How Humans Mess Everything Up, I Think.

Hello. Good Morning. My name is I don’t give a fuck.

What does it matter? Does any of it matter anyways?

I’m tired. I’m tired of all the battling. What is the point? It is all for nothing anyways. Sound and fury signifying nothing.

How silly we are. All the preoccupations and beliefs that we get caught up in. No different than a bug getting caught in a web. For what? In a hundred years, none of it will mean anything. Oh yeah, you are going to heaven so it must mean something. Sorry. There is no heaven. There is just right here so don’t make yourself mean more than you do by adding life after death. There is none.

So what do we do? I don’t know. The only thing that makes any sense to me is making music. Making music seems like the only sensible thing to do. It is fun and meaningful. Every, every, every, everything else seems like a waste of time unless you can make it into something fun. This is probably why we put such high regard upon musicians. This is why we look to them for guidance. We are trying to find a way out from our suffocating holes.

But I don’t know what is to be done. Maybe you have your health. Maybe you have two legs to stand on. That should be enough. Shut up about everything else you spoiled brat. But if you do not have your health. If you do not have two legs to stand on maybe you should spend your time trying to find meaning in just being present with the experience of being alive, no matter how fractured and splintered your life feels.

We are a complicated species. We create all kinds of complex webs for ourselves. We are obsessed with one another. We are like dogs or cats who can only think all day about dogs and cats. Totally obsessed with the actions and creations and permutations of other human beings. In one form or another we spend our days listening to and watching other human beings. We are a species obsessed with its own image. We look to one another for guidance, distraction, inspiration, vindication, love. What a waste of time this is. Like spending your life always considering our image in a mirror. Humans have cast a spell over one another. Often we call this culture.

None of it makes any sense. We are an absurd species. I even get down on myself because I have not lived up to my own expectation of becoming the kind of human being I want to become. By not being the kind of human that I want to be looked at as being. (A large spider just ran across my desk. I was startled. For a moment, I was not thinking of other human beings. It was a great relief.)

I’m not trying to say anything here. Even though maybe I am trying to say everything. I am spending my valuable time trying to communicate with human beings I will never know. What is the point of that? Gives me some kind of strange solace knowing that I am being heard and understood by someone? Why do I need that so bad? To feel heard and understood- isn’t this what really motivates all human behavior? Are not people who desperately need to be heard and understood some of the most fucked up people the human race has created? They (or we) are the ones who will ultimately destroy the world

Advertisements

Leonard Cohen Died Tonight

unknown

Prince, then David Bowie and now Leonard Cohen. What a terrible year this has been for those of us deeply touched and taught by these creative visionaries.

Leonard Cohen was once a wild man. Then he became a Buddhist monk. But he was still a wild man, even when he was a Buddhist monk. I love the story of him sneaking out behind the meditation hall early one morning to drink his coffee and smoke a cigarette.

A lover of women, words, good whiskey and wine. A fine poet indeed. A man with impeccable style, in so many more ways than just how he wore his clothes. The kind of youthful charm Leonard Cohen had well into old age, was proof that a man can grow old without growing old. Every time you heard him speak you listened and learned something original and new. A real philosopher and poet he was. Not many, if any, around like him anymore.

Leonard why did you have to go? I know you were almost really old, but couldn’t you hang around a few more years? I am not quite ready to make a go of this without you in the world.

His novels, poetry and songs where doorways into imaginative landscapes and lovescapes, the likes of which a person never heard before. Without even knowing it was happening he taught you how to live and how to die. This world will no longer be the same place without him in it.

I don’t know as much about Leonard Cohen’s songs, books and poetry as I probably should. I know the basics of Leonard Cohen’s life but I can’t tell you specifics from his biography. For me Leonard Cohen was an example of how to live as a man and an artist. It is strange to me that I have the deepest reverence and respect for a man I have never met. I studied his interviews and from that I learned what I needed to know. I have his album Songs Of Love And Hate hanging on my wall, in the same way that someone would hang a cross or a picture of their hero.

