Monday, 17 October 2011

Slack Motherf***er

Sssssssoooooo...yeah...where was I?

I know. I've let things slide. It's been six months since I bothered posting here and I left the Roadburn story hanging, halfway through. Sorry.

Life just gets in the way sometimes and sidetracks us for a while. Usually with unimportant nonsense that takes longer to deal with than it warrants. Myself, well, I've been sidetracked by life, other commitments that take up my time and the general fact that my own mind conspires against me to waylay and prevent me from actually getting things done.

I'm not, fundamentally, a lazy person and I'm quite comfortable with multi-tasking. Hell, I can juggle several books, watch TV and hold a conversation all at the same time without missing a beat - something I inherited from my mother - but I find my motivation is lacking these days...not so much spiritually, but physically. My body is tired a lot of the time. It really does feel very much like a sack of meat that is anchoring me down now, while my spirit struggles to get free and do the work that it wants to do. Crappy analogy, but, well, it'll do.

This time of year is not great for me, physically or mentally - although, paradoxically, Autumn is one of my favourite times of year, along with Spring - for several reasons. Firstly, my body slows down to the point that I often feel that I ought to be put into the airing cupboard in a cardboard box full of shredded newspaper, like the fucking Blue Peter tortoise, and I begin to need more sleep. Secondly, my appetite goes up in response to the cold, which is very bloody unhelpful to me as I am, lets face it, disgustingly fat right now. Thirdly, and finally, I've been unable to really enjoy the end of Autumn like I used to, ever since my mother died on October 31st 1997.

Now, herein lies another problem I'm struggling with - detachment.

I've never been particularly close to my family, so when my mother died - closely followed by my paternal grandmother - I pretty much severed ties with those immediate family members left and let the rest drift away. My father in particular is someone I have no warm feelings for, and my sister is a thoroughly mediocre human being. My uncle - related only through marriage - is a nice man, but we don't have anything of value to say to one another, so I didn't see the point in remaining in contact. The only real feelings my family invoke in me are dread, misery and feelings of grudging obligation, so I figured "Why put myself through it when I really don't want to or have to?", I mean, it's only biology and social convention that keeps us together with family, really, as people I have nothing else in common with them and I just don't see why I should interact with people to whom I have nothing to say and in whom I have zero interest.

I don't expect people to understand, merely to respect my decision.

I'm increasingly finding, though, that my feelings of alienation from others and my total lack of interest in them and their tawdry, pointless, boring lives is spreading out into people whom I would have previously called my 'friends'.
Now, to add some context, I recently was involved in a situation in which an incorrect assumption was made about something I said and another incorrect assumption was made about something I was alleged to have done, and during the course of this it became obvious to me that there are a few people I know who have not been honest with me with regards to their feelings about me and their opinion of me on a personal level. This information was released inadvertantly, but served to strengthen something that I have long harboured a suspicion over.

It seems that many of my so-called 'friends' and acquaintances do not take me seriously, and regard me as a joke and a failure, despite their own shortcomings and lack of achievements. Personally, and in the opinion of a psychologist whom I saw recently, I'm pretty amazed to have come THIS far in life and to achieved what I have, considering what I've been through and what I continue to go through on a daily basis.
Unlike SOME people I know, I have no problems with denial of addiction, no problems with fidelity - I am very happy indeed in my relationship - and I don't write cheques that I can't cash with regard to achievements and future plans. I am painfully aware of my shortcomings but also aware of my strengths - two things that more people should take the time to familiarise themselves with.

In short, I consider myself a better man than they.

Also unlike some, I'm in this for the long haul. I don't believe in quick fixes and easy routes, I believe in focus, hard work and experimentation. Sure it's tough - focus especially is difficult with my condition and medication - but ultimately, I feel the payoff is better...and I don't mean financially. I believe that someone should stand their ground and stick to their guns, no matter what, and that one should always ALWAYS cling to individuality above all else.

