The Suburban Captive, Part One

The main task, effort, lesson, understanding or goal (whatever you want to call it) for the suburban captive is to learn how to be completely content and happy within their captivity. No easy undertaking and often one must go through years of hating and denying their captivity in order to get to a place where they are able to embrace and make friends with it.

These years of denying and hating captivity and the experiences that a person has when in this stage or state (depression, emptiness, self-destruction, addiction and excessive boredom) can be the subject matter for volumes upon volumes of books. Outside of a few novels and essays, this subject matter has yet to be undertaken or covered by writers.

Everyone who lives in the suburbs experiences suburban captivity. There is just no way around it when living in the suburbs. Avoiding captivity when living in the suburbs is like avoiding getting wet when swimming in the ocean. Cannot happen.

Captivity is occurring when there is no place for a person to go where they can feel permanently freed. A person in suburban captivity can’t go anywhere and be authentically free. They are held captive in and by their homes. Even though a home and garden can be incredibly beautiful, comfortable and filled with all kinds of delights- a person is still captive there because they really have no place to go.

The vast majority of people who live in the suburbs are continually trying to escape from their captivity. Their lives are a continual effort to escape. They travel, they go out to restaurants, they go to movies, they go hiking, they go to work, they go to friend’s homes, they go to bars, they go to parties, they watch television, they are obsessed with the cell phones- always trying to escape captivity. But this way of life is very draining and often they embrace their captivity when they have no energy left.

The suburban captive who has fully embraced his captivity is full of energy but does not use this energy to go anywhere. Instead, he uses the energy to successfully live a life while embracing suburban captivity.

Those who are preoccupied with trying to escape their captivity, deep down know that there is no place to go. Even though they often think about all the things they have to do and all the places they want to go- they often know that this doing and going and consuming never really delivers them the escape they are searching for. The reason for this is because this constant doing, going and consuming is what causes much of the captivity in the first place. One is wrong in thinking that escape equals freedom. What kind of prisoner escapes and experiences more freedom as a result? Very few.

Most suburban captives search for escape their entire lives. Some finally realize that there is actually no place to go, no place to escape to. They then stop needing to leave their homes (unless necessary) and begin learning how to enjoy captivity. How to really settle in. This is not a surrender but instead it is an embrace. It is a way of life that can bring a person great fulfillment when done correctly.

The suburban captive is held captive by their homes, their expenses, their banks, their garden, their television, their dogs, their furniture, their books, their records, their appliances, their electricity, their water- all the things which make up a suburban life. These things erect an invisible wall around a person which shelters them from the chaos of the outside world. But in order to maintain this shelter a person must work, and the unpleasantness of this work for money often causes the suburban captive to long for escape.

More escape just builds bigger walls that a person will never be able to climb over or break through.

The true suburban captive has stopped needing to go out. They go to work and go out for a few things (occasional meals, trips to the market and social situations) but they no longer need to go out into the world. They once went out into the world to do things, to buy things, to have experiences- but they eventually realized that this does not work. They reach a point where they realize they are living in captivity and that there is no escape from it. Like any skilled captive in any situation, at this point the suburban captive embraces their captivity. They learn to build a fulfilling life within the walls (which is actually how to get rid of the walls) that can never be seen from the outside. Suburban walls exist within.

Once the suburban captive has reached the stage of embracing their captivity, realizing that escape cannot be found in buying things, going out, spending money, promiscuous sex, alcohol, socializing and even working- this is the stage when the suburban captive begins to deepen their relationship within themselves. The successful suburban captive is at home within. A fully realized person. Self-actualized. Nothing any longer stresses him out. He is completely fulfilled and at peace within himself, therefore nothing outside himself can cause much distress. Most suburban captives are continually getting stressed out because they are avoiding settling in to themselves. They are still look for escape on the outside.

The suburban captive who has embraced their captivity knows that they exist in captivity. They have accepted their captivity even though no one can see the walls. From the outside everything looks affluent, privileged, free, calm and beautiful so no one imagines that captivity could occur. How could you be held captive when living within such beauty? But it is exactly the act of owning and sustaining these things which creates the suburban captive. The only way that the suburban captive can truly be free and happy within this kind of affluent captivity (the worst kind of captivity is the kind of captivity which everyone is experiencing, but no one talks about because they think their captivity is their freedom) is to acknowledge and embrace the captivity which they have taken suburban residence in.

