Given The Choice, I Stay Home

People are fools. They keep the world compressed in their pockets. Eyes, ears and hands all kept hidden in bags and purses and closets.

These people: us, them, they, he, she- we hide things. We hide our shoes in our ears and we keep our breath from revealing too much about ourselves. We hide everything.

Turn a person’s underwear inside out and you will learn much about them. Search under pillows, laundry baskets, car seats and backpacks and you will learn the world about a person.

People hide between the lines. They think they remain hidden by clothes but really they are hidden by everything in their lives.

People are secrets. Secrets with shoes on. They are illusive vapors walking through a world. Never appearing as you see them. There are too many things crammed away in pockets and under kitchen sinks. You will need a ladder to get to the top of their stacked secrets.

I am cautious of people. Even my own wife is apprehensive to me. I am skeptical of herself that she presents to me. There is always a shoe or a spatula or even a larger blanket between my heart and her heart. I must do this to survive. Sometimes I can see her hoarded secrets causing her closet doors and bags to dilate.

Given the choice, I stay home. I prefer my solitude filled with music, drawings and words. Fictional words. Words and music artfully executed. I prefer the silence to the human voice whose words are filled with mold and rust. You see, in my solitude of artfully executed words and sounds, there is nothing hiding. Everything is as it is and the complexities are endless tunnels for my brain to wander around in.

There are no complexities in secrets. Secrets are as banal as a laundry room. Those who keep secrets are as artless as a bathroom towel. They are still afraid.

Given the choice, I will excuse myself from their company. I need brave art instead.

The Impersonator

There are several notebooks on my desk.

I am always writing things down. Things that people say. Ideas that come into my brain from out of nowhere. Things written in books that I read. I write down my thoughts and feelings. I write my to do lists. I am always writing in notebooks.

And then I write on this blog as well. Blog posts come into my head from places I don’t pretend to understand and I write them down. I write novels and then leave them alone on my desktop. I do the same thing with short stories as well. Always writing.

Always using words to resist the powers that be.

Words are the only way that I have found to fight back against the normalizing and abusive powers of  the society I live within. Like many non-violent men, I use language instead of harmful weapons. But what is society? Society is what the majority of people think and believe. Society is a massive club that one joins without knowing it. Society is like a spider’s web formed by a large group of people all believing in relatively the same laws, the same beliefs, the same ideas about how life should be lived.

This is what is interesting about society. It is a verb and not a noun. It is a living thing that is always shapeshifting. Society is not some solid mass that never moves. It is continually moving and changing based upon what the majority think and believe. But because society is always controlled by those with the greatest economic interests, the mass of people are always made to think and believe in very specific and controlled ways.

It is funny to me that most think of themselves as individuals. The belief that one is an individual is the most popular and the most destructive belief in the society I live in. Few are truly individuals. Most falsely believe that they are individuals because that is the belief they have been conditioned to have by those with economic interests. We have been sold this belief that we are individuals. But to really be an individual requires much hard work.

To be an individual one must continually be working and striving to free themselves from society’s influence. Believing that you are an individual just because you have the freedom to chose what you consume, is what is keeping you locked into a false belief. Just because you can choose what to watch on Netflix does not mean that you are not being spoon fed the same ideology as every other show and film on Netflix.

You probably believe that you are an individual, but most likely you are not. You have not done enough of the hard work yet. I question how much of an individual I really am. Probably not nearly as much as I wrongly believe.

But this is why I am always writing. Always recording. Always jotting things down. Always reading. Always using words to free myself from society’s hypnotic influences. We only get one opportunity to live this life and I do not want to live my life under the hypnotic ideology of a society I don’t really believe in.

To be myself means to feel free to live the kind of life that feels right to me. To be able to say and do what I want. To live in a way that feels authentic to who I am as an individual. These things are important. No matter how successful we become, if we are not being ourselves we will just feel like impersonators. And an impersonator is never happy with themselves.

