The American Middle-Class Ailment. Conversation #51.

I thought we were done having these conversations?

I need them.

Why?

I am messed up.

Ok. Why do you think you are messed up?

My mind will not stop racing. Kept me up all last night. It is not supposed to happen like this. I meditate and teach mindfulness. But still my mind (or brain) worries me all the time.

I see. What are you worried about?

Everything! What am I not worried about would be a better question.

Fair enough. Why were you up in the middle of the night last night?

Worrying about work. Worrying about money. Worrying that I have done something wrong and people will not like me. All the same old stupid shit. Because my psychotherapy business does not feel very stable right now, I worry about losing a lot of business and then not having very much money. I worry about people not liking me and as a result no longer wanting to work with me. I think I have felt a lot of rejection from people lately. I try to pretend that it does not bother me but I guess it does. My feeling of self-worth is way down.

That is just your ego being effected.

I know. I know. I try and just keep myself present and let all of this stuff go. “Just let it go. Be present. Breathe. Everything is fine right now,” I tell myself but my mind swirls with worry and feelings of rejection. I am feeling more insecure in the work I do. Feeling like people are judging me and not liking the quality of work I do. I hate feeling like this! Why should I care! Fuck what other people think.

Maybe because you are worried about the money and the status that comes with being good at what you do.

I am worried about losing social status? I never thought that would bother me. Maybe that is a part of it. But I just don’t like feeling rejected. When a client does not want to work with me. When people stop wanting to see me. When the groups that I lead are less filled with people- I feel like I am messing up. Like I am doing something wrong and it is all going to come crashing down at any moment.

You feel like something bad is going to happen?

I have had this sense of doom in my gut for a few weeks now. Doom with regards to my business. Like something bad is going to happen because I have been irresponsible or am not doing my job well enough. I’ve had this feeling like some kind of collapse is on the horizon. Like I am going to get in some kind of trouble.

Why do you feel this way?

I really don’t know. It doesn’t make sense because everything is ok. I received a text on Sunday from a client asking for my email address so she could write to me about something. I became suddenly nauseous and tormented with anxiety. I felt like she was going to tell me that I had done something wrong and no longer wanted to work with me. I was plagued with impending doom and anxiety for hours and then I received her email and she was writing to tell me how much I saved her life.

Oh jeeze.

I know. I really do not understand what is going on here. Maybe I have become too successful in a sense. Maybe things were going too well and now I am terrified of it all falling apart. Losing what little I have. I don’t know what it is. But I do feel much less secure in myself. I feel like the ground can fall out under me at any moment.

That is rough. Yes, you probably do worry about losing what you have. I think that is an anxiety that is always present, just beneath the surface, in most middle-class people who have a home and things that they like. It is a middle-class ailment. A result or symptom of the fact that the middle-class is gradually disappearing.

Hmm. So you are saying that the worry and anxiety that I feel is what a lot of middle-class people in American are feeling right now?

Yes. Because the middle-class is losing the security that they once enjoyed. It is a lifestyle that is disappearing and the anxiety that you feel is a fundamental symptom of this process. The anxiety that you feel lets you know that you are that middle class person who is fighting to maintain the lifestyle that you have. And you feel like it is slipping away from you. You did not feel this way when you were poor?

No. Never. Funny. I never even thought of myself as middle-class.

Well, now you know. Welcome to what it feels like to be middle-class in America.

Oh man.

I know.

And then there is the issue of my health.

Your health is certainly going to be effected by all of this.

Yes. I always worry about this.

You have always worried about your health.

I know. But now I am more worried because I am older and have more to worry about now. I try not to worry about it but I have this feeling like I am not taking as good of care of myself as I should. A part of me feels like my health is fine but then there is this other part of me that is worried. I have just not felt in optimal health. Something feels like it is there and I know how most diseases come and go away, come and then go away. Come back stronger and then go away again until it finally makes you really sick. I see and hear about people becoming sick and dying all around me. Cancer has infected so many people that I know. I am just concerned. At the age of 45 I no longer feel like I am in safe waters.

Cancer is an epidemic right now. Especially with the middle-class who are feeling so much tension and worry. Cancer seems to be a fundamental part of this middle-class ailment we are speaking of.

That is a frightening thought. Cancer is a result or outgrowth of the worry and stress that middle-class people are living with right now? It is the disease that is caused by the gradual disappearing act of middle-class security?

Absolutely. All this worry and stress with regards to losing your security, losing the things that you love, losing your social status can cause cancer.

That is a huge statement!

I know. Maybe go to a doctor and get a physical?

Yes. I probably should. I just don’t want the doctor to tell me I have something and then be stuck in the system for the rest of my life. I want to try and improve my health now and see if I can get whatever is in me under control.

We all have some kind of disease in us.

I know. But it just starts to manifest more in middle-age.

And once you become middle-class.

