I woke up this morning. I couldn’t get back to sleep. My head was full of sinus fluids that wouldn’t drain away. I was tired of taking drugs, but I took two Advil. I took an allergy pill later, after sneezing and furiously rubbing my eyes.
I’ve almost given in to going to a psychiatrist and getting diagnosed with some kind of anxiety disorder, so I can take whatever the SSRI flavor of the year is. The Alka-Seltzer night-time cocktail of acetaminophine, dextromethorphin and an anti-histamine has done wonders for me during this winter of stress and blahs from the lack of UV rays. It’s allowed me to be less quick to react in an over-the-top fashion to petty things, and hold myself still when people around me are getting bent out of shape. But, it hasn’t been perfect.
I wish I could just train myself to lose my temper less and have more self control, but it’s still a case of being overwhelmed with emotions when I think someone around me is actively trying to screw me. I just want to haul off and smash their face in.
I get too much going in my head at the same time. I want to change the world, but I don’t know how. I am sick of the radical people out of touch with the reality of most human beings. I don’t want to hear another Tea Party or Transgender person speak. Neither one. They have unrealistic expectations for how the average man should conduct his affairs. Whatever happened to just being a decent human being?
The only radical thing I’d get behind is some kind of radical centrism or radical pragmatism. I would have made an excellent “live and let live” Libertarian, but no way could I ever be an angry, “kick a poor man a little harder to stay above middle class” Liberterian. I hated hearing what OWS people had to say as well. Nothing practical, just a lot of hot air. Nothing about “let’s fix this,” just “let’s blame this.”
I can’t keep fantasizing about fixing the past and saving my little brother. I can’t stop the sex fantasies, and masturbating. I can’t stop losing my temper at the local drivers who are all very crazy. I can’t control myself from procrastinating writing my all-American novel, and I keep surfing the celebrity news and news of the worst kinds of criminals.
I swing hard back and forth between being a “whatever comes, may come” Agnostic, and deeply devout Jesus Freak. It’s not like I have to try. There are days where I feel like I am a completely different person than the person I was three months ago. I wake up wanting to study math and science, and then wake up again hating it and loving the humanities.
I have days where I feel like I’ve had enough of being human, and want to just end this experience, never to return again in human form. And, I have days where I don’t think I’ll ever be able to learn enough or do enough, and will require at least ten more lifetimes to be and do everything I want to.
Needless to say, I don’t have any friends. How can you make friends if you can’t find some particular way of being and stick to it? Friends want you to be a member of their tribe, and carry their tribal characteristics. How many guys out there would rather listen to Stravinsky and read Spanish poetry than watch the game?
I want to change the world, though.
I want the NASCAR fan to appreciate fine art, and I want the wealthy and educated to stop acting like they have the monopoly on the nicer things of culture. I want pretentious people who don’t even understand how much of their identity is an artifice to see themselves for the first time. I want people to stop being caricatures and start being human beings, again. I want Americans to stop burying their heads in the sand and realize that there are now more middle-class Chinese people than there are Americans.
But, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
When I was aged 0-6, I lived in a neighborhood that was very diverse, and then I moved to a racist small town, and then I went away to college and thought I was going to be the consummate multicultural boy, but then I only (lazily) made friends with young men who were very much like myself in how they dressed and behaved and what music and movies they liked. I am a multicultural boy in theory, but in practice, it’s hard to cozy up to people that are different than you. And, it seems like when you get older, everyone is different than you.
I’m sick of thinking about politics, but I still read political news every day, and obsess over which way the winds are blowing in America. I don’t think Obama is all that bad, but I don’t think he’s all that great, either. Now that I’m older with the perspective of time, I kind of feel the same way about all the past presidents. Whatever made the ones we call great have those characteristics was more the nature of them rising up to their circumstances and times than them having especially stellar qualities as human beings. Who is the greatest man or woman in America, today, anyway? What does this superhuman look like?
It’s completely ridiculous, the expectations people have.
I want to change the world, but I can’t seem to change myself, except by minute degree. And, I’m not convinced that my progress is linear. I am a much better person than I was ten years ago, but maybe not twenty years ago.