When Nietzsche was in his mid-twenties and was successful and popular as a Professor he wrote to a friend of his, “The most irksome thing of all is that I am always having to impersonate someone- the teacher, the philologist, the human being.” Nietzsche used words to find his way out from being an impersonator. Nietzsche’s entire body of work is the struggle to be himself, free from what he saw as the sickening influences of society.

I don’t know if anyone completely liberates themselves. Did Nietzsche? I don’t think so. But he got close. And this is the best any of us can do. To eradicate society’s influence and become an authentic individual is a noble pursuit. Maybe the most noble pursuit of all. And I think it is worth the life-long dedication to writing things down that this often requires. It is through writing that those of us struggling to be authentic individuals (which is everyone in some way) create our own worlds free from the toxic influence of society’s ideology.

We use writing to make our own mark and quit being impersonators in the world.

The Mask of Society

We all want to appeal to people in some way. We want to be accepted and loved. We want to feel connected. But often our brains think that we could never appeal to people if we are just being ourselves. We are literally terrified to be our real selves because we don’t believe there are others out there who would feel the same way as we do.

We tell ourselves and others to “Just be yourself!” and if no one likes it who cares. But then we become terrified that no one will like who we are and as a result we will end up alone and delegitimized.Our heroes in films, books and on TV are those who are being themselves but we often chose to be someone we are not to avoid conflicts.

If you are at all like me, then the way you feel is on the darker side of things much of the time. You are someone who is brutally honest with yourself about the realities of life, but you are cautious about fully opening up about this.

I fear being honest and open about the things that I feel because I fear people will not like me. In fact, I know that a lot of people will not like me. In our society, there is a specific standard most follow. A standard that says we should be happy, positive, fun, outgoing, successful, attractive and nice all the time. “Life is good!” In some way, most of us are trying continually to measure up to this standard. Many are not even aware that they are trying. Some fear that if they do not measure up people will think they are a drag, a bummer, no fun to be around. Almost everyone fears that if they do not live up to the standard they will end up delegitimized, disconnected and broke.

But the standard is an impossible standard. It is not real. This is a fundamental problem of human life.

Life is not happy, fun, positive, outgoing, successful and attractive fifty percent of the time. We are trying to measure up to a standard that cannot be achieved (hence a lot of mental illness). Fifty percent of the time life is painful, ugly, frightening, difficult, a drag, depressing, sad and negative. It is just the way it is.

I am someone who is real with myself about the realities of life and I strive to be real with others about it as well. But few want to hear it. My popular posts on social media are not the ones that talk about the realities of life. Society (and social media) likes people who are fun, upbeat and positive ALL THE TIME. If you are not this way you risk being harshly judged and discredited. You are a drag. A buzzkill. You risk not being successful and not having people be attracted to you (especially in the mental health business). It is a frightening risk for most to take. Why not just wear the mask?

But being fake is the alternative and I seem incapable of doing it. I am miserable when I am fake. Gosh, if I could be fake I would be able to make a fortune! It’s unfortunate.If I am just being myself this means that I am real with people about how I feel and what I think and it is often not positive. But people cannot accept this perspective because most of us cannot accept that our lives should be anything but a blast all the time.

Even I have found this socially conditioned standardpenetrate my brain. I find that I often seek to be happy a hundred percent of the time. When I feel upset or when I feel like I am not happy it feels unfair. I wonder what I am doing wrong. I feel bad. I get angry. I feel like I should be happier and less depressed. But the truth is,life is sad and depressing sometimes.

Even if you try and cover this reality up, it is a fundamental thing that happens to people.We get sad, we get depressed, we become unhappy. This is how life is and it’s ok.

But I often have this internal conflict going on. Do I fake it and act like it is all good ALL THE TIME? Do I strive to be happy ALL THE TIME? Better? Happier? More positive? Do I act like I am happy and mindful and positive and loving ALL THE TIME or do I communicate with you authentically? Do I be genuine or do I hide behind the mask of society?