Jeeze.

I know. It is important that you get your mind under control. All of this worry and feeling like something bad is going to happen is not good for your body. You need to really try and calm things down upstairs.

I would like to but it is like my mind continually is running off without my permission.

Well then just keep bringing your mind back to your breath. Just breathe and come back to being present. In the present moment you are all right. In the present moment the security that you need is there.

Yes.

Worry is all about some made up future in your head. You just need to keep your focus in the present moment. When your mind runs off and starts thinking about all the things that can go wrong in the future, refocus on your breathing. Come back to the present moment.

Yes. I would like to do this. This middle-class ailment is really a problem. And no one is talking about it!

We are.

Yes. Well, that was helpful. I needed to get that stuff off my chest. Thanks for listening and talking.

Sure. Glad it helped.

It did. I

Good talking with you again.

You too.

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How To Be More Alive Than Dead. The Final Conversation. #50.

 

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So hear you are on Monday morning.

I know. My least favorite time of the week.

I know. Such is life. It all balances itself out. There are good times and bad times. Shitty times during the week and good times during the week. Monday morning is the shitty time but just remember it will balance itself out.

Yes. This is a good way of looking at things. I like that.

Busy week?

Yes. It’s getting ridiculous.

Why ridiculous?

I don’t know. This is life? We work hard and then we take a few days off, get relaxed, spend our hard earned money and then begin again? This is it?

Yes, in a sense. For the most part. This is the main way of life in the Capitalist society where you live. This is what people do. Keeps the system moving.

Great.

It is what it is. There is not much getting out of it for you at the moment unless you want to be broke and/or homeless.

I know.

How are you doing otherwise?

My penis itches.

What!?

Yes. I am starting to become a bit concerned. My penis has itched for the past two weeks. Now the itch is spreading to my testicles and the pubic area around my penis.

That is not good. What do you think is going on?

I don’t want to jump to conclusions but my conclusion is that it is because of the blow job that I received from my wife’s girlfriend.

What?

Yes. My wife was giving me a blow job and then her girlfriend participated. When my wife gives me a blow job she does it very aggressively. Uses a lot of teeth (which I don’t mind). But maybe she agitated my skin and then when my wife’s girlfriend gave me a blow job whatever she has got in. I don’t know.

That would be unfortunate.

Yes. My wife’s girlfriend is very sexual active. She has been married for over a decade and her and her husband do all sorts of promiscuous things together and apart. Her husband has sex with transvestites so who knows what he has! I don’t know. I hope I did not catch anything but I have been painfully itching since the morning after the blow job.

You got a blow job from two attractive girls though.

Yes. That was nice but for five minutes of kinky pleasure I have had two weeks of itch!

But you know that most really good forms of pleasure are this way. There is always a greater price to pay the greater the pleasure.

I suppose so.

So what does your wife say about the itch?

She thinks it is all in my head. Or it is because of the extreme heat we have been having in this shitty Southern Californian suburb. I tell her that there is no way this is in my head. That the itch is very real. There has also been an itch on my arms and neck which I have showed her but she seems to not be concerned about it. Heat Rash, she thinks.

Maybe she is right?

Maybe. Maybe not. My penis hurts! It hurts from itching and it hurts from whatever is causing the itch.

Sounds like you may have caught something.

Great.

Might want to go get it checked out if it does not go away this week.

Yes. I am beginning to itch my penis area during sessions with clients. I try and hide what I am doing but sometimes I am itching my crotch area before I am even aware of what I am doing.

That is not a good thing for a psychotherapist to be doing during sessions! You could get a complaint filed against you!

I know. It doesn’t look good. But I have to itch. As my clients are talking away about their problems and struggles all I am thinking is that I have to itch! I watch the clock and I want them to get the fuck out of my office so that I can pull down my pants and have an itch fest. It is terrible. Even now, I am itching. Always itching.

Shit. Well, you had to catch something eventually.

What is that supposed to mean?

You have been doing all sorts of sexually transgressive things for decades and up until this point you have been very lucky. But now that you are getting older and your immune system is getting weaker, it is more likely that you will catch something if you keep acting out the same promiscuous behavior.

Don’t say that! Hopefully I haven’t caught something. Hopefully I can stay lucky. It was just a blow job. An innocent, kinky blow job.

That’s what they all say and think.

Jeeze.

You have become bored in your suburban life. Not much else to do for fun and so these kinky sexual activities that you engage in are how you break up the bored monotony of your life. It is how you experience pleasure. When life gets mundane we need more extreme forms of pleasure to bring us alive. Especially when we are dead and don’t even know we are dead.

What is that supposed to mean? You think I am dead?

I think most people, especially most people who live in America and live that routinized way of life that we talked about earlier are dead (or almost dead) and do not even know it.

You are saying that most Americans are more dead than alive?

