Facing the facts

There was a time, long ago, and a time, long in the future, when I believed there was a person for me in both.

I chose yesterday to believe I would realise who that person is.

I fully believed that person is you.

Luckily for you, I know who I am, know that I’ve believed too many times to want to recall that I would change and haven’t changed.

I’ve cared about your wellbeing, always glad to see your friends step up and visit you when you were ill.

I didn’t expect someone as beautiful, smart, loving and caring as you to walk into my life.

I’ve never felt I deserved you as a friend, never understood why you’ve chosen to stay in contact with me.

I am a terrible person.

I am full of self-hatred.

My wife validates my self-hatred.

I’ve wanted to love myself and you give me every reason to believe I can, allowing me to mentally free myself and believe there is any chance I could be someone else.

But today, when I sat down to figure out how to live by myself financially, I realised first, that I’ve never lived alone and second, I don’t want to end up like Nats, alone, miserable and not giving a fuck about the world.

You have a nice house, a husband who cooks for you.

Why did I think your friendship was more than caring for a fellow human?…why did I substitute your friendship for something that I wanted, not what you wanted?

When did I believe our roleplaying was real?

When did I mix up my thoughts?

Last night, I stood back and looked at the smiling faces taking dance lessons.  I saw the success you’ve achieved, how much I’ve wanted to feel like I was somehow associated with it and realised I’ve lied to myself.  You are naturally a successful person, I just happen to be around in your life as you’re climbing the ladder of success.

The old cause-and-effect correlation fallacy at work in my thoughts.

I apologise for making assumptions.

I don’t believe you ever read these blog entries so I can freely write them to you and not worry about hurting you.

You have inspired me to write them for years now.

Every time I have gotten this close to believing there is something between us that makes starting a new life worth trying, I have written a narrative reason for backing out.

This time, I pushed so far as to talk about divorce with my wife, which, no matter what, has planted seeds of doubt in her thoughts for the rest of our lives together, causing irreparable damage.

But I was willing to take that risk.

I’m still moving forward but I’m scared out of my wits.

I’m afraid that I’ll fall and no one will be there to support me this time as my wife has done for decades and my parents/sibling before that.

Why I fell in love with you the first time I heard your voice, I cannot say with certainty.

Why you’d want me in your life is even less clear.

I’m standing here because I still love you.

That hasn’t changed.

If our separate artistic independence spirits have any chance for compatibility, I don’t know and that’s okay.

We’re not lovers and may never be.

We’re friends for whom time has no meaning.

Marching to the beat of my own drum, at my own pace…

Lately, I have used “lazy” verbs in my writing, variations of “to be,” “get”, “use,” “have,” etc.

I focus on conversational tones to set the tone of this noncontroversial tome.

Because I live in my own world, my own word combinations (but not my own words), I march to the beat of my own drum, at my own pace, sometimes in synchronisation with others, and sometimes not even in syncopation.

I seek no audiences.

I seek no paying audiences, that is.

I seek the audience of self-entertaining writing by being here, writing and reading what I’ve written, knowing only that the self will ever truly understand itself in what it sees in its reflection here in these words.

I nearly died twice in the past year from some random poisoning effect.  Theories abound as to what might’ve killed me — spoiled food poisoning, food allergy, tick/mosquito bite, rat poison or some other industrial waste in manufactured food.

Possibly, my thought process shifted because of those two events.

I do feel a little more desperate to father a child before I die than I did a year ago.

Because of that desperation, I chose not to touch a woman last night when I attended the weekly Monday dance class I thoroughly enjoy.  I only hugged or shook hands with guys.

Last night I didn’t want to be human, I didn’t want to believe I am merely a reproductive set of states of energy seeking a mate.

I gave myself the perfectly acceptable excuse that I don’t really exist and will die childless, walking away from the person(s) who give me the strength to believe it’s possible I am human, after all.

It’s easy to put these words here on electronic scratch paper, arrange them to entertain myself and give impressions about what goes on inside my thoughts which generate these sentences, paragraphs and blog entries.

