“Suppose for a moment, that we define a virtuous act as bowing in the direction of Mecca every day at sunset. We attempt to persuade everyone to perform this act. But suppose that instead of relying on voluntary conviction we employ a vast number of police to break into everyone’s home and see to it that every day they are pushed down to the floor in the direction of Mecca. No doubt by taking such measures we will increase the number of people bowing toward Mecca. But by forcing them to do so, we are taking them out of the realm of action and into mere motion, and we are depriving all these coerced persons of the very possibility of acting morally. By attempting to compel virtue, we eliminate its possibility. To be moral, an act must be free.”
I was introduced to the concept of “evil” at a very young age. It was introduced to me through religious conservatism, as well as through television news. Both were saturated with incessant talk of evil things that people were doing all around the world. When my religion taught me that I was evil, when I watched “the news”, I equated my evil with their evil. I equated myself to the murderers on the television, even though I hadn’t killed anyone. If we’re all lost as sinners, then who cares about comparisons?
Just thinking about evil is exhausting. There is no way to create a perfect man. How do we “measure” ourselves as good? Or, better yet, is there value in measuring how “good” we are?
In the past, I would’ve said “Yes”. I measured my good (as well as the good of the whole world) to see who among us, including myself, was going to Heaven. But I never knew what that amount of good needed to get into Heaven was. But I measured away anyway, completely dissatisfied, as the only result I came up with was that “None of us are good enough.”
Well, my religious beliefs have changed over time. And so have my ideas about “good”. But evil still bugs me. I still notice it everywhere. I seem to notice it all of the time. I don’t think it is really possible to ignore it. Throughout the day, I think everyone will, at least one time throughout that day, say “Damn. That isn’t right.” Evil is simply too prevalent to ignore. Sure, when we’re playing with our kids, or reading a book, we aren’t thinking about someone getting raped or murdered in the world. But surely it’s happening. There will be no “end” to it until we die.
Since none of us are sure when we are going to die, and surely we don’t want to think about death constantly, what do we have to look forward to? Why does “looking forward” matter? What do we have but to “look forward”? We look forward as well as looking back. We pleasantly reminisce about the past, while being thankful for getting passed the negative times. We dread the future, while looking forward to what we believe we will enjoy about it. There’s no “constant settling point” with regards to the past and the future (besides the fact that we are alive in the present). There’s no “perspective” that ultimately takes precedent. The past, the present, and the future engage all of our minds. But there’s something special to be said about “moving on”. To hoping. And to just being thankful. You can’t be thankful for anything when your whole life is spent anxiously lamenting and condemning the lack of perfection in the present. Sadly, even this can be taken over by anxiety. There’s nothing that anxiety can’t ruin. It’s a shame.
I should state that, once again, I’m not against lamentation completely. Of course, I’m not completely (there’s that word again) against anxiety. Both serve important functions. But there’s a difference between compassionately bringing up a serious subject that needs attention, and being an asshole about it that no one wants to listen to (being an asshole, I should know this). The latter ultimately boils down to a fear of the lack of “perfection”. I think, ultimately, the motivation comes into play, as well as the “soundness” of one’s argument when one brings up an issue. Is it objectively an issue? That should be argued. After that, why are you bringing up the issue? That should be discussed as well. After those are discussed, it can then be determined whether or not the issue being put on the table is worth “tackling”. Even with this, there will, ultimately, be breakdowns in communication, as ends will conflict with ends, means will conflict with means, etc.
My solution to this is: do what you want. If you want to argue, then argue. If you don’t, then don’t. One can try to bring to the attention of others as many wrongdoings as one can. My measurement is “However many one wants to”. Does it bring you some sense of joy to bring a problem to light? Do you receive something from it psychologically? If so, bring it up. But if you do not gain anything from it, I think the whole situation is fruitless. The nurse that tends to others as a “duty” without getting any pleasure from caring for others is missing the point of her helping others. Of course, they are being helped. That’s important. But the issue is: why wouldn’t that bring one joy? That is the even deeper issue at hand. If one is compassionate, wouldn’t helping others out bring that person joy? (Personal Happiness as a Virtue).
I’m not being stabbed right now. That’s a good thing. I focus on doing things in the present. And that’s what we all do. We all go through our day, working our jobs, reading books, doing a whole range of actions without thinking of the people getting violently attacked throughout the world.
Many would see this as a bad thing. Many people spend their whole lives pointing out these wrongs. Indeed, I would have to say I’m included among these “Hey, this is bad” pointer-outers. Should it not be the case that each and every single one of us should point out each and every single wrongdoing that we are aware of constantly? Wouldn’t this be a good thing?
In the first place, most “moral” ideas never take into account man’s limited nature. Man has to sleep. Poop. I’m not going to be able to help a man getting stabbed while I’m asleep. Nor when I’m pooping. What if the murder is happening hundreds, if not thousands of miles away? What if I have to poop? Not only that, but even if I didn’t have to poop, am I really to fly all the way around the world, only to risk my own life to save someone else? I’d certainly find it noble if someone decided to do that themselves. But should I do it for the “overall good”?
I have reasons for not flying to Africa to help out, for example, someone getting murdered, or for not flying anywhere to help out anyone suffering any kind of injustice. Why? Well, I don’t want to spend the money on a plane ticket. Nor drive to the airport. Figure out where I’m going to stay once I got to wherever I was going. Not to mention, I’d, more than likely, be putting myself in danger. What if I, for example, get kidnapped? Who will help me? My point is that when it comes to “good” and “action”, there has to be some other way to think about it besides the “perfection” attitude: that everyone must spend all of their time and energy to combating every injustice in the world all at once until every justice is eliminated. That is impossible. But, more importantly, I don’t want to do it.
This, of course, does not mean that I am completely against helping out people in need. I, personally, am not going to go out of my way to search for people in need (I commend those that do), but if I see someone get hit by a car, I’d, of course, have no problem with dialing 911. It isn’t that I’m against any person receiving help at all, but I am against an attitude of “moral perfection”. Words like “perfect”, “complete”, etc., really can’t be applied to humans; especially when “good” is involved (this, of course, does not mean that punishment should never happen).
I learned a long time ago that nobody is perfect (I don’t think I learned it in a particularly healthy way). But I was asked “WWJD (What would Jesus do?)” I was taught that I should live a “Godly” life. I spent much of my life being worried over “doing enough.” But enough is enough.
There comes a point when we have to accept our own limitations. I certainly don’t ever think we should say “Welp, that man raped that lady and stole her purse. Oh well. What are ya gonna do.” In an immediate circumstance, when one becomes aware of a wrong, it is certainly commendable to try to “right” the wrong. And there’s various different ways to go about trying to “right a wrong”. But the key to this and what I mentioned earlier is anxiety. Anxiety relating to “perfection”. Of course, it is perfectly natural to feel anxious if one witnesses an attack. But why do you feel anxious? You feel anxious for your own safety, anxious about the health of the one attacked, anxious about the safety of anyone else that may happen to run into the attacker, etc. Anxiety isn’t the problem, but why are we anxious, and what are we anxious about?
