How To Get Almost Nothing Done.

I need to get my head on straight here. I have been procrastinating all morning. Watching various videos. Leaving status updates on Facebook. Posting drawings on Instagram. It is 12:03pm and I am still wearing the clothes I slept in. Why am I doing this? What is it that I am looking for? It certainly feels easier than dealing with all the things I need to get done.

My toilet has been wobbling for weeks. Need to bolt it to the blue tiled floor. My bathroom walls have holes that need to be patched up. I have closets and a garage that are filled with junk and in desperate need of being organized. I have yet to return phone calls that are days old. I have several unfinished novels and short stories begging for my attention. I need to pay bills and call the financial aid office because I am in so much debt that I have not even bothered thinking about paying it back. For years and years. I could go on and on with the things that I am not taking care of but this doesn’t sound like fun.

There is currently a public service announcement on the college radio station that I have on, which is recommending taking deep breaths as an antidote to the epidemic of stress that fills all our jam-packed lives. Instead of breathing, I seem to have chosen retreating. The more that I must get done it seems that the less I want to do. I am like a person who eats a lot to lose weight. It is reverse logic. I realize that the more I retreat the heavier my life will get. But for whatever reason, a large part of me is all right with this.

There are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who are pro-active and organized. These people usually are very good at doing things that do not have an immediate benefit but require being fully committed, effort and consistency. They are not afraid of hard work even though it may not be fun. It seems easy for them to work hard at something that they are interested in for long periods of time. These are usually the people whose films we watch, houses we buy, books we read, classes we take, restaurants we eat in, planes we fly on, surgeries we subject ourselves to and on and on. Then there are those people who do just enough to get by. The only thing they really stick with is not sticking to things. They give the minimum amount of effort to just get by and then when things get hard they retreat. They go take a nap. Read. Drink a beer. Read. Go on Facebook or Instagram. Read. Listen to music. Nap. Read. This second kind of person is me.

Isn’t a blogger someone who wants to do the minimum amount of work in order to still remain a writer? This would be me. As soon as working on a novel or a short story gets tough, I become frustrated and bored and want to do something else. In fact, whenever anything gets boring or frustrating I seem unwilling to put in the work it would require to get it done. Instead, I go do something else that feels more fun even if this means sitting on my couch and staring out my window for hours. I do just enough to get by and it is only when I reach a crisis point or things get urgent that I will do more.

Isn’t this what the status quo means? Doing just enough to get by and then enjoying your life (or not) on your off time? Go work on your car, take out the boat, work in the garden, listen to records, clean your home, go to a movie, hang out with friends, read a book, watch a Netflix series. You work your job because you need the money and then when work is done you just hang out. To answer my own question, yes- this is the status quo. What would not be the status quo would be putting consistent effort into something that you are interested in but may or may not work out down the line. Even though I am not happy about it, I seem to have chosen the status quo. Life just feels easier this way.

I know an older man who feels like he has failed in his life. His life has been filled with anxiety, worry and despair. He has worked hard at his job as a social worker for thirty plus years but he told me that when he is done with work all he thinks about is resting and chilling out. “This is how I avoid stuff,” he tells me. I see him sitting there with his large belly, his marital problems, his expenses, his dislike of his job, his tired face, his head filled with stress and worries and I can not help but feel terrified that this man might be me in ten years. But how does one change this tendency to make a hundred excuses for why they do not have to fold the laundry, keep working on the novel, stay in the relationship, pay all the bills, exercise or call the financial aid office right now? I am a psychotherapist and I have no idea. Some bad habits seem hard wired so deep in our brains that we will do just enough, make the bare minimum effort to try and figure them out. Then when this feels like no fun anymore, we will drop it and go do something else.

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The Loser

I would like to state for the record that I am terribly hung over. I feel lethargic and gloomy, as if something heavy is hanging over my head. I am angry at myself for drinking more than I wanted. Why did I do that to myself……..again? I drink too much. I don’t get drunk but I like being intoxicated. I need a drink every day and I am not so sure that is a good thing. I am trying to anesthetize some kind of pain. Some kind of dull, chronic ache. I would like to stop drinking and just smoke weed. But I have not done that yet. I just wanted to state that what you are about to read are the words of a hung over, hung under and hung side ways man. When hung in these various ways, I tend to be bleak.