Without a doubt. Just look at your culture, your society and your will see symptoms of deadness everywhere.

Like what?

Working all the time. Constant fear and worry. Dumbed down forms of popular entertainment, consumed in high doses. Rampant consumerism. High, high levels of addiction and psychiatric drug consumption. High levels of media propaganda. The signs go on and on and on. Skeletons are walking your streets.

This is a frightening thought.

But I think you are more alive than dead.

What do you mean by dead?

Just bored of life. No more dopamine firing in the brain. Mechanized. Dull. Mundane. Depressed. Flatlined. Conformed. No more passion, creativity or inspiration left.

I battle against that kind of death. I try and stay inspired and passionate. I have thrown away my television. I try and get the soul killing effects of the outside world out of my head as much as possible.

Yes. And in a sense getting a sexually transmitted disease in middle age just means that you are someone who is also using sex to stay alive, to ward off being dead.

Maybe. I am sure there are smarter ways of doing this.

I don’t know. Sex is the ultimate form of pleasure, passion and inspiration. It is why we are alive. It allows us to transcend limitations created by our brains and culture. But yes, you may have to find less potentially disease causing ways of staying alive.

Yes. Or just be safer. Like wear a condom when receiving a blow job from a promiscuous lady.

You can do that.

Maybe I am reaching a point in my life where I just need to learn how to settle down. To take it easy.

What do you mean?

I don’t know. I think this happens to some people as they reach middle-age. To just learn how to live a more simple and quiet life. To not need external stimulation as much. To be able to just stay home and enjoy myself. To not seek out forms of external pleasure as much.

You mean to learn how to make friends with the boredom?

To become pleasantly idle. I think we spend the first forty years of our life running from boredom and idleness. Vehemently trying to escape the boredom in all kinds of ways….

Like ways that give you an itchy penis?

Funny, but yes. But maybe, at a certain point, if a person wants to live a more easy going and less stress-filled life it is about learning how to just enjoy being at home with oneself. To just take it easy.

Yes. This is probably true. To just cultivate your own garden. Hopefully without an itch between your legs.

Ok, are you going to keep giving me shit about this?

Sorry I can’t help it. But I do agree with you. I think you do need to start slowing down. Start befriending the boredom and just be at home more. Finish writing your novel. Make art. Read. Listen to music. Hang out. Just enjoy a more easy going and peaceful lifestyle. The world is going to shit, partly because everyone is continually on the go. No one can stay put. It is like ants moving frantically in a disordered line. Mass craziness, preoccupied with inane things that just distract them from their mortality. They are all on the run from boredom and the fear of their own death. The irony is that we just become more dead and more bored, the more we try and run from these things.

It is true. So it is about settling more into my suburban life. Making peace with it and creating a richer inner life?

Yes. I know you hate your job. I know you hate working with other people but at least you are helping them while making the money you need to maintain your lifestyle. Just keep doing that. Take it one day at a time. Don’t worry about stuff so much. When you are not working really try not to think about work. Shed work like a snake sheds it’s skin. Return back to doing what you want. Being the person you want to be.

The obscure, outsider, solitary, independent, countercultural artist and writer.

This is how you see yourself?

This is who I feel like I am.

Well then keep being this.

But the world sees me as a psychotherapist.

It takes a very strong character to keep being the person that they see themselves as even though the entire world sees them as someone completely different.

To get no acknowledgement as being the person you see yourself as.

Yes. This is tough and requires a lot of strength to keep being the person you are.

Yes. I put on the costume of the psychotherapist but really I am just buying time so I can keep writing, making art, listening to music, reading and just hang out. I am just buying time so I can keep doing these things. I really could give two shits about business, psychotherapy or making money.

I know. And as long as you can keep pulling this off, you are winning. It is a win that gets no external praise or acknowledgment but within yourself you know that you are winning because an important part of who you are is still alive. And keeping this part of you alive is the most important thing.

Otherwise we die while still alive?

Yes. That is the other option.

Ok. Well thanks for this perspective. I think it will make Monday a bit easier to get through. Just knowing what you are telling me is helpful. My penis isn’t even itching right now.

Hmm. So maybe it is all in your head? Maybe your wife is right?

I don’t know. I just think it feels good to have a more clear vision of the path that I am on. Priorities. It helps knowing that what is most important is keeping the person I want to be alive. Not letting the outside world take that away from me.

And as long as you can achieve this without becoming broke and disease ridden, it is a major victory.

Look what happened to the painter Gauguin! That guy struggled miserably at the end of his life.

Yes. He was tormented. Broke. Disease ridden. Perverted. Could not stop his sexual debauchery all the way up until the last days of his life. But he stayed true to his vision. He did not sell out and was very much alive (and very depressed) all the way up until the end.

Yeah. Well, if all I have is a chronic itch, I can consider myself lucky right now.