Like I said, society likes people who are upbeat, fun, positive and happy all the time. It wants us to measure up to this standard. If we do measure up, we feel like we can make more money, have a better social media presence and be more legitimized in the eyes of others in general. We can have more connection and be more desired (this is what spirituality often is- the attempt to become happier and more positive so that we can create more acceptance, admiration and meaningful connections with others). But I am not really attracted to people who take this approach. It feels fake and contrived to me. So why would I want to do it?

Sure, it would be easier. I will attract more people to me. I would probably make more money and be more popular. But is it fair to people and to myself to settle even if it is not what I really want?And if I want to settle because it is easier and more acceptable to do so, is it the right thing to do?I

I have a mentor who describes it this way: It is like an act. You know all the cues. You say the right lines. You do the choreography. When you go backstage you rip off your clothes as fast as you can. You sit down in front of your computer or television and you are your real self. But you feel sad because no one sees it. You are afraid that if people did see this real self you would be booed off stage. But you are so tired of the act. So tired of the absence of authentic connection with people. So you have a drink or a smoke or a God or lots of thoughts in your head and feel authentically connected with an illusive substance instead.

But I have hope. Or I am trying to be hopeful rather than being completely pessimistic (as I normally am). I trust that there are people out there who feel a similar way as I do and by writing this I am trying to create a more authentic connection with them. The kind of connection that feels right and true to me. But I don’t often do this. I get afraid. I backtrack into old habits. Why?

I think because my brain has become so accustomed to doing things in a certain way. My brain is used to being the norm. Doing what everyone else says and does. Playing it safe.I hate to admit it but I think my brain is used to pursuing the standard and can’t acknowledge or trust that an alternative way exists. But I know it does. That is why I am writing this.

Our perspectives are so influenced by societies voice that we can’t believe that there is a way for us to be ourselves and still have authentic connection and appreciation. We believe that the societal standard is just the way it is and we fall in-line. We live our lives playing a part in a massive play. But I trust that deep down, most of us feel similar as I do. Even those who stay busy and preoccupied and positive enough to ignore what I am talking about must know this is going on in some way deep down inside of them. Maybe it is the root of their illness or addiction?

Here is the truth as far as I see it: Uncertainty is the very nature of life. Fundamentally there is no right, no wrong, no good, no bad. There is no ultimate answer to life. No right way to do things. Life is just a ton of unanswerable things that will never be answered. No matter how much you think and fixate and read about personal development and listen to NPR you will never succeed at pinning life down to specific explanations.

But you can try. You can even get close. People trend towards certain ideas or beliefs or ways of living because they are trying to pin life down. But you can’t ever achieve this. Shit happens. We get sick. We get hurt. We don’t like ourselves. We suffer. We feel alone. People we love die. We die. Things change. There is no way to avoid this, no matter what approach you take. I think it is better to accept that these realities exist than to live a false existence.

To be myself means to call out the realities of life. It’s what I do best because it is how I think and feel. I can’t ignore these fundamental realities of life. And maybe there are others out there who cannot as well.

Who we are becomes acceptable to us when we are being the kind of person we want to be. If being myself means that I am less successful and draw less people to me, so be it. Did you know that one of the main regrets people have when they are dying is that they did not have the courage to be themselves?(Another common regret is not living in the moment more but more about that another time.)

By being more myself I may be delegitimized by the vast majority of people who are caught up in the act of trying to make life into something it can never be, but that is ok.I don’t really want to attract these people to me anyways.

Ultimately, what is important is that we fixate less on what will make other people happy and fixate more on what makes us tick. On what drives and motivates us to be the person we want to be. Figure this out and you have figured out most of what you need to know. If we can stay focused on what really makes us happy, even if this means being brutally honest about the realities of life and risking other people’s dislike, we have a better shot at not being trapped behind the mask of society.

The Blogger

Hello.

I am a 47-year-old blogger.