“Moralistically”, “good” must be done because one is unsettled by the lack of perfection or perfect good. Any philosophical axiom based on “perfection” must be rejected. We are not God. We don’t have the strength of Superman, the speed of The Flash, etc. Perfection is a destructive goal. It becomes counter-productive. The purpose of doing good is that…well, it is just good. It spreads good will throughout humanity. Compassion is natural and genuine. But the idea of “perfection” waters down “compassion”. Imagine you are a nurse. There are one-hundred seriously injured people under your care, all wailing out in immense pain. “Good perfection”, besides being the case in one definition that no one would ever suffer anything negative ever, would require you to be able to at least completely alleviate the pain of all one-hundred patients instantaneously. This simply isn’t possible. The “ultimate good” would be that no one ever experience pain. The “perfectly good” action would be helping everyone at the same time. But these are, quite obviously, impossible. Striving towards an impossible goal is pointless. Life is not about “the struggle”. “The struggle” just exists: we don’t have to manufacture it. In fact, our whole lives are spent alleviating “the struggle”. If “the struggle” is such a noble idea, why do we all spend so much time trying to relieve ourselves from it? We naturally hate our human condition. Conservatives exacerbate this problem by perverting the human condition, and telling us that we must enjoy it: that God is “testing our faith”, and that we should “be thankful for it”. That our suffering gives us credit that we later redeem to God when we die to get into Heaven. (In addition, according to these same conservatives, there’s a billion little things that will take away this “credit”. I think the fact that we all naturally hate “the human condition” says a lot about these perverted conservatives). Liberals exacerbate the problem of the human condition by striving for perfection to pursue the good. They equate compassion with perfection: if we don’t spend every hour of every day fighting poverty, rape, and racism, then we aren’t doing enough good. And, once again, “enough” is only a complete elimination of poverty, rape, and racism.
The problem, once again, is one of “perfection”, or “the perfect good”. “Perfection”, “completeness”, etc., are words that should not be part of one’s ethical vocabulary. One can never be “completely good”, or “perfect”. “Good”, “helpful” action should never be based on perfection, but should rather be accepted as they are: as “good”, and as “helpful”. One man being saved from starvation is good, even if there are countless others that are, at the same time, not being saved from starvation. We must not lose sight of “the good” simply because we can never achieve “perfection”.
Of course, it is true that, in the Christian belief, perfection is required to be saved from eternal damnation. But it is also true that, in the Christian belief, Christ died as a forgiveness of sins as this perfect requirement. That is Christianity. Christianity is “Perfection is required. Welp, here you go. With love.” That’s it. That’s the “extent” of the “perfection”. A nurse can’t alleviate the severe pain of one-hundred patients simultaneously. I suppose God could. But what if He doesn’t? What is the nurse to do? Should she sit around “believing” that she can simultaneously alleviate the pain of all at once? Or should she focus on each patient, one at a time, doing what she can with compassion?
The thing “to do” is what you want. Eat what you want, read what you want, do what you want. If you want to do evil (besides the fact that you’d do it whether or not you had my approval, or anyone else’s), people are going to want to bring you to justice. I think that is the ultimate point of all of this. Expecting everyone to be a sheriff, an executioner, etc., is impossible nonsense. It is an impossible “moral” goal. Someone will want to bring murderers to justice. Someone will want to be a nurse. The key word is “want”. People’s wants will find a way to meet people’s needs; whether people “want” to get paid, or “need” medical care, things find a way to get done. Never perfectly, nor completely, but they happen enough to be significant enough to garner well-deserved positive attention.
This diversity of values truly is a testament to how peaceful coexistence can happen at all. We’ll go back and forth, arguing over how to increase “the good” and decrease “the bad”, but a perfect, complete elimination of “the bad” will never work.
True compassion does not need an anxious duty to ignite action.
“Perfect love casts out fear.”
Now is as good of a time as any to announce “The Garlic Journal”: a parody of “The Onion” that reads more like a personal opinion piece. Basically, I intend “The Garlic Journal” to be joke articles where I take extreme positions that I don’t honestly believe for comedic effect (or for satire). “The Garlic Journal” is intended to enrage and get people laughing (or, more importantly, thinking, if they are actually capable of it (which I am not anticipating to be the case most of the time. At least I’ll get a good laugh out of it all)). Basically, a more extreme version of what I already do.
I already pretend to be a monster on Youtube. I plan on continuing this, and trying to work on getting better with video (but it will be a slow process). The writing will be similar to that. I plan on writing joke articles in defense of pedophilia, racism, and political assassination, to name a few subjects. I hope that my human right of free speech will be protected. It is quite scary. The more oppressive the United States government becomes, the more terrifying it, obviously, is. And, based upon the way the current political climate feels among the citizenry, this trend is going to continue. Political correctness and statism are leading America straight towards totalitarianism, and it remains to be seen if the diligent minority will be enough to keep the Republic from collapsing completely. But, nonetheless, I am going to write joke articles. I’m going to express my natural human right of free expression. I hope that people will support my right, even if they hate my sense of humor.
And, for the love of God, I hope that no one finds out where I live, and that some maniac decides to try to kill me, as I know will be the case someday. I fully expect to end up like Larry Flint; or, at the very least, Martin Luther King Jr. Is it worth it? All I can say is that I feel incomplete without it. There’s a part of me that deeply wants to do this, in spite of the risks involved. There’s something about expressing your rights freely in the face of dangerous threat. It’s perhaps the most exhilarating feeling there is.
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Evelyn Beatrice Hall.
We mustn’t let the evil people win.
“Give me liberty, or give me death!” – Patrick Henry, March 23rd, 1775.
Despite the fact that, as a writer, I wish that I spent most of my “writing” time actually physically writing, the truth is that, as I am painfully learning, that a large percentage of a writer’s time is sitting in silence, thinking. In some ways, this has always made me feel very uncomfortable. Uneasy. Although we all spend all of our time thinking about something, the truth is that, of course, there is clearly a difference when it comes to writing. Thinking about what I am going to eat for the day doesn’t take as much “effort” as thinking about a piece of fiction or non-fiction. Thank God, for if it did, I would probably starve to death.
I don’t have a lot of patience. I have a sense of urgency to always be working on something. If I’m going to succeed, I need to work now. In my head, I know that thinking about my work is a large part of my work, an essential part, but I don’t feel productive when I just sit and think. I can tell that my writing has suffered as a result. Too often, particularly with fiction (as coherency in non-fiction is easier for me), I write something just to get something down; finished. Even if it doesn’t make any sense.
As I sit here, I realize that anxiety has a lot to do with my disdain for just “sitting and thinking”, even though “sitting and thinking” is extremely necessary for writing. I love writing, perhaps more than anything in the world (I try to refrain from speaking in absolutes regarding my feelings if only because I don’t want to delve into my feelings so deeply as to give an absolute answer to someone else. Why should it matter to me that I let someone know my absolute feelings about certain things, such as whether there’s anything I love more than writing? I don’t really think that question is important enough to answer, so I answer rather ambiguously). I write the “easy” stuff to keep me from sitting and thinking too long. There is a lack of confidence on my part to speak out honestly. I’ve worked hard at changing this for the past several years, but there has been a reluctance on my part for a lot of my life to speak honestly. People think you’re weird when you speak out. Stupid. Sometimes, it’s more peaceful to just keep your mouth shut, even if the internal turmoil is great.
Thankfully, due to what I can only describe as brain chemistry, the anxieties of social judgment are fading. I think it will be the greatest thing to happen to me when it feels as if it has “completed”. Is “over”. I am confident and hopeful that that day will occur in full in the future. Peace, Heaven, and tranquility on Earth. I have practiced “speaking out” for several years now. Depending on what I’m writing, this is easy (the obviously extreme stuff, like very offensive jokes, violent fictional characters, etc. are easy). A lot of of more honest personal feelings are quite easy. But there’s still an anxiety to write at the detriment of sitting and thinking, so that the writing suffers as a result. The anxiety is often about “right and wrong”. Every thought has had to be measured against “right and wrong”. “Right and wrong” become your new thoughts. Everything is either right or wrong. If you aren’t thinking about right and wrong, then you are wrong. Is that fictional story idea you have right or wrong? Right or wrong, right or wrong, right or wrong. It pains me to remember this fact; or, rather, to realize it for the first time. Or, rather still, realizing for the first time that this is a problem. A huge fucking problem. Gargantuan. Destructive. Terrible. Never being able to admit that you fucking hate that way of thinking, but telling yourself you loved it, as if trying to keep up a facade to God, that you loved His “holy blessing” (as, clearly, choosing “right” from “wrong” was a blessing). A part of me hopes that I don’t piss any of you, the readers, off. But a part of me hopes I do. Some of you need to be pissed off, because this conservative ideology is fucking disgusting. Horrible, evil, sadistic trash. Fuck it.
