Living Wrong

I hate cobwebs. I don’t like seeing them in the corners of my house or on my things. When I see them I will try and annihilate them.

This Person whom I am writing about does not do anything about the cobwebs. This Person lets the cobwebs grow everywhere, either not seeing them or not caring about them. Maybe This Person just expects someone else to take care of the hard work. This Person would let his/her entire house become one large cobweb and then maybe This Person might act to get rid of the cobwebs. But not before.

This Person is many people. Maybe you know This Person or someone like This Person. A person, who in your mind, is living wrong.

Obviously, This Person would disagree with all that I am writing here because the only way that This Person can remain This Person is through a continual defensive reflex. If they were not always defending themselves, they would have to change.

This person seems not to care about refining any sensibilities. Intellectual, aesthetic, environmental, political. Developing any or all of these sensibilities does not seem to appeal to This Person. Developing sensibilities takes hard work. A person has to remain curious and continually seek out challenging information and knowledge. They have to continually put themselves in uncomfortable situations. This Person prefers easy entertainment, comfort and simple distractions. Things that do not ask too much of them.

The artist Chuck Close said, “Whenever you reach a fork in the road, take the most difficult route because everybody else is going to be taking the easy route.” This Person always takes the easier route, thus never really distinguishing themselves in any one thing.

This Person is content being ok at things. Not bad, not great. Just ok. This Person does what they need to do to be good or ok at things and nothing more. This Person does not like hard work. This Person starts many things but struggles to stay engaged if it is too hard. Like I said This Person prefers what is easy. Simple distractions, sleep, hanging out, work if they must, doing what others force them to do but what they would rather not do (clean house, pay bills, clean car, take care of themselves, etc…)

This Person is not that driven to do much unless it is easy. This Person prefers to do the bare minimum to get by. They will work but not more than necessary. Sometimes they will have a burst of energy and get really into something, but it will not last unless the something is easy.

I can not help but think this is living wrong. In my mind it is important to excel at things. It is important to work hard at things that interest you. It is important to cultivate sensibilities and challenge yourself. It is important to develop your intellect. To put yourself in situations where you have to continually push yourself to do what is not easy. This is what it means to thrive.

Humans are like slabs of stone. As we grow we carve away at these stones creating shape and texture. Most people’s stones look ugly, lazy, basic and very unfinished. Most stones all look the same in this way. For most people carving the stone is just too hard and they give up, barely working on it anymore past the age of 45. A lot of people expect other people to carve their stone for them. They don’t want to do the work. To have a stone that looks distinguished, unique, one of a kind and has a beautiful shape- takes continual effort. You have to work hard on it for a bit everyday.

Even if it means maintaining a beautiful living environment. It is important to continually keep things in their right place. To not grow lazy with the care of your home. Once you let your home go and become comfortable with cobwebs everywhere, how can a person excel at anything in life? A person’s living environment and the care they take of it determines the degree to which they will be able to live right.

If This Person has the ways they are living all wrong pointed out to them they become immediately defensive and withdraw further into incapacitation. If you point out to This Person that they do not exercise, that they would benefit from being more physically active- this person will withdraw into more sedentariness. If you point out to This Person that they should challenge themselves more intellectually, they will read less intellectually challenging things. It is an unconscious and reflexive behavior.

Pointing out to This Person how they are living wrong is a battle that can not be won. All a person can do is accept that This Person is just not interested much in pushing themselves right now, in refining themselves, in differentiating themselves from the mass of people who take the easier route. A person can just pick up the slack where they can, continue to take the harder route within themselves and not worry about This Person who is living wrong.

Everyone is free to live their life in a way they feel is right. Maybe This Person thinks that I am living wrong.

Who am I to say that This Person is living wrong? Maybe they are living right! Maybe life is a meaningless experience and all of our efforts to refine and distinguish ourselves are ultimately all for nothing? Maybe if we could just learn to care less, let ourselves go a bit more, not care about the cobwebs that will continue to grow no matter how hard we try to get rid of them- maybe then we could have a happier life? Maybe the harder route isn’t that great after all.

