blackswanevent: (Gunter and penguins)
[personal profile] blackswanevent


I don't do well without people.

I don't do well without talking to someone. I share that trait with several notable people. Henry the Eighth is one, Mao Tse Tsong is another, and so is Madame Mao. On the flip side there's Benjamin Franklin, Winston Churchill, and others. I don't do well without someone to talk to, I'm not introspective enough to sit and meditate or mediate or do anything else.

I learned this when I moved to downtown San Diego. I love downtown anywhere. I love major urban areas because being out in them you feel like you're a part of them. Spend too long alone in an area and it becomes a situation similar to this tiger that used to be in the San Diego zoo.

For the longest time there was a tiger that would pace back and forth at the top of his enclosure. The other tigers would sit in the sun and do tiger things, and brother odd in the back would pace back and forth and growl and snarl. Research into this phenomenon says that the tiger was frustrated, angry, because he could see other members of different species and wanted to attack them. He wanted to engage in his habits, in his nature.

He couldn't stand being in a cage. Pacing eventually gives way to listlessness, despair and depression. Animals might not think of the same sort of reactions as human beings to these situations. An animal gets depressed it sits in the corner and makes crying noises. Animals have a concept of gone and a concept of loss, but they don't ruminate or focus or if they do-they do it in ways that none of us have managed to figure out.

To make a long story short, I was caged. Depression gave way to despair gave way to doing something that I'm not proud of. I went to the library, wrote out a rueful note about how sorry I was that I could not seemingly grasp the most basic of human concepts such as taking care of yourself and living outside of a social circle, witnessing happiness and contact and having none of it of my own. Then I went back to my cool urban hotel and took every pill in my medicine chest that my mother had so painstakingly put together for me.

I lay down on the bed and wondered specifically what would happen. What senses would go first. Would it be sight? smell? Taste? I remember being very intent about my ruminations and somehow thinking that I was hungry. That oh god I should have food. My poor state (and I was poor-not as poor as I have been but poor.) nonwithstanding I needed food. I struggled upright, fought my way onto a bus, went up to the Corvette Diner and stuffed myself with onion rings. I returned to the hotel and lay back on my bed and wondered if somehow by eating I had botched it and then wondered why I was so worried about all of it in the first place.

I was contemplating a depressive sleep when there was a pounding at the door and a voice identified itself as a police officer and told me that I had to open up the door or he would break it down. He picked his way through the refuse that I had accumulated (when you're depressed, you forget to clean and garbage is somehow stacked waist high. I must congratulate him on finding me in the first place.) He picked through my sketchbook and asked me point blank why I wanted to die when I created such great things.I did my best to pour out my heart out of some grasp of immaturity or poor behavior. Then I asked who informed on me.

Three different people, readers of my then-livejournal had called from three different states, trying to reach the San Diego Police Department in the hopes of saving me.

When I was picked up from the hospital my mother called me melodramatic and a drama queen and said that things would get better and I was stuck on this notion that people did not want me dead. Taking care of myself or not, a burden or not, humanity in some capacity did not want me dead. From the cops who came for me to the people who had called from across state lines No one wanted me to die. They might have found me boorish. I might have been annoying or immature or anything else but they did not wish me dead. No one wanted to see me die.

From there kindled my unconscious unspoken love affair with humanity. Even in my darkest moments, facing the most grim horrors that my life at the moment could conjure-how could I hate three people who did not want me dead? How could I hate a society that had people who would be called in such times of crisis? I might sob, I might berate, but I cannot speak ill of mankind. Wrong or right in my motivations, motivate purely by a desire not to look at a rotting corpse on the side walk, people did not go around wanting to kill other people and if they did it was acknowledged that they were sick. I would not be culled from the herd for my failure to produce satisfaction.

The sad fact however is that no matter how much you need people, a filled with joy attitude when faced with mankind does not always meet with acclaim. Running in your haste to appreciate or take part in activities with other human beings means that you might not see the pitfalls and pratfalls that are a common fact of life to most of humanity. Therein lies my weakness. Struck dumb with the greatness that is mankind, I forget that we have rules and laws and order and society requirements.