Indeed. A minor inconvienience. Well….I guess this is a good place to put an end to our conversations?

Yes. I think we have said enough.

The definition of wisdom is knowing when to shut up. Hope your itch fades away….. like everything else in life.

Me too.

Take care of yourself.

I will. It was good having these conversations with you.

Thank you. You too.

Bye.

Bye.

Bye.

Bye.

Bye.

Ok….enough.

The End.

Conversation With A Tomato.

I just wanted to ask you a few questions if you don’t mind?

Me?

Yes.

That is strange. No one ever asked me any questions before.

Well, would you mind if I did?

Sure. No problem.

I won’t bother you for long.

No problem.

Well I am just curious, how is it just hanging out there all day and night long?

What do you mean?

Just hanging there from the vine. Going nowhere. Doing nothing. How is it?

I don’t know if it is accurate to say that I am going nowhere and doing nothing. Every minute I am gradually going more and more towards my end. My decomposition. I am also very engaged with everything that is going on around me. It is all so wonderful! But to answer your question, just hanging out here is wonderful! I love it!

You do?

Absolutely. It is wonderful just hanging here. Spending my day and night watching all the things that happen around me. The birds, the light, the dark, the sounds, the other tomatoes and vegetables growing- it is really a wonderful experience just hanging here.

Really?

Yes! Why are you so surprised?

I don’t know. I would think it must get pretty boring just hanging there. Don’t you have a desire to do something? To go somewhere? To become something?

I don’t think I fully understand your question but I am completely satisfied as I am hanging here. Why would I have a desire to do something or be something if I am already happy as I am?

Because isn’t there more to your life than just hanging there? Don’t you want to do something with your life?

You humans are strange creatures. Other tomatoes have told me about about humans. I have never talked to a human though so now I am starting to see what the other tomatoes mean when they say that humans are mean.

Mean? What makes you think this?

From what I have been told humans can never settle down. They are continually looking to do something else. Be something else. They are always on the go. Always looking to fill themselves up with some sort of meaning. This means that humans almost always feel incomplete as they are. This feeling of being incomplete, of things not being right enough, can cause someone to be very mean.

Hmmm. Yeah I guess you are right. Humans can be very mean. We have to make an effort to be nice and kind. We have to read books, meditate, become more religious or spiritual in order to be nicer.

Yes. Humans have to really learn how to be satisfied as they are. I have been told that everything in the human world is about achieving, possessing, consuming, doing. I am very grateful that I don’t have to do any of that. I have everything I need just hanging here. Sunlight. Nutrition. Beauty. Calm. I am completely satisfied and so are all the other tomatoes!

That is nice.

Yes! Have you ever met a mean tomato? Have you ever met a tomato that is stressed out, has started a fight or a war?

Not that I know of.

That is because there are no tomatoes like that. We are all very happy and content. I suppose the only thing that we ever really get down about is our gradual decomposition.

What do you mean by this?

Well, tomatoes do not have a very long life span. If humans pick us and eat us that is the best way for us to conclude our lives. We can contribute to the the health and well-being of someone other than ourselves. This is an honor for us. But if we are not picked from the vine what will normally happen is that we will decompose within a month or so. We gradually lose our bright red or green color and begin the process of shriveling up. Like that tomato over there. See him? He is almost gone. Soon he will fall to the ground and disintegrate into the soil.

Aren’t you sad about this?

Not at all. It is the way that our life goes. We all understand that we are on this trajectory. That we will all be eaten or decompose into the soil. It is just the way it goes. Perfectly normal. I think this is why we enjoy our lives so much! We are aware of how short our time is. We know that decomposition is happening right now and so we fully enjoy just hanging here and being fully present with our brief lives. It is a very wonderful thing to be hanging here right now.

That is great. I don’t really know what to say. Other than a few Buddhists, this seems very different from how humans live. It seems like we totally forget about our inevitable ending. We live in denial and as a result are always trying to achieve and do all kinds of things. We stress out over the smallest things and forget about the fundamental beauty that is our lives. I think we are continually addicted to distracting ourselves from just being present with our lives. We have these insatiable appetites. Always trying to get more and more meaning.

I know. This is what other tomatoes have told me. Do you do this?

I am afraid I do. Even today, I feel very sad. The kind of sadness that causes some people to put a bullet in their head.

Oh no! That is terrible!

I know. I don’t really know why I feel this way, it is just how I feel right now.

Any idea why?

I suppose it is because I feel like my life is not good enough. That I am not living the life that I want to be living. I don’t always get along with my wife and do not have any other friends. I just live a very lonely life and I often pretend to be ok with everything. I don’t know, just maintaining the life I am living is very hard. I have to do all sorts of things that I do not want to be doing. It feels painful and sad. I also work as a therapist and I think I take on a lot of other people’s sadness. In a way I feel the sadness of the human world.