Life has become this odd mystery. It has almost always disappointed every expectation I’ve had, and only delivered beautiful things where I hadn’t laid down preconceived notions or well-crafted imaginary futures for myself. I am almost compelled to go on living some days just out of a purely scientific curiosity–what will happen next? How will it play out? What will it be like to be in pain all of the time, or how will my mind change to find eighty year olds attractive when I too am eighty?
I have too much I want to write about, and have no way to express myself like I used to think that I could. I’ve tried to write plainly and without some grand thesis, and I’ve tried to do the opposite. I wish that I could be more like Walt Whitman, writing for future audiences with a grand, ever-optimistic vision.
People have told me a lot lately that I have this pissed-off look perpetually stuck on my face. I catch people scowling fiercely at me when I don’t think I’m expressing anything at all in their direction. I do get pissed off. I am harboring a lot of anger that I have never completely processed yet. But, mostly when I look in the mirror what I see is the aging skin starting to freeze in casts of all the pain that stays with me now almost every single day. Pain for lost loved ones, lost opportunities, and just plain old physical pain. But mostly, my heart hurts for me not being able to reach out and connect with people like I used to think I would one day be able to with great ease.
So, I often just reach out to people with my heart, without bothering to tell them that I am sending happy thoughts and prayers their way. Maybe it is utterly unproductive, but there are a number of times where friends with sick kids see their kids recover when I do it, and those kids don’t recover when I don’t do it. Why can’t I have this small delusion that makes life more interesting?
My heart is a heart that shatters easily, so I’ve stopped sharing it. There is this great notion in America that men must be gay or at least weak and worthless if they share their hearts too much. Men who act like Jesus are corrupted or perverted. Men should be aggressive bullies and stomp on the weak. I quite frankly can’t stand a lot of people I see driving around on the roads where I live. These are the kinds of men that made me leave the church in the first place.
When they don’t like something that’s happening in our country, they bitch and piss and moan and fillibuster to try to shut it down, but when someone doesn’t like something that’s happening in their state or town, they say, “well if you don’t like it, you can leave.” I guess I’m not much of a Christian, because there are days when I absolutely hate my neighbors with unremitting passion. I can’t help it. Even if when you meet them away from their packs of validating buddies, away from their guns and their oversize pickup trucks, and all you see are weak, stupid, cow-like eyes blinking back at you, you still can’t help but hate these men who are but dinosaurs on this earth. They know it in their heart of hearts, that the WASP Conservative Male is now a minority in the global theater of power, and they hate it. They’d rather have bellicose wimps like Bush or Romney propped up to make them think that it isn’t so. In fact, even old Commies like Putin look better to them now, than black or female presidents. They are dinosaurs, and they know this deep down. They aren’t producing enough offspring to keep up with the Chinese and the Latin American peoples. Their kids will unemphatically be minorities who get pushed around constantly on the world stage, and maybe one of their kids will be like Adolph Hitler, trying to reignite a mythical, all-American past and invade Canada and Mexico, bringing the world to the absolute brink of extinction.
You see, I have to be honest. I’ve been too dishonest for too long. I am who I am. I can only put on the thinnest of veneers when I step out into the streets of my Texas town. It’s not that I hate myself, it’s that I hate those white males who are caught up in a mythology that will not save them. They aren’t cowboys, they aren’t real men, they are simply parodies of parodies of men who once slaughtered Native Americans and forced Africans to pick cotton. And, it’s the lousy caricatures, reduced to being something less than human beings, that I truly despise. And, when these men embrace the caricatures of themselves as if these were their core identities, I guess that is the point where I actually hate these men as well.
What would Jesus do? What indeed. Would Jesus buy an expensive pickup truck on credit and tailgate drivers of small foreign cars and buy a bunch of guns and make racist, homophobic remarks, and let all non-white, non-straight humans know that they weren’t welcome in heaven? Would Jesus rant about Obamacare, and love to watch Bill O’Reilly? Would Jesus seek out war as a solution to any given foreign row, and label leaders who sought diplomacy as being weak?
Oh, but you just don’t get it, says the arch conservative. Jesus wouldn’t hold those kinds of positions of power. Give unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s. Jesus would be like the Pope or maybe Joel Osteen, were he to walk the earth today.
So, what you’re saying, then, is that Christ’s followers need not be like Christ when confronted with situations that call for seeking revenge, not turning the other cheek, and exploiting the weak?
That’s exactly right.