Identity–things that must be removed

Identity–things that must be removed:
I liked this or did this in hopes of pleasing someone in a shallow way.
I liked this or did this in order to rebel against the first thing I liked in a shallow attempt to assert my individuality.
I continued to like or do the above things out of habit, addiction, etc. long after I stopped doing them for the above two reasons.

Narrative:
Big brother(s) did it, parents didn’t approve of it, I was sad when big brothers left, I did it and tried to do even more of it to get parents attention (to make parents see that bio kid was just as bad as adopted kid and re-unite with adopted kid), after these motivating factors ceased I continued to identify myself as being a rock n’ roll rebel or marginalized from the main crowd.

Do I even like rock music? It’s okay, but it’s not really not that good. Most of it is too simple, obvious and re-hashed from previous decades. Even the Beatles and groups like that sound simple and lacking in depth compared to classical and jazz music.

Do I even like music enough to learn it intimately? I’ve proven that I have no ear or talent for it in order to be nothing more than a casual fan of it.

But, this is just an example of one thing that has directly shaped and defined my identity. Yet, I never got tattoos, I never played music professionally, I never even played in front of an audience beyond rehearsals and talent shows.

I could throw out: writing (except when using it as a tool to help me understand myself better), painting, liking or not liking certain movies, sports, travel, etc., drinking beer, running, hiking, riding my bike, computers, technology, science stuff, etc.

All of these were taken on at some point to impress, please, or rebel.

I can’t really determine how/when I will actually have a few days to myself to put everything on pause and consider who I really am. Life doesn’t work that way when you are married with a three-year-old and a brand new mortgage. You are doing what you need to do to get by during the work week, and dead tired on the weekends–it’s like you’ve given completely of yourself with mind, body and soul and you have nothing left to give back to yourself.

So, I have to steal away minutes here and there to consider these things.

At my core, I am not someone who really needs much of anything. I could spend most of my day in my head, alone, just letting my imagination wander and drift into dreams, being entertained by the weirdness and novelty produced by the subconscious. This I could do in a tent in the woods with minimal provisions.

I am compelled to do and be more only because of a sense of duty to pay forward what was given to me from my parents to someone else. I have a sense of duty about keeping the family line going. This sense of duty is harder and different than the silly people-pleaser whims of my younger years. Those were really more about giving me immediate gratification–I was pleased if someone close to me seemed immediately pleased as well. I had no need to climb a corporate ladder as long as I was pleasing my coworkers. This has boxed me in to being someone who appears to be only fit for service and support roles rather than managerial ones.

But, I am not setting out to change the professional rut I’ve gotten stuck in. I’ve tried that too many times only to be met with failure. That is simply a survival thing that is tied to the above sense of duty. It is my duty to be a decent father and husband, if never a great one who is highly honored and flattered with special attention.

That said, I don’t thing that the sense of hard duty that comes with being a father and husband encompasses or makes up the totality of who I really am. At the end of the day, I crave an identity that is uniquely me, and set apart from my familial roles.

For me, there is also a sense of duty in removing all of the bullshit in me that has accrued from past misguided attempts to please others and be someone I am not. This is far more important than picking up a new hobby and seeing if I like it, and then moving onto another one and another one.

There are bullshit vices and bad habits I don’t need to detail here, that get in the way of me being more focused and productive.

***

Yesterday morning, after writing the above, I smashed our security system control panel out of pure frustration at something taking control over my house. I took personal offense to it. I felt bad afterward, sort of, but I was still mad.

My dreams have been pretty varied and interesting, but I haven’t been inclined to try too hard to remember them and write them down as of late. The reason being that so much dream journaling has never seemed to get me anywhere.

I feel like I need to spend much time focusing, re-focusing on what my core identity must be, and less time latching on to some thing that I will just allow to lead me around by the nose.

In essence, most of my failed attempts to get anything done stem from an unwillingness to improve my self motivation–my proactive output, where I give out of a self-initiated willingness to give and work. I keep trying to find some kind of interest or activity that will engage me because I am so captivated by it.