I see. Well I would recommend just hanging out. I would recommend that you stop thinking about all of it and just get back to being present with your life. Notice the sunny day. Notice that you are breathing and alive. Notice the sounds that you are hearing. Notice how wonderful it is to just be alive without worrying about anything. To just let yourself hang out. Watch the sun move across the sky.

Yes. When I can do this it feels really nice. Us human can get so preoccupied with needing to accomplish and fix things. Needing to be something or do something other than just appreciating being alive.

I know. This is why you guys can get so mean. It is a very unhappy way of being alive because you are never really fully alive.

So, for today at least, I will try and be more like a tomato. I have things that I need to do and get done but I will still try and just hang out. Just live my life without worrying or judging things too much.

Yes. Because this life is going to end. We all have to leave this wonderful place. It is such a magical place, this earth and this life. We should just hang out and let ourselves be satisfied by it before our time is up. Watch the bees and the birds. Appreciate the things we see and smell and hear and taste. If we can just hang out, this is how we can have a wonderfully satisfying and happy life.

It is hard in the human world since we have set up our society where there is so much to maintain and so much to support. It leaves little time for just hanging out.

One tomato once told me that some of the nicer human beings are the ones who are homeless or have a lot less.

Yes. I can see how this would be true. We really complicate things with everything we own. We have to maintain our things, afford them, do things we do not want to do to keep our homes and favorable reputations. Humans have created a very difficult world for themselves.

I know. It is sad to see how much humans have to hustle all around. I watch all those airplanes flying over head all the time and think it is so sad to see. This need to always be on the go and travel at high speeds, it is a very sad things. It keeps humans so unhappy and before they know it their life is at the end and they feel like they have not really lived much.

For never having talked with a human you sure seem to know a lot about us!

You think?

I do.

Well, there are some other older tomatoes who have spoken to me a lot about humans. Tomatoes are very interested in humans and some older tomatoes know a lot. A tomato can learn a lot by just hanging out and observing.

Seems to be so. Well, I guess that is all I wanted to ask you about. I can’t really think of anything else I want to say or ask you. I think we have covered it all.

Oh good!

Yes. It was  really informative getting to speak with you. I will let you get back to hanging out in the afternoon sun.

It is wonderful! Thanks for talking with me. You don’t seem like such a mean human. I hope that you can feel a little less sad today. I hope you can be a little happier now.

Thank you tomato. Enjoy your hanging out.

Oh I will!

(you reader can’t see me right now but I wanted to let you know that I am smiling and I am a bit teary-eyed. was nice getting to speak with a tomato. i feel very lucky.)

The Evolution Of A Man Who Could Not Figure Things Out. Conversation #49.

Can you remind me what this is about? No use trying to fool me. I’ve got a good memory. I’d know right away. What was I saying?

-Roland Dubillard

 

So are we going to stop having these conversations with one another soon?

What do you mean one another?

You and I, having these conversations?

I don’t quite understand your question because there is no you and I. This is just me talking to myself.

It may seem that way. In a sense, maybe you are right but in another sense you and I are having a conversation.

Who is the you and who is the I?

Lets just say that you is the daily struggles, judgements, worries, fears and other thoughts that play out in your head, every moment of every day. I am more like the voice of reason. I am the one who is aware of all the thoughts that play out in your head every moment of every day but can offer you larger perspective.

I see. So you are my wiser half? You are the one who is more evolved in a personal growth/self-actualiziled kind of way?

Maybe. I am just the one who is aware of all of the various thoughts and emotions that play out in your head and body. I am more like a detached observer standing off to the side. I am not as caught up in or identified with the narrative of your life, as you are.

I see. You are just able to take a bigger perspective. You don’t get caught up in all the minutia.

Yes. I am always watching and aware of you. Always observing what you think and feel but keeping a safe distance from it all.

That is a good thing because what I often feel and think is pretty fucking negative.

I know. Trust me. I observe it all day long.

So if you are so wise and aware, why do I feel so pissed of right now?

Because you get so narrow minded. You focus in on all the bad shit without being able to maintain a broader perspective. Since we began having these conversations there have been many improvements in your life.

Like what?

You do not really watch pornography anymore.

I may go back to it….

Yes, but right now you are not watching it. You also no longer kill flies. You are just able to let them be or you help them to fly out the door and back into the wild. That is a great improvement from the murderous rampages that you used to go on.

There is a fly in my studio right now that I would like to kill. It is driving me nuts. But I won’t kill it.

The fact that you have just put on your noise cancellation headphones and have not killed it is a great and noticeable improvement in your behavior and life.

I guess this is true. A small improvement but an improvement none the less.

It is the small stuff that really matters. You also do not get pissed off as much.

I am pissed now.

Yes. But you are controlling it. You are not getting as pissed off as you once did.