I realize the underlying absurd nature of all these feelings I am about to express. Ultimately none of this means anything. You and I can be burned to ashes and bone at any moment- so what ultimate meaning is there really once we realize this? I don’t not believe in some kind of afterlife that will ultimately redeem the nothingness of this life. Life is how we think it is. Nothing more than that. Once we stop thinking of it and experiencing it, it is over. Meaning has ended.

Knowing this doesn’t really help me. You would think that by knowing this I would care very little about what I am doing with my life. You would think that I could just be happy with the simpler things (reading a book, morning coffee, sounds of birds, time with my wife, masturbation, going for walks, listening to records, drawing, writing, eating, working, sleeping) and not get caught up in all the other bullshit. Ultimately, this is what I want for myself but I have thus far failed at even this.

Even though I know that ultimately life is sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing, I still can’t seem to understand why I am unable to achieve the things that other naturally do. I read about and meet people who are doing all kinds of interesting things in the world. They seem to have succeeded at materializing some aspect of their dreams. Whether it is working as a novelist, owning a restaurant, being a painter or running an independent publishing company they seem to be living the life that they want to live. Every time I come across these people I am always left thinking the same things: What is wrong with me? Why am I Incapable of doing it? Why am I such a failure in my own life?

These are not pleasant thoughts and they usually send me into some kind of downward spiral that only a bottle of wine, a naked woman, buying something nice or some inspiring book will bring me out of. But even these things only bring me half way out. Last week my wife’s parents gave us a BMW that they no longer wanted. Just gave it to us. My wife decided that the car would be for me and she would continue to drive the black Volkswagen Golf. For the past week I have been driving around the BMW and all of a sudden I notice more women (and men) looking at me. What? I think. It is not what you think. I am an imposter. This car was given to me. I could never afford it on my own. I am not worthy.  It is only a matter of time before it is taken away from me. I certainly don’t have the ability to hang on to a car like this.

 The truth is that I am a loser. I have lost in the game of creating the kind of life that you want to be living. I have failed at materializing my own values and expectations for myself. I seem unable to do it, like there is some kind of invisible block that I can’t get out of the way. I’ve always thought that that invisible block was laziness. To some extent it is laziness. I don’t have much motivation to do anything. When you think that all of this ultimately means nothing, when you are hyper aware that it can all go up in flames at any moment, it provides a person with very little motivation to do something. Life is how we think it is and thinking the way I do enables a kind of capitalistic and careerist apathy. Some people think that all this sound and fury actually means something and as a result they do things that often earn a good amount of money, social status, accomplishment and life satisfaction. I only do what I have to do these days. The rest is like being suspended in a kind of limbo.

I recently bought a book called Fuck All You Motherfuckers by Brian M. Clark. It is a book for losers. A book written by someone who also sees the inherent ridiculousness of it all. But seeing this ridiculousness does not help a person create the life they want to live. Being an existentialist is a word that really means having to work at a job that you do not like and not having very much money or personal success. When you live in a materialistic country like the United States (a country were the vast majority of people are unintelligent and as a result actually believe that what they are doing ultimately matters) if you don’t play along- you lose. I’ve lost because I just don’t care. Like I said, I do what I must and nothing more. Nothing- not even pay debts sometimes. Maybe this is a sign of defeat. Maybe it is the result of knowing that it can all end at any second. I don’t know. But this does not help me to be less frustrated with myself for not being able to create a life that feels more my own and less like a loser.

Why I Quit Being An Artist In America

I am not happy about it. It is the source of a feeling of daily defeat and frustration for me. I have yet to reconcile myself to a less creative and more economically driven life. But I had no choice. I gave it all that I had for many years, but I was getting older. I was reaching a point of no return. I had to make a choice. I chose to go back to graduate school and become a “professional.” Is there anything more antithetical to being an artist than being a professional? I don’t think so. It is the ultimate insult to a creative life.

