Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Look at me

I do not typically introduce posts, preferring rather that the reader bear the brunt of interpretation. However, I feel compelled in this particular instance to advise that following post does not reflect my present mental or emotional state, or even that of my past. It is something I've been working on, an experiment in writing, an obsessive concentrating. It is something that has grown by dark bits and pieces, assembled as in mosaic for emotional impact rather than accuracy. But now this something has begun to overshadow the writer I want to be, the person I want to be. I want to set it loose. It casts a shadow. I want the sun. I want to set this piece loose before the vernal equinox, my New Year's Day, when life in these latitudes begins again and improves. I will be happy this year.

Look at me. Okay, stop looking at me. It probably shows that haven't seen a therapist lately. In conversation I drop my eyes so people won't notice that they don't smile along with my mouth, that they remain blank, trained inward. When things are going well, smiling is not a concern.

Things are not going well. I begin my day limp and defeated. Something cold and heavy sits inside me. My many gifts seem inaccessible, frozen in ingratitude. I am a weight pulling down those around me. I'm scared that they can see this, that when we meet they can hear this when I talk, and that I might be contagious and should cover my mouth when I speak. I feel excluded and betrayed by my community and reduced to a child when they offer help. And they do offer help. I feel unloveable, and it is a trick of my mind. I know I am not unloved. I am never unloved. I will never be unloved. I am always loved.

Love? I don't talk about love. Love? I stare at a woman's ass and feel a low primitive longing, infatuation without lightness. Desire drips thickly from a dark inner reservoir. That ass looks fucking fuckably soft, an upside-down valentine, jiggling, jiggling in yoga pants. I wonder if it's got a mole, and if out of that mole grows a single wispy hair, and if that hair would like to be plucked with my teeth. Leering like I do, she would never let me touch her. My confidence is so rotten I can smell it. I won't even say hello.

Being near a fine-smelling woman gives me a stomachache. I fear that she will intuit my pain and pity me, touching me on the head and giving me the same sad smile as she would a dog with no back legs. I won't be pitied. I'll drag myself along.

Unwilling to be vulnerable, I've become a self-attracted man, cultivating my own prettiness. I admire my delicate cheekbones and keep moist my slender arms and graceful hands and fingers. I stroke them as I would a woman's. In bed, I drag the tip of my tongue from the inside of my elbow to the inside of my wrist and then give it a wet broad lick. It feels good. It tastes good. I feel awful.

Regardless, one must have joy. I borrow it from late night shows and video game sports. I giggle at the same jokes night after night. David Letterman is my friend. I yell and dance around the room, arms raised, when I score a game-winning goal or touchdown. I have accomplished something. I am better than a computer.

I will not sit alone with my thoughts. If not drowned out, these solitary thoughts tell me that something is wrong and to ask for help in fixing it. Instead I fall asleep on the couch without having brushed my teeth, the television man narrating dramatic nature scenes.

I cry out while dreaming, often due to rodent bites or the imminence thereof, but come the morning I huddle protected beneath the covers, making excuses to return, again and again, like "It's cloudy." I prefer my dreams to my life, and they're energy efficient. In my dream life, I'm somebody. I'm the dreamer.

My universal spirit struggles for release. It lies buried under indifference, irony, and good manners. Booze makes a handy shovel, but it uncovers confessions one after the other in wild, reckless euphoria, the spirit desperate for air and connection. The next day I remember a blur, and the deliberate defiance of social conventions has caused me such anxiety that I must bury the spirit deeper to rebuild the false front. The process fuels itself.

As it is naturally light, I could allow the spirit to rise and shatter the mask. What lies under the mask terrifies me with its naked brightness, but the mask is both terrifying and grotesque. I can do this. I should allow feelings and epiphanies to bubble up, discover that which captivates me and takes me beyond myself, in dance and laugh. No one can tell me how to live. I decide. I decide who and what to love.

In devotion to something greater, let's call it writing or God, I will listen, trust, and the light will shine through me, sometimes only a pinpoint, but even that is enough. I will increase the aggregate good. I will let go, unclench, and stop attacking myself, turning my eyes back outward so that they will smile too.



Blogger sybil law said...

I know I've felt along the same lines, though, before.
Still - best to embrace the sun, because the darkness is inevitable. That's why they made light bulbs.

5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you have such an ability to convey pain and the inward struggles that we all face in one way or another.
You are courageous. I feel the sun of your honesty..keep heading for the light...

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Asylum Dolly said...

If this is not based on personal experiences then you are EXTREMELY perceptive.But I guess it goes without saying that good writers are quite perceptive.
This was painful for me to read (not because of the writing!)because I pretty much feel like this all the time lately. I try to remind myself that I have a kid that needs me. It's getting harder though.I'm actually not really sure what the fuck I am trying to say here, so I'll go now. Just wanted to say what a great piece of writing this is. I envy your talent.

8:06 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

sybil - Well I'll tell you what they didn't make light bulbs for. Or I could just show you the hospital bill for "removal."

Anonymous - Thank you. I like to think of myself that way.

Bon - Thank you for the kind words. They help. You seem to have an exceptional set of artistic talents yourself. These things often go hand-in-hand with some less than desirable emotional states, but I do believe that the need to articulate and dispel the negative is one the strongest creative impulses.

8:17 PM  
Blogger jorg wobblington lopez said...

I agree with anonymous. I have felt like this before, maybe even now, but now I can put it into words.

p.s. the computer is letting you win.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Asylum Dolly said...

It is definitely healthy to purge the negative. I guess it's actually quite a blessing to be able to do so through creative mediums too.

1:08 AM  
Blogger JMH said...

jorg - Letting me win? I won't have that. I'll let it win. Then we'll see who's making a mockery out of competition.

Bon - Yes.

4:21 PM  
Blogger Lora said...

I love this. I totally get why you prefaced this. I want to write fiction, a novel, whatever. But I don't want to deal with the need to preface and backpedal and explain.

8:29 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

Thanks Lora. Yeah, that's how it goes, you sorta write what you know, but enhanced for that extra zip, which can alarm people if you're exploring a dark area.

2:11 AM  
Blogger Rassles said...

Sometimes you write things and everyone blows shit out of proportion, because they don't realize it was just an expansion on a fleeting thought that took over but doesn't really hurt at all - that didn't happen here, really, it's how I feel about the imminent rodent bites.

Then again, I used to dream strictly in ceilings covered with goliath spiders.

2:14 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

No, it happened here. I start off with a pretty mundane "It's cloudy and don't feel like getting out of bed, plus I'm not getting laid," and then I just add bits and pieces (strings if you like) day by day, and the result (hopefully) is a plausible portrayal of a mental/emotional state that never actually existed all at once. So I feel compelled to qualify, despite the fact that it weakens the impact.

I'm going to look up images of goliath spiders. Yikes. Did they ever drop?

8:39 PM  
Blogger Rassles said...

Never dropped. Never on the ground, never chasing me, just watching. It became a test after awhile, when I couldn't tell the difference between dreams and awake - Look up. Is the ceiling covered with massive, hairy spiders? Yes? Then I'm dreaming, thank god. I haven't dreamed in spiders in years.

10:50 AM  

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