I am attractive and like really odd literature and music. I am an outsider. At least that is how I like to imagine myself. In the lineage of Burroughs, Brautigan, Negativland and A Clockwork Orange.

Most of my time is spent reading and writing and listening to music and just wandering around with headphones on. Basically avoiding adult life as much as possible. I know this is not what a responsible 47-year-old should be doing.

But I am a blogger. The moment I become responsible and average I will not like what I write.

Most of my literary output comes in spurts. It is not consistent and disciplined. It is fragmented and micro-dosed. This is what is called blogging.

I blog because it suits my ADHD riddled brain. It is difficult for me to stay consistent with anything for an extended period of time. Even a wife. It feels like death when I do anything for too long.

Blogging is a nice compromise. I can write these brief and fragmented entries and post them. In time I hope they add up to a larger whole. It is how I trick myself into writing a long book.

Blogging is how I trick myself into writing a long book.

This is the hope. This is the intention. This is the dream.

After 30 years of trying to write novels I have had to find a different approach. I seem to be incapable of writing a novel. I finish first drafts but the idea of going back to them and editing feels like extracting teeth. I can’t seem to do it.

Blogging has been a method that seems to work for my abortive mind.

I have been blogging consistently for 11 years. Nothing has come of it. Few read what I write. I think that what I write is too incomprehensible to the uncreative and untormented mind. Most prefer more practical things.

Maybe I am just terrible at marketing.

I have two other blogs filled with hundreds of entries. These blogs float around in digital space like lonely islands no one ever visits. That is fine. I know that one day these islands will be discovered and colonized. I know that all good things come in time. My only job as a blogger is to keep writing and posting.

“Everything is going fine. No trouble. Just get set and get going.” This is what I tell myself every time it comes to writing a blog entry. It is easy to get discouraged when after 11 years of blogging you have no more readers than the day you started. I have to remind myself why I am doing this (to write a longer book). I have to keep myself from being discouraged.

Maybe I need to quit blogging. Maybe by quitting blogging I would be happier and more productive in my life. It is discouraging to be a blogger that few read. If I quit I would not have to deal with that feeling of defeat. I remind myself that if 1 person reads something I post, that is enough.

People do not understand what a blogger is. A blogger is not someone who writes and posts self-help or personal growth essays. A blogger is not someone who posts about politics, current events, music or technology. These people are just opportunists trying to use blogging as a way to make money and be known. They are hacks.

A blogger is someone who writes about what they think and how they feel. A blogger is taking off their clothes and exposing their inner life. Sometimes a blogger will make art out of their life by embellishing certain experiences they have. Maybe a blogger will even make up stories about themselves. Whatever the case, a blogger will always tell the truth about themselves. A blogger seeks out c=therapuetic (therapuetic catharsis) through blogging. An antidote to chaos, anonymity and the status quo. A blog is a location that deviates away from more traditional forms of publishing and as a result allows a blogger to freely unbosom themselves without critique. This is what blogging is. This is what it was meant to be before the hacks took over.

I am a blogger and will continue to try to communicate with you in the most authentic way I have found. That is the point of blogging. That is what a blogger does. The blog is a secret weapon againts absolute conformity. It challenges the way you think because I am free to express myself.

The blogger.

 

I Quit

“I quit.” The most sadly underrated act. I hope to give new life to quitting.

There is nothing wrong with quitting. Sadly, quitting is taboo. It is an unpopular word in  the english lexicon. We place quitting in the same category as we place whores and junkies. It stinks of defeat to quit. It’s shameful and the quitter is relegated to the corners of failure.

Quitting mine as well be illegal. It just isn’t allowed. The only thing worse than quitting is admitting that you are a quitter.

This is tragic because quitting is actually a virtue. It is an act that can potentially liberate a person from the things that keep them confined. Who would want to stay with anything for too long? We all know that staying with anything for too long is the number one way to become miserable. Often times couple’s therapy is simply an ineffective intervention for the misery that is innate in staying together for too long. Often times couple’s therapy would be of best use to people if it focused more on helping people to quit each other.