But this is what America does to people. It turns them into professionals of one sort or another. America forces a person to specialize in order to make a legitimate income. Most people go willingly. They prefer to specialize and live a more comfortable life. Life certainly is easier this way. Get a degree, a license, and start a business of some sort and you are on your American way. With enough commitment, anyone can get there because this is the American way. There is nothing more normal in America than a degree, a license and a business. It is just what the vast majority of people do.

But in one way or another, the artist resists this kind of normalization. This is why they have chosen to be an artist in most cases. They want to live a different kind of life. They want to live a life not defined by degrees, licenses and business transactions. Artists are searching for a different, less specialized, more creative way to live a life. But America does not like this. America wants everyone to do what it believes is culturally and economically correct. America wants everyone to conform and for those who don’t- they will be punished. They will be punished by having to work marginalizing jobs, live in undesirable conditions, experience disappointment from family members, receive no government or family support, constant public shaming/disregard and a chronic feeling of failure that often will not leave the artist alone. To be an artist in America requires an immense inner strength, conviction and courage that most Americans have squeezed out of them by the time they are handed their college diplomas.

I still make art. I hope I will always make art. But I no longer make art in the way a person needs to make art in order to earn the title of being an artist. An artist is not someone who makes art on the weekends or when they can. An artist is committed to art. This is what they do. They make art all the time. 9am until late in the evenings. Almost every day. I cannot think of any other profession or line of work that requires more time and self-discipline (with as little economic and societal reward) as being an artist does. Being an artist is a remarkable thing but it is also brutal. When you are in the process of making the art there is nothing else in the world that feels more meaningful and rewarding. You are doing exactly what you feel you should be doing with your life. But when you step out of the creative process, life can feel pretty bleak. You need to figure out how you are going to pay that bill or you need to bundle up because the room that you are renting or the apartment in the ghetto is freezing cold. Make no mistake about it- being an artist in America absolutely sucks.

Look at who the vast majority of Americans admire. It’s men in suits, hard working professionals slaving away at their jobs. People in the military or government jobs. Bureaucrats and athletes, doctors and lawyers. When have you ever heard a newscaster or a politician say the word “artist” outside of when a bunch of them tragically perish in a terrible fire? Most Americans think that these American Idol winners or high grossing actors are artists. These pop stars and Hollywood actors have colonized the word artist but they could not be any further from what an artist is. Instead, they are just cut out figurines posing as artists. They just end up making life even more punishing for the real artists at work in America.

An artist in America is usually a poor person who works day after day at their art with little or no recognition in return. An artist is someone who is doing what they are doing not for the money but because they love the creative process. If they make money from the creative process, great. If not, great. Either way they are committed to the creative process in a way that makes most other people’s level of commit to their work look flakey in comparison. But to be a professional in America you do not have to be that committed. You just need to show up and do your work with a smile, no matter how painful it feels. You need to be able to fake your commitment really well but when you go home at night you can enjoy the comforts of a warm home and talk lots of trash about how much you hate your job. An artist never does this. They are in love with their work, even to the extent that their work has forced them to live in the freezing cold.

Fuck America for doing this to its artists. This country should be ashamed of itself. We are all slaves to the mighty dollar and anyone who is not- we punish. I could no longer hang with the punishment, so I quit. I called it a day. I threw my brushes out. I couldn’t take being demeaned in my bartending job anymore. I couldn’t take the feeling that I was a failure every time I sat down to a family meal. I could not take not having enough money to support myself. I could not take other people’s disappointment in me. I couldn’t take knowing that I was possibly going to still be broke at the age of fifty five. I couldn’t take the immense amount of silence that I received when I tried to get my art out into the world. I could not take the feeling that being an artist in America really had no point (unless you are willing to completely sell out and become a professional artist).

I now have a warm house. I have some money in the bank. I don’t have to ask my parents for cash (thank god). I have several dogs and a few cars. I run my own business and have a profession. I have the respect of some others and my family seems proud. I am grateful for all of this but I am no longer an artist. This is a source of a lot of pain for me and I cannot seem to make this pain go away, no matter how much I meditate and do yoga.  I am just one more victim of the out of control, anti-creative, American money obsessed machine. Ultimately I have no one else to blame but myself. I jumped ship. I allowed other people’s concern to get the best of me. I chose to go back to graduate school. I am the one who after years of resistance and conviction, became afraid and gave up. The American punishment worked on me. There is no person who I respect more than an artist over the age of 40 in America. The fact that they are over the age of 40 and still fully committed to the process of being an artist is truly a remarkable thing. In my eyes, they are heroes. Despite the harsh conditions and public disdain, these people have managed to continue to stay the creative course and remain artists in a country that resents them for it.