None of them are real.  They are arranged sets of “zeroes” and “ones,” binary digits or bits.

Anyone who understands the quandary understands why I know I don’t exist.

Any person who first drew a set of lines and circles, recognising the image of a stick figure, understands the quandary.

We are approximations, models, of the ideal person.

We build subcultures around ideals.

We assimilate with what we believe are the best approximations of the ideals we most want to assimilate with.

My problem (and I am not the only one) is I am the only me, the only approximation of myself with whom I most want to assimilate.

That in itself is a quandary.

I want to live with another me.

I have looked.

And looked.

And wished.

And hoped.

When I find a person or persons who best match(es) the approximation of me, I freeze, because I really don’t like me, thus making me afraid that I’m not going to like the person(s) most like me.

I don’t like being me.

I don’t want to bring another me into the world.

It takes a lot of mental processing to handle being with other people.

I can throw so much stuff at people they can’t see who I am or who I’m not.

Even now, I write this blog in dissociative mode, aware that one or more people I know will read this and it bugs the hell out of me because I can’t really, ever, be me in public, if there is a “me” at all inside this everchanging set of states of energy in motion.

I am an approximation of my self to myself, adjusted to entertain those around me.

Some of the labels I use to describe myself as a social being:

  • The chameleon.
  • The people pleaser.
  • The contrarian.

I find the prettiest, the most handsome, the smartest, and/or the most lonely person I can find and focus on that person as if that person is my whole world, in hopes that it will temporarily erase myself from my thoughts.

Currently, I find myself seeking the freedom to be a polyamorous person (meaning more than one person with whom I actively have sexual relations, including the relationship management issues of deciding who is the primary, secondary, tertiary, etc., sexual partner), when, in the past, I had the same opportunity and walked away from it very decidedly, unwilling to sacrifice my mental “intellectual” freedom for the constant mental struggle to manage emotional relationship ups and down.

I have been here before, in other words, with a whole other set of friends and had chosen to walk away, marrying my childhood friend, instead.

I purposefully selected a practical, intelligent life partner who would provide a stable financial home for me to express myself through writing without the struggles to make a living as a writer by myself; in the process, I made a professional management career of my own whilst carving out a little time to write, earning a few dollars as a newspaper reporter, and making a little pocket change as a published author.

Thirty years later I find myself here in a sunroom where I’ve written/typed many words for myself and to others.

I’m afraid I’m too much of a narcissist to ever love more than a reflection of myself in others, my self being my favourite person to hate and punish for being himself/herself/whatever.

I wish I had something to offer others but all I have are these words.  Sexually, I know how to flirt and dance and look longingly into other people’s eyes; I’m a sloppy kisser and get bored/uncomfortable having sex, wondering why I’m having intercourse if it’s not to procreate; I always think, “if we’re not procreating, then can I get back to writing cause this rolling in the sheets is interfering with an idea I’m processing for my next writing session?”.  Financially, I’ve got very little; my wife is the millionaire, I’m just along for the ride, with a small annuity to supplement Social Security payments in a decade or so.

I love to write only because I like recording my thoughts, even if I don’t like me.

I may or may not register a place on the autism spectrum.

I don’t know what normal is, having been told ever since I started hanging out in social settings (beginning with my first grade teachers) that I tend to drift off from others, losing touch with conversations and sometimes literally walking away.

I’m not a lone wolf.  I need the whole village to keep this idiot alive.

I’m not sure but I think I might want to cry right now, cry for the person I should be, for the human that might exist inside me, but I can’t cry.  I feel cold, mechanistic, an automaton, a fractal spinoff of a star.

I will always be alone in my thoughts.

I will always see others alone in their thoughts and know how to temporarily snap them out of their thoughts to share a space between us.

What is tomorrow going to be like?

I don’t know and I’m afraid to ask myself.

Living through today, this waking period of 10 to 14 hours, is all I can ask of myself.

I’m numb.

I’m scared.

I hate myself.

I don’t want to live another day.

Getting older was supposed to make me wiser.