I suppose this is what Leonard Cohen meant to me. He was my teacher. He was a man who spoke more eloquently about how to live life and deal with the various demons he struggled with than any other man I have heard speak. He made me feel less alone with my demons and despair. He showed me the way to deal; through solitude, meditation, occasional nights filled with wine and women, books, music and filling up journals with words and art.

How many people become icons but continue to live in very humble conditions, on the second floor of a small home (his daughter and her family live below) in a lower economic neighborhood? He didn’t care much for more ostentatious material things. Money was not his main thing. How rare to find a human being (especially a successful one in America) who puts his art and his life before preoccupations with money, status and more materialistic things.

In today’s America, it is the poets and artists who go unseen. No one talks about them. Leonard Cohen broke through the thick cloud of obscurity and showed generations of artists and poets that they do not have to live a defeated, delegitimized and conformist life. He showed artists, poets and writers that there are alternative ways of living where you can keep your edge and remain in the poetry.

I could be wrong but I think Leonard Cohen somehow knew me. I often felt like he was talking right at me, especially when talking about isolation, loneliness, women, love and art. But I know everyone who loved him felt this way. That is what made him so great and this is what makes things feel so much more hollow and empty now that he is gone.

Thank you for everything Leonard Cohen. You were such a class act. I will continue to live the things you taught. Hallelujah.

Almost Suicidal

You have not decided to isolate yourself from the outside world. You have just become an isolated form in your own inner world.

It just kind of happened.

The strings or shackles have been cut. You just don’t care anymore about responsible things that need to be taken care of in the world. What happens will happen. You just don’t care.

You have withdrawn or melted into a very isolated and solitary space. You are not sure if this is space is in the world or in your head. Maybe it’s both- like a room within a room.

You don’t really know if this space is real or daydream. It is probably all daydream you suspect but you can’t wake up out of it.

You are just barely getting by.

You feel like you have been beaten down or beaten up by the outside world. Your tank is on empty. You feel drained of all vital energy. It’s as if you were inside the high spin cycle of a claustrophobic washing machine for the past several days. You have just gotten out.

Now you have cut all the strings. You have retreated like a wounded animal into its hole.

You are tired, too drained of vital energy to do much of anything. Even masturbation feels like no fun.

This is not what good feels like even though you say to no one that you are fine.

Continually on the edge of wanting to cry.

Dogs bark. Cars go by. Shadows move. Leaf blowers make ugly mechanical sounds in the distance. You know there is an engaged and active world out there but you are no longer a part of it. You are on the other side now. The side which is totally removed.

A someplace state in between waking and being sound asleep.

You feel alone with what your life has become and have no idea how to make it something you feel happy to share with others. You look for self-help and necessary consolation in the creative works of others. Sometimes you are so grateful to find it there.

Every week it is the same ascent and descent. Again and again. The struggle. The spin cycle. The ass kicking and then the immense, solitary drain. Is there any escape?

All life gradually goes flat inside you. Not even the sunshine helps much anymore.

But why not be happier? Why not just stop the grieving? Stop the wallowing in all the negative thought about what your life has become? Can’t you just accept that this is the way your life is now? That you will never be that?

You take your daily vitamins and pretend like you are taking a handful of sleeping pills. The bright white paint on the surrounding walls feels institutional.

When you hear yourself saying “I love you too,” you feel nothing. You want to mean it so much but you can’t find meaning anywhere at all.

You know you have things to do but you do not care. You are somewhere in the world but no longer of it. You want to create your own, more desirable inner world. You want to listen to strange sounds. You want to become idle while watching the day go by. You want to read even though you don’t really absorb the words. You want to have a drink but you know it is much too early.

You try though. You try to fill the empty space with meaning. You try to fill your hole with the things you like to do. To recreate the more authentic and desirable life you feel disdainfully ripped out of most days of the week.

