A work in progress…

He doesn’t know it but she’s rather interested in him.  Never bother, he remains fairly clueless to most things of this world without even trying.  In fact, when he sets out to exert an effort to be attentative and observant, things usually go awry.  He’s not much of one for the things of this world, anyway.  He prefers the company he keeps with himself all day in his own mind.  He’s not entirely a recluse; he’s an introvert with a desire to not be so introverted.  He enjoys conversation and, on a good day, has within himself the ability to carry on a rather enjoyable dialogue.  And why shouldn’t she be interested in him?  He’s not an unattractive fellow: standing a few inches taller than average, slim with broad shoulders, dark hair and bright blue eyes; indeed, he’s rather good-looking.  However, he somehow doesn’t factor his appearance into whether or not a woman might be interested in him.  No, all he knows of himself is that he’s generally awkward and somewhat eccentric.  More unfortunate, still, he has a rather narrow view of the fairer sex, assuming they are all basically the same with the same interests and desires.  Thus, her interest may last for a while but she will move on soon enough.  Even if she were to reveal her interest he would surely deflect to some flaw of his he considers too damning to be overcome.  Beyond that, they work together; he never persues a co-worker.

He busies himself with the daily tasks of waking, bathing, dressing, eating, cleaning, packing a lunch, going to work…  Work itself, as busy and stressful or as slow and boring as it may be from time to time, is a true treasure in his world.  He doesn’t make what might be considered a good living; he doesn’t have a glorious title and his job garners him very little respect among his contemporaries.  He doesn’t care.  He revels in being busy for a number of hours out of the day.  Anything to keep his mind off of life and its general miseries.  He’s a good worker.  He’s smart and willing to take on extra responsibilities without demanding compensation.  He’s an employer’s dream.  However, when the workday is done and there’s naught to do but to retire to his domicile, that is when he really feels the effects of his most serious mental deficiencies; perhaps they are not purely mental, though they are mechanisms of his mind.  A better way, perhaps, to describe them are as emotional and psychological deficiencies.  Indeed, he spends entirely too much time in his mind and for better or worse (though, clearly for worse) has the uncanny ability to focus almost entirely on the negative.  He may be justly described as cynical and jaded.  He simply cannot tolerate too much time trapped in the walls of his small studio apartment.  After work he prefers to wander the streets of the city taking in the sights, smells, and sounds.  For hours he will walk aimlessly about just to avoid going home.

It is just after work that we find our protagonist here at the beginning of our story.  He’s been dreading the end of the workday for a full hour before he finally clocks out and walks right past the beauty admiring him secrectly.  He leaves the building out the front door, lunchbox dangling carelessly from his left hand, and turns right down the sidewalk.  He observes for the hundredth time that the awning of the building is fading well past its original yellow and into a light khaki color.  He clears the building and heads north along what is, for him and his small world, the main corridor.  Directly, it’s a short walk back to his home.  If he were so inclined to go straightly thence, it would take less than a half hour.  As always, though, he has no desire to return to that dismal dwelling and so instead continues northward past the street he would otherwise turn to the east upon.  He has no particular destination in mind, but the path he will follow has become quite familiar to him and he instinctively sets upon it.

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Fail

There is a flaw inside me that cannot be corrected.  I have within me a special kind of self-loathing and simultaneously a special kind of self-worship.  At the same time, I both love and hate myself.  I believe all at once that I can do no wrong and can do no right.  Every choice I make I wholly believe it to be both justified and reprehensible.  Everything that is right is my doing and in everything wrong I am to be found blameless.  Everything that is wrong is my doing and I am not to be found in anything that is right.  I have within me a desire to do and accomplish and create; I hold within a passion for lethargic, apathetic, self-destruction.  I want to live and enjoy; I want to suffer and die.  I wish to befriend all around me and to get along with everyone I see; I wish to crush and belittle and to shut away all I come into contact with.  I understand everything this world has to offer and I also know absolutely nothing.  I hate those I love and love those I hate.  I want to give everything I have to everyone; I want to take all that is from those who have.  I am compassionate and caring and I seek to help and guide those who are floundering about this world; I could not care less about anyone. 