A couple of days or so before my 25th birthday I broke a society rule. I charged ahead like an eager puppy and made a mistake that I deeply regret. My initial reaction was fright and horror. I'd made mistakes like this before and the last one cost me two years of my life and a year of my sanity unable to cope with a lesson that would become clear at the end of my ordeal. The second was anger and misunderstanding. The third was deep hurt that other people were hurt and the fourth was the knowledge that I had, despite my higher order thinking skills-behaved like a small dog. Rather then be aware of boundaries and space I had charged in and pissed on things and then chewed things apart and sat there pleased that I was indulging in my natural inclinations, unaware that I had left someone else's living room in shambles.

I had made plans for my birthday and had plans made with me, but the day before I was left alone so I did the only logical thing that I could think of when faced with a disobedience. I had seen my roommates do that with their puppy and I had learned it as a coping mechanism. If you cannot handle the situation go away from it. Crate yourself. Pull back your troops and regroup. There are dozens of other metaphors beyond the animal one (I can imagine that a lot of people might take offense to it.)In terms of re-thinking my training however, I crated myself.

I acknowledged in my silence that my behavior was due to three external causes. A very foolish assumption that I didn't need to eat for 48 hours straight, trying to quit coca-cola which inspired headaches that were painful enough to warrant no sleep. My self imposed abdication of social activity meant that without the opportunity to sleep or pass into exhaustion I had time to ruminate on my thoughts and feelings. This is a bad place to be.

I don't know what I expected of my 25th birthday. I think I expected to turn into a pumpkin or have someone come and arrest me for not having my shit together. What actually happened was a pretty fun day involving visiting a movie location and wandering around my favorite place in LA. When I returned home I found the money my parents sent me so that I could pay my rent and buy food waiting for me. After eating and drinking caffeine I felt far more human then I had in the past week and a half and I was able to consider my decisions with a more calm and rational mind.

I had been reduced to a mewling ball of mush sobbing into stuffed animals over something that was entirely and utterly my fault? That at the age of 25 I was still capable of feeling not only youthful arrogance (the notion that I was so far above all of these things that any response I made would be met with instant forgiveness.) but chagrin and shame similar to what children who had done something bad felt?

I have, I have been told-a disproportionate amount of guilt in relation to my crimes and transgressions by some. By others I've been told that I'm an immature spoiled brat. The grown up decision was something that I could not achieve and that I don't think I'll ever achieve. I'm destined to be a rubber ball, to be Harvey Dent, to go up and down. I just have to learn to hide it better.

I was angry and sad that I was alone. I was fully aware that my decisions had brought me here and that thought made it worse. If there is one thing that I know it's when I'm wrong and when to atone. In reaction to asking about my guilt I responded with a litany of past experiences that led me to thinking like a guilty prisoner. The response I received was "this isn't about you" and it both isn't and it is because in reacting the way I did and doing what I did I damaged another human being.

I didn't do permanent damage (at least I don't think I did and if I did then I must do what I can to abide by their wishes to make them feel better and safe again) but I did do damage. I damaged people who could potentially offer aid to me at some point. I damaged a human being who even indirectly, even just to avoid reading about my dead and bloated corpse on the news, did not want me to die.

Call me developmentally delayed. In writing this out I openly acknowledge that I very well might be if I only learn how to break out of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. And honestly it wasn't until 24 that I learned point blank that my actions can damage others and I learned it in the most unusual setting that anybody could have seen.

I was sitting with the girl who was my "partner" when I was homeless. We were in a Salvation Army looking at clothes and debating going back to the shelter. If you did chores, you got tickets that you could use for clothing. She wanted a new top and wanted me to try and get a new skirt/something else more professional looking then the fandom clothing I'd brought with me when I left my house. I'd said something, I said she was "crazy" and she lost her head.

