Emotional Instability Might be Genetic But It’s Probably Just Life

I realised on a late night walk down to the sea that I’ve been making the same relationship mistakes my Dad made that helped to get him killed. Stress and nutrition related heart attack, also bad heart runs in the family. As do broken marriages. He used to try and give out all he could, he used to try to fix our lives, mine and the mother’s, even when we didn’t want him to. And, in constantly trying to do the superhuman thing of ignoring himself, he ended up just miserable, and just complaining that we should do what he thinks.

You can’t fix someone else. You can fix yourself, and you can try and help someone fix themselves. You cannot make the changes for them, even assuming you actually know what they’d need to do. This is just a fact. The impetus for change, the willpower, comes from within. Not without. It can be, must be inspired by the rest of life, but the rest of life will not fix you. You will fix you.

Dad forgot that, and me too, though this “fix yourself” message is a little too simple for either of us, even if it’s true.

The problem I’ve carried over is that I can’t get enough motivation from things I want to do. He ended up this way: only ever active when given work or given a problem by someone else. Left to his own devices he’d keep up basic vital signs and otherwise just mess around on the internet or watch tv, and, eventually, drink some whisky, make a cheesy meal. I’m now doing more or less the same. This doesn’t describe either of us completely, but the lifestyle fits. We’re mostly fucking hopeless without other people to give us a reason to live. Simultaneously, other people seem like the cause of all our problems.

Really, we just seem incapable of allowing that little bit of room for the self. That’s what I’m trying to fix by writing on here and the poetry site as much as I can. Trying to convince myself that I have a space where it’s worth being, just for the sake of me. Even with that attitude, I’m desperately clicking the notification bell to see if I’ve got a couple of likes yet. Still looking out for justification and meaning. Yeah, I mean, you have to get your meaning and value from the world around you, okay. But you can also get a bit of emotional fucking willpower, drive, a sense that you have meaning, from yourself.

I’ve grown to doubt that quite a lot: that I mean anything. I think Dad did too, though he was from a generation that would never say so. He preferred to pretend like everything is fine, and either pretend or exist in an alternate reality where he conversed with spirits. I believe he had the experience of conversing with spirits. I just don’t think of it in the same terms as him. For me it’s dreams, vivid imagination, and a serious appreciation of the way all life is interconnected. He would’ve said something similar, but with references to mythology and dragons. Fair enough, I mean everyone loves a good story, and the movie theatre in his head seemed like a uniquely fun one to be sitting in.

Part of it is him being dead. I mean he was easily the most important person in my life, and he just died while sleeping miles and miles away from me, without even knowing he might have to say goodbye. There was no warning, there was just “oh I’ve got some indigestion, might sleep on the couch tonight”. When the mother woke up and found him, he was dead asleep. But mainly dead. I don’t cry myself to sleep at night, I didn’t even cry at the funeral. I didn’t fall to pieces with the pain that I’d never see him again. My memory of him is pretty good. I see him whenever I want. The thing is, if the most important person in my life can just die like that…what’s the fucking point?

And I have some good explanations lined up discussing what the point is, but I’d already been wondering to myself before he died, ‘what the fuck is this shit all about?’ and then he just goes and dies, spirits be damned. He was having a stressful time though. I reckon his last dream was another one of those meetings with the myths-turned-real and dragons, and he went to join them, and finally fucking get a break. I don’t have his faith though. I have a weird kind of love of life, but not my life. My life is a small, possibly irrelevant piece of the puzzle. No I mean it is relevant, but mainly to me…and I’m the only idiot doubting it, so it’s relevance diminishes every day that I think “meh, I could just drink and watch tv and wait. Won’t make a difference.”

This fucking coronavirus, man. I like my politics but this era of airheads in government has really ruined me. There’s nothing to report on, because every time you break open a story about how shit they are, they get more money and more votes. If you mock or torture or murder them, they get more sympathy, more support, more airheads to fill their gap. And I believe in nonviolence and democracy. Feels like there’s no point for society, and no point for me. I’m not a happy bunny.

So, in what might be a bunny-like kind of behaviour, I mostly sit on a dildo and write poems about old lovers. And drink. And watch tv. And drink. Watch tv. Let my knees click for lack of use, fuck up my lower back. Occasionally I remember to do stretches and go for walks. In this virus world I can’t work. I can’t use this dead feeling in me to go and do some shit job and earn minimum wage at least. I can’t do anything, anywhere. Everything is fucked. But that’s not true.