I simply feel old today.

Too old for words.

Monday

For some, Monday is a day to dread, the first day back to work at a dead-end job.

Today is Monday.

Today is a day, the day, to move forward.

A day I’ve anticipated for decades.

It’s here, a sunny spring day.

Moving forward.

A good day.

Some will notice nothing.

Some know the difference is in here, within a set of states of energy…

The balance of yin yang, male/female, human/nonhuman.

One day left

Lee looked over his shoulder at himself writing.

He avoided his thoughts for two days, paying more attention to family and friends gathered to celebrate college graduation of a loved one, his niece.

As usual, he observed group dynamics, removing himself from the equation to assess potential storylines while participating as a character in his own narrative.

His mother was worried.

At 83, she wanted to attend her 65th high school reunion but doesn’t drive at night.

She thought her grandkids and their friends were spending the night and the house wasn’t cleaned up for guests.

The next day she was going in for a memory test with a neurologist.

Two days ago, her son, Lee, the narrator, nearly died of shock after consuming something — powdered or processed egg and egg byproducts — and the next day her granddaughter received her baccalaureate degree at a graduation ceremony.

Today, Mother’s Day, her immediate family took her to eat at a restaurant they last enjoyed together 50 years ago.

For her, the last 50 hours were more eventful than the last 50 days or weeks.

Her thoughts weren’t used to social media speeds, where ten minutes offline was a week in realtime.

To her younger family members, her memory wasn’t working like theirs and appeared in comparison to have problems as she repeated questions to get answers she could work with, to integrate into her thought patterns.

Lee watched and listened.

Tomorrow was important for his mother.

Tomorrow was also important to him, for tomorrow, a few hours away, was the first day of the rest of his life.

Tragedy is comedy with bad timing

Lee loved to laugh, found humour in grave situations, chuckled when he shouldn’t.

He cried for friends’ losses, occasionally laughing at a sarcastic thought, cringing at childhood memories of kids making fun of his crying over a dead girlfriend.

Public/private school education will do that for you; rather, growing up in a mixed community teaches us about subcultures we may never experience later in life.

We all have the experience of growing up.

For many, the likeness of us to the “true,” outwardly-projected personality of our parents/guardians barely registers any dissonance in our thoughts — we willingly, gladly carry on the familial legacy.

Lee’s tinnitus roared loudly yet didn’t pulsate, implying, through subjective analysis, that his blood pressure was normal but his set of thoughts was in extreme stress.

He knew the pebbles he’d thrown in the pond of life were affecting others, the ripples moving into backwater lagoons, reverberating, changing the tiniest of ecosystems, unseen by human eyes.

He was in the calm centre of his thoughts.

Able to weather the neurochemical storms of his central nervous system, he faced each potential catastrophe with joy, fear, elation, concern, capturing the mental images in words, seeing every time that he exited the storms a happier person, more at peace with the world.

The last few weeks had been rough, though.

He chose to drop his defenses, not to hide himself.

Decades of denial had built defense mechanisms for him to hide behind and within the mental storms as an actor who could easily pretend not to be himself.

At the same time, he faced a love of/from friends past and present.

He wanted to write about the love but chose carefully what to write about out of respect for those friends who wanted their private lives kept out of literature, fiction or otherwise.

He had gotten through the worst of the mental struggle.

The rest was physical action.

That he could handle with ease.

Rebuilding was his specialty.

His tinnitus lessened.

He was on his way to a new life.

He laughed at himself, at the years of mental blocking, at the tears and fears, composing a meme, a guy who just lost his legs in a horrific car crash looking at himself and saying, “Great! 50% less to worry about going wrong with my body from now on!”

Lee’s glass wasn’t half full or half empty — he had been drinking from the wrong cup.

Cthulhu conjured a treehouse

Lee had a dark side that he never talked about, a dark side that spoke to him in dreams some would call nightmares.

Lee didn’t believe in the supernatural and it didn’t believe in him.

Everything was either real or it wasn’t.

Cthulhu was real.

