Rules & Circumstantial Abstinence.

A friend and former coworker recently articulated it to me in this way: “When it comes to women, I just never understood the rules.” I understand completely. I never know if its acceptable to make a move or if by doing so I might irreversibly damage the friendship, even send her running for the hills. There’s always the fear of making her feel violated in the bad way, and I’ve had that fear forever. And it never seems like something that can be asked blatantly. You almost feel like handing them a contract or questionnaire just to clarify the precise nature of the relations and make it all official and mutually understood and agreed upon.

It irritates me because I’m reasonably confident with respect to my people-reading skills until it comes to women I’m sexually or romantically attracted to. Then uncertainty reigns. I don’t know up from down so everything seems like a red light, a No Entry sign over her heart or muff area.

And it was scary enough before all the #MeToo stuff. Now it’s terrifying. Even if things were to go smoothly and there was no evident discomfort, a girl could elect to lie in the aftermath and call it sexual misconduct, even rape, and however baseless, the accusation could ruin my life.

So in that light, perhaps it’s never been a better time to be a pent-up isolationist plagued with circumstantial abstinence.

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Of Soul and Ego.

Refuse
to have this antagonistic, aquatic nuisance
swimming
around inside my fluid, fishbowl of a head.

No longer
will I tolerate this cerebral house fly
buzzing ‘round, relentless, serving as a living thorn
in the side of my every waking day.

Undisturbed, unmoved, unreactionary,
I will ascend and resist
the push and pull below,

refuse to engage
with, to cling to or resist, the constant onslaught
of this internal, eternal bullshit.

If I die, it won’t be in the arms
or by the hand of these killer whispers
in my aching head.

Slavery reached it’s end.

I am free.

I have a will and I choose
to rise above this.

I am my soul and can no longer
bear to live
in the chains and bars
required by this.

Drunk on Emotions.

Back in the days when my friends and I would go bar-hopping in a college town on the weekends, my frustration and embarrassment with myself began to grow. Behavior always seemed appropriate enough in the midst of inebriation, but on the day following our drunken meanderings and shenanigans darkness would fall on me — and it was like a thick, heavy blanket. I would frantically message or text those I felt I’d been a douche to, silently vowing to myself to behave better next time. Invariably, however, the following weekend was no different.

Wash, rinse, repeat offense.

In my more recent descent into alcohol, much the same thing occurred, only now I did so in the privacy of my own apartment and with respect to my blog. In this case, however, I suffered in silence and, in the clarifying light of sobriety, would ignore my drunken posts — typically poetry — and more rarely felt so ashamed I’d privatize or delete what I’d written and posted while under the influence. I only thought twice if I got a “like” or two.

For a long time, I would pretend that this circumstance required the ingredient of booze, though it’s now clear that this is far from the case. The same damn thing happens to me when under the influence of a mood or emotion. Joy, anger, fear, sexual desire: these were all intoxicants that breed precisely the same circumstances. I say or write something when I’m angry, for instance, only to feel like a fool when it wears off — now intoxicated with guilt, shame, self-loathing, depression. It feels as though I ping-pong between diametrically-opposed mood-dependent perspectives. And be it mood or booze, I think that’s precisely what it is.

The only way to solve this dilemma so far as I can see it to achieve some plateau, some stable baseline of consciousness which I unfortunately appear to lack at the moment save for brief periods separated by emotional roller-coaster extremes. Meditation helps a little, though I should probably do it more. Medication may help and perhaps I should get on it again. And neurofeedback would be awesome if it was both affordable and available.

I’ve got to do something: the oscillation is getting exhausting.

Life and the Art of Dramatic Writing.

There is a need for focus, structure, motivation, all of which sprouts out of the seed of premise. Or so the book says.

No premise, no destination.

Devoid of a destination, you have no sense of the right road to take and you become nauseatingly familiar with dead ends and dizzying circles. Like a hamster on a wheel or an analog clock bound to the wall you might keeping moving — all without getting anywhere. You might pull over and forfeit the game; set up camp in the land of the lost, exhausted by your uncertainties. In any case, you still have no sense of where you are or how to get out.

You are still lacking a premise and you know it. However highly you might value self-awareness, you keep up the battle to achieve and maintain high spirits and fight against the tendency for such self-awareness to breed that abysmal self-loathing.

