Tag Archives: Social anxiety

Personal Examination of Experimental Repetition

I once had a blog. I guess it was near 10 year ago, now. Would’ve made me 15, 16 years old. Yikes. Glad it’s not still around (although a part of me wishes I could still see what I wrote, and only me). But I’ve always been a scatterbrained little boy, for a multitude of reasons.

This scatterbraininess has its perks, such as giving me a lot of creativity. But it has also sucked very frequently throughout my life, as I either forget or can’t concentrate on important matters because my mind is always adrift. The only way I have found to combat this “driftfulness” is to repeat myself.

The first time I ever recall this happening was when I first attempted to get my driver’s license at 16: the “normal” age. A combination of stubbornness, philosophy, immaturity, anxiety, and obliviousness caused me to be a really late bloomer, as it were. Stubbornness, as I didn’t understand why I needed a car or a license, as I was content with staying at home (“leaving” meant hanging out with people. I was perfectly content with being alone. In fact, I never felt like I had enough alone time at home. A loud TV was the norm. I guess a license could have given me that alone time I wanted, but at any rate); philosophy, because it always bugs me when I can’t get to a real “root” of a matter (I stew relentlessly until I come up with something), immaturity (should be obvious), anxiety (I’ll get into that in a second), and obliviousness (related to the anxiety).

The philosophy and stubbornness overlap. I have always tried to understand things as deeply as possible. Well, at least with certain things. I remember being a kid, on a baseball field (as part of a team, in the middle of a game), in the outfield, picking up flowers, looking up at the sky, and wondering “Why am I here?” I wasn’t sad. Just curious. The contrast between the grass and the sky fascinated me. The color. The fact that I could touch the grass, but not the sky. The clouds moved, but the ground did not. I wanted to know more. And when I couldn’t learn more, I became very, very depressed. (Finally, I gave my attention to the people yelling at me to go get the ball. What in the Hell is going on here? I have no idea. But, to the ball I went. And I’m sure I threw it quite shittily. Yes, I’ll get lost in my own head: surrounding reality be damned).

A quick detour: my love for philosophy was quickly frightened into the deepest recesses of my mind by my introduction to religion. My natural desire to be curious was crushed by teachings (which eventually became my beliefs) of OBEDIENCE. “Curiosity” and “obedience” are on opposite ends of the “philosophical perspective” spectrum. This introduction introduced a whole host of anxieties to an already anxious little boy. I was frightened by inaction. (If you currently feel the need to preach to me about “God’s goodness”, or something, save it. Meaning don’t even say it).

But I avoided getting my license, or a car, because I truly didn’t understand why I needed it. I thought cars were just for hanging out with friends, and I just wanted to stay at home. I couldn’t understand it, so I wasn’t getting it. And that was that, even if it caused Hell on the whole family (which, regrettably, of course it did).

Also, anxiety became more and more of my “norm”. Absolutely tortuous levels of anxiety. A chaotic home life (just a continuance of just about as long as I can remember) and excruciating boredom just made me absolutely depressed. I didn’t care about anything. Suicide was a frequent thought, but I never actually harmed myself. Just stayed depressed. Mom is crazy and fighting with Dad and now she’s gone but she keeps coming back and leaving over and over and over and over. A quick slap in the face. And: whaddaya know! She’s gone again. (I’m not going in chronological order, as a particular slap that I’m thinking of happened before my driver’s permit time, but everything that was shit in my life just feels like one giant blur). The boredom was bad as well. If I would’ve known how to organize my thoughts better, I think writing could have saved me. But the very (and I mean very) few times I tried to write (way back in elementary school) never materialized into anything, because I could have an idea for an alien landing in my backyard, but I couldn’t figure out the words to start it. So the writing came to a halt until I got a Facebook page, and starting writing everyone’s eyes off there. And then, eventually, there was the blog.

I don’t recall what my first few blog posts were about. I’m sure they were a bunch of whining, as they are now. A lot of bad writing. I can’t remember the topics. But I remember letting a girl that I went to school with read something I had written. I was proud that I had written something. But she said it was very repetitive, and I felt devastated. I don’t think she understood the point that I was trying to make in the post, and I barely recall trying to explain it to her, but it didn’t do any good. I thought “What is the point in writing this if I can’t explain it for someone to understand?” I think I took a pretty long hiatus after that point.

I’m not quite sure why I keep jumping around chronologically, and I apologize for it. I guess everything just feels like a blur to me, and I have no rhyme, nor reason, for why things come out of my head in the way that they do. I suppose that’s still one thing that remains true about myself to this very day.

Yes, I was born a very quiet child. A sense of humor finally came out of me. It made me laugh, and made the people around me laugh, and that made me feel very good. There were still tremendous sadnesses within me, as I sometimes wonder still exist, but at least there was humor as well. A humor that provided me with a life and vitality that had been cheated of me at a young age, thanks to a reckless mother and various pastors.