Who am I to say? All I can do is live in a way that feels right for me and try not to force This Person away from living wrong. The moment I push, force, encourage or try and motivate This Person to move in a different direction is usually the moment I start living wrong.

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These Motherfucking Machines

These motherfucking machines. I am not happy about them one bit. Now, I use my iPhone just as much as anyone. I check my emails and text messages too much. I look on-line when I don’t want to do anything else (which is most of the time). I, like you, have given in to these motherfucking machines.

But I don’t like it.

I think they are bad, real bad for any depth or interestingness our personalities could have once had. I think they are ruining our ability to connect with others in meaningful ways. I think these motherfucking machines are turning us all into even more superficial and unsatisfied monkeys than we were before.

I wish I could fully give in. I wish I could love these motherfucking machines. I really try. But as a result of trying my attention span has been hacked into tiny little pieces. My creative output has dwindled. My sexual relationship with my wife has gone flat. My interest in engaging with others in person is gone. My capacity for handling solitude has been shot. My shopping addiction has gone through the fucking roof. My ability to be engaged while reading a book has disappeared. I love reading books and I can’t even do that anymore because of these mother fucking machines.

What a person does while they are alone determines the amount of depth that they have when with other people. If when a person is alone they are continually checking their phones, what kind of person are they going to be when around other human beings? Frightening thought, but let me tell you. They are going to be boring! There is going to be the absence of any legitimate substance.

Sorry, I wish there was some way around this.

I try and ignore it with my wife. I love her (a bunch) and I want everything to be fine but my wife checks her iPhone all the time. She is always on the fucking thing. She works on the thing. Socializes on the thing. Makes art on the thing. Entertains herself on the thing.  Talks to me and then is right back on the thing. Watches something on TV and is right back on the thing. Takes a shower and is right back on the thing. It is constant but I try to just accept it. It is the way the world is going so you better get in line Randall. But sometimes I pop. Sometimes I lose my shit and say things like:

Is this what we want to become? This couple who is always on their phones? Really? Is this what we want to turn ourselves into? Bored when it is just you and I unless we have a phone to check? Always pulled by this desire or compulsion to check our phones. To refer to our phones for every bit of info we need or interest we have? Is this what we really want to do with our valuable time? I mean we don’t even fuck much anymore. Shouldn’t we be more focused on that than always caught up in digital worlds inside our phones? You have so much potential. So do I but do we really want to be giving it all away just so we can be more in touch with other people? Just so we can check what pic is newest and latest on-line? We are becoming people without depth. You think Father John Misty could check his phone a hundred times a day and do the kind of work he does? Why are we letting oyrselves become like this? I am sick of it. It pisses me off. I know I am just as bad but really you are worse. You are fucking addicted. You need help. I need help. It is going to ruin our entire lives. These fucking machines are turning us into superficial idiots glued to a screen. I just don’t like it no matter how hard I try.

And then I feel bad, even though I meant everything I said. I try and go back to just accepting these motherfucking machines in to my life. I tell myself this is just the way things are now. So I can’t really read a book anymore? Who cares. At least I am in touch and on-line. These motherfucking machines fill the space created by my loneliness, emptiness and laziness but what bothers me is that before these motherfucing machines that space was filled with books, films, creativity, music, solitude, long afternoons wondering around with my head in the clouds and other people. Now its just a continual digital screen.

Again and again.

 

The Trouble With They

They say writing helps. They say that more so than talking, writing allows people to really process thoughts and feeling within themselves and resolve things. This is what they say in study after study. I am going to write now. I am going to write about how they piss me off.

By they we normally mean other people whom we do not know.

They are strangers.

They are other people who control certain aspects of our lives.

They are the government.

They are corporate people.

They are people we do not like. Enemies.

They are people that we do not get along with.

They are a group of people who are somewhere out there.

They are soul, mind and body snatchers.

We rarely call someone we love they.

