Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Most Loving A-hole

Some days (more often than I'd like to admit) I think I am a total asshole. I am not an asshole by intent, in fact I work incredibly hard at not being an asshole. I try to act and speak only out of love but sometimes I fail. My goal is to be the most loving person I possibly can be but at the end of the day, I find myself being a jerk sometimes. Society and my interactions with it in the past have programmed in deep responses to certain stimuli and as a result, I can say and do things that I later regret. I don't believe that people say things they don't mean. When things are said, especially in the heat of the moment, I certainly do mean what I say. Upon the opportunity for deeper reflection, I usually find that what I said wasn't entirely justifiable. Something triggered a response and without thinking, I acted on it. Of course this means I am constantly apologizing for myself. Is a knee-jerk emotional response something I have control over? Sometimes I think yes, absolutely. Other times, I'm not so sure. The dichotomy of jerk VS victim is a hard pill to understand, much less swallow. I have a deep desire to own everything that is involved with my consciousness but at the end of the day, there are some things I just don't have mastery over.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Dear, Me.

     I've been staring at this screen off and on for hours now.  I've been avoiding writing this for the last week.  It isn't that the subject matter bothers me or that I can't think of anything to say.  Realistically, I'm having a problem figuring out the order of my jumbled thoughts.  I'm supposed to be reflecting on the past couple of years and evaluating where I'm at now.  The problem is, is that I really don't know where I am now.  In a lot of ways, I am better off.  I have a much deeper understanding of who I am and why I function the way I do.  I've become proficient in mapping out my tendencies and have even developed a few healthier tendencies in the process. On the other side of the coin, I feel like I am back at square one.

     I am at a phase in my life where I don't know where I'm going.  I'm in by no means stuck, quite the opposite.  I feel like I am on rocket skates hurling towards this...this thing but I have no idea what the thing is or why I absolutely have to get there yesterday.  It's a deep, burning, passionate drive that I feel within but one without purpose. I used to think that the passion was reserved solely for creating and promoting art.  I put all of my time, effort and a considerable part of my spirit into what I thought was the only reason I existed.

    As I chased the rabbits deeper, I began to realize that art was therapeutic.  At first I didn't really notice a shift in the paradigm. One day, though, I woke up and the thought of creating art for the purpose of selling it to someone (for either money or a grade) made my stomach ache. I'm not sure if it was because I loathed the idea of having to change my creative focus based on the whims of other people or if I was afraid of people finding fault in what ultimately would be an expression of my thoughts and feelings at a moment in time.  In retrospect, I had already come to the conclusion long ago that I didn't want to write professionally, at least not in any type of creative capacity.  I'm not terribly shocked that my feelings on the subject would bleed into other artistic mediums.

     I create art because it is the only way I can express the churning mass of feelings and thoughts that pound through my skull like the thrum of an old, clunky machine. I have come to accept that I was born with an incredible lack of verbal communication skills and an inherent mistrust of telling people exactly how I feel. Most of the time, I don't know exactly how I feel.  Art helps me process through the confusion so I can get to the point where I can explain it, or at least get to the point where I can begin figuring out how to start explaining it.  People who buy commercial art in any capacity rarely care about the emotional intent behind the design, especially when it comes to advertising or any other mass media work.  They know what they like and if they don't like it, the artist is usually out of a job.  I have absolutely no way of controlling what I feel or what chooses to be expressed at any given moment and thus I can't make any guarantees that I will be able to create something that is commercially viable every time I put proverbial pen to paper.

    This dream, this passion, this drive that had fueled my inner desires and brought me through several episodes of profound depression, was shattered by the simple realization that I would never make a career of out of being an artist.  For the longest time, my only desire was to find something I was good at so I could support myself.  Being dependent on others is something that rubs me the wrong way, mostly because I am constantly reminded that I can't play the game nearly as well as other people.  When I finally figured out enough about myself to realize that I had a tiny shred of talent artistically, I took it and ran.  The joy I felt at being truly good at something without having to fight tooth and nail was staggering.  I felt that I had finally started to turn life around and that I was somehow cured at least partially of the self-imposed blight I had painted all over my future.  Now, the blight is bigger than it ever has been.

     This isn't to say that I find life hopeless.  If anything, I feel an odd sense of renewed hope.  It is layered underneath a strong blanket of pessimism and fear, but it is there.  I feel as if now is the time for a huge shift when it comes to my mind and spirit. I have realistically been feeling waves of change over the past couple of years. Waves whose existence I owe largely to being able to talk my feelings out with someone who, by training, careful observation, and the benefit of time,  knows more about me than anyone else.  She, for lack of a better word, gets me because for some reason I am not afraid to express myself to her directly.  It's a level of trust that I have never had towards any person, especially towards anyone operating within a professional therapeutic setting.  It helps that she maintains an admirable level of non-judgement even when I am feeling judgmental about myself.  None of my feelings, as illogical as some of them seem, were dismissed.  I've noticed that intimate relationships involve at least some format of judgement.  Intentional or not, judgement is painful, especially when it comes from a friend or a lover.  Unfortunately, the people we judge the most are those closest to us because we feel comfortable in doing so, even though most people would never admit it.  I judge those closest to me all the time.  It isn't because I want to be an asshole, it's because my closeness makes me think I know what's best.  The statement "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" has been proven to me more times than I care to count.  My confidant has no intentions towards me other than helping me become the me that I so desperately have been trying to be my entire life.

     Our relationship is a complicated one that goes beyond the traditional patient/therapist construct.  I think this is largely due to the fact that I have been talking to this person on an almost weekly basis for over two years.  I knew in the back of my mind that our relationship wouldn't last forever.  People in these sort of situations have a habit of moving on for one reason or another.  Now I am at that expected and inevitable turning point while at the same time figuring out what I want to do with my life. On both fronts I feel like I am in a place where I can smoothly transition and continue to heal from old wounds while being OK with dealing with new wounds.  I also am not losing total contact with the person who has helped me figure out so much and I will hopefully develop a relationship with another person that will prove to be just as strong.

     I've lost a lot of sleep.  I'm still losing sleep over this.  Will I ever reach a place of equilibrium or am I riding on another wave of false hope?  Part of me knows that there is no cure for me.  I will always be my own mind and my own body with it's flaws and its merits.  I'll keep climbing the staircase until I reach a door and open it.  Part of me knows that the only thing waiting for me on the other side is another hopelessly long, dark and tiring set of stairs but I also know that the climb is the only thing certain in the shadowy conflagration that is my existence.  If I stop, I cease to be.

     There are days I feel like my skin is on fire with impotent rage.  There are days I feel like I don't deserve the gift of precious life.  These feelings are real and they are OK.  I really don't know what I'm doing but as long as I am kind and compassionate with myself, I can keep climbing.

     It all will make sense eventually.