No one questioned why Lee took long walks alone in the woods, hiking for hours without a single social media update.

Lee wasn’t sure if he knew for sure himself.

But he knew the secret hiding places where Cthulhu and its minions lived, where they fed off the emotional energy they required people like Lee to generate in themselves and those around them, emotional energy which gave Cthulhu validation of its purpose in the multiverse.

Lee had been bred as an Empath, a food gatherer for Cthulhu and the Ancient Ones.

Lee tried denying his existence, pretending he was independent of the Ancient Ones, inventing and building from his imagination, only to find that everything he did was already programmed into him from birth.

The random construction of the treehouse? Planned.

The electronic “do nothing” gadgets he haphazardly dropped on city streets? Already worked out by the Ancient Ones to achieve the greatest emotional impact.

Lee tried running away but there was no place to go that the Omniscient couldn’t track instantly, far faster than any surveillance equipment designed by humans.

Everywhere he looked, he saw the crossmatched influence of Cthulhu, from his years-long friendship with Shelmi to his new friendship with Sycat.

He was tired of denying who he was and would always be.

Tired of hiding in woods conversing with nature through the crunching of leaves underfoot whilst birds talked around him and spiders shook in their webs to appear larger.

Tired of finding the One Tree in every neighbourhood that served as a direct conduit to Cthulhu, an appendage for feeding off Empaths like Lee.

Only the Empaths knew why certain people always leaned against trees in urban parks or talked to rocks in abandoned ditches.

Lee didn’t want to know.

He didn’t want to look like just another crazy homeless person talking to himself.

Lee no longer cared.

He couldn’t escape who he was and would always be.

He climbed into the treehouse and fed Cthulhu the latest emotional energy Lee had gathered, draining himself, making room for more, aging the treehouse a little faster in the process.

In a few days Lee would have to start looking for a new place to live to keep people from noticing how Empaths like him tended to literally wear out their welcome in the domiciles and living things around them.

Act Two enters Stage Left

Lee walked around the wooded neighbourhood with his wife one last time.

He wanted a pleasant memory to go with the times he’d hiked with her on the Appalachian Trail when they were 14 years young, or when they tubed down a river near Banner Elk, NC, at the age of 12, burning their skin to blisters.

Penpals for six years, dated for six years, married for over 30 years.

After their walk, Lee lit a small piece of peat turf he’d brought with him from Ireland, a nod not only to the times he’d worked on the Emerald Isle but also to shared ancestry with his wife and their recent trip to England and Ireland.

Lee lived a narrative tale, thought out years in advance, able to laugh at the universe and its way of interrupting plans, rewriting narrative, redirecting storylines and plots.

Lee hadn’t meant to meet Guin.

But it happened.

As his wife said, she had pushed him for 25 years to go dancing and she was losing him to very thing that she thought she wanted to do more than he did.

But she wasn’t losing him to dance.

She was giving Lee the extrovert freedom he’d craved from their honeymoon onward, noticing she shushed him and slapped his arm whenever he acted like himself.

She had given him stability when his extroversion knew no end.

But it had driven him to suicide, knowing inside that his extroversion was a symptom not the cause of his acting out.

Guin had given Lee free rein for his extroversion, which was the calming effect he didn’t know he had sought.

They had fallen in love and fallen out of love, walked toward each other, almost ran, bouncing up and down, itching to dance, and walked away, exploring other avenues of thought and action, not talking for months.

Lee watched men and women come and go in Guin’s life, not getting in the way of her freedom to be herself.

Sometimes, neither thought the other might show back up.

But they persevered.

It was for something greater that they had become friends for life.

Lee drew a long breath of turf smoke into his lungs, igniting memories of Ireland, old memories, centuries old, of working the land, of close-knit communities, of families helping families.

Lee loved life.

He loved living large.

He also preserved time to write about his life.

Lee watched cars go by the front of the house from his viewing point in the sunroom, the steel-blue sky silhouetting trees standing still in the hot spring evening like statically charged hair standing on end.