Once a suburban captive has done this, once they have had enough of the pain involved in trying to escape, they can get down to the real business of cultivating a truly fulfilling life from within, at home.

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An Interview About Writing on Medium

Why do you keep writing on Medium?

What do you mean?

Why do you keep doing it?

First off, I write for myself. Then I sometimes post things on Medium.

You post on Medium almost every day.

Ok, maybe this is true but I write for myself first.

And you post on Medium because it says you have over a thousand followers?

Yeah, it is kind of cool to think that I have that many people reading my stuff.

You know that is a big bluff right? You know that this is a huge, well thought out scam played on writers?

What are you talking about?

I am talking about manipulating writer’s deepest sensitivities and longings. The creators of Medium have found a way to do this. Every writer dreams about having over a thousand or thousands of readers. But you don’t have a thousand readers on Medium. You are lucky if you get ten. The people who designed Medium just set things up so it seems like a lot of people might read your work.

Why would they do this?

Because, it keeps people posting content to their site. What better way to keep people posting content for free than providing them with the idea that lots of people follow their work. It is a genius concept but the trick is being played on the writers. Medium consumes content in the same way that your stomach consumes endless amounts of food. They live off the content posted to their site. They are sucking writers dry so that they can continue to thrive. And what do writers who post on Medium get?

What?

The illusion that they are being read by many. Now maybe if you post popular kinds of content you might get more readers, but still it is not as many as you think.

What do you mean by popular writing?

You know, the stuff that the not so smart masses want to read. The stuff about how to become a better and more productive person. The stuff about technology and business. The “How To” stuff that people consume and then forget about in a few days because they have moved on to the next meal. This is the stuff that Medium fills up on. They are just a consumer of endless amounts of motivational and technological content. None of what is being written on Medium will matter in a few years, let alone a week.

Shit, that is bleak.

Yes, and you try and post quality, creative stuff on Medium. You try and post what could be considered literature but no one wants this kind of content on Medium. It is not easy and motivational enough. It makes readers to aware of parts of their lives they wish to forget by reading popular motivational content on Medium. The irony is that in a hundred years, some of what you post on Medium may be the only stuff still being read.

So you are saying that Medium is a good long term, preservational platform for my work?

It has that possibility for you. You can use Medium in the same way that they are using you.

How so?

You let them manipulate you into thinking you have thousands of readers and you let them consume your hard-earned content for free but you potentially get a platform that will preserve your best work for centuries to come.

Hmmm. Never thought of it like this.

Medium is filled with a sea of crap. Often it takes humans half a decade or more to find the quality stuff. Medium is one safe space for your work to dwell in obscurity for a while. You are the fish out of water on here.

But if I was a fish in the water with all the other fish, I would have a lot more readers. I could possibly make money and get more known from what I write.

Yes, but your work will be completely forgotten in a hundred years. With what you are writing now- you still have a shot. Short term pain for longer term gain.

Interesting. Well, thank you for the perspective. I really appreciate it. It helps.

Sure. Oh, and also for what it is worth- you might get a few more readers now and then if you get better at editing what you write.

Yes, I know but I am imperfect when it comes to this skill. I do the best I can. Besides, few real writers are ever any good at editing. I am perfectly comfortable with fucking up. A real writer without an editor is like a bike without a rider.

I understand. You do the best you can with what you got. There are some real writers, as you put it, who are also really good at editing.

Yes, I know. But they are not the majority.

Yes. This is true. A real writer is good at creating the soul in what is written and an editor makes the soul presentable to the reader. This is why most writers are not real writers- there is no soul in what they write. It’s almost robotic.

Exactly. But the editing is great.

Yes. True.

Well, thanks again for your perspective.

Sure. Keep at it man. Don’t give up. You are good at what you do.

Thanks.

Things All Over The Place

Things all over the place. Someday, some yet unknown civilization will study us and think that we had things all over the place. We are consumed by our things and few things ever remain in their right place.

I love some of my things, but does this mean I need to have things all over the place? Has humanity really evolved to have this many things all over the place? Can our brains really handle all these things all over the place? Just about all of our homes have things all over the place. There are things everywhere, too many to name.

Some of us are lucky enough to have the time, energy and/or money to have things continually kept in their right place. Few of us are disciplined enough to keep everything right where it needs to be, at all times. After all, this is the only way that most of us could maintain sanity and stability with things.