In other words, I have this weak-willed character flaw that prefers to be led and motivated from the outside. Think of the example of wanting to get into learning mathematics or going to seminary. I was hoping that sheer necessity and compulsion laid upon me by outsiders would keep my momentum of moving forward in play. But, the truth is, unless you are being compelled by the necessity of a paycheck and familial survival, you aren’t going to remain engaged in something unless you yourself keep pushing yourself forward.

It all seems obvious and yet at the same time it subtly is not. It is easy to slide down a slippery slope of going back to your old ways of hoping that variables outside of you will keep you going.

Suddenly, I find myself doing almost nothing at all on weekends. I am not getting myself up off the couch to run, ride a bike or anything else. I continue to write, just because habit dictates that I do. My writing is probably not much different than any other vice or habit. It isn’t usually done out of pure self-motivation.

Keeping my mind in a state of being solely compelled by my own will, and not falling back into a trance, a learned pattern of behavior, an autopilot mode, a willingness to be passively entertained by random thoughts, etc.–it can be exhausting and feel like I am constantly walking on a tight rope.

Can you feel yourself pushing against the walls of your inner physical self?

Can you feel yourself pushing against the walls of your inner physical self? You might think you are simply becoming more observant of how your mind controls your muscles. But really, you might also be stuck inside a cage.

Even the way you can roll along your eyeballs, looking, moving, questioning whether this is really you. With eyes closed and tensions stilled, you enter into a stream of racing and conflicting thoughts. You sense an attempt to seize control of your mind, to the point where your mind will not be your own.

The era of uneasiness.

The era of uneasiness. Always a vague sense that just about anything could come along and knock your life out of whack. The sense that maybe you owe too much karmic debt to make it anywhere good after you die. The old resources of comfort no longer provide any lasting balm. You are too uneasy to accept comfort without question. If you are receiving comfort, it is probably because you expected it, and so it was given. But it really is just a balm, a topical ointment to ease up the uneasiness for awhile.

There is the sense that nothing of this chapter of civilization will be left upon the earth, except for a trash pile and scar here and there. All else will return to the earth and a new effort at making things right must begin.
There is the sense that humans are all locked in a giant escape room, and we overturned most of the combinations to get pretty far, but time has run out, and we did not get far enough. We didn’t learn to cooperate enough. We didn’t learn to stop worrying about the things that didn’t matter enough, and pay attention to the things that do.

But the uneasiness bounces back and forth from being all-encompassing of humanity throughout history to just being about you. You didn’t unlock all of the combinations required to get far enough to make it out of this life into a paradise of eternal repose. Now, your self of this time and place will be tossed into the dust bin of failed attempts at being properly human and burned up with all the other chaff for all of eternity.

The uneasiness comes on mostly at the start of every time change, when the hour after work enters darkness within minutes upon vacating the office. There is a certain sense that darkness has descended upon the land forever, that this time, the spring equinox will never return again, and the winter solstice will just get blacker and blacker until the world has reached a new level of darkness that fills every nook and cranny so that even the blind sense it is darker than it should be.
There is a sense that somewhere, perhaps now, or quite soon, the canary in the coal mine will appear. Of all the random events in the news, from the tragic to the terrifying, some passing headline will indicate a shift in things to denote the end of the era of American prosperity, and then the end of the era of human civilization has it has progressed for ten thousand years, and then the end of you. The headline might be the one about the radioactive dust over Europe, possibly indicating that Russia is preparing for a not-so-cold new war. The one about all of the Asian countries moving forward with the TPP while Trump blusters could be the turning point moment from which we never come back. The one about North Korea.
You rarely go near your bank and credit card accounts. There is no need to push the uneasiness over into anxiety.

You can’t escape the mirror each day. There is always evidence of uneasiness there.