Yes, there is a flaw within me.  I am a two-headed beast.  I am both angel and demon.  On any day it’s the best I can do to become locked in a stalemate between my two inner selves and pray to remain as stagnate as possible.  My God!  How long must I endure?

I Have No Words

I am angry.  I am bitter.  I am spiteful and I am depressed.  I hate that I am.  I hate that I’ve been given this life and this knowledge and intelligence and then, also, given the expectations of those around me.  Why must I be?  Why must I know anything?  Why must I go and do and become?  Why can I not just bathe myself day to day in my own self-loathing and self-pity until I whither up and die?  Why can I not simply go to sleep one night and that be the end of it?  Must I drudge on for another thirty or forty years through this filthy, rotten world?  Must I care about those around me?  Must I meet new people and maintain acquaintances with those unfortunate enough to have met me already?  Can I not simply spare the world of myself?  I feel no motivation to go forward.  I feel no hope.  I feel no inkling of happiness looking to the future.  Only more of the same dismal quagmire of self-loathing and despair.  I would cry if I wasn’t so full of anger.  I seethe with disgust and repulsion at the thought of my own self.  I cannot stand to be near me and I cannot get away.  Each subsequent moment of life is another defeat; another battle to not be that I’ve lost with brilliant despondence.  Waking every morning is the most crushing of all my daily defeats.

Of course, I cannot hope to get by in this world if I carried on in action the way I think and feel.  Thus, I must create facades and charades and dance and whistle and sing like a fool.  I am at a loss.  I am trapped.  I have no words.

Fricken Fracken Flemmehoff

I don’t like the weather as it today: warm when the sun’s out and the wind is calm, chilly under the opposite conditions.  I prefer the weather behave the same as I prefer for those around me to: one way or the other.  It’s fine by me if a man is a pompous ass, so long as he is always a pompous ass and makes no pretense otherwise.  If a man is a raging lunatic, by God, let him rage and be loony day in and day out so long as he doesn’t show himself sane and tempered every other Tuesday! Yes, I am not one who enjoys puzzles or mysteries; I do not delight in slight-of-hand or smoke-and-mirror trickery!  I want very much for an apple to be an apple, an orange an orange, and a person a person and not some masquerading buffoon and liar always going behind others’ backs to his own gain.  I have not the patience for such ruffians and I’d just as soon have them all vanquished to some far-flung region of the globe or, if that’s not possible, have myself removed!  I digress; my point is clear, I believe?

It is that same point, however, which causes me such internal strife every waking hour of my day.  For, dear reader, you must understand that I, myself, am such as the man I despise!  I am moody; I am quick to anger some days and have all the patience one could hope for another.  I lie prolifically towards gaining an end which suits me.  I laugh and joke and make jolly with co-workers and colleagues two or three days in a row and then the following set it’s all I can do to remain quiet; otherwise I’d be inclined to give them all a thorough spraying of my limitless judgements and indictments against them!  Oooh, I’d be given the ol’ boot in no time!  I live under so many false pretenses from moment to moment that I honestly cannot recall what my genuine self is like!  I fear he must be a very pitiful man, whoever I truly am, for why else would I have produced so many masks and performed so many charades?  Surely, if I were a man of worth and merit I would never have chosen to hide him away?   How foolish can I be?  How foolish can anyone be, indeed!  And so it goes, dear reader, in my head all day.  In between my performances as self-A or self-B (the list of classifications goes on well beyond self-ZZZ) I scold myself for being such a rotten, loathesome man!  I barrage myself with self-judgement and self-indictment; indeed, self-loathing!  I beg myself to stop!  To simply be quiet and calm and at peace and hope to some Higher Being that perhaps, only perhaps, by not speaking and not thinking (as much as one can ‘not think’) for a sufficient period of time that my true self will miraculously begin to rise out of the muck and mire that is my subconscious; that if I can just force my mind to go blank and if I can avoid any interraction with the outside world that my true self will rise and I can at last begin to become the kind of man I demand others to be: an honest one.