We have built our lives in order to have things all over the place. This is what we do. This is where human ingenuity has landed us. We labor away and then we collect things. It is fun buying things with our hard earned cash. If we did not do this what would be the point of our labor? We certainly don’t love the things we do for cash so we better enjoy the spending of it.

We end up with things all over the place.

What we did for fun becomes an excess of things all over the place. Memories materialized into things.

And now our lives become about keeping things in their right place. Learning how to not get so angry when things are all over the place. Figuring out how to keep things from getting all over the place. Straining our relationships because of the stress of having things all over the place. Not spending our time more meaningfully because we are too tired after dealing with things all over the place. Wishing we could just be comfortable with things all over the place but never being able to achieve this ideal.

Those who are perfectly at home and relaxed with things all over the place are the enlightened beings in our day and age of too many things all over the place.

Our world is surrounded by things all over the place. The inside of our homes is a reflection of the clutter all around. Everything is out of place. There is clutter everywhere, unless you are fortunate enough to live where no one else or only a few are around. But chances are you still live in a home with things all over the place. We live in a world of things all over the place and our homes become microcosmic portraitures of this macrocosmic crisis.

It is inevitable. When we live with things all over the place our inner worlds become filled with things all over the place. Everything is out of place on the outside because everything is out of place on the inside. Or is everything out of place on the inside because everything is out of place on the outside?

Thoughts all over the place. An endless number of things to get done. Different feelings running into one another. Continually trying to get things organized on the inside but never feeling able to. Looking towards drugs and alcohol to help us straighten things out, if only for a minute. Meditating, doing yoga, going to therapists, reading self-help books, going on retreat- all in the hope of effectively dealing with these things all over the place.

No scientific research is needed to tell us we live in a world, inside and out, with too many things all over the place. We are buried beneath these things, always struggling to find a way to get things in order. We struggle to remain organized inside and out. We try as hard as we can to deal with things all over the place. But more often than not, our only shot at survival is to say fuck it and accept that this is now a world with things all over the place.

Why The American Dream Has Killed My Writing Career.

When my wife asks me how I am and I tell her that I am depressed, she no longer asks why.

I know that all emotions and thoughts are inherently empty and impermanent so I try not to get too caught up in any of it. Sometimes, I just let myself be depressed.

I know that my entire identity is just a phantom passing in the day and night. I try not to identify with much of it.

But still I feel. Still I think. I am human.

My dream has always been to be able to make a living as a writer. A fiction writer. I did not expect this to happen until, and if, I made it to fifty.

Now at forty five I can’t really write. The American Dream has killed my writing career.

My younger self knew this would happen if I gave in. There is no one else to blame but myself.

Depression makes it hard to write. Depression is often the end result of the American Dream.

I have a house now. I must keep my house clean because I can not function adequately in a house that is a mess. Cleaning my house every day takes away from time that I can write. Being stressed out about a house that is a mess takes away from the energy I need to write.

I must work a real job in order to afford my lifestyle. A real job drains a person and does not leave them with much energy outside of work to do anything else.

I own a business, which requires much of my attention, which leaves less attention for my writing. A man can only spend so many hours working. Whether it is my real job or writing, it is all still work. I need a good amount of non-work-down-time in order to feel alright. Down time plus working a real job does not leave much space within which to write. I see now why Kafka continually decided against marriage and the domestic life.

I am married and a marriage often comes with a good amount of emotional drain. There are problems to attend to. Another person in your daily life mix. This takes up time and energy, which was once used to write.

I have a garden, a front yard and these organic entities need my daily watering attention. This takes away time to write.

I have four dogs which are continually needy. I can’t stand to see dog shit just hanging out in my yard, so I must pick this up each day since my wife refuses to. Having four, needy animals around all the time takes away from the tranquility which is often needed to write in. Dogs take up a lot of psychic space.

Then there is the daily meditation that I must do each day to deal with the anger, anxiety, stress and depression, which seems to be a daily part of American Dream life. Meditation makes me feel more at peace and when I am more at peace I have little use for writing stories. I would rather just sit in my garden and watch birds fly by.

As a business owner I have emails to check. People that want things from me. Appointments to make. People to stay in touch with. Bills to pay. Other people’s problems to think about. All of this will drain a person’s creative inner life away. All of this leaves me feeling too preoccupied with the real world to think about fictional other worlds. I am too caught up in this world and rather than write I just engage my iPhone.