It hurts.

There are no new emails in your inbox. No new text messages on your phone. No one is thinking about what you are currently going through. No one cares about anything you write.

There is present pain that no one can see. You walk around in a daze. You do not care that your body is not clean and your hair is a mess. Outside of the dull existential pain and the heavy lethargy you can’t feel anything at all. It is a heavily muted state. At least the anger and anxiety is gone now, you think.

Maybe you are really sick. In the body or head?

You will put headphones on, listen to beautifully strange, ambient music that induces a kind of liminal state as you walk around the park. I’m this isolated and detached from the world all around, you will think. But you know you now prefer it this way because it is the way it often is.

You look in the refrigerator, again and again, but keep finding the same nothing there.

You talk to no one. Words don’t want to come out. You are surprised to notice that you are not even thinking that much. It is as if everything has been droned out.

You want to be productive but can’t. Nothing is now happening.

Effort has to be made just to exist. Just to get from here to there. There to here. You want to clean things but you can’t find the point. Anyways, there is no energy to bend over and pick things up.

Exhausted and alone. Like what it may feel like on the inside of a dead egg.

You slowly move around like a hypnagogic patient convalescing in hospital after a traumatic event has taken place. You are like the broken and depressed dried leaves you notice all over the ground. The barking dog in the distance. The fly frantically circling above your head.

Maybe it is now all over for you. You know that the world is really busy out there. Rush hour traffic is soon to begin. All kinds of things are going on but you no longer know how to happily participate in any of it outside of being drunk.

You hear passing sirens and are briefly reminded of the thing you always fear.

It is hard to imagine tolerating this much more.

When you stand up to swat the fly you realize you were just in some kind of dreary, high-pitched sound in the ears, altered state.

Maybe you should put the sharp scissors away?

The Man Who Grew Breasts (Overnight)

Yesterday, the majority of Americans elected Donald Trump as President of the United States. I was angry. Very angry. This morning I woke up with breasts.

These are not male breasts. They are good-sized female breasts. It is as if while I was asleep, someone came and took my male breasts and replaced them with thirty-five year old female breasts. I don’t understand how something like this could happen.

The minute I got out from bed this morning I felt a heavy weight pulling my chest towards the ground. I immediately became concerned that I was having some sort of heart issue. Maybe I was too angry yesterday, I remember thinking. But then as I was walking to the bathroom I noticed feeling like I was carrying decent sized water balloons inside of my chest. I could feel something jiggling around. I stopped in the hallway, turned on the lights, lifted up my t-shirt, looked down and noticed I had decent sized female breasts.

I couldn’t make sense of this right away. I thought maybe I was still in a dream. When I realized it was not a dream, I thought that maybe I was hallucinating. I have been meditating a lot recently and have heard that sometimes walking hallucinations can be a side effect of too much time spent in meditation. I looked at my breasts in the bathroom mirror. I touched them and that is when I realized they were real.

I don’t understand how this could happen. My wife has been Googling all morning. She is trying to figure out how a man can go to sleep with perfectly normal male breasts and then wake up with a pair of decent sized, nicely shaped, female breasts.

This must be the result of feeling too much anger yesterday. I don’t normally feel such long-lasting periods of intense anger and somehow the anger must have messed around with my hormone levels. I have read about men who are really angry suddenly losing all their hair or getting a non-viagra induced erection that does not go away. It is well known that anger messes with chemical constructs in human bodies and yesterday my anger was so strong that I was sweating throughout the entire day. My anger intensified after my father told me that he voted for Donald Trump and that he thought that Donald Trump was going to “Make America Great Again.”

I suppose it would be fair to say that my anger reached levels that if documented by a medical device could be safely called rage. But I did not yell. I did not express my rage in any way. I just let it be there as I kept myself present and aware of my breathing. I know that all emotions are just waves and because of my meditation practice I do not really identify with waves. I just notice them. But I wonder if the meditative suppression of my rage with regards to the election of Donald Trump as President is what has caused me to grow these breasts.