Would this be the last time he sat out here alone?

How did Guin fit into the rest of his life?

A tree frog glued to a sunroom window croaked.

Lee sipped tea from the tentacled mug he’d bought at Lowe Mill, becoming instant friends with Sycat, who turned clay into art from which one drank tea or served cookies surrounded by an octopus or lizards frozen at play.

How did Guin fit into the rest of his life?

He didn’t need to ask her.

They were artists at heart, just like their shared group of friends and their friends they didn’t share.

Artists fit into each other’s lives like jigsaw puzzle pieces that changed shape at will, making a bigger picture together.

Lee no longer worried about a future without Guin.

Lee knew where he was going.

He’d planned it for decades.

He just hadn’t known who was going along with him.

He saw his face reflected in a sunroom mirror and smiled at himself.

He nurtured enough of his doubts to give his confidence an extra balancing boost, his form of mindful meditation, a built-in self-diagnostic test he’d developed in conjunction with his work on CPUs as a teenager in the 1970s.

He didn’t mind looking back on his life and recalling the fond memories he’d shared with others, including his wife; after all, the memories had formed and would continue to form who he was in the moment.

Accepting rather than denying his whole being, the everchanging set of states of energy in motion, had taken him to this moment, a moment full of anticipation, full of uncertainties, full of thrills, chills and falls.

Lee nodded.

One more trip with his family in its current shape to celebrate a college graduation, Mother’s Day and a couple of birthdays.

And then…?

Lord of the Dance of the Crane Flies

What is the future?

The future, as they say, is now.

And Now.

Now.

And Then.

The future is another illusion, but one we can work with using project schedules.

Lee looked at his reflection in the puddle of water.

He felt young but looked old to people, even to people older than him.

He was old and wise.

Hundreds of marsyears had wisened him up.

Age was just a number.

As many times as Lee had renewed, recycled and replaced his body functions, he was ageless in a way that only scifi writers had dreamt of.

The algorithms coded in his wetware parts optimised themselves in their own wise feedback loops, running self diagnostic tests against subassembly test result expectations, rarely reaching his high-level “conscious” internal running commentary but he knew they were there.

Cancer had been cured, extending lives and changing society — retirement was another illusion, work no longer something to be feared as delaying one’s few years of freedom before death.

Inequality lived on due to barriers for entry into closed groups but the group types changed.

Lee meditated upon his image.

He let his face age, his ears droop, his nose grow wider.  He valued the perception of aging as a reminder that he was still partially human in the old-fashioned sense.

But he was no the natural-born human named Lee.

He was an approximation of that person, with qualities like “better than” or “worse than” impossible to say.

He was different.

Always had been.

Just like everyone else.

He was not even “he” in the classic sense.

He had learned the secret to longevity — it included a genderless mode that encompassed and bypassed a single gender at the same time.

Lee had fought the secret for a long time, trapped as he was at the time in preserving an imaginary society of fixed gender roles given to him by his parents, who had convinced him to join secret societies that perpetuated the same myths handed to them by ancestors.

Lee was not an ancestor worshipper.

Lee was Lee, an illusion of self, falsely convinced by a mirrorlike reflection of a self-contained, self-sufficient sets of states of energy in constant motion.

Lee was the center of Lee’s imaginary universe.

And when Lee discovered that, Lee was free of being any one Lee for any period of time.

As far as Lee knew, Lee was the universe.

Which meant Lee was everything and nothing all at once.

Thus Lee was able to live on Mars without the restrictions of a natural-born human.

Lee was everywhere at the same time.

But Lee had to make that transition a public event, with the usual expectations of gossip-fueled misinterpretation, resistance, acceptance, support and denial.

Lee started out living in the world of humans but didn’t end up there.

Sunday sunrise

Starlotta snoozed in Lee’s arms as the Sun rose over Lake Guntersville.

It had been quite a party.

A surprise party.

For two.

The purr of a motorboat broke the morning quiet, forming a chevron pointing toward shore.

Starlotta rolled onto her back and stretched her legs, hanging her feet off the arms of the sofa.