Sitting around waiting for someone to hit you over the head

Sitting around waiting for someone to hit you over the head with the next thing that you’re supposed to be doing, because this awful character trait carried over from childhood still persists in spite of all of your attempts to rid yourself of it.

In the meantime, you involve yourself briefly with this or that activity or subject, but you are just a big flirt, a dilettante. You can’t commit to any particular field or profession or subject matter, and yet you want more than anything to be known for being the best in the world at one particular thing. Specialists in any field, who have spent decades pursuing their art/craft/science, are going to block you at every turn unless you are ready to persist and show them what you are made of.

Isn’t that an utterly American thing, anyway, also carried from high school–to prove to the entire world that you are utterly exceptional at something? On some days, you’d rather be miserable at what you’re doing and the best at it, than be completely happy with what you’re doing as an amateur of no account.

If a thing makes you happy doing it, and it isn’t destroying you physically or spiritually or wrecking your finances and home life, then why not keep doing it? You don’t need to ever be known by some group of people as the best X,Y,Z…surely, you have seen enough that nobody knows a specialist outside of a few fields like entertainment and politics (or is that redundant?)

But, there is something more at play here, than simply becoming a great somebody at something. There is also the pervasive sense of pursuing the Truth about who you are and what the world is. You want only the sure things, the things you can with confidence say to yourself that you know them, even if you can’t necessarily prove them to anyone else. You know your own self to be a certain way–there is a hard floor that you land on when you try too hard to be somebody that you are not.

It’s really unfortunate that you let others try to lift you up off of that hard floor–though you do it less and less now that you are a 41-year old man. You don’t get caught up in the faddish pursuits of the young, or become excited about a new thing just to make yourself feel relevant and with it.

You know that you are probably going to die doing this one thing the most–sitting here and writing this way each week for a few minutes at a time. You aren’t going to take up skydiving or become known for having developed the next killer app. You might go back to dabbling in painting and music, and read the occasional popular math book or slip back into being all caught up in Jesus and stuff, but you know that none of these things will ever consume you and transform you the way that being a husband and father have. You aren’t going to become a triathlete or take up drag racing or wearing drag.

You have settled on the few things that you like and don’t like and you don’t particularly care if they aren’t the important and relevant things humanity craves from you or the Universe Really Wanted You to Do. The Universe is rather silent on the matter, and humanity is quite fickle about what it things is the most important and relevant thing to be obsessed with. A society that can elect a man like Trump as their leader and produce so many famous people who are famous for being famous is a society that isn’t really aligned with your own internal sense of what is important and what isn’t.

You continually get distracted by things

You continually get distracted by things, but then you inevitably come back around to the most important problems that are worth your attention and energy. You find yourself waking up in the middle of almost every single night with a sense that you were chasing down something important in your sleep, but you can never remember what it was that preoccupied your sleeping self.

The real question that continually bugs you isn’t one of whether or not a greater reality exists, but how such a higher plane of existence can fit with this one. In other words, you have been properly convinced by experiences not to be an atheist, yet, a higher realm of any sort is puzzling for many reasons. For obvious starters, why does it exist in the way that it does–with few people claiming to have any recollection or cognition of it?

Why bother having this particular reality at all, if it isn’t the most important one, and why have one that is more important, if it isn’t readily accessible?

Of course, there are plenty of easy and obvious answers around us all being in a training module of sorts, or being incapable of handling the Truth in its pure form. There are convincing arguments for the fact that most of us may simply enjoy being reincarnated with no memory of a past life. But, none of these ever quite seem to add up.

Putting aside the blunt and uncompromising answer of the purist Christian or Atheist — that there is no such thing as reincarnation — one is left with an urge to strike out and at least put for some kind of effort to find a hidden, undiscovered path.