This is true. But I feel frustrated right now. My wife refuses to keep the house clean. I have to waste my time always cleaning up after her. Not matter how many times I ask she seems incapable of keeping things clean and picking up after herself. If I want the house to look nice, to be organized, I have to do it and this upsets me. I have better things to be doing with my time! People are out there living their lives. Doing interesting things and I am either always cleaning my house and/or complaining about what a mess it is. I don’t know, it is getting old.

Look. We have had this conversation in the past. I don’t think this is a situation that will ever be resolved. You know now that you just get pissed off. If you are not getting upset about your house not being cleaned you will find something else to be pissed off about. You are just a pissed off man because of the fact that you feel stuck in your life. You feel like you have an inability to get to a place that you want to be. To do what you want. To succeed in a way that you want. And this keeps you pissed off. It is not really about the house. It is more about the lack of control that you feel over your own life. But do we really have to get into this again? We have discussed this a lot before.

Yes. I just often forget. I wish I was a dog, or a piece of celery, or a tomato.

Why? Thats ridiculous.

SO I could stop this continual struggle of needing to be this person that I want to be. So that I can stop needing to achieve anything and just be. This adult human life is so fucking complicated. Feels like there is so much going on. So much to keep together. So much to figure out. So much to take care of. I can’t keep up with it all. I am just not cut out for it. Maybe I should just smoke weed all the time. That seems to help take the edge off.

Maybe. You are a difficult person and you are less difficult when you smoke weed. When not under the influence of some substance you have a very difficult time feeling settled. You often feel sad and incomplete. You are always unhappy about something. I realize you are just overwhelmed and even at the age of 45 you still have yet to figure out how to figure it all out.

This is true. And now I have much less energy. Now I am feeling like I am just beginning to settle. Beginning to give up the fight because I do not know what else to do. I am stuck and just lack the energy to dig out of this hole. Maybe it would be easier just learning to settle. Just working my job. Reading my books. Cleaning my house. Taking care of my garden. Listening to music. Have various experiences with my wife and then gradually grow old and die. Maybe this is it. The evolution of a man who could not figure things out. Just live out whatever life I have left without worrying about needing to achieve anything extraordinary except simply getting by. Being able to make enough money to just support and live out the rest of my life. That is it. No other need to attain anything else great. Just an ordinary life.

Maybe. You could do this if you think you would be satisfied. It is always a possibility. Things would be easier in a sense. To just work your job and then spend the rest of your time just living your life. No need to make great art. No need to write novels. No need to find recognition as a writer and artist. To just let all of that go and live a peaceful domestic existence.

And then just die. Just disappear from time and space without leaving much of a mark.

You have left a mark. You have helped people. As a teacher and a therapist you have had a influential effect on many people. You have made a lot of great art and written a lot of things that will out live you and have an effect on some people.

Maybe. But I still have this feeling like I would die not having accomplished what I really wanted to do.

Which is?

Write novels. Be an artist. Make my living in creative and unconventional ways. I never really anticipated kind of becoming like my parents. I never anticipated just living a bourgeois life. Working my professional job as a therapist, supporting a household and just living my life.

What do you mean by just living my life?

I don’t know. Just living an ordinary life. Reading, sleeping, listening to music, feeding dogs, watering plants, meditating, worrying about making money, doing dishes, going to the market, exercising, watching movies, go out places with my wife, buying stuff, having occasional orgies, drawing, writing, paying bills, feeling like something is missing. You know stuff like that. A quiet life.

I am not sure what you are trying to say but I think what you are trying to saying is that you did not anticipate just being this ordinary guy. Just doing, in a way, what everyone else does. I think maybe for a long time you wanted to really be different from the crowd. You wanted to differentiate yourself and do something unconventional and great- like write novels. You did not really want to just be a professional who owns a home and lives a normal and quiet life. You wanted something different for yourself. Something more creative. Something that felt like it was your passion.

Yes. And I am not passionate about being a therapist. It is just what I do to earn a living.

I know. There are no easy answers. You have many fantastic things in your life. You are very fortunate in many ways. But I know that it feels like something vital and important is missing.

The fantastic and frustrated modern life of nobody in particular.

In a sense yes. I suppose it is a kind of existential crisis. But you know what?

What?

Everyone deals with all of this crap to some extent. Even the ones who are fortunate enough to make a living doing the thing they are passionate about. The important thing is that you keep doing the things that you are passionate about. Keep writing. Keep making art. Keep reading and listening to music. This is what will differentiate you from the masses since the vast majority of people just give up. They surrender all autonomy and uniqueness and just live very average and passionless lives. Even though you may never make a living doing what you are passionate about, you must keep doing the things you are passionate about so as not to become average. Becoming average is such a massive epidemic in America and even though you have to work an average job as a therapist you can still avoid becoming an average human being.

I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like being average would not be so bad. Things would be much easier in a way.

How so?