I could spend a lifetime, and indeed, think I just might, thinking about why I am the way that I am. I believe that it is easier now than it has ever been; as youth provides one with a sense of depression at one’s, for a couple of examples, lack of ability, or “uniqueness”, that, it seems, can only be alleviated with age. The shortcomings of my youth, at the time, felt insurmountable. The only “answer”, it seemed, was to be depressed. And so, life sucked. Until, by divine intervention, it was alleviated. Not completely, but to a noteworthy degree. It comes and it goes, but I’m not sure that it has ever consumed me the way that it did back then. Isn’t that interesting? Although this certainly isn’t a certainty, it certainly does seem like the teenaged years are the worst years of the lives of most. Only the most unfortunate of us experience the worst years of our lives earlier or later than at teen age. That is quite fascinating to me. It is interesting. If I hadn’t spent so many years clogging up my ears with hymns, and would have paid more attention in biology class, I’d understand hormones, and puberty, better than I do now. But, as it stands, I can only speculate as an ignorant philosopher who has devoid his intellect of scientific understanding, and thus, here I remain, with but a small interest in science, and of such a variety as isn’t biological, but more of the physical. Alas, such is life, I suppose. Thanks, religion. I’ll move on and let go of my grudges some day. With some help…

Yes, I, like so many other children, although to a much lesser degree than a lot, learned of being cheated at a young age. And absolutely nothing I could do would fix it. I was absolutely helpless. To a careless mother. Sadness engulfed me tremendously. I shudder to think of creating a child as sad as I was, and I hope my mother shudders from it from this day forth. It’s the least that she deserves. I trust, and hope, that she has been in Hell from it since its inception. If she has, then I suppose I will forgive her in due time, when I deem fit. And if she hasn’t been tormented by it, and only provides crocodile tears, well, I suppose I will still forgive her when I see fit.

Yes, although sadness engulfed me, reality did not care. I still had schoolwork that I was supposed to do. Things that I needed to learn how to do for my own betterment; especially in the future. I was a confused and depressed mess of hormones. Oh, teenaged years. I pity the one who looks back positively at that time of his life. The poor bastard must be more wretched now than I have ever been (if God is as just as Christians say, at least. At least, if His justice is to be distributed equally among us all (which I don’t believe, exactly, is the case; for if it were, we should all be in Hell at this very moment)). Thankfully, I was blessed with such an intellect as to make most of my schoolwork quite easy, with little effort needed to complete the assignments, and with “good enough grades”. But boredom became introduced with the depression. And the self-examination and self-judgment socially grew as well. The latter grew, but was alleviated both with other “misfit” peers, and a growing apathy of socialization which I can only understand through my current introversion now. I suppose it was always there, to a certain degree. It was there very young, disappeared quite a bit, and then returned, mercifully. But the boredom wore on my soul, for what felt like an eternity. I never thought I’d see an end to the boredom. A bored 14 or 15 year old, with nothing to look forward to but a job: much like his parents had, and hated. His parents, who had always told him to do something different, and better, with his life, than they had, would soon be living the very life that they had lived. I was, and to this very day, still remain, a giant failure in that regard. I accept it now more than I did back then, but I have to wonder if I made a mistake by taking my parents at their word. I have to wonder if their desire for me to have a better life, and my believing in them, didn’t set me up for tremendous failure. At the very least, I suppose it supplanted within me a desire to succeed. Time will tell if that will remain enough in the face of cumulative errors. No, back then, more than ten years ago now, there was nothing to look forward to in the future but lots of hatred, exhaustion, and misery. This, and the boredom, introduced another wave of depression.

But, reality did not care. Back to the driving. My aloofness got the best of me. In more ways than one. The driver’s ed “course” bored me, and I couldn’t take what was being taught and think about it “in the real world”. The only experiences I had with driving were few, and they involved me slamming on the gas while a bunch of adults screamed at me. It wasn’t the most pleasant experience. So I was already not a fan of it. I didn’t understand the importance of a license because I didn’t want to drive anywhere, and I didn’t want a job because…well, jobs suck, of course. My dad always told me to “do something” with my life. He worked in a basic plant for all of his life. I respect him a helluva lot more than I ever did in the past. Especially, when I consider the Hell that I frequently put him through. Or, rather, I empathize with him more effectively than I used to. If I ever do “make something” of myself, he’ll be the first person I thank. (And I thank him, anyway). But I put a lot of anxiety upon myself to make sure I “did something better” with myself. I interpreted a “job” as a failure. Because I felt like I was going down the same road as my father, and, to the best of my knowledge, that wasn’t what he wanted for me. I felt like I was letting everyone down, because I should’ve been able to succeed. At 16, mind you. A little early, in hindsight. Did I have any skills? Of course not. At least none that I could actually get paid for. But Dad wants better for me, dammit, and I’m doing this shitty ass job already. I’m a failure. And the job sucks.