It just feels like that. Feels, more so than in a long time, like it’s all hopeless. Somehow I got into the habit a while back of stepping out of my feelings. Doesn’t always let me act different, but it does help my understand what the fuck is going on. There’s this me that isn’t the same as what I feel, and that me has an amazing clarity. But it’s usually just forced to work out how to quickly satisfy the feeling me. “Where’s the food? Can I be bothered to make a proper meal? Where’s the remote? Where’s the bottle of rum from yesterday? Make the wank last longer this time.”

Those philosophers are onto something you know. And that Jung guy. It’s worth separating out the different parts of yourself, at least in theory, so you can see a bit of how you’re working, and maybe see what needs fixing. Not right now, but when you’ve got a moment.

So I had a particularly full drinking day Saturday

Which finished with slurred poetry readings and me trying to cure the early signs of hangover with another whisky. I’m not going to tell you that it worked, but I can’t say for sure it didn’t work either. I dropped out on the couch and woke up a few hours later with slightly less headache and slightly more backpain (there’s a crevice in the couch that you don’t wanna lie on). I work for my local newspaper, doing articles on “the arts”. I hate the arts. Sorry, that’s not entirely true. I hate the way artists try to sell themselves. The way they look for beauty and wonder just as a way to pay bills and garner fame. It’s great if art can provide that stuff for you, but then it’s extra.

In an ideal world, we’d all be creatives doing our real world jobs and then writing, painting, sculpting, dancing, signing, playing songs, whatever, in our spare time. I don’t get paid to write poems. I don’t get paid to work for the local paper. I’m an editor there, and a “director”, but it’s like a damn charity. Something about this makes me feel happier, even as I struggle to find the money to pay the gas bill. It’s a class thing, a social thing. I’m not embracing luxury in the way that some folks do. That’s important. You should always see luxury as luxury, not as the norm. Making a living off wordsmithery is a luxury, especially if it’s all you do for a living. Though with the lockdown active over coronavirus, having anything to do is necessity, just for staying sane. Luxury or not just do things. Keep your head together.

I’ve been wasting a lot of time at nights. I need them for the best sleep, I need them to write easier – I like drifting off into these imaginative worlds while it’s dark and I’m tired…fewer distractions, fewer chains keeping you stuck to reality, if you like. I heard shamans and holy folk and such would fast and not sleep as a cheap alternative to hallucinogenics. Anyway I’ve not been using nights for those good purposes. Instead, just watching nonsense on youtube, looking over social media profiles for the 50th time today, or, worst of all, playing pc games. They’re like opiates but mixed with caffeine and fucking up your eyes and fingers and joints and…they’re just annoyingly entertaining. Annoying because the games are fucking useless most of the time. Just a waste. I could be writing in that time, I could be riding a dildo in that time, I could be going out for a run (yeah I like running at night – it’s quieter and the air tastes fresher and you see weird shit happening).

I’m writing this as dawn rises on the horizon with those layers of orange and light blue. My night wasted. But at least I’m getting some thoughts down before bed. Now I can sleep a few hours, wake up, get coffee, try and plan something more meaningful to write than how fucked up my sleep patterns have become.

We need something else though. A story.

Okay. Well, I have this longstanding romance with a friend of mine. We’re like best friends, have been for five or six years. But there’s always been something else lurking below, comes out sometimes when we’re drunk. And because it only ever comes out during drunk times, I’m assuming we’re not too serious. I wonder though, and I look back on some of the most romantic moments and think even though we were drunk, we weren’t that drunk. And I always go back to the time at the bar he looked me in the eyes and kissed me, knowing that’s what I wanted, seeming like it was what he wanted. I remember this time at a dinner with his then girlfriend and some other people. He was flirting with me to the point of being fucking rude to everyone else, haha, I loved it though. Not aggressive flirting, just really obvious, with his then girlfriend and some relatively prudish other pals at the table. There are lots of small moments I could look back on and point at as evidence we have something.

I also remember him, sober, telling me our personalities are too similar, so we’d never work in a relationship. The only time he talked about “us” while (relatively) sober. Life and love aren’t entirely about what you say though. Hey I have a healthy distrust of love, okay. I’ve been burned bad with it and so as a policy I don’t get involved with it. Not seriously. But this guy, he just creeps into me. He just has me. Sometimes it seems like maybe I have the same effect on him too. It’s weird, and I don’t want to push it in case it goes away. I like this weirdness, I like this thing that’s quite close to what I thought love should be. Partly caring, partly fucked up and lustful, and entirely co-dependent.

But the healthy thing is that in the meantime, while working that out, I can carry on and get ploughed by whosoever I choose. Don’t confuse love and sex – that is the worst mistake you can make. Love is slow and strange, sex is fun, quick, filthy, obvious and fucking glorious. My friends all hate this guy by the way. All apart from maybe two. I tried to set him up with one of them, and the other, well, good drinking buddy. Everyone else says he’s an arsehole and why are you wasting your time on him. Just because he gives me those butterflies inside. Because it means something when I’m with him.