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.

How To Endure The Life Of A Writer. Conversation #27.

“Talent is extremely common. What is rare is the willingness to endure the life of the writer.” -Kurt Vonnegut

You see, I do this thing, I live this life, but it is hard for me to feel happy about it.

Why is that?

Because I am not doing what I love (for money). You read about and see people all over talking about how lucky they are to wake up and do the thing they love to do. “It is not work because I love doing it!” I hear this a lot. Lucky bastards. I don’t have this. I don’t feel this.

But you get to help people as a psychotherapist. As a meditation teacher you get to help people be more present and find healthier ways of living. The work that you do bleeds out into the world in so many ways that you are unaware of. You help countless people. You have such a deep influence in so many people’s lives.

This is great. I am happy about this. But I am not a fan of other people. “I want to be of service to others.” This has never resonated with me. “Let others fend for themselves.” This resonates with me. I do not love helping other people learn how to better deal with their problems. I am not even sure any of it works in the long term. A part of me feels like psychotherapy and meditation is just a scam. Neither work in the long term.

So you do not really believe in the work that you do?

Only a bit. I think these things can help people but only in very subtle ways. The truth is that I am just not that interested in the work I do. I do not think it is very interesting. I am bored by it. Other people bore me. The money I am able to make is good, but is this really the point? To make good money but feel unhappy all the time? You feel like something is missing. Like you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing. I try to get into the work that I do. I try to love it but it doesn’t seem to work. I am just not a people person. I don’t love people and I am in the people business.

How has this happened to you?

Just taking the easy way out. Just doing what I thought I was supposed to do. Wanting to make money. Following the rules. Too afraid to take big risks. Playing it safe. This is how this sort of thing happens. Plus I have never really had the ambition and/or energy to really apply towards doing the thing I love at a larger level. I have been too timid. Too held back. I haven’t applied myself enough because of a fear of failing I suppose. It is much easier to take a path others have created for you (professions) but there is a big price to pay if you don’t love it.

So now you are stuck. You have bills. You are in debt. You own a home. You have a career that you do not love. Your work feels like work. When you are not working you feel this hole and this envy for others who get to do the thing they love. You try and figure out how to get there but you do not know how. You are getting older. You have less energy. You feel like time is running out. You feel like you should just learn to be happy with what you got.

Yes. I just don’t know if I am going to be able to make it doing the thing I love. Not enough energy and will to apply toward it anymore. I don’t think it is good enough.

What do you love? What do you want to do?

Writing and making art (drawing/illustration).

But you don’t think it is good enough. You don’t really have the will to apply to it anymore?

Yes. I feel stuck. My career drains me of most of my energy. I am being pulled by the outside world to just settle into being a therapist and meditation teacher. This is where things seem to be happening for me. This is what I am good at and what people are willing to pay me for.

I see.

No one cares about my writing or art. No one would be willing to pay me for these things. I can’t even give my writing away for free.

Maybe you sell yourself short? You work hard at writing these conversations between you and I. You post them on-line and give them away for free. You don’t do anything with it. You don’t try and publish your writings. You don’t try and advertise your blog. You don’t do anything to get more publicity!

I know.

Why?

I just don’t have the energy and I suppose I do not think it is good enough.

I know! But the only difference between artists and writers who make a living from their work is not the talent or the quality, it is that the ones who make money from their work believe that it is good enough. They don’t give it away for free. They don’t sell themselves short.

I do.

Yes. You always sell yourself short. This is why you work a job you don’t love. You sell yourself short. You settle. You take money from people for doing a service you do not really want to be doing. You give your writing and art away for free. You continually sell yourself short. Others walk all over you. This prevents your from really doing the work you would need to do to make a living as a writer/artist. So you are pissed off. Makes sense.