This, of course, isn’t mentioning my disastrous philosophy of money. Interestingly enough, later on in life, I had a “religious experience” when I had a breakdown about money. In the “Christian” faith, money is often seen as evil. Everybody, including non-Christians, complain about rich people. They complain about “greed” being sinful. That “the love of money is the root of all evil”. Well, I had accumulated a good bit of money (a couple hundred dollars) over the course of a couple of birthdays and Christmases. And wouldn’t you just know that I actually loved it? Ah, yes. Here we come to a gigantic contradiction between “faith” and “the real world”. Once again, save your preaching, please. I beg of you. But I hated money. My damn soul depended on that hatred! Sure, it buys me stuff! But at what cost? I can’t have this stuff! So laziness and anxiety kept me from getting a job longer than it should have. I finally reached a breaking point when I realized that “the world revolves around money”, and I knew I needed to make it. I decided to start studying money, and jobs, and all of it, right at that moment.

So I was very reluctant to finally go get my learner’s permit. Of course, the first time I went, I failed the computer test. It was all gobbledy-gook because I didn’t pay attention in class. So I had to go tell my dad I failed. And we went back the next day. And the next day. And I kept failing, and feeling like shit, because I still didn’t care about driving. Finally, I thought “Cody, you need to learn this. Dad ain’t gonna stop taking me here. Just focus and pass the goddamned test.” Of course, I have to thank my dad for not enabling me, as embarrassed and depressed as I was. He stuck with me, even if it was out of necessity for his own mental health. Some tough love was what I needed, even though I don’t suppose I ever really took it. Lamentation.

And, I believe, if memory serves me correctly, this was the first time that I had ever written anything upon my own hand. I wrote myself a little reminder on my palm in black Sharpie. The letters “LFE”. They stood for “Learn From Experience”. I, clearly, was not learning from the experiences of failure at the driving test. And I needed to learn from the experiences of my driving test. So, knowing that I am naturally a very stubborn, philosophical, immature, anxious, and oblivious person, I gave myself a little note, a little reminder, which was to serve as a self-helping contradiction to my own nature. I, philosophically, didn’t understand why I needed my license. But my dad wasn’t going to let me stop until I got it. Once I finally got it, I thought my troubles were over. But my father wanted me to drive him around to gain more experience. I, of course, resisted this as much as I could.

At one point, he bought me a car: a Nissan, either Altima or Maxima, I’m not sure, and I recall not the year. It had a manual transmission. I believe he got it for me for my high school graduation, as that was when he first told me to drive it (I do not remember if he had the car prior). He drove me to the nearest convenience store (much to my own personal inconvenience: especially, as you will soon find out), then told me to get in the driver’s seat. I think I was trying to back up, and killed it. All I really remember from this instance was another car pulling up to the convenience store and yelling at me (I guess I was taking too long to back up, or something), and my father, who very rarely lost his temper, ejected from the passenger seat and commenced to yelling with the driver.

I was absolutely overcome with embarrassment. He got back in the car and tried to commence with the lesson. I told him that I couldn’t do it. That I wouldn’t do it. I was already scared as it was, and that person losing their temper at me further recluded me into my shell. Finally, my angry father relented. He drove me back home, and told me, in so many words, that I needed to “develop a shell”. To let stuff roll off my back. I scoffed and went inside the house: no doubt, fueling my father’s anger more. Or maybe sadness or helplessness. I’m not sure. But even though I couldn’t take his advice back then, I still hear it in my own head today. I still struggle mightily with it, and I feel like I work on “developing my shell” constantly, but that is one area of life that I have a very long way to go before I can say I’m “done” with it, if I can ever say that.

That experience wasn’t my first time behind the wheel. No, successive failures led me further and further away from the steering wheel. This is where my obliviousness came into play. Changing lanes without checking mirrors, driving too close to mailboxes and trucks on the interstate. My mind could not have cared less about driving. I was only doing it because I was told to do it (yes, Cody, sometimes a little blind obedience will do you more good than your daydreaming curiosity, eh? Oh well). I did not care about it. Even if it endangered both myself and my father. And the more he attempted to correct me, the more it scared me away from driving. I clearly didn’t know what I was doing, and it scared me away from the wheel. I suppose I could’ve just…oh, I don’t know…listened to him. But I was a know-it-all, as I was always accused of being, so I basically never listened to much of anything (other than what I wanted to hear). It remains to be seen how that’s going to play out long-term. Some of it has worked, other things, clearly, have not.

I wanted to think about other things: not driving. I didn’t understand its importance. So I avoided it for as long as I could. Until I realized that I couldn’t avoid it any longer, and needed to get my license, and a car. Thus, the “LFE”.

I had kept my permit even when I was finally able to go and obtain my license. It took me a very long time to care about driving. To realize why it was important. Interestingly enough, my mother was the same way: at least that it took her longer than “normal” to get her license. Neuroticism runs in the family. And, I guess, some other things that are actually good do as well.

It’s also fascinating to remember being in the car with my mother and father while he tried to teach her how to drive a “straight-drive”. I do not remember how old I was, but I remember my mother attempting to drive a straight-drive while I was in the backseat, and my father in the front, with her. That’s very fascinating. I was born a couple of months before her 20th birthday, so she must have been in her early-to-mid 20s in this memory of mine. I remember where she drove. I vaguely remember her, seemingly, buying several different cars in the course of a short time period. I’m not sure if I was in a car that we had already owned, or was in a car that she just recently bought, or was planning on buying (but needed to learn how to drive). I just recall my dad trying to each her how to drive a straight-drive while I was in the back seat. Interesting how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. That tragic tree, perhaps with a relation with the one which bested Adam and Eve.