The weird thing is that I haven’t thought about this stuff for years. It becomes a way of life, and you can’t see yourself from an outsider’s perspective any longer. You can’t realize there’s actually a problem. It was never introduced as a problem. It was introduced as Christianity. What’s wrong with Christianity? But it’s truly a problem. The ideas are a problem. Right and wrong, right and wrong. It’s a big fucking problem. It destroys you. Destroys peace on Earth, and then laments at the sins of others. How fucking exhausting it is. I hate it, and I wish I could single-handedly destroy it. But I can only write about my past experiences with it.
The moral battle never ends. You cannot win it. You cannot fucking win it. But you feel morally obligated to fight anyway. “I know I’m a sinner, but I’m trying.” What? What the fuck does that mean? If you accept your own sinful nature, what can you possibly do to fix it? How can a sinner live “Godly”? I don’t think “divine intervention” means what many think it means, but I’ll have to save my complete thoughts on that for another piece.
Throughout my young years, “sitting and thinking” has led to me envisioning Hellfire engulfing my bed. “Sitting and thinking”, at around eight or nine years old, led me to think about sex, and then led me to think about how bad it was to think about sex. It made me hate women. I hate admitting that, because I know how people will react to that. But it’s true. Almost all of the problems that I have with my emotions about the opposite sex stem from conservative Christianity (it’s not really “Christianity”, but I’m going to call it that simply for simplicity’s sake). This current culture is very progressive. I know what people will say as a result of what I’ve just said about women. Hell, I know it doesn’t matter what you say, people will always be outraged by it. But that has always bothered me. I’m not a bad person. I’m not a bad guy. But I’ve always felt like people perceive me to be that way, and that has always bugged me. I have finally decided to play it up, and just say “You know what, if people are going to think that anyway, I’m going to give them a reason to do so.” And so, I continue to have fun with people’s fears. I’ve tried writing honestly about these things in the past, but I didn’t have the patience and introspection to sit and think, which is what I’m attempting to do with this piece. I can’t write until I understand myself. Introspection always comes first. Introspective writing must come before any other type of writing for me, regardless of how long it fucking takes to get everything done.
It’s no wonder why I don’t like “sitting and thinking”. Honesty is scary. Tough. Social criticism is hard. “What if? What if I am a bad person? Everyone says I am. God thinks I am, and He knows eeeeeeeverything. And He’s never wrong. If I’m evil, and murder is evil, does that mean I’m capable of murder? What if I’m a liar? What if I’m evil? Just run away. Get away from it quick. Do anything else but get lost in thought. You’re going down the road of suffering and fear. Don’t think deeply. Run away. Run away.” And that’s exactly what I’ve done all this time. But I need to start thinking deeply again if I’m going to be a writer. And this means coming face-to-face with Hell again. It’s different this time, as instead of actually being in it, I’m an observer, while Hell sits behind the thick glass of God’s intervening grace. But still, I can see it. I can remember it. And it is still terrifying. A breeze compared to what it used to be, however.
It isn’t just religion that has hindered my “sitting and thinking”. I believe I have a natural disposition that tends toward anxiety. External stimuli have always affected me more than people I’ve been around. Bright lights, loud noises, etc. Of course, I’ve had to learn to accept them and ignore them. But I think it’s harder for me than a lot of people. Things have always deeply affected me. I’ll give a particularly embarrassing example of this. Once, when I was a child, taking a bath, I noticed what I thought was a cut on myself. I can’t remember if it was on my arm or leg. It didn’t actually hurt, but because I thought it was a cut, and because I thought it was going to hurt or sting, or thought it should hurt or sting because I was in the tub, I started screaming and crying. Bathwater in a cut? That has to be bad, right? So I cried and screamed. My father, bless his heart, came running in: “What’s the matter?! What’s the matter?!” I held up the “cut”. And he pulled the red string off of my arm.
Mental illness? Who knows. Clearly, insane. But is it normal? Don’t kids just do things like that from time to time? Isn’t that part of how we learn? Maybe some kids overestimate danger, some underestimate it. As embarrassing as that story was, it was real. And it was me. I’ve always been an emotionally sensitive person, and, for once, I accept that fact and am willing to freely admit it, accepting that I will be ridiculed for it (and the ridicule isn’t even completely unjustified, which is the worst part about it).
For whatever reason, anxiety has always been a part of my life. My “nature”? Environment? Genes? I just know that it has always been there. It has changed, in form and scope, but it has always been there. Fear has hindered me. Thanks, in part, to having mainly only dumb peers in my youth, I have often feared my own sanity. Saying smart things around dumb people with no other frame of reference, or check-and-balance system to bounce your ideas off of (along with the sharp judgment of the idiot your talking to), especially when you are a “highly-sensitive person”, can only make you feel stupid. Despite the fact that I’ve pretty much always known I was smart, I’ve felt stupid. I’m not even talking about times where I actually did something stupid. I’ve just always had this fear that what I say doesn’t make any sense. That I only think I’m smart, when I’m really not. This scares me as a writer. My biggest fear is that I become hugely, emotionally invested in a piece, thinking it is perfect, and, objectively, that it doesn’t make a lick of sense. That scares me. And it keeps me from sitting in silence, really thinking about any particular piece. I just write frantically in an attempt to “complete” something, even if it isn’t good. The strange irony, of course, is that my fears have actually come to life because of it. The writing actually is bad because I’m afraid of sitting and thinking about it to make it better for fear that it might actually be bad. The thought of being a bad writer angers me and scares me more than anything about this craft. It isn’t the thought of never making a living off of the writing (although that does produce its own fear). It is that I write away, feeling good, feeling like the piece is good, but it is actually fucking trash. I don’t think, at least at the current time, that my heart could take that level of dejection, especially considering the fact that I just ate a couple of slices of pizza before writing this.
You start to believe that you are what people tell you that you are, for better or worse, when you are a child. I’ve written about intelligence before, but I’ve always felt bad about being smart. But as a “young adult”, I’m very thankful that I am as smart as I am. It’s just a case now of developing more self-esteem, mental independence, and actually doing something with it, which I am trying to do. The more quiet and peaceful I feel, the more I feel a drill sergeant yelling in my face. Perhaps due to having a very chaotic, unfortunate upbringing. Clearly, experience has a lot to do with my conditioning in this regard. You can never get too happy or high without something really bad happening to you. At least, this was the case for me. My childhood was filled with tragedy. Like the childhood of so many others. It is very painful to think about when it seems as if the one who caused the pain is delusional, even though that individual had their own “Hell” growing up. Very tragic.
Tragedy motivates me more than any other emotion as a writer. It’s honestly no surprise to me now. It all makes sense, as long as I come to grips with it. As a kid, “positive thinking” didn’t help me. It didn’t matter how positive I tried to be, one particular individual in my family wasn’t coming home (at least not for very long). It didn’t matter how long I sat in the yard at night, by myself, waiting for this individual to come home, it never happened. Of course, I grew very bitter and depressed as a result. (Honestly, considering the way things were when this individual was at home, maybe it was best that this individual was gone). And this individual did not seem to acknowledge the problem for a very, very long time. I feel as if this individual greatly regrets their actions, which I’m very thankful for. They should. But tragedy moulded my mind at a very young age, and I’ve never looked back. I think I have avoided “sitting in silence” to keep this stuff from coming out, but now is as good of a time as any to write about it.