Being overly connected is the death of a creative life. A creative person needs to spend a certain amount of time each day disconnected our else their creative energy will be sapped. Great artists and writers, I doubt, check their social media, text messages and emails fifty plus times a day. I do.

Then I need to do dishes, make food, buy food, be pissed about not eating the right food. This food thing takes up a lot of time that could be spent writing.

Then I need to buy things to feel better about not having the writing career I want. Does not seem to work.

Then there is everything else- bills, cleaning car, tending to cars, laundry, exercise and on and on.

This is the standard lifestyle, which is a result of achieving the American Dream. It generally leaves a person overwhelmed, addicted to zoning out on their iPhone and looking forward to that drink they can have when the day is done, so they can get some temporary relief.

This is a pathetic way to go through life. It is completely missing the point in being alive. It is a lifestyle based in comfort and security and it leaves a person feeling trapped, stuck and overly entertained. Nothing good grows out from this place. Especially not a writing career.

I know there is a lot more I could say here, but I do not have time. I must go to work now.

The End.

The Reluctant Psychotherapist

“……i was free from the horror of being deformed by another person’s needs and desires.” -J.D. Daniels, The Correspondence

My testicles are in pain. It feels like someone is squeezing them with their fingers to the point where it hurts. I have had my testicles squeezed many times before, but it was purely for fun and usually with someone’s mouth. This is different. There is now the presence of this swollen ache, which feels like it could be signaling illness.

Currently, as I write this, I am soaking my testicles in a cup filled with warm water and sea salt. The cup is seated on a small table just beneath my dick and desk chair. I am not wearing any pants (or underwear) and it feels surprisingly comfortable to be writing with my testicles soaking in warm sea water.

I have taken the entire week off. I canceled all my thirty-six clients (I hate this word, the ugliest and most mediocre word in the English language) and decided to retreat from the world of work. After seven years of spending seven or eight hours a day, four days a week, sitting in a fake leather chair, with my underwear and pants squeezing my balls, I suppose the testicle issue I am now having was inevitable. I have felt my testicles aching for years. I had to take this week off and let my oppressed testicles hang lose.

Being a psychotherapist is a dangerous job. I suppose testicular issues are just one hazard of this profession. We all know that sitting for long periods of time is not healthy (it is better for us to smoke) but we all do it anyways. Psychotherapists just do it for longer periods of time and must tunefully listen to negative talk while doing it.

I don’t care how much you know; one thing I know for certain is that human beings did not evolve to sit in a chair for hours a day (with their sexual organs being squeezed to death by their expensive pants and underwear) while listening to other people talk about themselves for an hour at a time. Being a psychotherapist is as unnatural as drinking diet coke.

I mean all you need to do is look to the guy who invented this profession, Sigmund Freud, and see how fucked up he was. It is never a good idea to go into a profession (or take someone’s advice) which was invented by a neurotic, unhealthy, introverted, hypochondriac, drug addicted, perverted, narcissistic but highly intelligent madman. This gives new meaning to that cliché idea- you are who your friends are. You are who the founders of your profession are (or were). Know what I mean?

I almost think it would be better to work as a prostitute. Prostitutes are free from the obligation to apprehend and interpret. They understand what their clients want from them. It is all usually very upfront. I am sure that if someone did a study they would find that professions which create the most happiness and health in its practitioners are the ones where everything is upfront. No bullshit. The practitioners of the profession know exactly what is wanted from them and this makes life easier for everyone.

Psychotherapists have no fucking idea. The profession requires that we spend our days apprehending and interpreting what other people are doing and needing (we usually end up doing this in our personal lives as well because our profession tends to erase the line between personal and professional life). Normally, psychotherapists have no idea what their clients want from them because their clients don’t know what they want for themselves. This is usually the therapist’s job. To help clients make decisions for themselves. To spend so much time apprehending and interpreting that hopefully, eventually, the client will know what they want and what they should do. What hell it is.

But this is not the worst part of being a psychotherapist. If what I have talked about above was all I had to deal with, the swollen testicles, the sitting and all the interpreting and apprehending, then maybe I would not be a reluctant psychotherapist. I realize that life is suffering. We all need to choose our poison. I can handle a swollen testicle, sitting all the time and people who pay me to apprehend and interpret for them. But if happiness means being able to choose the problems that you have and then being able to enjoy the process of solving these problems, I may be in trouble.