“Morning, cutie!”

Lee leaned down to kiss her. “Good morning.”

“How long have I been asleep?”

“Thirty, forty minutes, maybe.”

She grabbed his head and pulled him back down for a long kiss.

They had met a few hours before when Lee left the lake house to get another six-pack of beer before the store closed at midnight, Starlotta telling the liquor store owner she had come to town to party and couldn’t find one person who would invite her to their lake party.

Lee pretended to be shy with his closest friends in order to reduce complications.

With strangers, especially while out of town, Lee threw caution to the wind.

He asked what she drank and she held up a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Ten minutes later they were at his lake house rental.

They chatted in the kitchen while he put the beer in the fridge.

They guzzled half the bottle of Jack with a thirst that went further than booze.

He played a 90s Alternative station on Amazon Music and began dancing, first in the kitchen, then the open living room as she watched.

She pointed at his shirt.

He rotated his hips and unbuttoned his flannel shirt, motioning her toward him.

She removed her high heel shoes and walked into his arms, kissing his chest.

He traced a line from her spine across her shoulder blades and out to her fingertips, pulling her fingers to his face as he kissed her palms.

She cooed, then laughed as he tickled her wrists with his thick moustache.

She rotated her hips in time with the music, matching his moves.

They danced around the room, mixing Texas two-step with East Coast Swing, changing to a waltz and ended up leaning against the column in the middle of room, her arms wrapped around his waist, her head leaned back as he kissed a circle from her neck to her ear to her mouth.

It was only 1 a.m. Lee had to check out by 10:30. Nine and a half hours with her would be perfect, long enough to have fun but not so long that they’d get bored or have to act like they wanted to know more about each other.

Starlotta enjoyed the attention. The back-and-forth delivery of her kids to her ex in-laws every other weekend was hard on her. She wasn’t interested in hanging out with them and didn’t want to run into anyone she knew in town. Some weekends she didn’t want to drive two hours back to her place so she’d look for a random party on the lake.

There was always a party on the lake.

They both wanted company but not companionship.

They left a trail of their clothing as they moved toward the sunroom overlooking the lake, moonlight casting shadows, illuminating a lone fisherman bobbing in his boat offshore.

He lifted her in the air and spun her around.

She wrapped her legs around his waist and they fell backward onto the sofa.

They made out for thirty minutes, took a break to drink more Jack, danced for a bit then returned to the sofa, repeating the cycle until the bottle was empty.

The Sun rose at 5:30.

They made out again until the Sun was high above the lake.

“You hungry?”

Starlotta nodded.

“I can fix breakfast.”

Starlotta wiggled her butt in his lap. “Are you sure you want to move from this position?”

“Maybe not.”

They laughed.

They had four more hours. Why waste time fixing breakfast?

They knew what happens at the lake stays at the lake.

My old Kentucky home far away

What is friendship?

Sometimes a story doesn’t tell the whole story.

What is love?

Love is washing the dishes after your wife of 30 years, a friend for almost 43, fixed you a home cooked meal not only for your birthday but for most of your birthday weekend.

Friendship is that shared space between two sets of states of energy that never goes away, regardless of circumstances, even if they never talk with each other ever again.

If we never leave home we never see that other thing which may not be the Next Great Thing but it’s a thing unto itself.

I’ve given it all I’ve got.

I’ve tried more than I thought I could have, decades of effort.

Starting over is not going to be easy.

I know that.

It’s scary.

It’s not a mystery, finding my own place, being me, not the person I’ve had to be to fill a single person’s needs.

It’s completely selfish, I know, wanting not to hate myself for living a falsehood, wearing a mask for the sake of a friend.

But, although the pain is tearing me apart, I’m in the process of letting go, moving on, so close I can smell the roses.

I do it for myself, I do it because of you, for you.

I lose my old life, lose everything I was to start anew.

I already it’s worth it.

It always has been, I’ve just been slow to admit it to myself.

But it’s never too late.

Never.

Too.

Late!