Clearly, a part of the reason I don’t sit in silence is the pain involved. If you aren’t careful, you’ll cry. And I absolutely fucking hate crying. I hate it. I absolutely hate it. Crying as a child gets you a slap in the face around these parts. Parenting in this part of the world is absolutely cringeworthy and disgusting. Dark comedy became my way of getting out of the funk. Making jokes about really horrible stuff made me happy. I wasn’t taking pleasure in the pain or misfortune of others, but making a shocking joke for the sake of catching people off guard so that they couldn’t help but laugh. “Dark stuff” became my way of dealing with the poor parenting I received from one of my parents. And I grew to love it. Of course, it has always made me “weird” to people. People think you’re a little off. Strange. They worry about you. But when you’re laughing, you really don’t care as much. It truly is beautiful, and I desire to grow more into comedy, as it makes me very happy. I scare myself, because I compare myself to Robin Williams. Although I know comedy is a common device to deal with tragedy, every time I think of my own situation, where I have taught myself to deal with tragedy in a comedic way, I always think of Robin Williams, and I get scared. Is the comedy enough to outrun the demons? I often get scared that it isn’t. But my work makes me very happy, so I hang my hat on that fact, and I don’t draw probably unfair comparisons between Robin Williams and myself.
A large reason I don’t sit in silence and write is because it becomes much more personal when I do. The shocking humor is great, because it isn’t real. I present an image to people that isn’t me, so I don’t care how they react to it (of course I’d prefer they like it, but as long as they don’t kill me, I don’t really care how they react to it). But, as I’ve said, people in the past didn’t understand what I was saying. So few have. I’ve been told that I have delusions of grandeur simply for stating that fact. There is no escaping the idiots, no matter how hard you try. You just learn how to deal with them with age, sadly. You can never escape them. They will always make their presence known, and you just have to learn to ignore them the best you can. That’s very hard for me.
People hate you for expressing things honestly. They judge you, and other stuff. And, as I said, I have worked hard on not caring about this, but I still have a lot further to go. I have always worried about being a bad person. Being an evil person. Knowing that there was evil in the world from a young age, taking it to heart, and being told that I was also an evil person through religious messaging, I have always been in fear. Fear of myself. Fear that I was going to snap. But you can’t say that, because people don’t get it. “Why would you fear snapping if you aren’t actually going to snap?” Oh, if you only knew. If you only knew the heartache that religion caused me. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface in that regard, and I want to delay that for as long as possible, because that’s really going to hurt. It’s going to make me angry. And I want to be calm and peaceful. But I’ll have to deal with it eventually, and boy, is that going to be a bittersweet day…
I have always caved in to others. Always silenced, changed my ways to “keep the peace”. To keep the people at bay. Keep the teeth from gnashing. Even if I died a little on the inside. Despite the fact that I’ve been rebelling against this for years, the honesty is what is most difficult. It’s easy for me to write about serial killers, because I’m not a serial killer. But it’s hard for me to write about those things that are most deeply me. Like, for example, my intense fear of being a bad person. “Why are you afraid of being a bad person if you aren’t a bad person?” I fear it because, on some deep level, I understand just how “bad” bad can be. And I couldn’t live with myself if I was “bad”. I don’t want to be bad. I’m desperate to be good. I have always been told how bad I was. A sinner. Had a weird, twisted sense of humor that only a serial killer would have. A darkly fictitious mind that only a violent monster could have. And that has always eaten me alive. My own sense of morality has always eaten me alive. I have always compared my personal convictions to morals; to “good and bad”. Everything has led to the “bad”, but I don’t believe this any longer. I drove myself insane trying to prove my own “badness”. “Surely I must be evil. I must be corrupt. My sin. My perverted, fictitious mind.” I didn’t have a good frame of reference for what “good” and “bad” actually were. Sure, I knew what manners were. But what’s real good and what’s real evil? I didn’t know. I only had conservatism.
Everyone has felt “good” and everyone has felt “bad”. My own sins hurt me. Creep me out. Aside with youthful fights with my brother (“normality”), and some not-so-normal fisticuffs with my mother in my youth, I haven’t really ever been “violent” (the fisticuffs with my mother went as follows (You need to be called out on this): my mother, father, and I (and maybe my brother) were playing cards. Phase 10 or Uno, I can’t remember. My mom, smoking a cigarette, always used to (jokingly) insult my dad (I assume she was joking). I remember on one particular hand, he had a better hand than her, and she yelled “Fuck you!” in what I assumed to be a joking manner. I later said the same thing to her, and she slapped me in the face. Her hypocrisy infuriated me. The incident ended with us both on the ground, hands full of each other’s hair, yanking. She once (and still to this day, probably) lied about cutting my ear while cutting my hair. After years of being told that nothing she did was right, she couldn’t admit wrongdoing. It was too painful. I’m sure that’s what it was. I apologize if you read this, and don’t want this out, but I need this for my own sense of self-therapy (and you really don’t like to listen, anyway. We’ve tried to go down this road many times, and you just won’t)).
Come to think of it, I wonder if my parents played favorites. My brother was allowed to play football while I was not (in hindsight, I guess that does make sense. I, admittedly, have always been a delicate flower (I mean, just remember my fucking “red string” story)). My brother got to pick the color he wanted for his room, while I did not. That will never make sense to me. My brother got to select the color that he wanted his room painted, but I did not. I don’t understand that. I don’t know what I could be possibly missing from that story, but I’ll grant the benefit of the doubt and say that maybe I’m misremembering, and that he didn’t get to choose his own color. (Come to think of it, I’m starting to realize why I doubt myself so much. Why I’m so unconfident. Constantly second-guess myself. Why I feel so crazy. Sadly, it’s all coming together…). But I swear that he did. My room got painted, and his never did, which is weird. But still, I’ll never forget that. I remember him getting the color he wanted, while I did not. I don’t think I’ll ever know what actually happened in that case. She was not able to admit specific instances of her faults. Nowadays, she’ll say that she made mistakes. But how can I believe the crazy lady that wouldn’t admit them as they were occurring? I think that’s enough of that for now.
One time, my mother got pizza for my brother, me, and our two best friends at the time. If I recall correctly, half of us wanted pepperoni and half of us wanted cheese. My thought process was if you buy the pepperoni, those that want cheese can just pull the pepperoni off. But those that want pepperoni can’t add pepperoni to the cheese. I think that still logically makes sense. Sure, the pepperoni has cheese on it. So if you eat a plain cheese, you’re going to get the cheese you would get from the pepperoni pizza. But you’re not getting the pepperoni. The point was that if you bought a pepperoni pizza, half could pull their pepperonis off and have a “cheese” pizza. But she ordered the cheese pizza, I assume, just to get us to “shut up”. Her faulty logic infuriated me. I still think my instance makes more sense. I think that’s a common theme in my life: my way makes more sense, but I allow people to bulldoze me over just to “keep the peace”.
Why hold a grudge over pizza? It’s just like the cards. It’s fucking dumb. Adults are supposed to be smarter than that. Your parents are supposed to be smarter than that (or so I thought at the time). The lack of logic was unacceptable to me, and it still is. Sure, you can apologize. We can move on. But you were still wrong, and that is still unacceptable.
I’m not going any further into family history than that.
A lot of this is embarrassing, but honesty is therapeutic. Perhaps, if I ever become more “famous”, I will regret how candid I have been. But I value honesty, and I value expression. I value expressing negative emotion. I value making myself look like an idiot. Making myself look like a fool on purpose is also very therapeutic to me. There’s just something freeing about not taking myself very seriously. Laughing at myself. It makes me very happy. They say your joke isn’t very funny if you’re the only one laughing, but my response is: who fucking cares?