When I am not getting along with my wife, she becomes they. When I do not like other people they are they. When I am pissed off at my dogs they are they. When I am unhappy (which is normally always before 12pm) every single person is they. I am even they to myself.

When I do not like other people they are they to me. This all too often means my wife, my dogs, my patients, my parents, my sister and all the people who live around me. They are all they to me. Especially before the hours of 12pm.

I lack the ability to get along with other people. I attract o create conflict in the same way that prolific artists create art. It is the one constant in my life. I am incapable of getting along with other people. If I am getting along with other people I know it is only a matter of time before something will wrong. I have been in conflict with other people since the day I was born. I can remember feeling pissed off at the doctor who handled me too tightly when I first came into the world. I was pissed off at the nurse who held me upside down (for way too long) as I was trying to make sense of the bright room I had just been forcibly pushed out into. I was immediately pissed off at my mom for not defending me more against the techniques of this nurse. My father and I have been in conflict my entire fucking life. I mean what the fuck? Why would you do this to your son? Why would you fight with him all the time? You are a doctor, and educated man- aren’t you smart enough to know that you are setting your son up for a life spent in conflict? My father is always they to me. I just do not like the man one bit.

They all piss me off. I don’t get along with any of them. I continually fight with my wife, sister, mom, dad. Continual conflict. There will be some good times but I know that trouble is around the corner. Chekov once said that when a gun enters a scene it must go off. I always think that when another person enters the scene there is going to be trouble. I don’t say it out loud, but when my wife comes into the room I often think, here comes trouble. I need wine and weed just to help mitigate the negative effects of they.

They are all a serious problem for me. I don’t know what to do. They are continually setting me off. They are obviously putting my health at risk. I presume the damage has already been done since I feel fucked up most of the time. I do feel a bit relieved whenever I meet an old man who is miserable and has spent a lifetime in conflict. They give me hope that maybe I can live a long life, living a life always in conflict with someone. I live in a society obsessed with positivity, anti-stress, healthy relationships and happiness. They say that these things greatly improve our chances at longevity even though in the back of my mind I am almost certain that even happy and positive people die. For these reasons, I have tried to be positive and happy. I have tried to reduce conflict in my life. I have seen several people my own age who existed in a state of continual turmoil pass away from cancer. Because of they, I am worried that cancer is coming for me next. Don’t people realize that cancer is relations with other people? I know that I need to be the one who changes, but as long as I am around they– this is impossible. Conflict and troubled are too hard wired into my DNA.

They just piss me off. Always have, always will. What can I do?

I tell myself that I just need solitude. I just need to withdraw from the world. I just need to cut off all relationships. I need to be able to live alone. I have known this since I was a young man and was on a river rafting trip with my father. We floated by a hut in the woods with a single chair out front of it. I asked my father what that was. He said, “That is where a hermit lives son.” I asked, “What is a hermit?” “Son,” my father made sure to begin his answer with the disproving Son. “Son, a hermit is a failed man. A hermit is a man who lives alone and has withdrawn from the world.” I immediately replied, “I want to be a hermit when I grow up!” Son of a bitch. I even knew then.

I feel much healthier and happier when alone. I begin to feel stabilized, normalized when I am alone. My spirits lift and my nerves and blood pressure gradually return to a state that psychologists refer to as homeostasis. But then I crave human interaction. I want to be around my wife. I want to be around other people. I want to be in the world. I want to go to work so that I can get other people’s money. I am always drawn back towards other people but then the trouble starts. Above my desk I have written out notes to myself: Just Become Comfortable In Solitude. Please Spend Several Days In A Row Alone. Learn To Make Friends With Solitude. Take Days Off From Interacting With Your Wife, Sister, Anyone. I know being able to do this is necessary for my survival. I try but am drawn to other people like a moth to a flame.