I need to write better. Live better.

Least Favorite Person.

As I didn’t officially meet him or heard anyone reference him by name, I’ve been calling him curly-haired, nervous-looking guy. In my head, anyway. He’s some kid working front counter that just started this week. Today he walked up to me, called me by name and asked for the maintenance keys, but I just walked out into the lobby and opened the door to the maintenance closet for him. As he dug around in there, he forced a laugh.

“I’m your least favorite person today,” he said.

“Why?”

“I’m everyone’s least favorite person,” he said, again forcing a laugh.

“You sound as pessimistic and self-loathing as me,” I told him. “That’s not healthy, man. Nor is it true.”

Yesterday I felt the same way, lost down some deep, dark emotional well without a positive or soothing thing to say to myself. Dangerous depths of depression, vice-like grips of anxiety, rage that began eating itself: that was my day, probably due to the fact that I drank the night prior. It’s not too often I drink now, typically when I’m super-stressed, and I always hate myself for it the day after. Circumstances at work didn’t help. It had all gone downhill from there.

I’ve become too accustomed to these periods of intense emotional turmoil and as much as I hate it, I think I need to seek out prescription meds again. Meditation helps, but I should probably do it for more than fifteen minutes a day.

I should also learn to more successfully combat automatic negative thoughts — ANTs — and talk to myself as I spoke to that kid today. Why is it so easy to say such things to a total fucking stranger, but not myself?

Close.

It’s always the little things people say to me. The asides.

“And people wonder why you have trust issues,” Elizabeth once said, when I never caught the slightest hint that people were wondering about me at all. And do I? Do I have trust issues?

I suppose I do.

“You don’t like people getting close to you,” Gus said to me recently when I referenced his lack of respect for personal space, but I didn’t say it in an angry manner. He wasn’t saying this to me in an angry manner, either, it was just an observation — but I thought he meant close physical proximity. Which isn’t true. I like hugs. I shake hands. I have sex, or at least I used to. It’s just that I don’t do that with just anybody, that’s all. He didn’t mean physical proximity, however, as he went on to briefly explain before one or both of us got distracted. He meant emotionally.

Which isn’t true, not entirely. I want to be close but I need to be free. And yes, I’ve learned that getting too close never ends well, and I’m cautious about the strength of the bond. Every high has its equal and opposite comedown. However good it is, you will end up feeling just as bad. However close you feel, the severance will be as painful, the distance as vast and cold.

So the question always is: is the potential for this close bond worth nurturing, or would it cause more problems than its worth?

Typically, intimacy loses the election. I keep nearly everyone at arm’s length. My close friends, family, they get bent elbows.

Its nothing personal, I just need more room to breathe than the normal person.

My people tolerance has even declined over the years, though I think this might have a lot to do with working food service. Far before the end of the day I feel like I’m in overload and feel as though I run out the door and for the hills at the end of my shift just to salvage that last little bit of my soul.

The persona smothers me. People drain me. Isolation is my natural environment.

Hanging out with people, being social voluntarily after being imprisoned by it from four to midnight plus, it kills me inside. Eats away at me. I fear losing myself in the herd, becoming whatever they think of me by confusing myself with the reflections in their eyes, or something like that. But its a physical pain, too. My muscles ache from the tension. My mind is so bored its eating itself alive or its so tense that it needs to relieve itself through the medium of ink or pastel or hunt-and-pecking.

So it’s not that I hate people, not even that I don’t want to be close to people, I’m just quickly overwhelmed by them. I’m an emotional sponge nearly always approaching maximum saturation.

This has been an issue with family, with friends. Certainly with the rare intimate relationship. Am I just fucking wired this way?

My Overreactions.

For the longest time, I’m fine. Not great, not on top of the world by any means, but I’m okay. Life is manageable. Then the inner tension rises and I cannot for the life of me bring it down. I jump to conclusions and overreact. The smallest things set me off in the biggest way for an enduring period if time. Trying to contain the intensity kills, so I draw it or write it out. Get my paranoia down on paper so as to exorcise it from myself. And when I finally calm down a bit, at least for a day or two, clarity comes back and I’m embarrassed and ashamed of myself.

And here I am.