My sweet wife leant me one of her black bras, which I am now wearing as I write this. The bra has helped ease the weighted discomfort in my chest. But now I feel this tight constriction across my entire chest and back. Is this what women have to deal with everyday? Is this what bras feel like for them? If so, just like Donald Trump and all his male counterparts, I have yet again underestimated what women have to deal with everyday. No man, no matter how rich and studly, could tolerate this feeling of being hugged tightly around their chest all day long. No way.

 
I don’t feel as angry today. Anger is just a wave, I keep telling myself. The shock seems to be wearing off and I am accepting that as a result of the election of Donald Trump as President, nothing has changed and everything has changed. The sun has still come up. There are birds eating from my backyard bird feeder. I can hear cars racing by outside my home. But the far right has seized power in America. Every advancement America has made with regards to equality for all people over the past eight years has been undone. White patriarchy is now back in power. And I have a pair of decent sized female breasts hanging from my chest.

My wife told me that hopefully as my anger subsides, the breasts will decrease. What does this mean? I have to go to work today so I am not sure how long this will take. If I really try to let go of my anger now, will the breasts go quickly away? But anger is not really something I can get rid of. All I can do is step back, breathe and not identify with it. When it completely goes away is not really up to me. What if it doesn’t go away for as long as Donald Trump is in power?

A great deal of Americans are still celebrating today. They are thrilled that a multi-billionaire, far right extremist has seized control of the highest office in the world. Some people are not happy about this but are trying to make peace with what has happened. I am really upset about it and will not pretend like everything will be ok. I will not take my mother’s advice and just try to see the positives. What is positive about this? I am the one who has ended up with a pair of good-sized, female breasts hanging from my chest.

Everyone else seems to be getting on just fine.

I’m Mad

My wife just asked me, “Are you mad at me?” I said, “No, I’m just mad.”

I am mad about everything right now. What is wrong with anger when it is a logical response to a terrible situation? I am mad that a man like Donald Trump has been elected President of the United States. I am mad that I live in a country where the majority of people voted for a man with OBVIOUS and SEVERE Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I am mad that all the white, male, power hungry men have won. I am mad about what this will mean for the values of freedom, intellectualism, peace, non-violence, creativity, equality, social justice, integrity, honesty, sharing, environmental consciousness, non-authoritarianism, independence and autonomy that I believe in. I am mad that police officers and the military will get more praise, power and prestige. I am mad that there will be more conformity and worship of money and business. I am mad that people who are not cool will now be in power. I could go on and on, but I am just mad.

I realize that anger is an emotion that arises and then gradually dissolves. This too shall pass. I am mad about this because I want this anger to remain. How else will I be able to continue to oppose and not give in to this catastrophe? The society in which I live will be forever changed. I am mad that American nationalism has now taken over. I am mad that people think that a multi-billionaire is the fit leader of a working class revolution. I am mad at the degree of stupidity and arrogance that has become confused as the way to “Make America Great Again.” America has never not been great but I am mad that it just got a lot worse. I am mad that America is only going to become dumber and even less tolerant than it was before. I am mad that racism and sexism has just been normalized. How does a man who said all the awful things Trump has publicly said get elected to be President? How does a woman who seems like her husband’s puppet get to be first lady? I just do not get it and I am mad about this.

I have a long day at work ahead of me. How am I going to go to work feeling so mad? I was supposed to exercise this morning but I was too mad. I can hear ringing in my ears. I don’t want to leave my house. I feel afraid of anyone who thinks that it is a good idea that Trump has been elected as President. I hope I will be able to control myself if I am confronted by someone like this. I am mad that after having one of the better, cooler and more intelligent Presidents in American history (Obama) we end up with far right, extremist, Republican, uncool, opportunists seizing control. People who actually think building a wall and shooting dissenters are great ideas are now in power. I am mad about this. I am mad that uncool people are now seen by the mass of Americans as being cool. I mean look at Trump’s Vice President. He is a robot. As uncool as a person can get. I could go on and on but I won’t. I know I already said I would stop but when I am mad sometimes I keep going on and on even when I know I should stop. But even my dogs are mad. They have been barking all morning.