Sitting in silence hurts me. It really, really does. When bad things are happening to you, you don’t know when and how good things will happen. So often, when I have been depressed, I have wondered what was going to be my saving grace in that instance. I’ve never physically harmed myself, but I just sit in emotional pain, and think of things to relieve that pain. I don’t think I could ever act on them. Clearly, I’ve never been so unhappy that I’ve killed myself, as I’m alive right now, writing this. Despite how much I may think of death as a way to ease the pain, I don’t think it is in me to actually kill myself. In the past, I thought “I don’t know if I’m going to Heaven or Hell, so I might as well stay here because it might be worse when I die.” That is truly a hilarious thought to me. “I’m not going to kill myself because I might go to Hell.” You might think that is incredibly sad, but that is hilarious to me. I imagine a movie character, horrifically depressed, drunk, who has a line: “I’m not going to kill myself because I might go to Hell.” Depending on the context, that could be fucking hilarious.
I don’t talk about my history of depression very often, for obvious reasons. People feel compelled to “help” you. But I’m an introvert. I just want to be left alone. This isn’t something that I can’t fight off myself. I already have. I accept that I will have spells of depression from time to time. I think everyone does. I’m not actually going to kill myself, despite how bad I may feel in any one instance. And, especially over the past two years, I’ve learned that suicidal thoughts actually don’t help. In some ways, suicidal thoughts may help somewhat, as, clearly, sadness can feel very therapeutic. Crying helps. But, in the long run, I’ve learned it just makes you feel worse. And so I try not to do it anymore. You can say I’m mentally disordered, but I think I’m fine. I’m human. I get sad. I’ve been really sad in the past. But I’m good now. I’ve got stuff to do, things to keep me busy, goals to achieve. The past is gone. It went by like dusk to dawn.
Like I said, I have avoided writing about my past with depression for many reasons. But it feels good to write about it now. I desire introspection. And I desire to write about myself. I feel the reactions that I’m going to get. “Oh my God, are you ok?!” This is what I hate about writing. I want to write honestly, but I also want to be left alone. And I hate the fact that when I write, and share with an audience, they’re gonna tell me what they think. So many times, I don’t want to fucking hear it, for reasons that I just mentioned above.
I still have not truly figured out what I’m going to do with writing. Just recently, I was impressed with the number of articles that I currently have on my blog. It, at that current count, was 247. I was shocked at that number. Pleasantly surprised. I know that as I keep churning away, as I do here, that, eventually, I will have a massive amount of work done, and that makes me extremely happy. It encourages me to keep going. It is just a matter of getting (good) pieces done which poses the problem.
I wish that I could say, right now, exactly how I’m going to get to that point. Of course, I’ll have to read more. Practice writing more. But that feels so general to describe. This is going to take some intense, personal thought. This is going to take extreme confidence that I can write well. This is going to take a lot of isolation. A loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooot of isolation. I have always felt guilty for my desire to be left alone. Anxiety and guilt have motivated so much of my action in my life thus far that it feels weird to take any action that isn’t motivated by them. But my love for writing, and my desire to be the best at it motivate me to write. And I am extremely happy about that.
Sitting in silence, thinking of words, is going to be very hard for me. My brain has always been interrupted in the past. As I said, the more calm I feel, the more I feel like a slap in the face is about to occur. I think there is a large reason for this (multiple, obviously. I’ve discussed some of them above. But I think there’s more to it as well). I think my religious past has most to do with this feeling of getting slapped in the face when times are good.
Just yesterday, at the time of this writing, my best friend and I went out for pizza. Oh, did I feel good. I was calm, and at peace. We were on a particular stretch of road, with clouds covering the sky. An extreme feeling of deja vu overcame me. It was Sunday. And I was reminded of the past. That time when you felt free, away from church. Free from the prison. Except you were always guilty, even when freed. Regardless of your play, or whatever activity you were doing (in retrospect, I think this is why I didn’t read very much) you better be thinking about God. Are you playing in a Godly way? When you read that book, are you thinking about it Godly? Everything for me had to be through a “Christian” lens, and that’s most unfortunate. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but I feel it necessary to include in this piece, as it is a large reason why I have so much problem with “sitting in silence”. Fire is going to engulf my bed because I’m masturbating, and I’m never going to be more fearful than when I cum; lightning means that God is looking for me, and He’s going to take me if I don’t avoid the lightning. His lightning is saying “I see your sins. Watch out, boy. Do you see me?” Once again, I don’t want to say these things because I don’t want to hear your points of view about religion. This isn’t a debate. This is catharsis. My desire for peace was destroyed by religion, and tragedy was introduced into my life thanks to a negligent parent. Sadly, that sums me up quite a bit. Now, it isn’t completely fair. I’ve left out all of the parts that were actually good. But the bad still existed, and I felt like writing about them today.
I have been running away from my religious feelings for a long time. My best friend is inspiring me to delve into my past a little bit more than I otherwise would have. I become afraid when I go back and look at it. Not as afraid as I was back when I was actually experiencing it, but still afraid, nonetheless. There was absolutely no religious satisfaction back then. Everything was misery and terror. “And thank God for it!” The message was perverted; completely backwards. You should thank God for the peace, not the misery. When things are good, and you are happy, and genuinely thankful, that’s how you thank God. You don’t thank God by going up to the altar because you’re afraid of not thanking God. That isn’t very thankful. It’s like being a wife of an abusive husband. “Thank you, for not hitting me today, husband. I thank you for it.” What? That is what so much Christian theology teaches. If you don’t thank God, He’s going to slap you. Uh, thanks, I guess? If the only definition of love is conditional and based solely on a lack of violence when one is prone to it, then we’re missing out on peace and prosperity that love actually naturally promises us. Love is not merely “I’m not hitting you today.” Love is deeper than that. More meaningful. It is selfless, at times. It puts others before itself. It desires goodwill, and creates it. “It is patient. It is kind.” Any Christian teaching that doesn’t teach “God’s love” from this point of view is missing out on the entire point of the message. Missing out on the entirety of the “good news”, a.k.a., the “Gospel”.
It pains me to say that conservatism hindered my ability to read. It destroyed natural relationships with the opposite sex. It pretty much destroyed everything. I don’t harbor any ill-will towards any family member involved in introducing me to it. I empathize greatly with any individual desiring to get closer to God, so I don’t hate anyone who was trying to bring me closer to Him, even if it, effectively, ended up sending me in the opposite direction. But the old conservative message was deplorable at best; intolerable at worst. Sadly, so many know that religious fear all too well. I wish that I could explain it to you under the assumption that you have no idea what I’m talking about. But I know that many of you have those conservative scars from those deep psychological wounds. There, obviously, is a constant anxiety associated with religious conservatism. It is demanded by many pastors. Many pastors say that God demands this anxiety. So, of course, many, including myself, believed it. And, of course, being anxiety, it caused a host of various, intricate mental problems. Just sitting and reading a book has often proved too much for my anxiety. “I’m going to Hell; I just know it. What is the Godly way to do this thing that I want to do? What does God think about this book? Is it a sin if I read this book?” What I’m talking about is obvious, but the damage that causes does not seem to be talked about enough. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places. But the ones writing about that damage seem to be too few in number. Perhaps that’s because there can never be enough people writing about the damages of religious conservatism. (It should be mentioned that, as I stated at the very beginning, I have a natural propensity towards anxiety. So my nature, combined with my raising, and my religious upbringing, make it crystal clear to me why I’m always so anxious).