I begged her not to leave me and began to cry. Call it her past history of parenting or call it something else but after some cajoling and a few hours by herself she came back and explained that my calling her crazy had hurt her feelings. She explained that I, through using that word had dismissed her opinions and that she had just as much of a right to her opinions as other people. I promised that I would change and obey whatever she wanted me to. She said that placed undue responsibility on her and that by doing that I put my happiness in her hands and "that's something you have to find on your own".

I was stunned. Never, never had I had it so clearly and utterly articulated to me. And then she offered me the tried and true advice that in demonstrating it proved to me the fundamental goodness of humanity. "It's the Carolyn show. And we're the guest stars in the Carolyn show-just like you're the guest star in the Audrea show. But I'm not gonna write your material for you. I'm not gonna force you to appear on my show. You want to stay that's great. You'll be a featured star, but I don't have to keep you and you don't have to keep me there. That's how it works for everyone.

...There are possibly more eloquent was of phrasing it, but the principle stuck and for a good six-or-seven months it held but it still made the mental harm that I caused to others much more painful. Strong or not there were feelings of isolation and loneliness and an acknowledgement that the one thing I fear more then needles is returning to the cage that was my room in the hotel. Physical isolation and mental isolation is the most painful thing you could do to torture me. Throw in hunger and I would go mad. Reprieved and knowing to never do that again and be more careful with my funds I could turn my attention to atonement-to never doing that again.

Efforts to work on that met with the first real frustration I had felt about the entire ordeal in a very long time. I was angry, I did not feel that my own emotions were being acknowledged. That coupled with natural guilt and shame and the desire for an adult solution and not feeling that I could come to that solution was fucking with my head. My actions led to the physical influences which led to the mental activity which led to this entire enterprise. No matter how much I wanted to turn off my emotional center and not make this all about me I couldn't figure out how to. I felt sick, went out, slept, ate, indulged in retail therapy, allowed myself to regress, went to work. Every time my mind turned towards that incident it brought to mind the other, and another, and another so I pushed it out of my head.

I pushed it out of my head and thought of heroes.

That wasn't hard. I've rapidly become interested in Marvel. In thinking about my emotions and trying to control my emotions I compared myself to Scarlett Witch and believed that my life was a neverending spiral where my mood altered the odds and made it difficult for others to function. With one thought I could fucking destroy and alter the universe and make life hell for millions of comic book fans.

Then I realized-that's pretty damn grandiose. I sat back and thought "I'm the Hulk." Carolyn's the hulk. That's her style of personality. That's what might happen. Faced with containing an enormous green angry rage monster made of immaturity and childish behavior. And with every year...I'll contain it a little more and maybe work towards being Clint or a little more sane...

It hit me then, sitting at the bus stop. I live in a world full of super heroes.

In movies and comic books, people can think at others and their body chemistry might be changed. Someone can use their mind to turn someone into something else or do someone else. With three words, I changed someone's afternoon. I created a reaction. In movies and comic books, people can operate intensely complicated machinery and gain incredible skills and mastery. From childhood to adulthood people learn to do everything from reading to working computers and discovering cures for cancer. You go from absolutely nothing to gaining a whole life worth of experience and skill and not just skill but power.

And in the worst moments, people change, people alter themselves, and people survive the most horrific ordeals. They keep going no matter what happens and that's something that deserves to be honored and respected. No matter how big, or how small. And like comics? ...People are going to make mistakes and shit either comes together or it doesn't.

For twenty five years, I spent my life blissfully unaware of a lot of things around me and around me. Despite all of that-I still found people who wanted to be my friend, or at least do things with me. And I...didn't know how to handle it. I'm still not sure how to handle it. I'm out of my cage and I have everything that I wanted and want. Everything that I know I need.

I'm just...Bruce Banner and sometimes I lose control. I'm just, more aware of it then I was. My faith in humanity has yet to be shaken and knowing that people are fundamentally good is what keeps me going. and to this day I will know that the reason why is because people are strong enough to be good and people are strong enough to take anything and that I understand what I have to do to keep the Other Guy from...stomping all over everything.

It's a world full of heroes and magic you guys. And I believe it.

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And that is why that girl is called a tease.

April 2014

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