And So the World Turns

It’s happening, again.  The depression’s setting in and I’m suspecting that it’s going to be substantial and long-lasting.  Oh, well.  I really don’t know what to do about it.

The most difficult thing I have to do on any given day is pretend to give a damn about anything going on around me.  I swear I’m the best actor in the world when it comes to this.  People say things, I say things back, we laugh together, we get angry together.  We vent similar frustrations and debate trivial topics.  It’s all a farce!  A sham!  I don’t care.  I have no idea what keeps me going on other than the repulsion I feel at the thought of causing my mother pain.  It’s a rather unsavory existence. 

I do find solace in the fact that life does not go on forever.  It’s relatively short and will be over before I know it.  Thank God.  I wish I were a sociopath.  I think that kind of lifestyle would suit me best.  Unfortunately, I do have feelings and I do have sympathy for those around me.  I just don’t care about myself.  Who am I?  What have I ever done for anyone?  I’m nothing.  I’m less than nothing – I’m the black abyss from which nothing springs.  I wish I could donate my body to a disabled person.  Flip me out like a light and let them have this body that I’m wasting.  Alas!  Life isn’t that fair!

You may say I’m just a whiny, lazy, shitbag.  I’m inclined to agree.  Perhaps I’ll grow out of it one day – just before I’m flattened by a semi.  Now *that* would be justice!

Comprehension; At Last

Okay, so I finally understand why I have to “dial it back” with my best friend here in town.  It’s pretty neat the way in which God finally allowed me to comprehend and I believe it’s worth sharing.

I suppose a brief summary of what I’m even talking about might be helpful, so I’ll begin there.  I’ve made a few friends since I’ve moved here 9 months ago but the one friend I spend the most time with, speak with the most, and the one I, unfortunately, developed a crush on, is a lovely young woman.  She and I share a passion for words, grammatical correctness, pie, and COFFEE!!  We’ve spent many an evening just sitting, enjoying pie and coffee, and talking.  Hours on end.  Well, as my mind is prone to create absurdities, I developed a crush on her.  I told her of the crush (in the lamest way possible: via text) and she seemed to be able to shrug it off and we continued to do as we’d been doing.  A few months passed and she tells me that we’re spending too much time together alone, that we text too frequently, and that we should dial these things back a bit.  I tried to understand but never really did.  We agreed that we should only do things with others involved so as to not give anyone the wrong idea: that she and I like each other and might be, dum, dum, dum!  dating.  This was rather unpleasant to hear but I agreed and so we began to only do things if others were present.  (We tried to; but I’m so frequently asking to go get coffee and such that sometimes we still went by ourselves.)

Then, finally, I had to know: does she like me, too, or am I just being a fool?  She, being the queen of ambiguity, has yet to directly say that she has a crush on me; she says that she likes me but only ever in a way that could easily be understood “I like you as a friend”….  I digress.

My brief summary became rather lengthy; I apologize.  I’m a rather long-winded fellow.  So!  Back to my point.

I have grown quite accustomed to texting her very often throughout a day.  I’ve grown accustomed to being able to see her and hang out with her, on average, two or three times a week.  I was hoping that, even after our conversations, this could continue.  This was wrong of me and I feel very bad for thinking so.  As it is, I have begun to “dial it back” and I do not enjoy it.  I do not enjoy it one little bit.  However, comma, this is what she wants and what she feels is the best course of action and so, I will oblige.