As a psychotherapist, I have to spend more than half of my life/time with other people’s problems. I am paid to solve their problems. If the problems are interesting and engaging the time goes by quick. Just when I realize my testicles are aching the session is almost over. Problems such as dying, being addicted to public masturbation, nymphomania, wanting to kill your parents, addiction to heroin, continual alien abductions, wanting to go on a shooting rampages and stalking issues keep me engaged. But the problem is that I do not often come across these sort of problems. Most people’s problems tend to be as conventional as an afternoon soap opera. Mediocrity has turned most of us into victimized door mats. And victimized door mats have the same old stuff in them whenever you shake them out.

And then there is: having to talk with parents, schedule sessions with clients, respond to client emails, call back physicians and social workers who want to consult about a client we both share, respond to client texts on weekends and at night, write notes about clients, deal with clients who don’t show up, pay money to private insurance companies in case clients try to sue me, submit payments and paperwork and take professional development classes mandated by the licensing boards and government agencies so that they can make money off of what we do (I don’t mind licensing regulations since most people attracted to this profession are nuts and should be regulated- I just think things pertaining to licensing should be free).

I could go on and on but I won’t. You get the idea here. I am often asking myself: “Are these problems that I want to have in my life and are they problems that I enjoy solving?” Right away the answer is always “Hell no.” Darn it.

But I keep working as a psychotherapist anyways. I am doing some good in the world even though doing good involves me suffering from swollen testicles, a body that is growing weaker because of all the sitting and the inner deformation of my spirit that is the result having to solve problems that I do not want to be having. But a man like me needs to get paid. I need to afford my quality of life, so I keep doing what I do. I try and take things day by day and not care too much about what may happen tomorrow.

Make sure that what you are good at doing (which in America means what people are willing to pay you to do) is something that you enjoy doing. If you don’t not like doing the thing you are good at- you are fucked.

I dream about living other kinds of lives, lives unfilled with other people’s problems, lives filled with problems I want to have (because I know this is what happiness is). But my ability to dream seems to be declining with age. I don’t have the energy to move very far anymore. My testicles are now sitting in a cup. How far could I go?

A good day for me used to be one filled with creative productivity, aimless wandering, beer, books and women. This was before the house, the cars, the boat, the wife, the dogs, the status, the suburbs, the television addiction, the smartphone addiction, the bills and the paranoia that I can have my entire career destroyed by writing honest things like this. Now my idea of a good day is a day free of all obligation. A day withdrawn from the outside world. A day in complete solitude where I can become a sibling to myself, and like J.D. Daniels writes, “gnaw at myself for nourishment in the red cavern of the womb, relaxing into my own death.”

Then, eventually, I have to return to having my testicles squeezed.

The Sell-Out. Conversation #52.

I have been wondering around online all morning.

Why are you doing this?

I don’t know. Trying to kill time. I have a long day ahead of me. It is not even 8am yet. Caffeine is just kicking in. Nothing else I want to do. I tried reading the novel I have been slugging my way through (Jim Carroll’s The Petting Zoo) but have little interest. Reading a novel should not feel like such an uphill climb but every novel I read these days feels like that. I suppose I could write or make art or water my garden or exercise or do something more productive, but I don’t want to do anything.

So you just drift around from website to website?

Yes. And I find nothing of substance. Just more albums being released. More musicians trying to distinguish themselves as interesting. More sensationalized news stories. Everyone is trying to be someone online (including myself I suppose) but all of it lacks substance. At least I am not finding any substance in any of it.

Maybe the problem is you? Maybe the problems is your life? Maybe you lack substance?

That is an interesting thought. You are implying that the reason why it all feels empty to me is because I am substanceless?

Yes.

It could be true. I feel pretty dead inside. Empty I suppose. There is pain. I don’t like anything right now. I realize that in the mornings I am often at my most miserable so I don’t want to get too carried away in any of these negative feelings. But I do feel bleak. I do feel bad inside so it makes sense that nothing on “the outside” will feel like it has any substance.

You are looking for things on the outside to fill you up. To help you feel more meaning or a sense of purpose.

Maybe. I just feel like shit inside. Why? I don’t want to feel this way. I don’t like this. But it all feels bad.

Fuck.

Yes, Fuck. I have to go to work today. I do not want to go to work. My work is not fulfilling. It is painful. It hurts. It makes me feel sick inside.

