fascinatingly detailed bullshit log part 2
Recently, I had the chance to spend a few days with a very close friend before he leaves the country to serve a second tour of duty in the armed forces. While I was down there, I was hoping I'd get another shot at taking out a rather charming girl I'd met the last time I was there. Unfortunately, she hung me out to dry, for reasons that turned out to be completely understandable; I spent most of my time getting drunk and playing Warhammer 40K instead. Really, I don't count it as much of a loss. Sure, it would have been nice for me, but she lost out on an attractive nerd with his own job, apartment, and loads of disposable income, so I think I came out even in the end.
In between the drinking and d6, I spent a lot of time talking and thinking. I've been rather uncertain about myself and the direction I'm heading lately. About six months ago, I could have told you easily how I felt and what I was looking forward to. I was living with a girl I was in love with and we were able to secure an apartment together, something we'd been looking forward to for the majority of our relationship.
Unfortunately, I didn't really have much else in mind past getting the apartment and steady girl. I had thought I was okay with simply doing that: taking it easy, playing video games or whatever the hell else I wanted, and doing well at work. Once we moved in together, we lasted about a month.
Every year or two, I have about a straight month of misfortune. It's the oddest thing. I never quite realize exactly how crappy things have become until I'm just about through to the other side, and then I look back and notice that for the previous thirty days, things have been fucked up and I'm at least partially to blame for it. Last time I felt this bad, I managed to wreck my car, get fired from work, fail out of the school I'd just entered in such a way as to still get stuck with a tuition bill, and pick up some credit card debts that would then double in size through nonpayment as I looked for ways to hide from the whirlwind of shit that got bigger the longer I didn't acknowledge it.
Things have improved since then, obviously. I've finally accrued enough in savings that I feel safe in case things financially drop out for me. I've got a very reliable roommate, even if she IS my ex, and we're still friends, even though everyone I mention that to seems to recoil in horror and ask how that can possibly be. I don't think it's hard; just because you're not together isn't any reason to hate the other person. I find it hard to really dislike most people anyway.
However, it seems that this last lesson in hard knocks was something I was not expecting. It's taken a lot of thinking for me to really start to see why and how. Introspection's a good thing; I don't think you can really understand anyone else if you don't even understand yourself.
I hadn't realized just how much of my emotional self had been invested into that relationship. And, after so long together, I had made a few critical mistakes. I had assumed that we wanted the same things after we had moved out. I had assumed that, by moving out, the issues we'd been experiencing with emotional and physical intimacy would simply solve themselves.
After the night we broke up, I discovered that there had been this slow burn, this thrumming background tension between us that had receded. It's the emotional equivalent of living next to a major street; you wonder why you're never getting enough sleep at night until the night you finally do, and you find out that the street had been blocked off all night and there was a blessed silence for the first time in months.
The really ridiculous thing is that I think I recall noticing this very tension a few months after it started. I'm a distinct introvert by long habit, as I'm sure most other noders are. Unwilling to confront the problem, and thinking that it was simply an issue of circumstance, I let it go and didn't mention it. Because I no longer received the emotional fulfillment I wanted on the scale that I needed, I stopped trying. "Why put forth the effort if you're not going to get anything out of it?" I asked myself. A terribly pragmatic view, surely, but then, it's a completely reasonable one. A man that professes his undying love without any reciprocation will either move on to greener pastures or find himself a broken wreck years later, wondering why he'd wasted his time.
I still feel pretty crappy, though not as bad as I used to. My sleep schedule changes on a whim: for about two straight weeks I was getting a mere four hours of sleep a night and walking two miles to work afterwards. I think I'm up to about five or six now, so I'm not falling asleep at work any more but I think I've picked up a caffeine habit in the process. I feel echoes of the same emotional turmoil that bothered me throughout high school, which I'd thought had all gone away once I'd learned the name of the beast and why it came out of hiding. Some days I feel cooler than ice cream in a chilled beer stein, and some days I feel like I'm burning alive from sheer sexual frustration and the inability to let off the steam that's been building up.
I noticed a long time ago that my drive to write and create doesn't really stir my fingertips unless I'm in a state of emotional turmoil. I not only read throughout most of my childhood, I used to write like a boy possessed. Whole sheets of notebook paper, both sides, no paragraph breaks. I reread portions of it the other day, and I must have really despised my place in life, because all of it is pure escapism, like The Last Starfighter ad nauseum. Exotic humanoid aliens land in the main character's back yard and sweep him off to a life amongst the stars; a girl ditches class and finds a portal to a fantasy world that grants her new strength and automatic friendship; a warrior goes off to avenge his slain parents and is changed by the same villain into a monster that makes him better looking, stronger, and finally able to master his emotions.
I lost that mad drive to create some years ago, after discovering the hard way that the things I'd read dozens of times before were completely alien to my peers. I'd mysteriously lose a sketchbook and then find it ten minutes later, all of it defaced into a pervert's collection. I made the mistake of letting someone else, a girl I had a slight crush on, read any of it only once. I found out the hard way that the things you think about girls at twelve or thirteen isn't something you should commit to paper. I kept almost all of it, but it stays in a box on a shelf. I haven't written anything non-school-related that was longer than a couple pages ever since. Not that I haven't tried, of course. I just found easier, faster methods of escape.
I've heard TheDeadGuy speak of the drive to write as a woman digging her nails into the small of your back, refusing to let up until you've produced something, anything. I still feel that drive to write, those nails pricking the bumps of my spine, but I never seem to get very far. I have had this idea in my head for years, of a man looking for himself after being completely lost inside his own mind as the world blazed up and dried into a high desert, but I can't find the start or the end of the story. I have all this middle, but nothing to hold it together with. I've tried writing from a bazillion different spots, I even tried writing the ending first just to see if I should do it backwards. Nothing's done it yet. I remember reading somewhere else that an alarming number of the writers we consider "great" had some pretty serious dysfunctions and oddities, and I feel sane. I sometimes think I understand the archetypical alcoholic writer: when you can't call up the right emotions sober, sometimes it takes the destruction of your own life just to get the story written, just to finally drive the succubus with her long nails off of your back.
All of this, the realization that I had fallen into creating nothing and taking what I needed, fell into clarity over that last trip. I feel this need to grow, to not let this slip through my fingers any more. I want to be happy again. It's nobody's fault but my own that I don't know anyone to talk to in person. It's just as much my fault as it is hers that our relationship ended, though to be honest, it couldn't have gone on anyway. These are all things I can do something about.
Here is what I have resolved to do.
I am going to write again. Once a week, I want to finish a single piece of writing. Doesn't matter how long, but I gotta get something down on paper or noded. Doesn't matter if it's crap, doesn't matter if it's just a music or game review.
I'm going to see another country. This is going to be within the next three years. I'm not 100% sure where yet, but as the biggest obstacle is going to be money, I will have saved up a minimum of $3000 first. Unless I change my mind, the destination will be a four-month trip to Chile through an internship/Spanish language program that a friend has directed me to look at. I'm just about a third of the way there.
I'm going to suck it up and figure out the dating thing as it comes. There's really no other recourse for it. I'm trying to get myself out there, at least, and I figure that's a good start, if nothing else. I'm enough of a dork to hope that I have a chance encounter with a cute brunette carrying Heinlein in a coffee shop, but I'm not going to count on that happening.
Depending on cost and location/transport, I think I should get back into school. I don't know what for yet at all, but I can always work on an English degree. There's a community college campus literally within walking distance. There's some other pressing financial concerns that have to come first, but it's not just a vague regret in the back of my mind any more.
It's time for me to evolve and move the fuck on.