Chapter 23: Wherein Things Change

I deal with the challenges in my life by knowing my present will soon be my past. Whatever goes wrong, whatever I do or say; I will always end up here. In front of this computer, thinking thoughts and putting them into words. Hoping and praying that SOMETHING that makes me special will reveal itself.

Got Discouraged By Drawing, Have a Shortform Story

Monica lived her perfect life in a state of perfect harmony. She loved her life like she loved her children and her husband and her family. She zipped through the kitchen, smile stuck in place, humming and wondering. 

She was alone, children in school and husband at work. The halls and mirrors of the house that was occasionally her home seemed more like a museum of a life that was on pause. Still Monica hummed and cleaned and baked, filling her mind with flour measurements and dirty windows. These were things that had to be done. The messes were, in a way, like letters from her family to her. The very clean plates from breakfast meant that they had enjoyed it, the stretches and tears in her daughters’ clothing meant that it was almost time for another shopping trip. 

And then were was the real letter, the piece of paper containing her husband’s feelings. She wasn’t sure what it was that made him leave it, lying on his pillow in the morning but she saw it again as she was changing the sheets. Her smile disappeared as she looked over the words and she quieted the little song she perpetually hummed. 

As she heard the door creak open she shot a look to the clock through teary eyes. Four o’ clock. Another day of cleaning and cooking gone by, the children were home. She wiped her eyes, stood from the bed and walked out to the den to greet them. 

Without realizing it, she began to hum once more. Just a little song to break the silence. 

I slept all day. During the sleeping period I had terrible nightmares. When I woke up (at around 2am) I sat around the house feeling bad. Then I went over to a friend’s house to feel bad.

What this all comes to is this; I am having one of those grand-scheme panic attacks where I realize my life isn’t making me happy and I am having enormous difficulty picturing one that would. Things are bad and they seem likely to stay that way.

This is the kind of ennui that drives people crazy. I gotta find a way out of this.  

There is a world of uncertainty lying in front of me. I feel like the first twenty years of my life have been something of a failed experiment. I tried a lot of things that didn’t work and I understand now how they were wrong. 

I recently turned down an opportunity to live with some friends up in a college town. There were a couple of different reasons for that, fear obviously not the least of them, but the one that I keep coming across in my mind is that I have social issues. It’s not that I’m afraid of prospective roommates, because they are people I have known for a while now. Mainly I feel, mostly due to prior experiences, that I may not be able to survive hunting for a job in this town.


I’ve had panic attacks frequently when looking for jobs, I’ve shut down, I’ve run out. If there’s a way you can imagine it could go wrong I have lived through it. I’m not sure if I made the right choice. Not even a little sure. I think the thought of leeching off of my friends added to the prospect of fear and the fact that I was barely awake when I got the call added to the decision. But that doesn’t make the decisions wrong.

Soon my life will be changing. Soon my friends will be going somewhere. Not somewhere that I ever long to go. But somewhere that is SOMEWHERE. I don’t know whether I should be going with them. 

Materialism.

From the moment we are capable of understanding things like the relative importance of life goals, we are inundated with anti-materialist propaganda. We’re shown things like A Christmas Carol and expected to understand that materialism is a viewpoint that is had by people who just don’t GET it. The truth is, as always, something a little more complex. If you look at it materialism is actually a very sensible thing for a person to believe in modern times. We live in a culture that is, and this is neither a good or bad thing, secular to the point of very nearly being ANTI-spiritual but the implications of THAT are beside the point.

Living in this world where discussions of the soul are considered almost superstitious it’s strange to see us clinging, as a culture, to these anti-materialist ideals.

Materialism is a perfectly valid philosophical standpoint. Not to say that it’s healthy or good for society. But next to things like solipsism or nihlism it’s very hard to say that it’s completely invalid. Materialism is more or less just nihlism for the pragmatic “Nothing matters, except that I have some cool shit.”

Anyway it’s just a thought.

Book

I finally started writing a novel today. It’s going to be interesting to see if I can achieve this at all.

We spend so much of our life trying to reaffirm that what we are doing is the right thing to do. We want to believe that our actions are moral or responsible or intelligent. Often what we do is simply an action. I wonder if it was right to drop out of college. I wonder if it was smart to reconnect with an ex. The truth is our actions are, for the most part, simply things we do. What makes life as a whole so spectacular is that every action ISN’T really a step down a certain road. In life there are no real roads, otherwise people would follow them. Life would end up the same for each and every human being on the planet.

Life is a lot more like a slot machine that slaps you when you lose.

Joy

Sometimes I try very hard to imagine a world that would make me truly, perfectly, happy. Unsurprisingly I can’t. I imagine having all the money in the world and all the friends I could ever possibly want, I imagine being with the one true love of my life and I imagine her loving me as madly as I love her. All these things makes me smile, they make me want to work harder to be a more perfect me. But no matter how long I imagine them, and no matter how extreme I make them, I can’t imagine them ever making me happy.

This makes me wonder if perhaps there is something that is truly wrong with the way I view life. Even in my thoughts I try and fail to find true happiness. I wonder if it’s because I have romanticized joy, made myself think that happiness is about never feeling anything but a humming contentment.

The truth is, for me, happiness has always been a drug. I search from moment to moment looking for a reason to laugh or smile. I break down from desperation if my time is spent doing something that isn’t actively fun or fulfilling. It all stems, I would imagine, from the ever present and aching fear of death that is always lurking in the back of my mind.

This post comes from a 20 year old who already feels he has wasted his youth, so please understand that it is simply the product of a deranged mind.

That is all.

I think it important for all of us to stop and remember the humanity of our peers. We spend all of our lives knowing that we ourselves are more than we appear to be, I may be a hipster-looking guy with a big vocabulary who remains either entirely silent or inappropriately jovial on the outside. But on the inside I am and always have been just a little kid who wants to feel loved and appreciated.

I think as human beings we forget that everyone else is living a life too. Those facebook pictures of your ex don’t exist only to remind you of what you lost, those are moments someone is truly living. The guy who cut you off in traffic didn’t do it just so you would give him the finger, he did it because he just learned his wife was in the hospital. At all times, no matter where you are, there are thousands of other lives coursing around you, shifting the world in ways you don’t even notice. For you they are only scenery. But the truth is that the woman that you walked past in the grocery store, holding a kid in one arm and pushing a cart with the other, was young once. At one point she had dreams and hopes and fears and afterwards she will continue to have dreams and hopes and fears. You will never see her again, but she is a person.

We think so often of how the world effects us or how we effect the world, but we never stop to think that ‘the world’ is more or less just a collection of people exactly like we are. Confused. Scared. And hoping to grab whatever they can on their way to the grave.

It’s just a thought.