There is so much to experience in this life. Why would a person want to limit themselves to the same things? Humans need change like we need water. But we are encouraged to do the opposite in our culture. Capitalism requires us to stick with things by causing us to fear not maintaining what we have. We have been frightened into not quitting by being allowed to consume everything. “Just stick with it,” “Don’t be a quitter,” “Think twice before quitting.” All moral messages continually spoon fed into our willing ears.

We are such fools for popular vernaculars and ideologies. Understandably so. Who wants to stand out from the norm? Who wants to put themselves at risk of potentially losing everything? I’m not sure I do.

The struggle to liberate oneself from conformity and the status quo is a noble struggle.

Quitting is an act of liberation. An act of courage. Quitting builds character and allows a person to invent new possibilities. Quitting is an act of release and revolution against stuckness. Stuckness is the American way. Quitting is freedom in its purist form.

The greatest art has always been made by quitters. If an artist is stuck in his or her own life then their art will also be stuck. Stuck art is bad art. An expression of the banality that the artist is stuck in. Most popular artists are popular because the masses can relate to the stuckness they express.

Quitting sets a person free. It allows them to feel space, which is the main needed ingredient for any kind of creative act or act of clarity. Humans need space around us like a bird needs sky.

Quitting liberates creativity and everything else that is good in life. Not quitting but continuing on with something for too long creates misery. In American culture misery has become the norm and people are continually trying to find ways to escape this fundamental state. Personal growth, psychotherapy even yoga in its current form are all efforts to free oneself from the misery caused by not quitting. But if a person refuses to quit things, all efforts to heal are futile.

I have quit many things in my life. I quit a successful job as a high school teacher. I quit working towards becoming a professor of English Literature. I quit the process of becoming a medical doctor. I quit jobs working as a waiter and bartender. I quit people and drinking. I quite smoking. I quit a marriage and many relationships. After ten years I quit being a psychotherapist. I think I am decent at quitting and am a better man for it.

I often ask myself, “What am I holding on to now that I really need to quit?” “What is it that is making me miserable now and if I quit it I know I will be less stuck?” These are very important questions to ask. Questions that have the ability to move a person into an entirely new dimension of their life. A place they can’t even imagine, if they don’t quit.

I Love Naked Girls

Do you know how much I love naked girls? A lot.

I really love naked girls. Naked girls with nice bodies are the best.

It is the greatest luxury to look at a naked girl.

When looking at a naked girl all of the worries and struggles of life dissolve.

Looking at a naked girl or naked girls is pure pleasure.

Looking at the greatest of art in the greatest of museums fails in comparison.

What man has destroyed his life over looking at great art? How many men have destroyed their lives because of the pleasures of looking at naked girls?

Naked girls are truly a wonderful thing.

One of the best things in life.

I love looking at naked girls. It is so good for my mental health.

Looking at naked girls dissolves stress.

Why is something so healthy looked so down upon? It doesn’t make sense.

If more girls understood the power of their own nudity they would be living a much happier life.

This evening I need to make sure I go look at naked girls. It has been awhile. It is mid-week and things are stressing me out. I worry more.

Naked girls is a temporary cure. A nice reprieve.

Tonight I will get high and go look at naked girls. It is worth every penny I spend. It would be nice to be able to look at a naked girl for free but that requires more effort than I want to make.

It should not be so difficult to see a girl naked but it is what it is. I don’t mind spending the money. It is how I appreciate what the naked girls are doing for me.

High All The Time

I currently smoke weed every day. I wake up, meditate and then take a few hits from the bubbler. I am stoned for the rest of the day until I fall asleep.

I am a middle-aged, successful man. By success I mean I am not living in a transient motel someplace. I hold my life together with a house, a continual supply of food, a beautiful wife and work that keeps some degree of cash coming in.

I only clarify this because when I told you that I am stoned all day and night you probably assumed I was some fucked up loser. Even though I sometimes think of myself as a fucked up loser, I am not in reality.