This morning I bought plane tickets home and I was just too excited not to tell her.  She congratulated me and out of habit I continued to text about nonsensical things until I realized that I was failing to dial it back at all; I decided to set a goal of not texting her until Wednesday and told her so and “I’ll talk to you later.”  She seemed rather pleased with this and said, “See ya Wednesday.”  Almost immediately after this exchange I learned that tomorrow I will be opening at work and not closing; this means that she and I will be getting off work just about the same time and I couldn’t resist letting her know.  I imagine that my goal was to plant the idea of getting coffee with me after work in her head.  I am not proud of this.  Nonetheless, I at least expected her to say something vague such as, “Hehe, we’ll see” or “He thinks he’s so funny” or…something.  Nothing.  She didn’t respond at all.  Well, this, for whatever reason, put me in a rather poor mood.  It was ridiculous: I felt hurt and slighted and just miserable.  I couldn’t stop thinking, “Why can’t we still be friends the way we were?”; “Why does it matter if other folks think we’re dating if we know that we aren’t?”

I spent the next few hours repeating this nonsense.  I became rather dejected and my co-worker took note.  He and I work in a lab together, just the two of us, most days of the week and we’ve become pretty close.  He’s a great guy and a lot of fun.  He’s going through some rough things in his life right now and he shares with me a lot of personal information.  Sometimes as a way to not hear the gritty details, I’ll share what I’m going through just to get his mind off his own worries and to spare myself.  So, he knows about my friend and how I feel.  He asked, “What’s wrong, dude?  You look mad or upset or something.”  I told him what was on my mind and he agreed that it didn’t make sense.  He said, “Y’all don’t do anything!  Y’all just sit and talk and drink coffee!  You’ve never even hugged her!  So what if y’all like each other?  That has to suck, bro!  I’m sorry.”  Well, needless to say, this didn’t help me much.

On my lunch break, I wasn’t hungry and so I just went outside to enjoy the weather and to think.  I was pacing in the alley, fuming to myself.  “Get over it, man!  You don’t want to lose her as a friend so just suck it up and deal with it!” I screamed to myself.  “But why??  Why??  Why can’t we just maintain the status quo?” I demanded an answer to this from my own brain.  It was absurdity followed with more absurdity.  I was just building myself into a frenzy when I finally realized that I needed to pray, and with the quickness!  “God, Father!  What is this?  Why am I acting so stupidly?  Why can’t I just be happy to have a friend as awesome as she?  Why can’t I just not think about her??”  I waited a few moments and got no response.  Lack of immediate answer wasn’t good enough, so at that point I became angry with God.  “Why are you doing this me, Father??  Why did you drag me all the way to this stinking town, give me one good friend, and then pull her away from me?  What sense does this make?  Here I’ve been trying to come back to You and now You’re doing this??  Wh…” and my mind stopped.  It went completely blank for a moment and I was still.  I didn’t hear anything, see anything, smell anything…  I was just calm.

Out of nowhere the answer hit me.  I instantly understood.  God answered me.  The reason I must “dial it back” isn’t due to any of my fears.  It isn’t because she doesn’t like me; she does – she’s told me so.  It isn’t because I’m beginning to “overstay my welcome”; she’s told me that she enjoys hanging out with me more than she should and that if we continue, she’ll probably only want to more and more.  All of these fears were just my feeble mind and prideful spirit trying to satisfy my arrogant ego.  No, none of these is the reason.

I’ve been wanting desperately to return to God, to be pulled back into His spirit that I may know peace and joy again.  I’ve been struggling.  The fact that I’ve been having difficulty has perplexed me to the point of tears.  I couldn’t understand why I, willing and desiring to, couldn’t just let God’s grace overtake me.  Today, while I was arguing with God, He shut me up.  He shut my mental mouth; and He answered two questions simultaneously: the reason I’ve not been able to draw close to Him and to truly allow Him back into my heart is the same reason I must dial it back with my friend.  I’ve been preoccupying my mind and my energy and my heart with seeking after her, not truly allowing God in to where He deserves to be.  When I realized this I was a bit overwhelmed with all kinds of emotions.  I was joyful to finally comprehend; I was relieved that I could finally begin to grow in God through Christ; I was sad that I’d been so blind to it the whole time.

After my lunch break, and ever since, I’ve been in one of the best moods I can remember being in…ever.  I feel just giddy!  God is back where He belongs in my life: at the focus.  I am ecstatic.  I am excited.  I want to tell my friend so badly!  I guess I’ll just tell her on Wednesday.