*Sorry for any grammar errors. I am too mad to care.

The Countercultural Icon, #2

I’ve always failed at work. I have been failing since I began working. My first job was at a Straw Hat Pizza place in 1987. My high school friends had come in for a slice of pizza and to play Pac-Man in the small arcade inside the pizza establishment. I stealthily poured a pitcher of Coors beer when the manager was not looking and served it to them. They drank beer and played Pac-Man until they were noticed by the manager. Like all supposedly rebellious teenage kids, when the manager threatened them by saying he was going to call the cops, they told him I was the one who had served them the pitcher of beer. I was asked to leave right there and then and told never to step foot back in Straw Hat Pizza.

I hated work from the beginning. I never understood why I had to work. I always felt like work was a waste of time. A waste of a life. To me work has always been a place where someone goes to be miserable and stuck; to be told what to do and pretend that they are happy to do it. I understood that I needed to earn money through working in order to have a non-homeless lifestyle, but I have never been happy about it. I also have always hoped that eventually I would find work that I at least kind of enjoyed.

Life is short. We hear this cliché saying again and again, but it is true. It may feel long when you are living it but the moment you come to your end, life always feels way too brief. So why waste your time? Why do something you do not like and is not in alignment with your values? What is the point of that? Isn’t that what it means to waste a life? Because Adam ate the Apple now that means that I have to slave way at a job that I am not happy at? I have to just suck it up and accept this is the way that work is because of some bullshit Christian myth?

I’ve failed at every job I have had. By fail I mean that I have failed to really be happy about work. To accept it and make the best of it. To feel grateful that I have a job. I always end up resenting my work, as if work is preventing me from doing what I want to do. I have worked as a shoe salesman, a barista, a waiter, a mortuary assistant, a bartender, a Macy’s retail salesperson, a high school teacher, a college professor, a fast food clerk, a modern furniture salesperson, a meditation teacher, a record store clerk at Tower Records and a psychotherapist. I am sure there are jobs that I am forgetting about. Oh yeah, I worked at a bagel place. Every morning I would slice and put cream cheese on the bagels of men and women heading off to their beloved Silicon Valley tech jobs. I always felt like I was on the outside. Why couldn’t I find a dignified job I liked?

I hate authority. I hate people telling me what to do. Fuck you. Anyone who tells another person what to do, anyone who bosses another person around because they know that person needs the job, is not a good human being as far as I am concerned. What kind of person would want to be in a position of authority? Not a good one, in most cases. It is usually a person who is arrogant and on some sort of power trip. They feel so small and insignificant in their own life that they need to be in a position of authority. This is why I have always thought that if I could become a countercultural icon, I could avoid ever having to deal with people in positions of authority. Sure, I would still have to deal with cops and the government, but I could avoid that trap of being dependent on following the rules of authority, in order to get paid.

Being a countercultural icon would involve work that is more self-determined. I could continue to be a rugged individualist without having to have my balls cut off. I could work from home and do what I want to do and actually get paid for it. A countercultural icon creates their work rather than being dependent on other people to create work for them. A countercultural icon’s work is almost always of a creative nature and they get to be themselves without the fear of losing their job or business or reputation or positive Yelp status because someone else does not like them. More or less, countercultural icons get to do what they want. And doing what I want has always appealed to me. Life is just to fucking short to only do what you want on the weekends. Fuck that.

