Monday, January 12, 2015

Stay Home. Hit the Beach!

Here's a piece I wrote about 7 months ago for my book "WTF Does Forgive Yourself Mean??"

Yet another day of not going into the job. This is the sixth or seventh personal day (You lost count after the fourth.) you have taken this year….and you’ve only been at THIS job for nine weeks. I’m staying home you think when you hear the alarm go off at 6:45am. I think I’ll head to the beach and get a little sun! I’m gonna have a fun “Me” day!!

It’s really difficult when you loathe your job, being miserable there for 8 hours (plus travel time) and being equally miserable at home. Then a thought enters your head and you stop to consider the all too real possibility that perhaps it’s you who you actually loathe, but that type of thinking is just gonna snowball on you and you don’t want to spoil your “Me” day, so you focus on your mindful practice and start thinking about ALL of the wonderful things you have to be grateful for such as your health and the freshly mowed green grass outside of your kitchen window and that you even have a job what with the unemployment rate being what it is and that you aren’t homeless, blah, blah, blah. HOWEVER, your subconscious recognizes that it’s all just bullshit because the reality is you have spent endless years living in this state barely surviving. Finding any way to get you through one more shitty day in order to keep yourself alive for the following shitty day. At some point you start to question why you bother. This is not you manifesting more shit. More of an observation. It’s based solely on your history up to and including this minute of your existence.

Life is none too pleasant when there’s absolutely NOWHERE you’d like to be. Nothing you can think of you’d be having fun doing. You can dream up whatever beautiful experience imaginable, you don’t care. It holds zero interest for you. When you have spent 95% of your life since you were two years old (that’s as far back as I can remember, standing in my crib screaming like a banshee because I could see a neighborhood summer carnival outside my bedroom window and couldn’t get anyone to take me there or out of the damn crib apparently.) disconnected from those around you and experiencing little to no joy on a daily basis, well, that’ll wear even a toddler down. Events, circumstances and relationships that you are positive will bring loads of happy, happy, joy, joy to your life always manage to fall short and disappoint.

You learn to adapt however and become a remarkable actor early on. You have caught on that this type of behavior is frowned upon by society & you best give the impression of having your shit together somewhat. You don’t set out to excel in school. You just realize you have to go everyday, like it or not. You succeed for the most part in spite of your overwhelming boredom and penchant for talking, writing & passing notes & generally distracting your classmates who then suffer because they just missed out on whatever that day’s lesson was in class.

The teacher explains something once, you absorb it and move on becoming utterly frustrated with the first raised hand you see asking for it to be explained again. They didn’t “get it.”. Now you hate them as well today. Still more raised hands. Still more discussion about the same fucking topic you personally had moved past 20 minutes ago. You want to scream like that two year old in the crib. You want to jump out of the open classroom window you’ve been staring out of now for the past half hour, but it’s ground level so you rethink that particular end-your- misery-permanently strategy. Don’t fret though!! You will come up with soooo many more Escape From Life Options over the next few decades. I mean, you have no clue what a master you will actually become at devising schemes simply as methods of avoidance!

Report cards are issued. You did well, with little to no studying. (You will only consider hitting the books the night before a big exam, but that’s the extent of the stellar study habits you have developed thus far.) Parents are not threatening a beat down with the belt when you get home. That’s a win. They do however strongly suggest you keep your big mouth shut in class as they were told at the parent-teacher conference that you are quite chatty, but your grades never warrant any punishment being handed down to you. No one notices that you don’t even bother to bring books home with you 4 out of 5 days a week. You are already aware of the fact each day by 3pm when the school bell signals class dismissed, that you have no intention of doing any homework when you get home. Grades continue to be decent throughout elementary school, but the same warning/advice/general life prediction is written in red ink on those report cards, year after year after year: 
Conduct Hinders Progress

Yeah, that sounds about right.