From a musical perspective, someone who becomes influenced by every single new trend that comes along is pretty much a waste of skin, but someone who can take new ideas on board and filter them through their own unique perspective is someone to be applauded. I don't believe in stagnation, but I also don't believe that change should be forced. I believe that evolution, on a personal level, should be constant and ongoing. I want to learn every day and never stop. I hunger for knowledge.

I ask you, does that sound like a failure? Or does it sound like someone who hasn't even started yet?

Sure I'm hurt and indignant, but ultimately I benefit from this because it means I can weed out undesirables and not waste another second on them. However, it leaves me in a tricky spot - all of this drama and nonsense helps to further push me away from others, since I've begun to feel that I simply can't trust the vast morass. Add that to my feelings of boredom and wish to avoid unwanted contact with people and you get my initial concern - exactly how damaging can detachment be?

We're repeatedly told that living our lives online is emotionally unhealthy, but I'm finding more and more that the people I'm friendly with online are the people that I can most relate to. For example, I went out recently to a gig and there were many 'acquaintances' and 'friends' there, people that I've known for a number of years on the whole, yet I felt very little urge to interact with them because, well, most of them were boring me. Yet, conversely, I can chat online to friends who live in places inaccessible to me for several hours and not notice the passage of time. Now, what that leaves me asking is this - am I so comfortable with these people precisely BECAUSE they are physically inaccessible, or do I just happen to enjoy their conversation more than that of those around me?

I tend toward the latter, but cannot help wondering if the former is a factor. I'm fully aware that I keep people at arms length, as I do it on purpose. I don't want to be walked all over ever again, and I don't ever want to be beholden to others unless it's unavoidable. It's not that I'm not a 'people person', it's just that life has taught me that most people really aren't worth your time and effort. The world outside of my head and my books comes nowhere near the worlds inside for me, in as far as sustaining my interest goes...and, of course, this raises ANOTHER fucking question - is it ME, or is it my condition? If I was 'normal' would I still feel this way?

These are the things that run through my head when I'm forced to come into contact with other people. Alcohol helps, but, well, I'm pretty tired of that now. I'd rather just not bother in the first place, cut out the situation in the first place and thus negate the need for a social lubricant.

I'm perpetually torn between what I feel is right for me and what is considered convention, and I'm pretty damn sick of it now. I feel that the benefits I get from actual physical interaction with most people are so little that it really doesn't seem worth the effort - and it IS an effort for me. Left to my own devices, I would choose not to leave the comfort of my own home.
I've never been much of a one for socialising for the sake of it, and I actively discourage visitors, preferring for me to be the visitor so that I can better control when it's time to leave.
I like my own space. I cherish time available for me to read uninterrupted. I know I'm antisocial but I find that the older I get, the less I care.

The life lessons that I've learned teach me only that hermitry and seclusion are viable, enjoyable, options, but I'm constantly reminded that they are not the norm. Should I care? What do I lose from severing ties? What do I gain?

Ultimately the choice is MINE to make and the burden is MINE to bear.

As I stated earlier, I'm very happy indeed in my current relationship, but I must point out that this has no bearing on my feelings toward others or my increased lack of need for the company of others. I would feel the same if I were alone, I'm sure. Perhaps I would have cut myself off earlier if alone? Who knows.

The buddhists say that life is suffering and Sartre says that hell is other people and, well, I tend not to disagree with either statement, particularly when considering that one can be the cause of the other.

In Steve Aylett's book 'Lint', his titular fictional writer writes a story entitled 'Feelgood' in which every single other person on earth besides the narrator vanishes, leaving him alone. He is overjoyed and ecstatic, experiencing an involuntary orgasm as he walks along a deserted street, so overcome with happiness is he at finally being left alone.

I can empathise, strongly.

When I look at people en masse, all I see are obstacles and hindrances.

Clearly, I need to figure this all through, which is my reason for writing this. I'm externalising my thought process in hopes that when I see it all laid out here, it will help me to do what needs to be done, for better or for worse.
Understand, this is not a dialogue, and I'm not inviting interaction. This is me, talking out loud, attempting to figure a way through the fog.

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