I am very thankful that the past is gone. But is it ever truly really? The events of our past shape how we are today. We may forget about what caused us to be certain ways, or influenced us, but their influence remains, for better or worse. In this case, I’m obviously referring to the worst. I long for peace, and relaxation. Anxiety consumes me, and a large reason for that is conservative religion. I would not consider myself a conservative any longer, but when you have trained yourself to do something, a part of it remains inside of you. You develop habits; certain trains of thought. You do things without even realizing that you’re doing them. But I’m thankful I’m aware of this now. I don’t know how I’m going to move past this, and be able to relax, and write. For years, I believed my honest feelings didn’t matter. God’s way was important, and what I wanted didn’t matter if it didn’t match up to “God’s way”. So, desperate to live, I tried to find out what “God’s way” was. And boy, were there people willing to tell me.
But I have rarely felt alive. I have rarely felt like my life was my own. I have been on the roller-coaster of anxiety. I haven’t even been able to walk. I could see the good times below from my roller-coaster, and I smiled at those good times. Sometimes, I even magically left that roller-coaster, in ways that I truly don’t understand. But I still rode it. Rode it for God. Rode it for Heaven. Oh, the ups and downs of life. They toughen you up. Get you ready for Heaven. What a bunch of fucking bullshit.
Despite my overwhelming desires for comedy, which have helped me conquer the tragedy in my life, the anxiety is a much tougher one. The peace and quiet of reading and writing is very hard for me to experience. I have only just begun to realize what all of this truly is. I have ran away from this anxiety for so long, despite the fact that it has desperately clung to my brain, and hasn’t really let go. I pray that one day, I can read in write in complete peace, away from conservative anxiety. I don’t want that goddamned anxiety. I don’t want the fucking conservatism. It pains me that readers of this will defend it. I wish I could explain to them why they are so tragically wrong. But at the moment, I can’t. And that really hurts me. It hurts me conservative readers won’t understand what I’m saying, and will try to defend that goddamned pain and suffering. But there’s nothing I can really do about that at the moment, except live within my own peaceful world regarding the subject, hoping that the truth is revealed to others whom are blind from it currently. The desire to respond to opposition is strong, but sometimes, I wonder if it’s worth the mental effort, and if it would just be easier to let the critics be critics, ignore them, and let them judge me. Eventually, I think it will be.
At the moment, I know that peace will help me write better. It will help me read. It will help me become better with literature. And I don’t want to hurry it along. Hurriedness makes me anxious, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to avoid. So that while, of course, I’m desperate to become as good of a writer as possible as soon as possible (and, now that I think of it, this explains why I do many of the things that I do, and why I’m in such a hurry to “succeed”), the key to good writing is good thoughts. And good thoughts take time, effort, and a fuckton of patience that I’m currently lacking. I desire to write, and I know that practice will help me sit in silence, and become a better writer. How I long for the day when I achieve a level of contentment in my own mind, in the deafening silence I know I need.
Let’s continue. I mentioned it briefly, but other people responding to what I say limits my desire to speak out. I speak out a lot. I’m very honest when I do so. But there are still times where I think “Is it really worth speaking out in this instance? What do I have to gain from this but a bunch of people responding?” That’s a big thing that I dread about writing. It’s not that I hate criticism (there’s such things as valid and invalid criticism). I just want to be left alone. I want to speak out, but at the same time, I want to be left alone. Read what I write, and leave me alone. I accept the fact that people will respond, give their insights, etc. I read what other people have to say. But it is very exhausting for me. Us introverts are weird; especially if we’re writers. We want to write for the world, but be left alone. Instead of trying to figure it out, like I’ve always tried to do, I think I’ll just accept it now, due to mental exhaustion (some things just aren’t worth continuing to think about any longer, thank God).
I suppose, in some ways, I speak to myself. I express myself regardless of who listens, or what they say. I can understand why people would find that odd. But at the same time, when you sit in silence for so long, absorbing the words of others, you start to make up your own mind, and naturally desire to express yourself. There is something about expressing yourself that just makes you feel good. That just makes you happy. Satisfied. It doesn’t matter who hates it, who ignores it, or even who is unaware of it. Sometimes, just expressing yourself is enough to make you happy. I find this to be the case almost constantly for me. Even though I am an introvert, I desire to express myself creatively. The most common way I desire to do this is through comedy. I don’t care if you find me humorous or not. I just desire to express what I find funny, and I desire to do this very often. And, so, I do do it very often. It makes me very happy. I’ve said this before, but I do this out of boredom. When I’m bored, I try to entertain myself. Because I’m always bored, I’m always trying to entertain myself. So I’m always telling jokes. I don’t care if you hate them, think they’re stupid, think their offensive, whatever. I don’t care what your negative opinion is of my jokes. Of course, I appreciate positive feedback. But the negative feedback isn’t going to change a thing about my comedy, and my desire to make myself laugh. It keeps me going from day to day. I think I live for it. I don’t know what I would do without it. It simply is just me. It is just simply me to try to make myself laugh all of the time. Nothing else makes me happy like making myself laugh does. So, of course, I’m going to do it as much as possible, regardless of how it annoys others, or whatever else it does to them. So why share it when people hate it? Catharsis. That’s the best answer. And self-entertainment. That’s what I care about.
One thing I’ll add is my personal financial philosophy regarding artistic expression. This desire to express myself, particularly comedically (but also through other forms as well) does not exist because I think it will make me money. It just exists. It just simply is that I desire to express myself. That I desire to make myself laugh, express what I think is funny, express articles such as this, express fiction, etc. Those just exist within me. Those are just how I am. Who I am, in fact. I do not do these things because I think they will make me money. However, if I’m going to do them without making any money, then why wouldn’t I operate under the assumption that I will make money someday? I literally have nothing to lose. In other words, if I am willing to write for free, why shouldn’t I charge for writing, even if I don’t make any money? Since I desire to write anyway, I have nothing to lose by charging for writing. In other words, I have nothing to lose by dreaming of becoming a professional writer. I’m not “wasting my time”. I’m not being “unproductive”. It wouldn’t “benefit me more to choose another line of work”. Because even though there is a monetary aspect to writing, it isn’t about the money. It’s deeper than that. It’s more than that. Despite the fact that I do desire to reach “professional” (a.k.a. “full-time” (a.k.a. “take extended vacations”)) status, that isn’t the only reason for writing. Hell, it isn’t even the main reason. I write simply because I want to. I just do. But I literally have nothing to lose by dreaming of achieving the most success possible. It makes me happy, gives me something to work for, motivates me. And I already love to write, so that might as well be my dream. Of course, I do have financial situations to deal with presently. I’m not stupid. I’m always aware of this fact, and I’ll act accordingly. But I might as well dream of being a rich, successful author. I don’t care what anyone else says about it, I don’t care how unlikely it is, how many people are like me and dream of it that never get there, none of that fucking matters. What matters is that I’m already doing it for free, I love it, I have nothing to lose, so I might as well try to become “professional” at it. I hate that so many people exist out there that will try to “convince me otherwise”, but I’ll have to deal with it. At least I’m finally able to express this, as I don’t feel like I have been able to prior to this point. I’m not going to care if I never succeed before I die. Obviously, there will be many factors that determine how happy I am financially, and that determine my financial status at any given time. I’m not stupid. I’m aware of this. But even if I never become a “professional” writer, and die without that ever happening, I still will have nothing to lose by writing, and only everything to gain. That’s what I want people to understand about my work, and my philosophy surrounding it.
For too long, I have been content. If I impressed someone, I was content with stopping there. But honestly, the writing has been very stale to me. Repetitive. I’m at the point where I just want to sit and think about what I’m writing. Now, it isn’t that I normally don’t think when I write. That would be impossible. But the key is ridding myself of this anxiety that I have discussed in this piece. I imagine that most writers are calm. When they write, they sit in peace and quiet. Nothing can disturb them from their work. And they create masterpieces. That’s what I really fucking want. Peace, and quiet. And masterpieces.