It makes me hesitant to think about having kids in the future, as I am afraid that I will, inadvertently, treat my children the way my mother treated me during my youth. I don’t expect to slap my child, or abandon its home and stay out all night, only to return briefly to talk to my wife, and then be gone back out of the house again, even as my child sits in the yard, crying for attention from me, only for me to leave again. I certainly don’t anticipate being that negligent. But I get the sense that most parents want to parent differently (and better) than their parents, but seem to fall within certain traps. If that is the case, I don’t want to have children just in case I start falling into traps that my mother created for me. I’m not going to take a chance at torturing a small child like that, even if I wish that I’d not torture the child at all, even as I’m inadvertently doing it.

But, to continue (and repeat myself), life sucked for a very long time, and I sucked right along with it. I did not handle challenges well at all. Reality hit me in the face, and I had a hard time dealing with it. And the only thing that I could think of to do was write down what it was that I needed to do to overcome what it was overtaking me. Writing “LFE”, for “Learn From Experience”, was the first thing that I remember doing that seemed to work. I wore it on my hand through high school (I remember not exactly how many years of high school that I wore it). I’d try to keep my palm from public view, as I didn’t want to explain what I have explained here. I remember one girl, whom I always sat with on the bus, noticed it once, and grabbed my hand to look at it. She asked what it meant, and I told her it meant “Learn From Experience”. I don’t think I explained to her exactly why it was there. She was interested in it, however, and said “Cool”. (Don’t worry: I’m not projecting the interest that I wished she had upon her. She actually was interested in it).

So I kept “LFE” written on my hand in black Sharpie. I soon discovered that “LFE” wasn’t going to provide me with all of the answers. I couldn’t apply it to every issue I faced. So: what to do now? I had to start making decisions. I had choices that I was going to have to make. So I changed the letters on my hand. I began to keep a Sharpie in my pocket, just in case something that I thought would be more effective came to my mind. I decided upon “MMOD”: Make My Own Decisions. I knew I had to. I didn’t know how to gauge my decisions, but only that I had to start making them. Very quickly, this “MMOD” changed to “MMODAL”: “Make My Own Decisions And Learn”. It was a bit unwieldy, and didn’t look as tidy as the blockal “LFE”. But I felt like it had to be done. Once again, I tried applying this to every area of my life, with, obviously, mixed results. Some holes are round while your peg is square. But I tried to do the best that I could, remaining depressed all the while…

I watched science programs on television, and would go outside and stare at the stars. I’d go for walks around the local school in the evenings (the school had a walking track where people could walk after school let out), and just think. I’d look at one of the Dippers, and in my head, see a traffic light. A traffic light in the sky that I had seen ever since I could remember riding in cars. This is one of those scenarios that seem to exemplify my creativity and ostracization, but I shall tell it anyway, for catharsis. Three of the stars, nearly perfectly aligned, in one of the Dippers, looked like a traffic light to me. Now, I’m sure that the top star wasn’t more “red”, the middle star more “yellow”, and the bottom star more “green” in reality. But in my mind, that’s what I saw. Perhaps I was bending reality. But I saw a traffic light. I saw it every time I was in a car at night time. I began to look for it. And I would just stare at it, and think about it. A bit bothered that they weren’t in a straight line like an actual traffic light (I suppose that makes me “obsessive-compulsive”. I’d had an “interest” in traffic lights for as long as I could remember). Around this time, also, I developed a new message for my hand which I shall only mention briefly, simply because of how asinine my message was. It was “Understand Everything”. Yeah, right. I’m not even going to get started on how fucking terrible that path went. I took my desire to learn just a little bit too far, to say the least.

My brain was still scattered, and my words were still poor. I was still very depressed. But the stars, and learning about them, and space, on television, brought me a little happiness. The atheistic side of things began to take a toll on me, as I felt myself becoming an asshole. Or, rather, a different kind of asshole. I was an asshole during my younger religious days as well, condemning all of those who didn’t go to my particular church, with a little red in my face. But although I felt like an asshole as an atheist, I also felt a little relief. I still had problems, but at least they weren’t the old problems. At least, some of them were different. The fear of what would happen to me after I died still remained.

One thing that brought me happiness during this time in my life was basketball. Basketball became my escape. I’d shoot for hours by myself. I’d either shoot in the backyard, or down at the school when it let out, sometimes well into the dark. It gave me something to focus on and work on that I could actually do (putting the ball in the basket), and gave me an escape from all of my failures. My failure of struggling so hard to get my license, which was eating me alive. My failure to rid myself of my depression. My failure to comprehend money, and jobs, and the universe, really. I was depressed and bored and failing. And basketball seemed to be the only thing that made me feel any better about it.