I don’t know what to do about this problem!

Stop selling yourself short. Start really applying yourself to the work you want to do. Take risks. Work hard at it!

I am too tired. I am 45 years old and just want to read my books, do my thing and not have to work so hard anymore.

I know. But then you will just have to keep doing something to make money that you do not love doing.

Maybe I will just have to learn how to love doing the thing that I don’t love doing. Become more selfless. Embrace what is. Transcend my own ego and accept my fate. Make peace with it and apply myself to it. Let go of the desire to be an artist and writer.

This is called selling out.

Or it is called growing up.

Maybe. Give it a try. I don’t know if it will work. I don’t know if it is possible to feel happy this way. I don’t know if you can make yourself love something that you don’t love. I just don’t know.

Neither do I.

Well just keep doing the things you love in your off time. Keep reading, drawing, writing, living. Maybe if you keep doing these things enough eventually it will pay off. Maybe because you are a slower worker, maybe because it takes you a lot more time than say someone who is ambitious, you will not get to do the thing you love for money until a lot later in life.

Possibly. I can only hope this is true.

Just keep doing the things you love. Stick with it. Don’t give up.

Ok.

You are tearing up. Does this make you sad?

I guess a bit. It has just been a long, lonely, frustrating road. But I will not give up.

Stick with it. Keep at the things you love to do.

Ok. Well thanks for your support.

Sure. Hope you have an enjoyable Sunday.

Thanks. You as well.

How To Screw Up A Relationship. Post #20

You ok?

I am. I am ok now.

That was quite a terrible scream your wife just let out. Sounded like she was giving a very painful birth. Probably terrified the neighbors.

Yeah. It was a terrifying scream. A release of complete rage. My ears are still ringing.

What happened?

We are fucked up.

I know. This is partially because you are fucked up. But what happened?

We were driving home from LA. A nice evening in the city. We had a few drinks, bought some books and other things, ate a good dinner. While driving on the freeway my wife suddenly remembered that in two days (Sunday) it is her aunt’s wedding. I was shocked. My reaction was overly surprised. Immediately I knew that I would have to go to the wedding and was upset because I was being told about it two days before. I really, really, really value having my Sundays free of all obligations so I was upset. (Here comes my wife. Hang on.)

……

…………

…………………

Everything ok?

Strange. She just came into my room to give me a kombucha. Her makeup was running down her face. “What are you doing I said?” “What? I just wanted to give you a kombucha,” she replied. “That is weird,” I said and we both giggled. She then told me that she was truly and sincerely sorry for everything that happened.

Sorry for what?

Well I did get upset that I had the wedding sprung on me at the last second. But I got even more angry when my wife told me that I should of known, I should of remembered. I was at a dinner with her parents two weeks ago and something was said by her mother about the wedding but it was very brief and did not mention a date or anything. We were drinking and I was paying little attention to what was being said. Because of this my wife told me that I knew about the wedding. That I was there when we all talked about it. “Talk about it? What are you talking about? I recall your mom briefly mentioning something but it was hardly talking about anything,” I said. I told my wife that I did not know about the wedding and she continued to tell me that I did know and that I should of remembered and that basically it was not her fault for forgetting to remind me or let me know the exact date of her aunt’s wedding.

Hmm. She feels like you should of known based on what her mom said about the wedding a few weeks back?

Yes. And she also tells me that she talked to me about the invitation that she got via email a year ago and I should of remembered that as well. That I should of come to her and asked her when the wedding was. That I should have known. I became enraged in the car. I screamed out, “I had no idea the wedding was in two days!! Why are you telling me that I knew when I am telling you I did not know!!!” I almost punched the window. I called her crazy for telling me that we had various conversations about the upcoming wedding that I know for a fact we did not have. I am the kind of person that if you tell me about the date of an upcoming obligation I will not forget. I do not forget obligations. My wife kept arguing with me, I kept arguing with her and our car almost exploded because of all the anger and tension.

Never call a woman crazy.

I know. I was furious. Lost my grip a bit.

Jeeze.