I have always taken the easy way out when it comes to writing. I hope there will be a giant shift in my writing life. I think I’ve written some smart things to this point. I’m not comparing myself to any great writers or anything (even though I believe I can be a very good writer at some point in the future). But I want my writing to be more intimate. Instead of only writing when something really bugs me, I want to write just for fun. Carefree. More relaxed. I still want to write when something bugs me, of course. But I don’t want the only time I write to be when this is the case. I want to do it more often. And I can’t do that if my brain is as disorganized as it has been. I’ve had to go through this introspection to figure out what was preventing me from doing this. And, as with most things I’ve written up to this point, I think I did a pretty good job with the introspection. It’s all going to come together. Everything I’ve written is going to come together to form a “life work”, and it will all make sense in the end. Its popularity will not determine its value. It makes me very happy. Each individual piece has meaning, and the thought of bringing them all together into one coherent “piece” or “body of work” makes me very happy indeed. Of course, I hope they are (and will be) entertaining and insightful. And, of course, I’d love to become rich through it. That dream will never die, for reasons that I’ve already stated. But the joy is what it is all about.
I really want to become a better writer. I’m going to do it my own way. No “school”. No doing it anyone else’s way but my own. Freedom is beautiful. There are problems in life that are beyond our control. Circumstances and realities that we must accept. But those instances where we are free: those are the good times. I want to grow through my writing. My career dreams. My work. My art. I want them all to grow and get better, in my own way, without “formal teaching”. I want to teach myself, through the words of others, introspection, and practice. And I want to do it at my own personal pace. So, I will. Writing, for me, is mainly about personal growth. Followed closely by money. Everything else is just an added benefit.
I need to become a bigger reader. The anxiety that I have discussed ad nauseum up to this point has been a large reason why I haven’t been a “big reader”. I enjoyed reading when I was a child. I’ve written about my own feelings about reading before. But there is a certain mindset that you have to have to be a reader. It’s a mindset that I’ve rarely had. It’s a mindset that I’ve already discussed: one of relaxation. I just have never been able to relax. For multiple reasons I’ve already discussed. But you truly have to be relaxed and calm to read a book. Well, if you want to read a book effectively. As a writer, I feel like I have a new appreciation for reading. My appreciation for other writers is growing as I write. “Hey, I like this. Aren’t there a bunch of other people out there that do this as well? Oh yeah, they write books. Those things I’m not reading.” The anxiety has a large part to do with it. Thankfully, I have been in the process of developing new personal and religious philosophies that help me relax. It’s very hard to do. It is very hard work to relax. It takes a lot of effort for me to relax. I just need a good philosophical framework (which I’m working on developing), and practice. I’m confident that I’ll get there at some point, even though, as I say that, I imagine getting shot in my 30s. This is what I’m talking about. It may ultimately be a losing battle, but I need to try to fight it regardless. I just hope it doesn’t turn out to make my writing more optimistic…
I need to practice relaxation. I need this for multiple reasons. Mental health. Becoming a better reader and writer. Just being happier. But there’s another thing that I want to touch on, even though I feel like it is a losing battle. As I sit, thinking about other authors to read, I think about ideological conflicts. “Right and wrong” again. Not only from an ethical standpoint this time, but from an objective standpoint. It gives me a headache. Sadly, there exist unethical people who are willing to compulsively lie for their own gain. And these people write books. Books on political and economic theory. These people run for office. Work in the media. Fighting against them feels futile, when there’s so few “libertarians” that exist (or, at least, that it feels that way). Fighting an uphill battle against evil is always hard. The only reason it isn’t pointless is because it is evil you’re fighting. It’s worth it, but it exhausts you. And it isn’t even guaranteed that you’re going to win.
Lamentation is a common theme in my life. Even though I don’t read very often, I wish others would. There’s a deep compassion that most of us share to make the world a better place, even if this means “polarization”. It’s very complicated. Who is right, and who is wrong? Why is this popular, and why isn’t this? I’m learning that instead of trying to “save the world”, the best you can hope for is personal contentment. I just learn for myself, write things like this from time to time, and then…that’s all I can really do. I’m only a man. I can’t ask “WWJD” as some sort of blueprint for what sort of action I should take. Age is a great guide.
I want to go on a quick tangent for a second. I’ve written about offensiveness before, but considering my love for it, I know I will have to continue writing about it in the future. I’m not completely satisfied with my original “Offend the Fuck Out of People” piece. There’s something missing, but I’m not quite sure what it is yet. Perhaps my mental skills weren’t as developed as I feel they are now (which should really indicate the poor status of my communication skills when I initially wrote it). At any rate, my offensiveness has been my way of teaching myself that things are ok. That things aren’t as bad as I may believe them to be. This stuff? This is bad: not that stuff that I used to think was bad. The “immature”, “vulgar” abrasiveness has been my way of growing up. I know I’ll be critiqued for that, but that’s how it has been. I don’t ever want that to change, but I reserve the right to do so in the future if I desire so then. There is an overreaction to portrayals of offensive things in art. Thankfully, this appears to have died down throughout the years. But has it really? Has anything really changed? Romeo and Juliet committed suicide together. That was written in 1595 (thanks, Google). But even still, there are people today that think that certain things just “shouldn’t be expressed in art”. This typically seems to happen when the medium changes, such as with video games. But I enjoy taking this hypersensitivity and offending the fuck out of it. It is important that a culture does not become antagonistic to freedom. Constantly pushing freedom to the maximum point is, my opinion, one of the best ways to keep tyranny from gaining ground. I think, deep down, that’s what motivates me the most about “offensiveness”.
Most of this has been about writing (fiction and non-fiction), but I want to address comedy for a second, because it relates. I just have a funny way of looking at the world. I crave comedy. I crave making myself laugh. I just get fucking bored easily. Always have. Comedy has been the primary way I have alleviated this boredom. No matter how much comedy I consume from others, there is always a void. It’s never enough. Or never good enough, in my opinion. Doesn’t make me laugh hard enough. So, I have to roll my sleeves up and do it myself. I don’t mind it. I love it, of course. But this means that I spend all day every day entertaining myself. Simply out of boredom. And, once again, as with the writing, why wouldn’t I “sell” my comedy? I have nothing to lose by attempting to do so, because I will do the comedy anyway. I already am. I hate that I have to spell this out for people, but I hate getting asked the question “Why do you do this when your chances of being successful are infinitesimal?” (I have one particular gentleman in mind when I write this word. He was quite fond of it. He was fond of expressing his intelligence with certain vocabulary words that he clung to. Even if he pronounced it wrong, like “infinitisimal”. But he was actually smart). It’s called “passion”. It’s called “purpose”. It makes me feel alive. Satisfies me. Drives me. That’s why I write and tell jokes and share them when no one else is listening. It’s just who I am. “So you’re that insane person that talks to himself and has delusions of grandeur?” Sure, if you want to put it that way. That’s who I am.
I don’t care if you don’t like it. In fact, that kind of feeds me to keep going. Reinforces to me that I’m not doing it just for money. I’m doing it for me. Because it makes me happy. So hatred of my work just makes me want to work all the more. Gives me all the more reason to do it. In fact, I feel like if I started making money, that I’d do less of it. But that’s easy to say when the money isn’t rolling in. I’m sure that I’d keep the moneyball rolling, but I don’t think I would sellout all of my personal convictions.
Of course, I have to prove myself. I have to prove that I can write. Create engaging stories. Tell good jokes. That’s where all of the work comes in. And the practice. Getting better. The passion. I don’t think this drive is going away any time soon. My love for comedy isn’t going away. My love for writing isn’t going away. So I’m not going away. My dream is not going away. I’m here to stay, whether I succeed within the next year, twenty years, or never.