I don’t know. To just go to your job. Come home and watch tv or hang out. Spend weekends going out and pursuing hobbies. To not worry about all the larger questions or feel like you need to achieve something greater. Seems much easier this way.

Maybe. I really don’t know. I am sure that there are many struggles with this way of living as well. I think that the way life is set up in America is just one big struggle. It is all about working and achievement. Making money. No matter who you are, life in America is a drag. Culturally it is bankrupt. The vast majority of people are dead inside. N one escapes the existential crisis caused by life in America.

Maybe so. You really think it is different in other countries?

I really do. There is more living and life in most other countries. In America it is just about work, money, status, consumption and competition. Very totalitarian.

Utilitarian.

That also.

Yuck. I don’t like it one bit.

I know.

Well, I think we have said enough for today. Think about some of what we have talked about today and then lets have our final conversation tomorrow.

And then we will be done having these conversations?

I think so. I think we have said enough. Don’t you?

There is a lot more that I could talk about with you but yeah, I think we have covered a lot of territory. I will miss you.

I am always here.

Ok. Well, I will talk to you tomorrow.

Sounds good.

My Shitty Life. Conversation #48.

It is 8:43am and once again, my wife has been on the toilet for way too long.

What?

Yeah. I just yelled at her to get the hell off the toilet and she yelled back from behind the closed bathroom door, Leave me the hell alone.

Why don’t you let her take a dump in peace? Going to the bathroom is a healthy thing.

I realize this but my wife is always on the toilet. She is always going to the bathroom. It is just not right. Someone, especially a young woman, should not spend this kind of time sitting on a toilet.

Since when did you become the toilet police?

I don’t want to be the toilet police but when is enough enough? Does a person really need to spend hours a day on the toilet? If you are going to the bathroom that much maybe something is wrong?

You are being ridiculous. Honestly, I think it is how she gets a break from you. I think sitting on the toilet is how she gets some peace and quiet when you are home.

Really?

Yes.

Well, maybe. I think it is because she goes on her iPhone. She is in there on her phone trolling around Instagram.

Maybe so. When she is on her phone you nag her. You tell her to get off your phone and read a book. You tell her that she is wasting her life on her phone. Maybe by shutting herself away in the bathroom it is how she can use her phone in peace.

Maybe, but I know that she is also going to the bathroom. I can smell it!

That is disgusting. Don’t you think that is too much information?

Maybe but am I not allowed to maintain sexual attraction for my wife? My wife is a beautiful young lady and I want to desire her sexually but when she is always going to the bathroom and that defecation smell fills the bathroom, looms down the hallway and eventually fills the entire house in a very subtle way, do I not have a right to be a bit frustrated? Do I just have to take it? I mean what about giving some thought to what this defecation smell is doing to our sex life?

I understand but what do you want her to do about it. Women have to shit also. It is just the way it goes.

I understand, but do they have to be on the toilet for such a long time? That is what men do. They sit on the toilet and take really long shits. They smell up the house. It is disgusting. I don’t think a woman should do the same thing. I am all for women having equal rights and taking the man’s place. But do equal rights have to go this far?

Don’t you think that is a bit unfair? A bit sexist?

Don’t be a feminist. Please. Lets just talk here as two human beings. No bullshit theory in-between. Ok?

Fine.

How am I supposed to desire someone sexually when I am always having to smell their bowel movements? And then if she is on the toilet while also using her iPhone she is just letting her poops float around in the toilet and this is what creates more of a foul smell. At least flush the toilet if you are going to sit their and troll around Instagram once your bowel movement is done!

How do you know she does not do this?

I know! Our house is not large but the smell of her bowel movement fills the house and that is only because they are left floating in the toilet for longer than need be! I mean come on! Be mindful about this. It is really un-lady-like to be doing this. Also before she had an iPhone I never noticed the smell of her poops. This is probably because when she was done pooping she flushed the toilet right away. Now I am certain the poops just sit there.

Maybe. Maybe that is why the house smells up so much when she is in the bathroom. Can you at least talk with her about this?

I can try but I know she will just get embarrassed and defensive. It could turn in to a fight.

But maybe you should nicely ask her to just flush the toilet when she is done pooping even if she is going to continue to sit there and troll around on Instagram.

Maybe I should just ask her. Something needs to be done. It is getting absurd. I know that once people get married, they get comfortable. But a certain amount of mindfulness needs to be applied to keep sexual desire alive. I don’t care how attracted I am to a woman. I don’t care how hot I think she is. The moment I have to smell her poops my sexual desire for her begins to dissolve away.

Really? Don’t you think that is kind of shallow?

Maybe. But it is just the way it is. If there is a slight and subtle smell of the bowl movement….

Why don’t you just call it shit. Just say it like it is!

