is. Sometimes you can make her your bitch, sometimes you find this perfect harmony that transcends space and time, entwining your consciousness with those of people who died centuries before or who don’t even exist in the strictest sense of the word, but most of the time she’s just a bitch. You sit yourself down in that spot (you know the one), that spot akin to the bed where you lie together, and either you make sweet, tender, beautiful love, giving birth to a child of intellect and creativity, a child who if all goes well will live on long after you have passed and longer still, or you lie there in a cold, tense silence, backs to one another, the severity of your solitude and isolation more abundantly clear than it’s ever been before. Either you get it on or you can’t get it up.

She’s a fickle one, that Writing. Sometimes it works out between you two, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you feel that connection between you, the keyboard/pencil and paper, and the entire world. Sometimes you simply stare into that mirror that is your computer screen, and nothing but your own emptiness stares back at you.

Your fulfillment is at her whim, and she’s prone to inconsistencies to the point where you can’t help but feel she’s punishing you for something, making you beg for it. She pushes you to the point where you reconsider your entire life, reconsider your identity as a writer. You begin to wonder if you have it at all, if your successes to-date were nothing more than flukes, accidental miracles, or perhaps the echoes of a life you had, could have had, but which has slipped through your fingers like grains of sand, each possibility for the reason mirrored in the infinite grains.

And then you hit a nerve, you strike gold, and suddenly you’re hammering out a page or so on this very conflict, drawing inspiration from the struggle. And suddenly your fears are gone, and you know you were born to do this. You know you are, and always will be, a writer.

Yes, Writing is a bitch. But you still love her. And you always will.

Requiem for A Modern Leper

“I wrote a book and I will call it something cynical
The story’s slow; the hero does not change
And if he can then he won’t anyway
Instead his foes and lovers all become identical.

I fled the country,
I thought I’d leave this behind
But I built the same damn house
On every acre I could find”

– Typhoon, Dreams of Cannibalism

The Modern Leper has to go.  That part of me that was always itching to run away, to hide from his problems and partake in temporary comforts, can’t exist anymore.

I’ve got a lot of problems.  Actually, scratch that.  I’ve got a shit-ton of problems.  Chief among them are my insecurities.  When you grow up hating yourself it’s hard to imagine anyone else feeling any differently.  Even the people who claim to like you are suspect.  You begin to wonder if it’s some big game, if they’re not just playing audience to the latest pity parade.  Every awkward silence, every cancelled hangout and every unanswered text fill your mind with dark whispers of inadequacy and doubt.

I used to think I needed The Modern Leper.  I thought he saved me from a life of broken, hollow relationships and constant nagging anxiety.  He chopped off the sickly bits, amputated all the infected friendships from my life, saving the rest from corruption.  I thought that by hopping from relationship to relationship, from friend group to friend group I might eventually shake the sickness.  But those relationships were never the problem.  I was the problem.  The sickness was always in me, and my relationships with those people were simply symptoms of the disease, not the origin.  You can’t cure something that’s inside of you by running away from it.  You need to face it head-on.

I don’t want to be constantly pining for attention and compliments to reassure myself that I’m wanted.  I don’t want to depend on other people for my own sense of self-worth.  I need to stop running away from my problems, and for that to happen The Modern Leper needs to die.  I don’t know what will remain when he’s gone, hell I don’t even know that I’ll be able to shake him at all.  But I need to try.

Update #who-gives-a-shit – End of the Road(trip)

As the above gif and title of this post would suggest, I have officially returned from my road trip.  If this were anyone else the rest of this post would probably be dedicated to recounting fantastic tales of my adventure, but this is me, so instead we’re going to fly right past all that interesting stuff and move straight on to narcissistic self-promotion/self-deprecation.

First off I’d just like to make a little note of the fact that in my absence comments seem to have severely declined, which is hard to believe considering how low they were to begin with.  I’m being petty again, I know, but hear me out.  I can accept that not every post requires or warrants a comment, and certainly if it didn’t stimulate your thoughts enough to deserve such feedback then by all means don’t force it.  That being said, if (and I must emphasise the if) the reason you’re not commenting is because I haven’t been commenting on your own blogs, then we have a problem.

I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: I follow blogs because I enjoy and admire their content (and by default their authors).  There is not a single person on that list who I follow out of some misguided sense of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”.  If I follow your blog, it means I like what you have to say.  If I like and comment on a post, it’s because it resounded with me.  Generally speaking I’m a pretty complicated guy, but in this I’m simple: I mean what I say and I say what I mean.  All I ask of you is that you do the same.  If you don’t enjoy reading my blog then fine: don’t.  I don’t want people following me simply because I follow them.  I don’t want pity likes or sympathy follows.

I’m not going to unfollow anyone just because they don’t read my blog.  Look- I get it.  I’m not an easy guy to like.  I’m insecure, petty, self-absorbed and self-loathing.  Shit like that gets old fast, and it can be annoying.  Hell, I know it better than anyone: why do you think I hate myself?  The last thing I need right now is to be constantly trying to gauge people’s opinions of me.  I could never tell where my old friends stood, so I cut them out.  So this is it.  If you’re not in it for the long haul, then this is the end of the road.  If you unfollow me now there won’t be any hard feelings.  You’ll still see me on your own blogs (assuming I’m currently following you) and I’ll be just as avid and involved a reader as I am now.