The keys are patience and practice. Thankfully, I’m good at introspection. Then, it takes judicious practice to go from observations to change. That’s what I’m attempting to do. I’m confident that, in the end, I will have a body of work that speaks for itself, even though I will have been the one that has spoken through it.
One of these days, I’ll be “good”.
Let’s end on this note: I want to address “praise” for a second. I’ve written about this several times, but I want to add something about it here. Despite my desire for fame as a writer as a means to achieve financial security and happiness, there’s a part of me that desires privacy. Once again, as an introvert (albeit a particularly expressive one), I desire to be by myself. But at the same time, I desire fame. I desire fame solely as a means towards financial ends. And the desire for financial ends are easy to understand. Once again, why wouldn’t I choose another line of work to obtain financial ends? I’ve already discussed it in this piece. In a sense, I’m going after what I don’t desire. I desire fame, but I hate the thought of having it. It is quite confusing. But, in another way, don’t those that have already obtained wealth desire peace and quiet? Aren’t there “famous” people that avoid the limelight as much as possible? Don’t they enjoy their wealth, even though they aren’t constantly being hounded by the press?
I have not written anything for quite some time. I have been consumed by other things: namely, having fun and relaxing. I have a deep hatred for writing. A deep hatred. This hatred comes from a place of intelligence, combined with whatever it is that makes me a bad writer. How can someone so smart be so poor at communicating?
Why and how can I have things formulated in my head, but no words to express them? That’s the universe’s most cruel joke. Either that, or giving an introvert a desire to communicate through words. Why give an introvert a desire to communicate at all? Would not his life be better without it due to his introversion?
There are those that say that the universe is not conditioned for the human experience. I would hope that these people do not identify as “Christian”. For what kind of God would create a world in direct opposition to the human experience? Especially a “loving” God? Does the loving and knowing parent subject the child to poisons?
How many times in my pieces do I need to ask myself why I write? I believe I’ve asked it in at least twenty different things that I’ve written. I briefly had a compulsion to ask it here. But I caught myself. The real question is: why am I not writing?
I have at least one theory. One theory I have comes from a perspective of independence and approval. You see, no one is telling me to write, or to not write (at least, there isn’t a significant number of people in either camp). And, being still young, I’m accustomed to being told what to do. In school, by parents, etc. And considering my naturally anxious nature, I constantly sought affirmation; lest I do something I’d regret later.
I’ve done some really ignorant things in my lifetime. I’ve wronged others, and have been wronged. I have been ensnared in that common humanity. But things change.
I am not the same person that I was when I was younger. I mean, I’m still me; Cody. But I’m not the same Cody. But I am…
Let’s get back to my hatred of writing. Why do I hate writing? I believe it stems from a couple of things:
The first, I would say, is that it is a very independent process. I can’t have someone over my shoulder, telling me what sounds “good” and what doesn’t. I also can’t have someone telling me what to write. So: what do I do?
I have the ideas, but not the confidence to do them. Although over the years, and still currently, there are friends and family to encourage me to write, I desire independence. I desire to write because I want to write. And I do want to write. But I’m so goddamned bad at it.
Relatively, I may be a good writer. And, relatively, I may be a bad writer. I think that, relatively, I’m good at determining my “good” writing, and, relatively, I’m bad at determining my “bad” writing. But who is to be my ultimate judge?
Me, of course. Unless, of course, I wish to let the general public decide (a thought which I deplore at my core).
So what am I to do? How am I to become a better writer by my own standards? Who am I to judge? Sure, it is my work. But by what criteria do I judge my own work?
I fully believe that I’m too inexperienced to decide this for myself. At the time of this writing, I think the only qualification I have regarding decision-making is the recognition that I am not happy with my life. Or, rather, that I am not happy with my career. “No one is,” you may say. Well, I suppose that I should just give up. Thanks for reading.
…Nah, of course not. I have something else in me. Maybe not the best. But I have something different in me.
There is something in me that I need, if only for self-therapy. And what is that? Well, at least in this instance, it is writing.
So why haven’t I been writing? Several factors. One, as I said before, I don’t really know how to do it. But I don’t want to learn from others. I want to take my writing lumps just as I’ve taken other lumps from mistakes in my past. I want my words to be my own: even if they be intellectually inferior to whomever the fuck reads them.
Lack of confidence. This stems from being told that I’m repetitive. Maybe I am. But I don’t want to take my writing and make it more “original” simply because someone would enjoy it more. Maybe it is repetitive. Maybe more people would like it if it wasn’t. Maybe it makes people want to rip their hair out. I just don’t fucking care anymore. I said, I just don’t fucking care anymore.
Why else am I not writing? Well, for one, there’s that giant, daunting wall of success: that elusive success. The goal that 99.9% of the population strives for. That financial relaxation. “That shouldn’t keep you from writing.” You are full of shit. If you think that you can hold down a job, write, and steadily maintain a litany of other interests, then you, quite simply, do not have as many interests as I do. Period. Not saying you need them, but it’s clear that your interests are more limited than mine.
And what makes me different than all of the other people out there who are unhappy with their financial lives? Not a goddamned thing. And do I care? Of course fucking not.
If I were to say “Well, no one is happy with the amount of money that they have, so I guess I’ll just accept that, too,” I’d think myself a goddamned fool. And I care not what you think I should think about that. I’d think myself an idiot.
I think I have potential. And I’ll have to convince the world of that. And I’ll have to accept the indescribable wave of criticism that will come my way to start out. And that’s ok. That’s fine. I like that, actually. I like criticism. Granted, I don’t like unwarranted criticism. But I like justified criticism. (And, sometimes even, unjustified criticism, depending on the claim).
I have spent my entire life fearing my own actions. Fearing my own decisions. I shouldn’t anger God. I shouldn’t anger my parents. I shouldn’t anger my friends.
Fuck all of that. Fuck. All. Of. That. That is what unconditional love is for.
So what does all of this ultimately mean? Well, it means a couple of things:
One, I’m pretty fucking unhappy with my life. I need to do something about it. And I think this writing thing has something to do with it.
Two, I need to be more independent. I want to be more independent. I’m tired of listening to people. I’m done. I’m done listening to you commenting on the fact that I’m tired of listening to people. I’m tired of listening to you “Yeah, but”ters. I don’t fucking care. I don’t fucking care if you have a valid point. I don’t fucking care if I’m making a terrible, dangerous decision. I don’t care if I’m immoral in your eyes, or even in the eyes of God. I just, don’t, fucking, care. I don’t. I don’t. I’m done pleasing others. God forbid, I’m done pleasing the Almighty. I am just, fucking, done.
Now, of course, this means something really big that I haven’t quite mentioned yet. This means that I will have to accept the consequences of my actions. So how do I deal with that?
Well, the best answer that I have come up with for myself is that “I’ll be dead someday.” Now, my inevitable fate does not mean that I will become a terrible person who steals, murders, and rapes under the justification that I’ll be dead someday anyway. But it isn’t to please God. It isn’t to please my mother or my father. It’s because I don’t want to. I don’t want to do those things. Finally, I am starting to realize that my convictions should only please myself, and if they so happen to please those that I care about, then that’s just an added benefit.
So, in conclusion: I really need to start writing like this more often.
But I don’t know how in the fuck I’m going to do it…
…And I damn sure don’t want to hear your goddamned advice about it…
(…Should I tell you that I wrote this in about 15 minutes to make you “ooh” and “aah” about my writing ability? I don’t really want to. But I need some kind of selling point…and some word of mouth would be nice, of course, if you found this insightful. And if you think my cockiness is unwarranted, feel free to leave a comment below, and if it isn’t too egregious, I’ll approve it, and let the rest of the internet read it and judge its validity as well).