But I have failed at being a countercultural icon. It does not seem to be happening for me. I am beginning to believe that I am doomed when it comes to the working world. No matter what the work is, I will fail. Because my first working experience at Straw Hat Pizza was such a negative one, I was condemned (before even turning 18) to a life filled with failing at work. Even though by many standards I now have a good, well-paying, culturally legitimate job, I am still unhappy about it. I have my own office, I make decent money, I get to help other people, I do not really have an authority figure watching over me, I make my own hours, but still I am miserable. The work I am doing just does not feel like me. I am not a countercultural icon. I am just an average, professional, suburban worker making his honest and unrecognized way in the world. I am a slave to needing others to like me in order to get paid. Maybe I should read more of the way too many positive-thinking-conform-your-mind-to- being-happy-about-being-an-average-person-in-the-system-blogs. But something about all of this really pisses me off.

The Countercultural Icon, #1

I have always wanted to be a countercultural icon. A rugged individualist who defines his own position in the world. Not dependent on licenses, state regulations, bosses, boards, companies, customers and governments to make a living. A man who has made his own way, possibly the result of natural talent.

I have the natural talent but lack the recognition. At least I think I have natural talent but I know that I do not have the recognition. Nothing is happening for me creatively, outside of my own solitary creative process. My computer is filled with my writings and my studio is filled with my art. Outside of this, there is nothing happening for me. I am just another ordinary guy.

Today I have to reply to several emails. I have to make a payment on my financial aid. I have to call back several potential clients. I have to meet with eight clients, for an hour each. I also need to water my plants, meditate and exercise. The dogs need to be fed and I think a few other bills need to be paid. It is Monday morning, the beginning of yet another work week. What could be less countercultural than this?

Instead of a countercultural icon, I fear I have become the status quo. I have an office. I own a home. I am married. I have five dogs. I have a camper van. I have a hot tub. I have lots of Danish Modern furniture. I have a backyard garden. All of these things are wonderful. These things unto themselves do not make me status quo. What makes me status quo is that I have to work at a job that I do not like, a job that is not really an authentic expression of who I am, in order to have these things. (What I mean is that I have to pretend to be happy about being at work, I have to pretend that I am into my work and this is often a main indicator that a person is not being authentic.) I would be happy to have the things that I do if I earned an income doing something I at least enjoyed (writing, making art). The fact that I have to earn money doing something that I have to pretend that I am interested in (or force myself to believe that it is not so bad), there is nothing countercultural about this. This in fact is the norm. There is nothing more status quo than feeling stuck in your work (job) because you have to support your lifestyle.

A countercultural icon is someone who has broken free from the status quo. They have been able to make a living (earn money) from what they are naturally talented at. They make strange things. They express outrageous thoughts and people buy what they have to say. Other people like what they are saying and their words and images spread like a dry grass fire. My words and images have done the opposite. They do not seem able to ignite (my grass remains damp). They stay confined to my computer and studio. Like my wife said, “No one is buying your stuff.”

So maybe I am not naturally talented. After twenty years of trying, maybe I must come to the conclusion that I am no good. Or maybe my “stuff” is just too strange or too something. Maybe at this point in my mid-life, wanting to be a countercultural icon is as stupid as wanting to become an alcholic. Maybe I have reached a point where this desire to be a writer and artist is actually ruining my life (preventing me from being able to enjoy anything). Maybe I need to let all of these ridiculous daydreams of countercultural fame go and just embrace the status quo. Maybe countercultural icon status is just not for me. Maybe it never was.

I need to go feed the dogs. Then I must exercise for thirty minutes. Then I need to go get dressed and get myself to work. I have a nine hour work day in front of me. Fuck. I have been fighting with my wife because she keeps acquiring things and this makes me mad. She doesn’t understand that with each new thing she buys I feel more trapped in the status quo (she recently came home with another dog). I need her to slow down but she does not seem able. She finds a great deal of happiness in things, so it seems. I like my things also, but I can not help but see the amount of hours that I have to work at a job that is painful for me, in order to keep these things. With each new thing we acquire, I see the loss of my countercultural dreams. Is this what growing up is all about? The only thing that will be countercultural about my work week is that I will be walking to work (car is in the shop).