I continued looking to my palm for messages. I kept “LFE” for a while, and tried to apply it to as many things as I could. I remember staring at light bulbs, and wishing I could understand the “science” behind light. Now, that requires a lot of mathematics. I’m philosophically-minded: not mathematically-minded. But I’d stare at them, and wish I could really understand them scientifically. I wanted to learn more science. The cool kids in school were atheists, and “worshiped” science, and didn’t believe in God. I wanted to be that cool. I was also tired of being afraid of God. So I started shedding myself of my old religiosity, and I embraced the cold, depressing realities of scientific atheism. It actually was not as terrifying as being a Christian had been to that point. I was afraid that abandoning God would bring the worst upon me, but the truth was that I had already been through Hell religiously. I had already spent my youth envisioning Hellfire engulfing my bed as I masturbated, and believing all lightning strikes to be God warning me of my own sin, so becoming an atheist, although still difficult, and anxiety-inducing, actually produced less anxiety within me than I had experienced prior. It was still there, to a severe degree, but provided me with a relief, as I tried to think about science, and absorb it as a philosophical manner of being to replace my prior terrors. It wasn’t that I wasn’t afraid, but it still provided me with some relief.

In truth, I found science classes to be very boring. My mind always drifted. Experimentation and taking notes and the like bored the fuck out of me. That wasn’t my idea of “science”. My idea of “science” was more of an anti-religiosity. Interesting to see this in other people today. I still tried to think of, say, light, and I thought “What’s the science behind that?”, with no mathematics to guide me. “How did they create those rafters from which the lights hang in the gym? Why does it get dark outside? Why is there artificial light at night time, and why is there sunlight in the day time?” (Sidenote: I associated artificial lights with creepiness. Instead of being scared of the dark, I associated that common fear that children have with the only sources of light around. I don’t know why. Perhaps I’ve always been obsessed with light, and couldn’t stop thinking about them, even among my fears which are normal to all children. Although, my fear “of the dark”, I guess you could say, was magnified by my past learnings about evil things in the world, which I had absorbed both through television news, my church, and, more than my church, sermons on the radio on the way to church). “How did they create these artificial lights? How does electricity work? Who are these teachers here at this school? Why do they come here everyday? What are we all doing here? Why does this person have this ‘job’ and this person has this ‘job’?” Yes, one constant in my life has always been the questions (once again: thank God).

I transitioned into what I believed to be a more “scientific” mind. In truth, I had always been curious about why things worked the way that they did. I recall being in a booster seat in a car (I had to have been four or five, at the oldest), and facing the windshield, and seeing the yellow lines in the middle of the road. (Then again, maybe I’m confusing a time that I remember being in a booster seat with another time that I recall looking out the windshield and seeing those yellow lines. I’m horrible with exact chronology. Everything just runs together for me). They fascinated me. I also saw the white line on the right side of the road. I wanted to understand what they were. I tried to follow the lines, but they moved too fast. I tried looking out the side window as they passed, but I was too short to see them (maybe I was sitting in the middle instead of sitting beside the door), and the blur of the outside made me very carsick. It is quite remarkable to me that I remember these details so vividly. (Like remembering a time a guardian accidentally clipped my thigh between a seatbelt and its holder). Whenever I can remember something vividly, I get scared. Scared that I haven’t made any progress from that day that I remember. But I think that’s a topic for another piece.

On a small tangent (which is actually related, so I guess that means it isn’t actually a tangent): I went for a small drive recently near my home. To roads that, much to my amazement, I hadn’t yet been down. They led me to familiarity, but it was the roads themselves that were foreign to me. I had known they existed, but had never traveled down them. And as I did, some interesting memories came to me, as sometimes happens.

It was late, and I had my bright-lights on. A car passed me by in the other lane, and I had forgotten they were on, and turned them off as the car was passing me. I turned them back on, and looked at my dash. And I recalled, seemingly, for the first time since it happened, seeing that same blue icon in my father’s old Plymouth Horizon. As a kid, I guess, partly, because I was tiny, and couldn’t see out the windows that well, I stared at the dash. I saw the green lights flashing (those were the turn signals). And I saw the blue light. It looked like something. I couldn’t figure out what it was, or what it meant. My dad kept flicking a switch constantly (for what reason, I did not yet understand), and the blue light would disappear and reappear. And, occasionally, the green lights would flash as well. I recall looking at the “Hazard Lights” button. Those three triangles (or however many there are). I think I wanted to touch them. Of course, I couldn’t. I remember seeing the defrost buttons. Why do they look similar, but are also different? And why is there heat coming out of these things? And why is there ice on the front windshield that you have to scrape off? And why do we have to get up for school today? Ah, yes. It all blends together. And the “whys” still remain (once again: thank God).