I love weed. Weed makes me happy. Weed allows me to pleasantly and enthusiastically converse with other people. We makes me happy about life. Mundane things have a charm when I am smoking weed. When I am high I am in love with life so why would I not be high all the time?

When I am not high my wife reminds me to get high because she notices how miserable I can get.

I have a mental illness. I have struggled with it my entire life. It is a mental illness that causes me to think ten thousand thoughts all at once. It is a mental illness that makes it very hard for me to focus on one thing for extended periods of time. It is a mental illness that causes me to have mostly negative thoughts about everything. Rarely do things feel good in my head. I am exhausted and worn out by my head. My head has nothing good about anything to say, especially about myself.

Weed changes all of that. Weed gets in the way of this. Sure I think just as much if not more. Sure I still struggle to focus but on weed I feel better about things. I am not as worn down by my head and all of its machinations. Weed causes my thoughts to become more positive and glad and this is a remarkable transformation. Why would I not be high all the time?

People take pills for mental illness you know. You know this right? But here is the thing, these pills are making people more unhappy. These pills are wreaking havoc on a person’s organs. These pills are pacifying a person, the modern form of lobotomy. People will be under the influence of Paxil or Zoloft all of the time and you know what the high is from that? A pacified feeling and the absence of feeling all together. No thanks.

People take this shit! People really are cattle or sheep. They would rather take a synthetic pill because it comes from a medical doctor and as a result is culturally legitimate. Even though these pills are dulling them down! But few will be brave enough to be high all the time. Being high all the time is not culturally legitimate. It is actually looked down upon. Harshly judged.

But being high all the time has helped me so much. I have tried everything and nothing works like this. I am better at my job. I am more physically active. I listen to more music. I sleep so much better. I have much less anxiety. I am so much happier to be alive. My suicidal thoughts go away. I love more. I am more creative in my head. I have deep insights about myself and others. I am more present. My anger dissolves. I don’t read or write fiction as much but I am working on this. My lungs feel a bit effected by the inhalation of smoke, but it feels minor. Sometimes I feel like I breathe better.

Who would not want to be high all the time? But most see it as bad. An addiction. A lazy thing. That if they are high all the time they are doing something wrong. Or it is bad to be dependent on something. What bullshit. If that thing makes you a radically better person it is a necessary nutrient.

Stress and banality are the number one and two killers. Being high all the time is the most powerful cure for these two killers. A pill can’t do that and this is why weed is demonized. If those experiencing mental illness were high all the time there would be no need for psychiatrists and synthetic SSRI medication.

I truly love being high all the time. It is one of the best decisions I have made for my life. Smoking weed from morning to night. Not a lot, but enough to keep me in the high range all my waking hours. It is a wonderful place to be. My mental illness is just about cured.

I am able to experience joy and pleasure again. When I am not high all the time my mental illness makes this impossible. I am a very unhappy and anxious man. I experience intense stress and banality. It’s terrible. I’ve meditated and been in psychotherapy for most of my adult years and these practices have not changed my mental health struggles that much.

Being high all the time is a cure.

Sure I am worried about inhaling smoke everyday but I have already had cancer and did not smoke (I do not find vaporizers or edibles nearly as medicinal as smoking). My misery, stress, anxiety and general unhappiness had a lot more to do with me getting cancer than smoke from weed ever will. I am willing to take the risk because the smoke medicates something that is far more dangerous to my health than the smoke is to my lungs.

It is 10 am. I have already enjoyed my morning coffee with a few hits from the bubbler. After I write this I will take one more hit from my bubbler and then go for a walk. Then I will go to work. I will spend the entire day and night high. I will get things done. Then I will do it again tomorrow. It’s a wonderful thing and my hope is that other people struggling with mental illness will give themselves permission to spend the rest of their lives high all the time.

 

*If you’re interested in my next post I can give you helpful tips about how to get to a place where you are able to be comfortably high all the time. It is something a person may need to work up to.