Maybe I’ll get to naming and shaming some of these people, but then again, maybe that’s not a good idea. I should get back to fiction writing, or the less personal. Reading some Carl Jung at the moment. Will say something about that as soon as I’ve worked out what the shit it is.

PC: “Marine what is that button on your body armour?”
J: “A peace symbol, sir!”
PC: “Where did you get it?”
J: “I don’t remember, sir!”
PC: “What’s that you’ve got written on your helmet?”
J: “Born to kill, sir!”
PC: “You write ‘born to kill’ on your helmet and you’ve got a peace button. What’s that supposed to be, some kind of sick joke!?”
J: “No, sir!”
PC: “What is it supposed to mean?”
J: “I don’t know, sir!”
PC: “You don’t know very much, do ya?”
J: “No, sir!”
PC: “You better get your head and your ass wired together or I will take a giant shit on you.”
J: “Yes, sir!”
PC: “Now answer my question or you’ll be standing tall before the man.”
J: “I think I was trying to suggest something about the duality of man, sir.”
PC: “The what?”
J: “The duality of man, the Jungian thing, sir!”
PC: “Whose side are you on, son?”
J: “Our side, sir!”
PC: “Don’t you love your country?”
J: “Yes, sir!”
PC: “So how about getting with the programme, why don’t you jump on the team and come on in for the big win?”
J: “Yes, sir!”
PC: “Son, all I’ve ever asked of my marines is to obey my orders as if they were the word of God. We are here to help the Vietnamese because inside every Gook, there is an American, trying to get out. It’s a hardball world, son. We’ve got to try and keep our heads until this peace craze blows over.”
J:“Aye aye, sir!”

I’ve got this habit of using the first sentence as a title so…

I’m not breaking it now. I’ve been writing regularly and unprofessionally for maybe nine years, with so many different levels of quality and success. Style and purpose and all that seems to come in waves. This is my latest wave. Rosa’s place. Which, as I probably won’t mention again in future posts, is Charles Bukowski’s old mansion. I think they knocked it down. Really I just wanted a free-to-use picture of a crappy LA bungalow, but Bukowski’s was pretty much the only one on offer after I got bored searching and, hey, it’s Hank’s home. Well, one of them. What’s not to like?

The other day I pledged I’d writing something every day. This means a poem everyday at scagmag.uk – my poetry stream. [edit: the daily didn’t last long but I still put new poems up there]. It also means something more loosely defined. I like journalism, specifically Hunter Thompson style journalism, and I like critical reviews. So this place is probably going to host a lot of that, with the occasional bit of life wondering, meandering…you know, relationships, exercise routines…boring shit that I make interesting.

It’s 4am where I am now, and under lockdown conditions for Coronavirus I’m going insane. Just the lack of work, the claustrophobia of not having demands on my time. But heck I’ll get used to it and it’s getting me writing daily for the first time in a long time. So thanks virus with a substantial death toll. Oooh fuck. Okay, so, my headphones are broken and tied together with hairbands, and usually only one of the ears works, but I just shifted my head to scratch and the other ear started working. What is that, the virus gods smiling upon me? Or is that just regular god, you know, the one with a sick sense of humour?

Ah I can’t tell. Though if I lean forward too much the ear goes off again. Fuck. I’d give Marshall a bad review but I’ve treated these like shit for about a year, so…I’m not hugely surprised they’re failing. Constantly getting crushed in my bag, in use at least 6 hours a day, the rubber wire protectors frayed exposing copper threads beneath. Frayed. It is spelt like that, says Google. I’d get a new pair if I knew I had a job to go to. I should just buy the pair and stop getting casual beers for a week. But then how would I get my beer without getting beer? That’s too much to manage. I’ll just have to wait and see if I can drink this thing out.

You know I was – am – thinking about becoming a prostitute and getting “Bitch” tattooed on me somewhere…but not while the virus is going round. As badass as that would be, I don’t really want to swallow a load of Gonorrhoea AND Covid-19 in one tasty splort. I’ve got a friend who’s a sexual health nurse, but no friends working on a corona vaccine. Don’t get sick with something you can’t cure – that’s good advice if you can keep to it. But hey, if I get the tattoo I’ll be sure to put up a picture. It’ll be tasteful. Ah, who am I kidding? It’ll be…well I’d like it if it was filthy, but I don’t know how you put that in a tattoo without blood poisoning. Wouldn’t life be easier without this stupid sense of self-preservation? Maybe I’ll just go with the classic dog paw.