Enlightened I am becoming, in the sense of becoming unburdened—all of the old, heavy, bitter and harsh things made light by these changes. No more burdened by false images of Evans that I couldn’t possibly hope to become. Visions of Evan on the set of a movie among the famous, or standing behind a table signing autographs for thousands of people eager to meet him. Visions of being hip and all that matters in cities like New York, Chicago or San Francisco. Visions of an Evan not bothered by worries of God and death and stuff like that (except when he wants to engage a gushing audience in an ironic work of fiction). Visions of an Evan free to drink and eat and consume what he likes, because his talent, now spotted by all who matter, pays all the tabs in hotels, bars and restaurants everywhere.
So, it used to be, to hear those stories of men and women made famous by luck and peculiar opportunities, and lust and pant and grow jealous of them, in hopes that perhaps some quirky, special thing of mine would become in demand and get an audience.
But then, a loathing of them, and finally a pity.
How sad, to be forever lacking in that ability to maintain an inner compass, opting instead to set your so-called “true north” anywhere and everywhere that excites your senses and makes you believe you could possibly be an object of worship for others in this life.
I found a richer, deeper more abiding peace that runs far below much of the madness I witness around me. My “outside world” eyes have responded with a kind of clarity I haven’t had in years. To know and love me now, is to surely know and love me. To have known and loved me through each and every one of those years is a great Love with the only mortals possessing it being parents and such.
My Uncle John died today. He was one of the staples of my Austin life. From twenty years ago when I first visited Austin, through the times in high school and college, then for the past eleven years living down here—he and my Aunt Betty with a few cousins represented something of Austin just as much a standby as the Capitol or UT Tower. It seems almost inevitable that shifts like this are happening as so much else changes. I don’t feel very much sorrow for his death. He was a good man, but a hard man to love or even like. When he was at his most wily, he was highly insufferable, hell bent on trying to inject into me what he and Betty thought were all the proper things parents and teachers had forgotten to teach.
He wasn’t especially easy to talk to—there seemed to be little in the way of an active interest in the outside world for him the past several years. Conversation gambits I proposed would often be met with irritation and an impression of disdain—like I should be more intelligent with what I had to say. Mostly toward the end, he just kept his mouth shut and sat there.
I can’t say that I really cared for him much. I liked his sons okay, and I liked that he seemed to fit well with my Aunt, making for a dependable place in Austin you could go and know what to expect. But, often times, what you knew to expect was a lot of criticism for how I carried myself as young man and the life choices I made.
I wasn’t able to leave Austin to live elsewhere these past few years, no matter how hard I tried or however many resumes I launched into the ether. I just couldn’t get away. Once, even with the final interview in the bag and the plane ticket purchased, I still decided that I just couldn’t leave. Many times I felt like Jim Carrey’s character on the Truman show—some strange force always keeping me from leaving. But, in spite of this, my perspective has at least been given a fresh breath of a shift: from the Skyway place laden with memories and dust to a view of the skyline from the Eastside; from a time when it was more than natural to get drunk almost every night at the endless summer happy hour to a time when I was a workout masochist to a time when I know my own self now well enough that I don’t always need to be trying to chase that high, whatever the high might be.
I’ve had since my brief encounter with the therapist a lot of moments where I could clearly see how little mental processes ran out of control, thereby creating physical and emotional ones that did the same. These out-of-control processes were often encouraged by that childlike notion that more of anything that worked once or twice must most certainly be better.
But, some of them were encourage by me simply not knowing myself well enough, and realizing more and more that this strange vehicle I inhabit has its own rules and buttons and shifters, and obeys my commands if I know when and how to issue them.