I still like her, by the way.  It’s just that I was beginning to like her too much, too quickly.  With God I am content.  With His plan I am content.  With His love and mercy, I am content.  If she and I are ever meant to be more than friends, He knows and will make it so.  I, in the meantime, will focus and seek Him every day.  Where He leads me is where I need to be going and I can’t wait to get there!

Shuffling Feet

He leaves the apartment and shuts the door.  Being certain to lock it, he scurries down the steps and heads out through the courtyard, past the pool and laundry.  He cuts between two buildings and across the parking lot, always being sure to not get run over by any of the seemingly-always-in-a-hurry tenants.  He has to pass through a shopping center to get to the main drag of his walk and he never enjoys this part of the trip.  There’s always too many people, too many distractions: pretty women, running children, more vehicles than he can shake a stick at; indeed, he always walks the most quickly through this part.  He doesn’t consider his walk to have officially begun until he clears this travesty.  Finally past the chain-stores and crowds, he turns left and at this point feels alone enough to relax and begin to try.

He shuffles his feet and occasionally kicks a small stone if it so strikes him to do so.  He chews the gum he’s substituting for a cigarette hard and with much vigor.  Niccotine addiction is no joke.  “God, help me!”, he thinks to his Father as he passes a gas station, just chock-full of all types of smokes.  He pushes it out of his mind.  He takes these walks to clear his head and this time is no exception.  He finds that if he measures the length of his steps against the length of the individual bits of sidewalk his mind can find some kind of peace; only for a moment, though.  Only ever just for a moment.  He wants desperately to be done with his worries and his arrogant way of trying to figure everything out.  He wants so badly to just turn it over to God, finally, once and for all.  He just can’t do it.  He can’t get over himself and just say, “God, take over.  Take control and humble me so that I can finally live for You.  Calm my mind that I may be still and listen.”  He hears loud, after-market exhaust on a shiny new truck as it rumbles past.  He wonders why so many people feel the need to demand attention from strangers.  “What hole are you trying to fill, pal?” he thinks to himself with a less-than-subtle tinge of cynicism and judgement.  He scolds himself for being so arrogant and turns his focus back to God.  He breathes deeply the cool night air and thinks how only a few weeks ago he would’ve been shivering and constantly sniffling.  He’s grateful for the relative warmth and thanks God for it.  He looks eastward and westward as he crosses the arroyo, taking in the city lights in the distance.  He’s been gazing upon these lights for several months now and they still take his breath away.  He finds himself thinking of home.  He remembers the quietness, the darkness; the thick, warm, damp air of the evenings.  Suddenly, all of the thoughts he’s trying to escape come flooding back: “Why am I here?  Why did I leave?  What am I doing?  Will I ever be unafraid to truly try at life?  Will I always “just get by”?  Why am I so content to just keep doing the same stupid things I’ve always done?  Why do I fill my head with frivolities and absurdities when I have so far to go?  Am I even worth the effort for God to bother with me?”  “Shut it!!” he yells to himself as he senses that he’s becoming emotional.  As he’s approaching the end of the second block in his three-block walk he realizes that he has to start all over.

He repeats this process over and over.  He manages to clear his mind only for a few precious moments before he relapses back into his normal state of mental confusion and anguish.  He tries to remember the last time he felt comfortable in his own head and this only causes more pain.  He decides that the best thing to do is to just continuously talk to God; even if all he does is direct his absurd thoughts to Him so that he can at least feel as though he’s accomplishing something.  He eventually finds a nice balance in his conversation with God and by the time he’s halfway home, he actually begins to feel better.  As he draws near to the end of his walk, he prays that God will allow him to remain in such a state of closeness with Him.  He feels hopeful; he feels happy and content.  He smiles to himself as he climbs the stairs and fetches his keys from his beltloop.

He shuffles his feet as he crosses the apartment and re-enters his little room with the air mattress bed and piano-bench desk.  He wonders how long it’ll be before he has to make the trip again.