In my mind the fact is that my wife forget to tell me about the wedding. She just forgot. She is a very forgetful person. Things like this happen all the time with her. The fact that she was trying to put me in the wrong (“I should of known. I should of heard what her mom was saying”) really upset me. I was never formally invited to the wedding. I was never asked if I wanted to go. I just overheard my wife’s mother briefly mention something about the wedding and now I am supposed to know exactly when it is? Seems nuts to me.

Yeah, it does seem unfair. Your wife should of just been able to apologize that she had forgotten about the wedding and leave it at that. Granted your initial reaction to being told about the wedding was harsh and her response was probably just a defense.

Defense against what?

She did not like how you reacted. She felt somehow threatened and became defensive. “What? You should of known. It’s not my fault,” was a defensive maneuver. I think she also knew she was in the wrong but could not admit it. She became defensive and focused on what you were doing wrong so she did not have to look at herself. But you played in to her defensiveness. You should of left it alone.

I should have. I know. I messed up by fighting back. It was a no win situation. I don’t know why I did it. I was angry. I felt like I was being accused of something I did not do. I felt manipulated. Messed with. But my reaction was not good. It is terrible that I got like that. I hate it. So unhealthy.

Yes, but let it go. You messed up but I can see how you felt trapped in a corner. You could of just breathed and let it go though.

Yes. I should have. It just happens so much. I often do just shut up. I let my wife win. I do not react to her defensiveness. But I guess sometimes I blow it, especially after a few cocktails. Sometimes I mess up.

You were tired. You were up really early. You had a few drinks. You were in a car, which gives you anxiety as is. It has been a rough week. The conditions were just not right for you to keep your cool. You blew up. It happens.

So strange how just an hour before we were having such a nice time. These things come out of nowhere like earthquakes. It is very discouraging. Makes me want to isolate. Makes me not want to spend time with her. I am concerned about us.

I know things are not good. You both love each other very much but you guys are not getting on so well anymore. You have sex maybe once a month and it seems you guys are just very gradually growing apart.

Makes me very sad because we were both once so in love.

Yeah. It happens. Couples spend time fighting, don’t really deeply connect, stop having sex, just get into their individual routines and gradually the love fades. You experienced this once before in your last marriage.

Yeah. It is happening all over agin. Very discouraging. I thought this relationship would be so different. But I am acting almost the same way as I did back then.

Wherever you go there you are.

So you think this is my own doing?

Probably. You are a mess. I mean you are a good guy and sometimes you are good but you are deeply unhappy inside. What do you expect?

I guess I expect more love and understanding.

Everyone only has so much of that to give. Your wife had a lot of that at one time but I think you have burned her out.

So I am the one that has fucked up things?

She plays her part. She is very reactive and defensive. She does like to push your buttons. She could give you more of her attention. She is very forgetful. She could certainly make much more of an effort. She has withdrawn and become neglectful with regards to really working on the marriage. I will give you this. But she really, really loves you. You are the one who is afraid of love. You are always unhappy and angry. Always down about something. When she tries to come on to you you turn her away. You give her a hard time about stuff. You are always on her back about something you think she is doing wrong. Day in and day out, this wears away at a person.

I get it. I know I am difficult. But she does things that piss me off. Always on her iPhone. Disorganized. Poor communicator. Forgetful. Procrastinator. It happens all the time and I just point it out. Am I not aloud to say anything?

Say something but you do it all the time!

Because she does these things all the time.

But she does not need you nagging her. It is just who she is. She is working on it but you are not helping her by always being on her back. You are just showing her that you do not accept her as she is! By the way all those things you labeled your wife as, sounds more like you are describing things that you do not like about yourself.

Really?

Yes. I live with you. I know.

I am not a poor communicator.

Almost punched the window does not sound like good communication skills to me.

Ok.

Look. All I am saying is that you are difficult. You are unhappy. She is not innocent by any means. Sure she could be a lot more understanding and loving but that is asking a lot. She does the best she can. She is 14 years younger than you and still learning. You are the one who is continually being difficult towards her. All those things you do not like about her are just projections coming from within yourself. They are things you do not like about you. You get angry when you see her behaving in these ways because you want her to take care of things and fix things and be on her iPhone less because you can’t do these things for yourself! Its not fair.

Yeah. This makes sense. Jeeze. I am fucked up.