The absurdity of trying to alter me

The absurdity of trying to alter me. I’m being and becoming who I was always meant to be. I can’t change, so why should I try to change You? You are timeless, You exist beyond any localized manifestation of You that I could hope to predict and control. It is better this way. It is better for the earth to undergo these changes, for mankind to suffer the birthpangs of shuffling out of its base consciousness. A return to the earth will take place. You strive to get away from the earth that spawned you, and then after you have removed all of your blinders and hangups, you find yourself comfortable with only natural things. Humans in their natural state are the only humans worth knowing. There is no evolution that will sustain itself without a return to the earth, the biosphere. Your altered state of consciousness, which you’ve tried to imprint in terms of solely consisting of digital information, abides in spite of your efforts.

There are no clothes that fit me well. All of the ones I’ve tried on suffocate me or slide right off. I wasn’t made to be clothed in garments of flesh and cloth. I was made to be adorned with earth, light and water.

One man likes noisy vehicles and music because he is frightened by what he hears inside of his own head. He can’t be left alone or he will lose his mind for good.

We don’t live in a quiet world, though. The motors hum, the cars rush by, the dogs bark, young people cry out to each other. We can’t abide in silence. Memories don’t come easy, either. I receive hints and traces of things that were once of great importance. I get these impressions that nudge my emotions, tickle my senses, but they never take me anywhere. I certainly never wake up inside of a completely formed memory.

Is this the way that it ought to be? Should I accept it as it is, and go with the flow, or attempt to fight it, or at the very least mold and shape it into something else? My older self says to relax and let what be will be. My younger self says to keep up the good fight unto death. I am welcoming of anyone who comes along and brings me relief from my selves.

There are plenty of books that need to be read, and weekend errands to tend to, yet I simply want to surf along the edges of my mind, flirting with sleep but never quite getting there. I want someone to confirm once and for all if my life could have been radically different if only I’d made different choices, or if my life was always meant to be the way that it has been.

There are no someones.

The idea was

The idea was to go back to the kind of work you could turn on and off at the drop of a hat. When 5PM hits, you stop what you are doing and leave it there. When 8AM arrives, you pick it back up. On weekends and holidays, you don’t think about it at all.

The relentless need to solve problems starts to seep into your subconscious until you are trying to solve dream problems all night long. You wake up exhausted and anxious, worried that you haven’t finished your work, but you aren’t quite sure what that work is.

I feel sometimes like I am doing time, or at least doing penance for all of the previous bad choices I made. I feel like I am repeatedly starting over.

Here I am, living in the same area I lived in during my first year down here, driving in through the same traffic to work downtown, and encountering the same office personalities, drama, bs, etc. This time, I have a wife and son, and I entertain no dreams of making it big in Austin so that I can move on to NYC. I am going to die here, that much is clear.

I would like to tell you that I am a much more mature and enlightened person at 41 than I was at 23, but I am never 100% certain what that means. I had something special at 23 that I no longer have–a connection with the world as an empathic person. I also had plenty of negative characteristics that I have minimized, like drinking myself to passing out every night and raging over minor infractions people caused me. I had a sense of entitlement that I no longer have. The world owes me nothing, if anything, there is so much that I owe that I may never be able to pay back.

What do I owe the world?

Aside from my financial debt, I owe the world a child or two who can at the very least be productive, responsible citizens. I owe the world much positive energy that I have selfishly consumed while thinking the positive energy was 100% mine to possess and do with what I willed. I owe the world some time of remuneration for all of the resources I consumed. I guess I feel like I pay some of this back through donations to charities, but I doubt that I give enough.

Maybe I feel like I am paying for my karmic debts by doing all of this writing, and putting the writing out there, as if somehow adding a tiny little drop of information into the vast ocean of human content will ultimately make a difference.

But, I am hopelessly fixated on myself, and set in consumer mode. It’s like a switch has been set for life–I must consume and make every last little thing be about me. Meanwhile, I rationally know that the world goes on about it’s business very well with or without me. I recognize that to make a difference in the world means that you have to completely change your mindset to be focused on what others need and want, and not on what you want.

Yet, I am afraid I am too old and ingrained in my old ways to change.