But you make good money.

Yes. That is why I keep doing it. My work has its advantages but it does not make me feel good inside. I feel bad doing it. I feel bad thinking about it. Today I have to work for nine hours and am already thinking about coming home tonight and drinking a bottle of wine.

That is not good man. Your work should feel more fulfilling than that.

Yeah, well, that is not in the deck of cards for me right now. I have to suffer through work in order to get paid and maintain any kind of decent quality of life.

Fuck.

Yeah, fuck is right. When I am not working I feel like I have little energy to do anything else. I just want to withdraw. I don’t want to talk with anyone. I drift around online. I feel empty and lost inside.

Why don’t you just quit your job? Stop doing it man. Does not sound good for you!

What else would I do? I just don’t know what else I would do to make the kind of money I do. I really do not know what else I could do.

Be a writer?

I would like to do that but writers do not make any money. Who would I write for? How would I make a decent amount of money as a writer? The kind of writing I do is not really about making money. It is not the kind of stuff that makes money and I don’t want to be forced to sell-out as a writer. That would be horrible. So I don’t know if I could make a decent living as a writer without selling out.

It seems like everyone has to sell out these days to make a decent living.

Yes, I know. Selling out has become the American way. I don’t like it. It breeds negative emotions. Selling out causes a person to feel the way I do right now. I don’t like it.

But you don’t know what else to do.

Nope. I have no idea. Right now I just go to my job. I work hard. I get through it. I make my money and then when I am not working any more I try hard to forget about it and enjoy my life as much as possible. But my work is always there in the background. I know that I have to return to it at some point. I know that I can’t figure out some way out of it. My work is always there in one form or another. I know that I need my work for money but my work brings me so much pain. I feel doomed.

Fuck.

Yeah, fuck. I don’t know. It is a difficult situation I am in. I feel stuck. All I can really do to help myself is buy myself things that I like and just try and chill out. Read good books, listen to music, exercise, go for walks, go out to good meals. Stuff like that. This is the only solution I have found thus far. But I don’t know what to do with myself now. I have to be at work soon. I suppose I can just sit and wait. I don’t have much interest in doing anything right now. I don’t want to read. I don’t want to listen to music. I don’t want to exercise. I don’t want to talk with anyone. I think I am just going to sit here and wait until it is time to go to work.

Just sit and wait?

Maybe I will clean my house since having a clean house seems to be the only thing right now that brings me some degree of satisfaction.

Fuck.

Yeah, fuck.

 

The Making Of An Indebted Man

I was perfectly content spending all day and night in my chair. Yes, I dealt with intense anxiety but that is only because when a person spends a lot of time sitting still in a chair they become very aware of what everyone else is staying busy to forget- death. I was very aware of the inevitability of my own death and not knowing when it would come made me feel very apprehensive. But I dealt with it and aside from this, I felt very content spending all day and night in my chair doing whatever I wanted.

I read my books. I stared out the window. I watched the sun set and the sun rise. I drew pictures. I followed my breathing. I meditated upon various things. I remembered my youth. I masturbated. I ate food that was delivered to me from a health food co-op. I felt peaceful. I lived off money that was provided to me by the generosity of others. I was not doing anything with my life and as a result I felt like I was living fully.

My mother would occasionally visit me and become mad. She always brought me flowers (I don’t know why). My mother bringing me flowers made me feel very uncomfortable. Why was I just sitting in that chair? She was angry that I was not doing anything with my life (my father could not even deal with visiting me). She could not understand that I was doing everything with my life. She wanted me to get up more. She did not think that spending all my time in a chair, alone in my room was healthy for a young man. I told her that the greatest thing about my life was that I was a man free of debt (I told her this because I knew she lived buried in debt).

My father and my mother owned two large homes. They had numerous credit cards. Several cars. A small airplane. My main memories of my father and mother are of them sitting around the kitchen table with a large check book opened and stacks and stacks of bills piled up in the center of the table. As a kid I knew that I did not want that to be me. But then my mother said to me one day when she came to visit: Debt my son is a wonderful thing. It is what our society is built upon and it is what allows us to have a good life. I didn’t know why, but my mother’s words often had a strong unconscious influence over me. They made me do things that I knew I really did not want to do.