I remembered, as I took this night drive, thinking, at one point, that the blue lights looked like a jellyfish: or, rather, the first time that I saw a picture of a jellyfish (it might have even been on Spongebob), I thought of that blue icon. I’m sure the latter was the case. I saw a jellyfish “on its side”. Likewise, the first time I saw a house drawn, a triangle on top of a square, I thought of those green turn-signals that I had first seen in my father’s Horizon. Yes, on this night drive, I was consumed by my memories of my own creativity. I missed it. It had been taught out of me by peers and adults alike. “Hey, this looks like this!” “That’s nice. Have you got a car yet?” Yes, the creativity has always been something that has ostracized me (not even just the example I just mentioned, but in conversations with my peers for as long as I can remember), but, being an introvert, I’m ok with that, to some degree. I tried to train it out of myself to become better socialized, but on that night drive, I continued to realize that now is the time to let back out my creativity. That I am a creative man. That I need my creativity. I need to let it all out, and let it all flow. There will be plenty of criticisms, good and bad, on the road ahead. But I am happy when I am creative. I am happy when I experience deja vu. I am happy when I write. And so, thus being recently invigorated, and feeling justified, in expressing myself creatively, I have desired to write this here. It was begun before this particular moment of inspiration, but I have realized that I need to accept my creativity, and not run from it. I have ran from it forever, for several reasons. I’m sure that all of them felt justified at the time. I’m sure, if I really wanted to sit and think about it, some of them would be justified now. But my best friend is always in “imagination-land”. He can’t concentrate on anything other than the fantasies within his own head. He desires to be a fiction writer. And he dreams constantly. His dreams, and the written word, both reading and writing, are how he “escapes” the monotony of his work that pays his bills. But, in truth, these dreams of his were sparked long before he became an adult who needed to make money. His persistence, despite his struggles, inspires me. He desires to be creative, come Hell or high water. And he frequently struggles. But he doesn’t give up. And that inspires me. It inspires me to tap in to my creative nature that has been defeated. And to see what all can come out of it. I look forward to it, and can’t wait to see what all is in store for me as far as my creativity is concerned. One result that I am most anticipating is a tremendous level of happiness.

So now, as my desire to read and write have increased, I become aware of my limitations in both of these regards. Particularly, when other obstacles, not related to either of these, present themselves to me. I was driving, and thinking about something fictional that I wished to write, being inspired by the mountains that I saw before me. I couldn’t write it down, as I was driving, but I desperately wanted to remember it. So I started repeating a mnemonic in my head so that I could remember it when I actually had a chance to write it down. And as I was repeating it to myself over and over in my head, I realized a lot of different things. I realized that some things never seem to change about oneself. That repetition was just a tool that I was going to have to use for my benefit, regardless of how “weird” it seems to others. That words have significant power for me, in that words help me remember to do things which better my life. And if words have this kind of power over me, perhaps I need to invest more to them, even if that includes writing words that only I can understand. I’ll have to take that chance of social ostracization if it means that I can repay back the words that have benefited me so.

I need to have repetition in my life. I can’t live, or function, without it. My need to repeat things in my head in order to remember them has not changed. And they are still, if not more so, approaches to challenges, instead of, say, remembering to buy milk (which, considering my love for the drink, I never forget). I’ve been very lucky thus far in life, even if I haven’t realized it. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that it is a miracle that I am where I am today. I’m sure that friends and family members have thought that far back in time. I must say, I have to join them in that surprise. I’m pleasantly surprised, no doubt, but I have definitely been lucky. In large part, thanks to my hard-working parents (yes, even my mother, who helped me out later on in my life while she had abandoned me in my youth), who picked up my slack when I was too stupid and lazy to do it myself (and I can’t forget stubborn). Even if I should have been more proactive, I just want people to know why I wasn’t. Whether it is justified or not, I want to be honest with my feelings and my thought processes with the world. That makes me happy. I don’t look forward to the feedback, but the catharsis is fulfilling.

I have always needed some pen and paper, or electronic device, handy, so that I could write things down. I feel a great relief when I write, and feel much pressure when I desire to write, but am physically unable to, either because I am driving, or am at work, or have forgotten my phone with which I take notes, or whatever. Lately, I have discovered a great many internal roadblocks that I won’t even begin to mention in this piece. Look forward to them, God only knows how long from now. But this is something within me that I was just born with. It has been a struggle to do it over the past several years, and those times that I have done it haven’t been masterpieces. They’ve barely been amateurish. But I did them. My heart desired them, and I did them to the best of my meager abilities. And I expect the world to judge them harshly. But I can’t let that stop me. Regardless of how hard the world laughs at them, or how viciously they hate them, I can’t stop writing them.