Because I am trying to be respectful and literary. I do not think that shit is a very literary use of language. But ok, I will say it like it is. Shit. Like I was saying, if the smell of a woman’s shit is slight and subtle, not too intrusive, I think I can maintain sexual desire for her. I understand that women shit. I do not suffer from the delusion that attractive women do not engage in this natural, biological activity. But if the smell fills my bathroom, hallway and every other room in a way that makes it difficult to inhale without being disgusted, then I think there is a problem.

Maybe you should just learn to live with it. Accept it. Breathe it in. You are a mindfulness teacher and a psychotherapist. Don’t you talk all the time about accepting what is?

Ok. I understand this. But please do not use the things that I teach against me. I am all for accepting what is, and I have been trying to practice this with regards to my wife’s bathroom habits, but come on. At what point should something change? At what point does something need to be done? I mean when a ladies shit smells are filling up the house, maybe accepting what is is not the best strategy. At least not for our sex life.

I understand.  Well maybe you should talk with her.

I will. I am just tired of all the shit. I have three big dogs and am always picking up their large shits everyday. And then I have to deal with my own daily shits, which are not a pleasant experience. At work the smell of other people’s shits are continually filling the hallway. And then there are my wife’s shits just floating around in the toilet for who knows how long! I feel like my life is just immersed in shit! Shit smells and piles of shit everywhere! Us humans are continually immersed in shit and no one is talking about it! Shit is the elephant in the room and I have had enough of this shit! The truth is that I am disgusted by shit. My own shit and everyone else’s shit. The shit really smells! It is disgusting people! Enough is enough!

Yeah. Well good luck getting away from that one. God made shit for a reason. I guess life is just a shitty experience.

Was that meant to be funny? God made shit for a reason? Really?

No. It was meant as a statement of truth. Life is just filled with shit. Maybe shit and its foul smell is here for a reason. Maybe we are supposed to learn something from all this shit?

Now that is a bunch of bullshit.

Just saying.

 

College Campus Rape. Let The Kids Have Fun. A Quick Conversation.

Can I be honest with you?

Of course.

I wish society and the legal system would leave these college kids alone. I think that college students should be allowed to rape whomever they want. Whether it is a young woman raping a young man or a young man raping a young woman, leave the kids alone. Let them have fun!

What? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard you say! Do you really believe what you are saying? You have got to be kidding me.

I’m serious. Look, Americans are so incredibly sexually repressed that rape is a natural outgrowth of this repression. Rape is a societal issue, not an individual one. American societies immense sexual inhibitions, repressions and taboos have created college campus rape. Rape is a natural response to this repression. It is sexual desire that is too powerful to be repressed.

I dont disagree with you here but to advocate for letting college students rape one another, that is nuts! Absolute absurdity.

I am advocating for letting college students have fun.

Fun? Are you nuts.

Yeah let the kids have fun.

You…….

When a person is young their sexuality is so strong. Hormones are knocking down biological doors. The desire to fuck in a young person is the strongest force in the universe. Repressing this is where American society has gone wrong. Some other societies do not do this as intensely as we do in America. Let these college kids have fun! Let them act out their animal and sexual aggression! Don’t fill them with so much guilt and shame because of giving into a powerful energy that is very natural.

I agree that a young person’s sex drive is one of the most powerful forces in the universe but to advocate for letting college students rape one another is absurd. Kids need to learn self control. How could you ever have a civilized society under these conditions? How…..

Why does civilized have to mean repressed?

Whatever. It is absurd. Young people have a right to feel safe and protected. If we just “let the kids have fun,” it could be complete anarchy. No one would be safe. College campuses would be very dangerous places with rapists lurking in the bushes.

So what. Let them college campus be a dangerous place. Let the kids learn how to survive on their own. This should be the point of college. To learn and gather knowledge but to also learn how to survive in the world. Maybe by letting young adults rape one another there would no longer be rape.

This is absurd. I don’t want to have this conversation anymore. I think you are a madman advocating for college rape. You have lost all parts of your rational mind.

Maybe so. I’m just sick of seeing all the pity and sadness for the victim and the hate, anger and punishments for the aggressor. It is ridiculous. Grow up! This is how life is in the wild. Stop needing the diaper of society to protect you. Stop giving the legal system so much power to repress natural human behaviors. The young aggressor is just acting upon a very natural biological energy that is alive in them and should not be demonized for giving in to it. Being a victim is also a very natural phenomena. There are victims in nature all the time. Survival of the fittest. It is just the way it goes.

You are losing it. Maybe you should start smoking marijuana and watching pornography again. You are not thinking straight. And it is frightening to think that you are a psychotherapist who works with young people. What kind of ideas are you putting into their minds!?

(Silence)

Well?

I thought I could be honest with you without getting so much crap.

You can be honest with me but when you start advocating for letting young adults rape one another…….

I am just advocating for let the kids have fun.

Whatever. That is absurd. I am done now.