As unbelievable and irrational as this may sound to some of you, this is the honest truth: You absolutely CANNOT perform seemingly normal tasks anymore and you don’t want to. You reluctantly agree to go places or do things on that rare occasion simply because you fear becoming a complete social outcast. However, most of the time you are upfront and just refuse invitations straight out. Every once in a while you force yourself to attend something thinking it’ll be good for you to get “out there”. The problem is you are already familiar with the outcome, after years and years and years and it ain’t favorable. “Out there” provides the same result for you as “right here” so why would you bother to change clothes and put on make-up? Plus you can eat an early dinner in bed in about an hour while you watch the latest Wes Anderson flick released. And except for Jason Schwartzman & Bill Murray’s voices (they’re in every Wes Anderson movie, right??) there is a deafening silence in your room that keeps getting louder in your head.

Set the alarm. Sleep. Try again tomorrow to make it to the job you despise. You are sick to your stomach as you drift off to sleep just thinking about having to walk 5 blocks to a catch a bus, then a train and finally walking 6 more blocks to get to said job in the morning. 8 hours later do same walk-bus-train-walk right back to the flat you equally despise, but in reverse.

Watch nothing but DVDs since you still haven’t paid the $650.00 outstanding cable bill from five years ago. (I think I forgot to return all the cable boxes when I moved. I just split from my ex. I was distraught.) Spend all of your "home" time in bed because it seemed like a perfectly logical idea to give away your almost brand new sofa the last time you moved for the seventh time in four years. Weekends? Pretty much the same just without the setting of the alarm clock or commute obviously. You are living an endless loop of meaningless nothing.

Who cares if everyone assumes at this point you are super flakey & irresponsible?? Not you obviously.

You are alone. And you have no idea when, how or why exactly you brought yourself to this place. All you know is you’re sick to death of talking about it, thinking about it, working on your “issues”, meditating, taking walks, staying mindful, reading self help book after self help book, trying to exercise regularly & adhere to a low carb, high fiber diet because none of that makes your pain dissipate anyway. Somewhere you REALLY messed up and there’s no turning back so what’s it all for anyway? You do not know. It’s all consuming and you’d really love to forget your many, many fuck ups. You just cannot figure out how to resolve these issues and move on; which is so very weird for someone who has always believed they could solve everyone else’s problems for them. It’s you, a bowl of steamed broccoli and season one of Orange is the New Black. You are “stuck” and have been for a very long time.

It’s gone on so long and you pray to anyone and anything for any change that’ll put a cease and desist order out on your genuine lack of interest in everything. In regards to your emotional life, you are already dead and you’re fairly certain at this point there’s no one stopping by to save your ass. Add that to the fact that you are now incapable of letting another person in after all of these years spent becoming increasingly more solitary. You fear there’s nothing left in your heart anymore to provide you with the strength you need to accomplish this saving yourself thing you have read about. You aren’t just about outta hope, it’s fucking GONE. White knuckling it into tomorrow for no good reason you can come up with today or probably tomorrow either. The only thing that has kept you from jumping off the nearest bridge has been your fear that your next lifetime could possibly be even worse than this one. That is the ONLY reason you are still here.

Oh, by the way, you never did make it to the beach today. #1 because you forgot that you HATE the beach in your neighborhood. It’s always being shut down for dangerously high bacteria levels and you have refused to set foot on that sand or put a toe into that nasty germ infested lake for years now!
Actually, you’re still in the t-shirt you put on yesterday when you got home from work. Still haven’t left your house. And now at 3pm you’re running through excuses in your head to get out of plans you made earlier in the day with a sweet friend to attend a wine tasting together in 3 hours. As soon as you come up with a suitable excuse you think no one will question you about, you will be texting your way out of yet another social engagement. Fuck it. Maybe you won’t even text to cancel. You’ll just pretend like you forgot what you agreed to six hours prior. Early stages of dementia perhaps. Hey, a wine tasting SEEMED like a fabulous idea at 9am, but as your day progressed it came to light that it would take waaay too much effort to change out of that comfy pink Michigan tee, wash your hair & participate in forced conversation with other humans.

See? Told ya you’d become a brilliant master at the game of avoidance! Kudos.