Ouroboros Girl.

Walking out from behind counter, a vibrant pair of eyes catch me in their tractor beams. They belong to a beautiful girl in a blue dress. She has her phone in her hands and very politely, calmly and confidently she asks me the address, what town she’s in. She’s looking for route 5.

She’s beaming with this intense yet soothing energy. Its compact, controlled, focused, disciplined, revitalizing energy. She reminds me a lot of my ex-girlfriend, Kate, from years ago, but something that also reminds me of that girl who grew up in but ultimately escaped from the clutches of the Westboro Baptist church. Feeling her, it seems as though she’s somehow able to balance her light and darkness. There is this wonderful naughtiness in her eyes, this rich darkness inside that she’s in touch with — but she controls it, not the other way around.

I feel it all, but I ask myself: am I just crazy and pulling this out of my ass?

She has several tattoos, but only one that I feel safe to examine, and its when her back is to me. Between her shoulder blades, there is an ouroboros. My alleged spirit animal or totem animal eating its own tail.

I want her. Ache for her, but this is stupid. Greedy. She’s a stranger and I’m just sexually frustrated, is all.

She thanks me, tapping on her phone a bit before leaving for wherever. Beauty, just passing through.

Labyrinth of a Dark Mood.

Throughout the day, I tried to trace back my mood, this emotional rut I’d found myself stuck in. I tried with all the might I could muster to pinpoint what triggered it or in the very least where it all started.

Idiots on the road on the way to work? Work itself? What was it?

I had been taking Jordan Peterson’s breakfast advice for anxiety: wake up at the same time every day and have bacon and eggs. I had been following the breath in meditation for fifteen minutes every morning. I’d smoked pot. I had jerked off life a madman this weekend in hopes of exorcising the sexual frustration that had been rising to a fever pitch the week before. I had been taking sleeping pills in an effort to achieve sufficient downtime.

Even so, I had ended up like this, and without an identifiable cause. I felt like a sore tooth being tongued constantly by the worlds within and around me. I felt depressed and resentful. Trapped and starved in some way.

Eventually I considered what I have occasionally considered: we feel emotions, we find ourselves in a mood, and then we just invent the reasons. Weave our justifications. In actuality, maybe emotions and moods just happen. They arrive like coatracks upon which we hang our rationalized causes.

Then again: I’ve worked in this job I hate for 14 years, I haven’t been laid in seven years, I’m a year away from forty and I feel ashamed, self-loathing, and constantly fight against my own homelessness and frustration in the face of that, particularly lately.

On break, I couldn’t focus or get absorbed in what I was reading, which was Rupert Sheldrake’s book, nor could I get involved in writing aspects of my book that I’m working on for the thousandth time. Even when I turned my inner eye and feelers towards my mood itself, I found myself psychologically constipated, unable to express it sufficiently. I tried to write a poem so many times that day, but my words just didn’t move me along.

As a matter of fact the last few days, despite the fact that I kept trying, all my poetry sucked, anything I wrote fell flat, any attempt at artwork left me feeling without a shred of talent. Any light I had been able to hold onto in the darkness of my life seemed to have burnt out like a bulb. Still waters run deep, perhaps, but I was stuck on the surface, unable to break what seemed to be an impenetrable sheet of stubborn ice. I felt empty, yet full, which sounds stupid, but even now, in the wake, that seems like an honest way of articulating it. I felt frantic, frustrated and depleted. Passionless and agitated. Nothing grabbed or moved me. Nothing satisfied.

At the end of the day, I was bitching to a manager about how, now that we close at eleven, people don’t seem to plan ahead. There’s no logic to what they do, no foresight or preparation, which is why we never get out by midnight. I find myself judging them and holding it in until it erupts in the form of biting remarks to people or embittered rants.

I’m not a manager or any legitimate form of authority, so I have no right. I know that. I wish my reason would overpower my emotions, but emotions always seem to win the fucking war.

When I got home, nothing I watched moved or inspired me. I took a hit off a bowl, tried to read the book again but couldn’t fall in. Then got the urge to read The Portable Jung again, and it’s been some time. Somehow, that did it. I watched some videos regarding reincarnation on YouTube a bit later, and I fell in the groove there, too. Finally.

What the fuck is my problem?