I don’t know what to do at this point. I am pissed off at everyone. Where is the resolve that they speak about, which is supposed to come from writing? Where is it? Do I feel it? Is it there? I have just poured out my heart and soul. I have just processed complex emotions through writing this. Do I feel any resolution? Do I have more perspective now? Maybe. Maybe I feel a little less pissed off now. Maybe now in my mind my wife is no longer they to me. My sister is no longer they to me. The eight clients I have to meet with today are not they to me. Maybe now I am no longer in the reactive state that I was when I first began this. Maybe I can see how they are also just flawed and fucked up human beings like me. But I am alone right now. I know that the moment another person walks into the room, they will be trouble again.

Bad Mood Mornings. Conversation #Who Cares.

Some mornings I am just in a bad mood. I don’t want to talk with anyone or do anything. I want to sit and simmer in my bad mood. Stay away from me. Don’t talk to me. You bug me. I find you incredibly annoying.

Of course it is yourself that you are annoyed with.

Probably so. In the mornings I feel tired. Heavy. Uneasy. My lungs feel stiff. I am groggy. The opposite of clarity and lightness. Everything is heavy and constricted. How could anyone be in a good mood feeling this way?

Not many people. But can’t you just snap out of it?

Not right away. I need time. It is a gradual process. It seems as if all the yuck and grog that collected overnight takes time to dissipate away. Not even two cups of coffee fully gets rid of it. By noon or one I should be out of it.

Do you think there is an emotional reason for feeling the way you do?

It feels very physical. But maybe there is an emotional aspect to this. Like I hate everything. What am I doing with my life? Why can’t I just dedicate myself to writing a novel or making a graphic novel? Why do I avoid all the things I want to do and do other things instead? Why can’t I just dedicate myself to one project until it is finished? These are things I think about. Maybe my frustration with myself causes me to feel some of the way I do. I don’t know. But I also know that I just physically feel like shit in the mornings.

Maybe it gathers up. Maybe you feel shitty and unhappy in your life because you are not doing what you feel you should be doing and you have to do things that you do not want to be doing and all of the pressure and stress and frustration collects like mud in a creek and overnight it solidifies and hardens and in the mornings leaves you feeling all clogged up and constricted.

It is possible. Why can’t I just focus on writing a novel? I have three or four unfinished novels and I can’t seem to just focus on one and finish. What the hell is my problem? Twenty years of this! I read, I listen to music, I hang out, clean my house, work at my job- I do everything to avoid working on the things I want to work on. I just don’t get it. It is very frustrating. Really upsets me.

Maybe you are just lazy?

Maybe but I don’t think it is that simple. I am writing this now. If I were lazy I would not be having all these conversations with you. I do a lot of work just not the work I need to be doing. I am always avoiding the work I need to be doing, like writing a novel.

I don’t know what it is.

Now I am just tired. Working at my job the past three days has taken everything out of me. I feel like the disgusting sponge I threw away yesterday. It is just all too much. I just want to check out. Leave me alone. Don’t bother me. Fuck off. I just want to read, listen to music and be left alone. I don’t want to be having this conversation.

So why are you?

I don’t know. I was hoping to figure a few things out. I’m just frustrated. I feel like crap. I am stuck and now I am beat down from my last three days at work. I just want to isolate and be left alone. Fuck you and fuck everyone else.

You won’t feel this way later.

I don’t know. I do often feel like fuck everyone else. I try to like people but honestly I feel like people suck. People, the vast majority of people, really suck. Maybe I even suck.

You are just in a bad mood right now. Go chill out. Go do some things you enjoy. Just chill out. Let yourself relax. This too shall pass. You just have to wait it out. You will feel better later.

Maybe.

You will feel a bit better.

I want to have wild and crazy sex with slutty women.

I know you want to escape. You want pleasure because you feel like crap. That is not really an answer. Just a temporary escape.

I want a temporary escape. I want naked female bodies on top of my naked body.

Not now. Just chill out. Relax. Dont give in to sexual fantasy right now. Take it easy. Read. Draw. Listen to music. Just relax. You will feel better later.

I don’t trust myself. When you don’t trust yourself to do certain things everything feels frustrating.

Probably so.

(TO BE CONTINUED)