A man dressed in a standard business man’s suit came into my room one day. He was carrying a briefcase. I was at the point where I was trying to teach myself how to walk on the ceiling. I would not sit in the chair as much and instead I would learn how to walk on the ceiling. That would feel like a valid accomplishment to me. I was obsessed and fascinated with the idea of learning how to walk on the ceiling. My imagination was running wild. The man offered me an American Express Card, a MasterCard and the opportunity to have any graduate school of my choice paid for by a loan. He told me that these things would drastically improve my life and I decided to think about it.

Should I give up learning how to walk on the ceiling? Should I not be spending so much time sitting in my chair, enjoying my life? Suddenly I felt bad for the way I was living. Irresponsible. Failed. Maybe there was a more adult way to live? Maybe debt could give me an even better life than the one I already had? I would at least make my mother, father, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, wife, creditors, debtors, president, congress people, advertisers, business owners and others that I was not aware of proud. When the man dressed in the standard business suit returned to my room I told him ok. I signed several things. I took the cards. I chose a graduate school that I would attend and the man told me when I could start. He gave me a check that he told me I would pay back someday in the distant future. Congratulations son. You have made a smart choice for the direction of your life. Welcome to being a contributing member of society. This idea made me nervous but I went to graduate school anyways.

I got a graduate degree. I was then offered a house and decided why not. It would be nice to have my own home. A different man in a suit told me that the house could be all mine if I just signed here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

I got the house. It was a nice house with a large backyard. I bought furniture for the house with the cards that I was given by the first man in the standard business suit. I was then offered more cards by various strangers who seemed so happy to give them to me. Credit cards were being offered to me by everyone. I had never felt like such an accomplished and trustworthy person before, so I said yes to all of them. I figured this was the responsible thing to do. I had made it! I bought a car. I rented an office and started the business that I was told to start by the people in graduate school. I bought more furniture for my office with the cards that proudly displayed my name on them. Suddenly I felt like someone important. I felt like I was living a legitimate, adult life. I bought patio furniture.

My mother, father, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, wife, creditors, debtors, president, congress people, advertisers, business owners and others all seemed proud of me. They all wanted to talk with me. When I walked into other people’s businesses I was treated with respect. I had accomplished great things now that I was a man in debt. Suddenly people wanted to spend time with me and pay me for my time. I could buy whatever I wanted but the strange thing was that I started to feel very sad and had no idea why.

I missed those days when I spent day and night just sitting in a chair. I regretted that I had not learned how to walk on the ceiling. I was too busy and occupied now. If I spent too much time sitting in a chair I noticed that I felt bad. I tried but I always felt like I should be doing something else. I checked my iPhone a lot. I had a business to attend to. A house to run and keep clean. Things needed to get done and just sitting in a chair felt like I was letting important things remain undone. Now I was not anxious because of the reality of death, but I had dozens of others things that I worried could go wrong. My hair started to thin and fall out. I felt a dark despair in me that I had never felt before but began using my cards more to buy things and an effort to get the despair to go away. I bought expensive healing products to heal the diseases I felt like I was vulnerable of catching as a result of living a more stress-filled, adult life. I drank more wine to make the anxiety dissolve away.

I would forget to pay bills. I didn’t have energy to pay bills. How did my parents do it? I didn’t want to pay certain bills. Why should I pay my student loan back, when this was the life it had gotten me into? The man in the standard looking business suit had not told me the truth. I felt more and more depressed. More and more trapped. I longed for the simpler times when I was perfectly content just sitting in my chair. I just wanted to be able to walk on the ceiling and do other spontaneous and creative things. Instead, my life became routine. There was nothing else to do.

No one else seemed to notice how much I was suffering. I thought about ending my life. I thought about how trapped I felt. I felt rage towards the men in business suits and my mother for giving me terrible advice. I felt set up. I started experiencing anxiety attacks and was given Lexaproby another man in a nicer suit. After several weeks of taking the pills I started to feel better. I started to feel a bit more relaxed and content in my life. It was working! The despair and anxiety subsided and gradually I was not so miserable going to work. My sex drive vanished, I put on a bit of weight but when I sat down at my kitchen table and paid off the stack of bills, it didn’t feel so bad. Now I could begin getting my credit score back on track. I could start exercising, meditating and maybe even reading again. I could begin to just enjoy working, driving, buying things, hanging out with other people, taking care of my house and living an average life in the suburbs. It felt nice. I lost all interest in learning how to walk on the ceiling but who cares, that sort of thing doesn’t matter anyways.