Saturday afternoon journaling in June 2017

Now on day 4 of my commitment toward change. Arm muscles are finally back to normal. Can extend them fully once again. Had dinner with my former partner last night and he said I had just awakened muscles in my forearm that probably had never been stressed so hard, then allowed them to get dehydrated and fatigued the day afterward, so there’s nothing really to worry about there. That’s good. Was nervous for a couple days there that I had damaged a tendon or ligament or something. But all is fine now.

Of course I’m still thinking about what all has transpired recently and why and how I feel about it. That last night out (Monday the 12th), the one where I mentioned the older lady bartender at the calmer bar seeming slightly nervous toward me, keeps running through my mind. The bar was dead that evening. A couple here or there would roam through but otherwise I was sitting in there alone, drinking and playing music on the jukebox. Wasn’t being rowdy or anything, just didn’t want to go home. And it’s that fear of going home that keeps perplexing me. Felt it so many nights while out and about. Like I’m afraid to be with myself, to sit there with my troubled thoughts and ideas and ruminations. That’s been the driving force for me in the barscene for as far back as I can remember. Just didn’t want to go home and be alone. And once it came time for me to return home, I’d want to be “set” to where I’d go to sleep shortly. Put myself out. If I didn’t drink enough at the bar to do the trick, I’d drink more once I got in. And I recall doing just that in my early 20s and here I am in my mid-30s still attempting to do the same thing.

That’s a lot of years of running from something. But what gets me is that I do look at my past and examine it in as much detail as I can. Always have done so. And I do look at what I’ve done wrong and let myself feel it deeply and acknowledge it for what it is. Just because I think about it, though, doesn’t make it go away. Worked it all out as much as I could hope to and yet here it always remains. Back another day to remind me. My thoughts are there when I drink though too. They don’t disappear. Might go under the radar for a while when distracted by others, but they crop back up as the night wears on. Not uncommon that by the end of the evening I’m actually fairly depressed or melancholic (as I prefer to call it). In other words, I didn’t remain a fun drunk for long many nights. I know that. Others knew that too. Told me so on occasion.

So the alcohol didn’t even fix what it was intended to fix, not even temporarily. Not even throughout the full evening of drinking. The thoughts always rise back up before all is done and said. And I believe it’s those thoughts I’ve been aiming to escape from all these years. I don’t know what to do with them. Don’t know how to tame them. But it’s clearly evident by now that adding alcohol to the mix not only doesn’t sufficiently eradicate them for long but also provides breeding ground for new reasons to be upset with myself.

I see it. I understand. More now than ever.

Not sure why I seem so afraid of sitting alone with myself for too long. Why it makes me stir-crazy and uncomfortable. I’ve known me long enough by now to recognize that these are simply thoughts, memories, and that they can’t do much more than pester me. Seems they wish for some sort of expression, some outlet, some way of being concretized, so to speak. And actually, if I’m honest with myself, I have known this for a long time. Guess I haven’t wanted to do it. Didn’t want to have to sit with them so intimately and try to fashion them into something else. Maybe it feels too personal, too sorrowful, too impossible to remedy. But they’re just emotions, and life could’ve been much worse. Not dealt the worst lot here. Just an awfully emotional person who feels these things so deeply that that worries me. Made me think these emotions might capsize my little ship eventually if I took up too much time with them all. So instead I opted for a “slow death” (as I call the drinking lifestyle), which is no better. Not one bit better. Very likely much, much worse. Dangerous for myself and others and completely unproductive in the big scheme of things.

So there’s no choice here right about now. This is what it is, and this is calling for what it wants. Maybe taking up these concerns and finding a way to make use of them will eventually satisfy that internal “gremlin” a bit too. I always return to what Erich Fromm wrote about our options as people: we can either find a productive path or wind up becoming destructive (whether toward others and/or ourselves). I’ve always known his words to be true, and yet I ran anyway and created this situation for myself. Reasoning alone apparently isn’t ever enough.

But I hear it now. Understand more than before, now that there are so many more memories added to the heap, generated within the last several years. New forms of destruction and chaos that were sparked by my hands and my words this time around. Teaches me about the dark side to one’s being. Our capacity to cause harm, whether we deliberately set out to do so or not. And that’s been a valuable lesson. Gotta thank something out there for showing that to me in the ways it has.

Seems to be true that we start to really strive toward heaven once we have reckoned with hell. Otherwise we don’t know what we’re even striving for. But, then again, most roads to hell are paved with good intentions. Maybe dealing in our own versions of the abyss is what helps clarify what’s actually better, more worthwhile, truly healthier, less idealistic and more real.

I can’t regret these years fully since they’ve provided a treasure trove of opportunities to observe others and myself. Lots of shocking material there. Parts of myself I wouldn’t have believed existed had I not witnessed it directly, and same goes for plenty of others. We humans are far more complex than we can imagine, because life is far more complex than we are capable of imagining. Consciousness is a trip, to say the least.

It is what it is. And I’m here to explore it amongst all of you. No one’s perfect, nor is it worthwhile to expect anybody to be. Not even sure what perfection really entails anymore. Just no longer want to toss chance to the wind and act like I’m not responsible for any outcomes when that’s so obviously not true. Such a strategy is an attempt to hide from reality. But we know how that goes…we can run on for a long time, but sooner or later we will be cut down…

True. And it’s okay. I know these days that I can take the pain. Besides, there’s nowhere else to run. And so be it. This is a blessing in disguise, I do know that and appreciate it as such. Just a transition period right now is all. Gonna take time to get my bearings and to form new habits and whatnot. Still, this is FAR better than the road I’ve been on, even if this winds up being treacherous for a spell. So far it is not, but I am preparing myself for that possibility and will accept it if it comes. Because it’s just life. This is how it can roll. Still better than the alternative I had been pursuing. That was monotonous and nihilistic and was tearing me apart. Turning me into something I didn’t want to be. Don’t want to go back there ever again. Not like that. Too pointless and painful and chaotic and uncontrollable. Became useless. Frustrating and saddening and pitiful and not much else.

Why do we fear life and living? Why do we try to hide out and not be seen for what we are? And why have we humans been attempting this since the dawn of time? What are we so afraid of? Rejection? We’re going to be forced to deal with that regardless. Pain and suffering? Same deal. Failure? I think that hits closer to the mark. Existential guilt and confusion.

Anyway, time to move on to something else.

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