Sometimes.

……

So what are you going to do now?

I dont know. I am still pissed. Even though you say I am the difficult one. I still feel like I was treated unfair. I just want to go to bed. I will probably let it go by sometime tomorrow night.

You will stay upset for that long?

Probably.

But she has already apologized. Let it go.

Not that easy.

The reason why you are always so frustrated with your wife is because you are frustrated with yourself.

Yeah, well, this is probably true. Don’t ever marry a frustrated man. A man who feels like he has failed in life.

You have not failed.

I feel that way. What am I supposed to do about this?

You have to learn how to not be so frustrated with yourself.

How do I do this? I haven’t got a clue.

Maybe you should go get some sleep. We can talk more about this some other time.

Ok. Sounds good.

Ok.

Thanks for your help tonight. I feel better.

Good.

Thom Yorke and I? Post #2

Is that how you spell Thom Yorke?

I am not sure.

But I thought the guy is one of your favorites?

I do respect him, yes.

Respect? I thought he was one of your heroes?

Heroes? I suppose he is. He is someone I look up to. Someone whom I feel won the game. But I feel like the older I get, the more I lose interest in heroes.

What do you mean by “won the game?”

Oh gosh, why are you asking me this? It is a tough question to answer, but what I basically mean is he has not (as far as I know) had to really sell out. He has gotten to be incredibly successful doing exactly what he wants to do. He has been able to live on his own terms. I am sure he has to do things he does not want to do. I am sure he suffers like all the rest of us. But he has created his own path through this world, which is filled opportunities to conform and sell out. He has been successful doing his own thing. Make any sense?

Yes. I get it. He is lucky indeed. He is one of the few.

Exactly.

So this makes him your hero?

As I said, I am not so sure that hero is the right word. I just really appreciate what he has pulled off. Plus he makes art (music) that has been very influential on me. I like his work and am very inspired by it. I think it is great that he can do the kind of art he does and be so successful at it. There is nothing more that I would want for myself.

Then why don’t you go after that?

Are you kidding?

No, why don’t you try to create that reality for yourself?

Just seems too far-fetched now. I have tried and it hasn’t worked out thus far. I am in my mid forties now. I lack youthful energy and inspiration. I own a house and have a wife. I have a job that drains me. I just don’t think it is possible at this point. I need to conform if I want to maintain my lifestyle.

What bullshit man. You know those are just excuses. It is fear talking.

Maybe so, but I just don’t think that I have the energy that it would take to pull it off. I am burned out man. A lifetime of anxiety, depression, arguing with my father and intimate partners, struggling inside of myself, all these things I feel have drained my energy reserves. And to create any kind of good art, a person needs a good fill of energy.

What bullshit. See all these excuses you make for yourself? You could do it, you just do not want to do it. You are just too lazy to pull it off. It is not a question of time, energy or talent. You have those. You just don’t want to put in the work. People like Thom Yorke who you admire, they do the work.

Maybe so. I do think it is easier for Thom to do the work since he is already in the flow of it. He has the admiration of many to push him along. People want him to make stuff. No one cares about what I write. No one cares if I make a drawing or painting. No one cares if I create something or not. It is hard to keep it going when no one cares if you keep it going or not.

Yeah, I could see how that would be rough. After all these years of writing and making art, to still have no one who cares would make it tough to want to carry on.

Yes.

But you still could. You still could keep at it, keep trying and not worry about how things come to pass.

I could. In a way I guess that is what I am doing here. By having this conversation with myself I am trying to keep a part of myself going.

What part is that?

The creative part. The part that has a lot to say. The part that wants to express all these ideas, opinions and stories that are continually stuck in my head. The part that knows that I was put on this earth (for whatever reason) to do this.

Well, I guess you need to keep at it then.

Yes.

Use Thom Yorke as your inspiration. You guys are around the same age. Rather than being envious of what he gets to do and how much money he makes (I know it would be nice to have that kind of money) just know that if he is still doing it, if he is still at it, you can be as well.

Yes. I will try to keep that in mind.

Let Thom Yorke pull you along.

That sounds ridiculous.

Just trying to be helpful.

Ok. Thanks.