I just need to know where you stand.  If you stay, I’ll assume you really want to stay, and that way I’ll know the difference between when you don’t like certain posts and when you don’t like me.  I don’t want anyone’s pity, and this isn’t a cry for help or a cry for attention.

It’s just me.

A Guilty God

A Good Wish

I have no problem with religion as a non-believer.  Sure, I might not understand how anyone could ever reconcile all of the world’s atrocities with the idea of some omnipotent caretaker, but so long as your beliefs aren’t harming anyone I couldn’t care less.  I’d even be willing to admit that religion has some benefits, such as bringing communities together, giving people a sense of purpose, and in some cases inciting selfless acts of generosity.  My beef with religion doesn’t lie in my disbelief; it only ever arises on the days that I’m a believer.

I was raised religious, the aftereffects of which are sometimes hard to shake.  The belief that there is an invisible man in the sky dictating life’s every twist and turn can be quite appealing to someone looking to avoid any sense of responsibility for himself.  It can be tempting to blame God for not only my own misfortune but that of the entire world, reasoning that if anyone could do something about this mess then it’d be the guy who made it.

On the days that I’m a believer I find myself filled with anger at the God who seems to have abandoned us, the being who, if the stories are to be believed, has the power to fix everything yet chooses to do nothing.  I blame him for my tumour, for my kyphosis, my insecurities and faults.  I hold him accountable for all the starving children in this world, all the homeless and the sickly, and most of all for the rich and greedy.

“Is god willing to prevent evil, but not able?  Then he is not omnipotent.  Is he able, but not willing?  Then he is malevolent.  Is he both able and willing?  Then whence cometh evil?  Is he neither able nor willing?  Then why call him God?”

– Epicurus

Perhaps it’s a little ironic that my crusade against religion only ever arises on the days that I myself am religious, but I suppose in a lot of ways it’s like waiting until you get cancer to join the fight against it.  The way I see it, there are two possibilities: either god exists, in which case the state of the world is as reason as any to loathe him, or he doesn’t, and therefore there’s no one to blame but ourselves.

The sacred scapegoat of the sky only goes so far though, because either way we’re left with one course of action: whether through indifference or nonexistence God will be of no help to us down here, and it’s up to the human race to take control.  No divine power is going to save us from our messes, and there will be no holy hands to guide us down the proper path.  The fate of this planet and that of the entire human race rests in our hands and our hands alone, and it’s about goddamn time we started acting like it.

Vicious Cycles / Downward Spirals

“In the end
You dig yourself the hole you’re in
When you don’t know what you want
You just repeat yourself again
In the end
You just repeat yourself again
When you don’t know who you are
You dig yourself the hole you’re in”

– Gotye, Dig Your Own Hole

I feel like I’ve been lying to you.  This novel has been a convenient way for me to avoid addressing the truth, one I’ve been all-too happy to indulge.  The truth is I don’t know what I’m doing.

I’ve stagnated.  Or technically I’m still stagnant, because this is nothing new.  I have no plans whatsoever for my future, yet I write and share this novel under the happy little assumption that one day I’ll have it completed.  Only the thing is I still haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to kill myself.

We can make claims to understanding or claims to acceptance all we want, but those claims don’t mean shit all when you find yourself back in that hole.  All the understanding you thought you had, all the things you tried to accept, it all comes rushing back in and before you know it you’re buried in the ghosts of issues you thought you’d resolved, a victim of cruel irony.

I don’t see a future for myself.  I have no plans, no goals, no motivations or aspirations.  Sure, there are things I would like to see and do and accomplish, but wanting something and wanting something to the point where you’re actually willing to work towards it are two very different things.  I don’t feel like I have anything worth living for.  It’s easy to overlook that fact when you’re doing shit all, spending your days watching television and reading books and writing, but the second you’re forced to confront the idea of any kind of future you begin to realise that you have nothing worth fighting for.

I don’t know why I am the way I am, why I can’t think about the future, about anything as simple as getting a job without feeling like throwing up.  Was I born this way?  Was it something I experienced while growing up?  Is it that I don’t want to feign normality when normal is the furthest thing from my mind?  Is it that I don’t want to commit myself, to act like I might be invested in this life when most days I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if it all just ended? Or is it as simple as I’m a lazy little shit, hiding behind melodramatic and cynical excuses in denial of my true nature?

I don’t know that I’ll ever find the answer, and to tell you the truth I’m sick of looking.  The why of it may forever elude me; the only question I should be concerning myself with now is: “what am I going to do with my life?”

As much as it pains me to even think about it, as much as I want to hide from all responsibility and conflict, I need to make a decision.  And yet…

And yet this is nothing new, and this isn’t the first time I’ve chastised myself for not doing anything about it.  What’s worse is it probably won’t be the last, either.  I’m stuck in a rut I don’t know how to get out of, caught in a cycle I can’t seem to break.  If my problem is summing up the willpower to do anything then how can I solve that problem if I can’t sum up the willpower to do it?  The solution is the problem, what I need is what I lack.

Or are these just more excuses, reasons I’ve come up with so that I don’t have to try?  Am I self-aware or in denial?  Am I trying to find the source of my flaws or simply justifying them?   Do I even want to change?

I don’t know.