And the next time that I am faced with some difficult task, in which I must repeat something to myself over and over in my head, to remember the specific task, or to remember a certain way of approaching the task, I need to remember that all I am doing is repeating words to myself. (Or, in some fucking way, that I’m actually thinking clearly. Calm down, Cody. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Breathe. Manage your fucking anger, Cody). Isn’t that that writing is? Thoughts and words. So if I desire to write, what’s wrong with keeping thoughts in my head? If repeating things to myself constantly helps me to remember to do tasks, and helps me remember things to write down the instant I can do so, why would I feel embarrassed at this? Yes, once again, youth shows itself. “Won’t people think you’re crazy for, say, talking to yourself? Or repeating some weird phrase in your head constantly? Or writing on your fucking hand, for God’s sake?” In truth: yes, of course they will. As many people have said, I must develop letting other people “roll off of my back”. It is challenging. But words are how I have always dealt with difficulty. I don’t anticipate this changing. I know not how difficult the future will be, but I know that I am going to need all of my words to conquer that future. I should not be embarrassed of anything which helps me improve as a writer, because that will help me improve my lot in life; and, indeed, I believe that it will help me become a better person as well. I welcome all of these possibilities with open arms, and will try to dedicate myself more to my own personal thoughts, and my own words, and getting better at communicating them in writing. This paper was very difficult to write, but that makes it very worthwhile. I know not if it will be received as my previous blog post was by that girl that went to my school, who said that she couldn’t understand what it was that I was trying to say, but I don’t anticipate that it will, and even if it did, I think I’m content enough with it to deal with that. My words are going to be with me forever. I want to use them as much as I can see fit. I want to improve upon them on my own terms, the best that I can, until I’m as satisfied with them as I can be. I want to write down all of my thoughts, and hope that my thoughts are of good quality, and that if they aren’t, I can fix them somehow. And if they are, that they will be received as such, and that the world is not in such a state as to hate that which is good quality (a state which, I fear, is upon us at the moment). I don’t look forward to any feedback, as that isn’t the point of any of my writing. None of my writing is for “approval”. If you approve, you approve. If you don’t, you don’t. My writing is my catharsis, and how I cope with my problems. You do with them what you will. (I’m still learning how to deal with feedback, both positive and negative, in case you couldn’t tell by my last outburst here. I can’t get ahead of myself. One step at a time. I need to love it before I incorporate feedback. God, help me).

Sanity has been a thought that I have been obsessed with for a long time. I’ve thought myself insane for many different reasons over the years. I used to get dizzy, and the room would spin, when I would try to go to sleep at night. My thoughts would race at times. I spent many years worrying about whether or not I was sane. I spent many years obsessed with what my peers thought of me, despite the fact that I also tried to fight against this. The truth of the matter is that, at the current time, I wish to do what makes my heart happy. This makes my heart happy. Honest expression makes my heart happy. I don’t look forward to mischaracterizations, which I know will be forthcoming. I don’t look forward to critiques, whether they be justified or unjustified. I don’t look forward to anger from others. I don’t look forward to any of this. I desire peace. But I learned a long time ago that the world doesn’t care. Someone out there doesn’t care. There will always be someone out there who wishes to destroy you, and would be gleeful if he does. That’s just something I have to accept as I continue to write honestly and openly, and attempt to improve at it the best that I can, and know how to. Lord, help me. Please. I’m desperate. I know You already know this, but I’ve announced it publicly. Will that help me?

I will stew on a problem until I have a solution, and sometimes, even after I’ve come up with a solution. Sometimes, I have a hard time getting my solutions to stick. I naturally have a restless constitution, for some reason, so am always looking for the novel. I’m always looking for the homerun. Thankfully, family has helped me realize recently that my expectations are far too high. That I’m too hard on myself. I only realized this because my anger almost got the best of me. I almost snapped. I was really angry with myself. But I have to work on managing my anger. Lowering my expectations. And a bunch of other shit that I’m not going to put into this piece.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say, and I have no idea if this came out as I wanted it to or not, is that I’m trying to mature. I’m too hard on myself. I’ve got problems. I get ahead of myself. I need help, and I’ve got friends and family to help me when I need them. I can’t do everything by myself. But when I do start to find out how to deal with myself, it will involve talking to myself: repeating things to myself. I guess everybody thinks, and thinks in words. So repeating things to myself are just ways that I remember to do things to make myself better. I have to accept that. I can’t feel socially anxious simply because I’m talking to myself. I need to keep my expectations low, and not be so hard on myself, and slowly, very, very, slowly, learn how to deal with myself and the rest of the world. This will involve rumination, but it also has to incorporate other coping mechanisms if I’m to not lose my mind, instead of having my mind and only having others think I’ve actually lost it. Pray for me. Thank you.

Advertisements

How to find a good title for everything that amounts to a “life’s work”?

I think I’ve finally figured out a good way to describe what exactly it is that I’m looking for out of life. It comes down to one word: “profundity”. I want to be moved. I want nature and life to make me cry. I want to be able to cry in front of someone while looking at something beautiful, and be able to say to them “That’s beautiful.”

I’ve always had this sense, for many years, that something was missing in my life. I couldn’t figure out what it was. I think part of the problem is being surrounded by the perspective of the “average” person: dull, and dumb. Not much to look forward to but the next race or ball game (I’m not talking about family, but just being around people in public, overhearing conversations constantly, coworkers, etc.). That’s not what life is about to me. I think that’s why I’ve been going on these solo drives lately. One, just for new environments. But, arguably even more so, because of self-reflection.

I feel like I’ve been beaten down over the years with constant derision of being an “overthinker“. No one could possibly understand the enjoyment that I get from contemplation. I haven’t known how to speak out against it. Now that I’m older, with more responsibility and freedom, I find myself asking: What do I want my perspective to be? What do I want to think about? Where do I want my mind to be? That’s a very deep question. Going through the motions gets you through the day. But is that all my life is? “Getting through the day”? What’s the point in that? You’re telling me that God created our entire universe, the Earth, and US, for Christ’s sake, just for us to “get through the day”? What kind of ultimate purpose is THAT? A fucking pathetic one.

No, there’s something missing in my life, for sure. So much talk revolves around bills and jobs. Not only politically, but just “small talk”. To be fair, I guess when it occupies as much time and energy as it does, that is inevitable. But am I to take certain inevitabilities as the purpose of my life? If I were to get cancer tomorrow, would I treat that cancer as the purpose of my life? Would I talk about it constantly, and think of nothing else but it? Or would I look for profundity in other things? I think the answer is the latter.

I’m tired of listening to well-meaninged people warning about a “life wasted”. I want to be able to say why I disagree with them. In order to do that, I need to use words. I need to “overthink” about words. I’m tired of playing dumb just to keep some sense of “social peace”. Your inferiority complex shouldn’t be my problem. There’s too much profundity to be concerned with some jackass that feels insecure because your vocabulary is deeper than his.

And that should go for myself as well. I shouldn’t dismiss someone just because they speak better than me. Just learn how to speak better, you fucking retard. Learn new words. Become a better listener. It’s not one of the Ten Commandments: just an improvable life skill.

The ultimate problem is that I’m not allowing myself to get lost in my own head enough. I listen to others a lot so that I can learn things for myself. But speaking up for myself is difficult many times. I don’t really allow myself, often enough, to reflect, and contemplate. This makes those times when I do feel like doing those things all the more special. There’s other factors mentally blocking me from fully dedicating myself to creating things. I’ll have to continue to write about those later, even though I’m sure I’ve already touched on them somewhere.

My head is too full of the words of others instead of what feels like my own independent thoughts. Social anxiety is one reason why I can’t tune others out. The other is that responsibility scares me. The unknown future is scary for all of us often. So we focus on our immediate day, where more things are under our control. But I’ve encountered so many people that say “Where in the hell did my life go?” that it scares me, so I try to think more about the future. And I believe that my future would be better if I allowed myself to get more lost inside of my own head, instead of replaying the words of others in my head constantly and doubting my every desire and decision. That ain’t working anymore. I can’t write like that. Writing requires independent thoughts. I love writing. I need independent thoughts. I need MY words. I don’t want my words to just be “Here’s what someone else told me one time.” What’s MY analysis?

But it’s hard to allow myself to get lost in my head. As I’ve said, it’s just scary to be alone inside of your own head. All of your mistakes come at once. All of your uncertainties. Your worst fears. They come storming at you. It’s easier to close the door of your independent mind and let someone else distract you from yourself. Perhaps some music would help?

Going out on a limb like this, of course, poses its own problems. What if I’m wrong? That’s humiliating. Will I just be able to say “I messed up?” Once again, I think that’s, mainly, just a skill that needs to be learned. It’s one thing to realize the power of humility when you feel like you aren’t making a mistake. It’s another when you realize you have.

Another problem is experience. EVERYTHING is “experience”. But the question should be: what kind of experience? I need more experience with linguisticators. I want to figure out why they burn me out so much. I understand that reading, and listening to good speakers, would help me with my own desire to communicate. But I’m always hesitant to do so. Why? Well, for one, language is separate from the subject. I like focusing on a couple of subjects at a time. But then, I get burned out. So in order to keep reading, and not feeling burnt out on the subject, I’d have to read about another subject. But which one? That’s the problem. Reading something and realizing that I don’t enjoy it. Or just getting tired of it, like eating the same food everyday, except with a book. I need to approach reading differently. Instead of focusing on the subject, I need to focus on the language used. That’s not going to be easy. I’m still going to read subjects that I enjoy, of course. But I also need to be able to analyze the use of language separately from the content of the work. Ok, this work is boring me. But is it written well? If so, why? And then, try to learn how to use language better for myself. Once again, this is just a skill that needs to be learned.

Ultimately, the solution will probably come down to reading writers better than I (shouldn’t be too hard to find). I need to have a certain mindset to be open enough to understand what it is exactly that makes their writing better than mine, and how to use that for myself. I guess the question becomes: how much do I want to do that, exactly? I don’t know how much of it will satisfy me yet. I don’t even know how to approach it, really. I anticipate that if I took the advice of someone else that I’d burn out quickly and then get tired of learning how to get better altogether. I think this is a slow, natural, lifetime process that I can’t fully explain yet. It could be the case that I’m lying to myself, and all of this is for naught. But I think it is the only thing that satisfies my heart, and that matters to me (of course). The challenge is being able to explain WHY I believe that it matters.

Another reason that I find language so difficult is that I’ve always associated good speakers with charlatans. It’s easy to tell if an idiot is “good” or “evil“. It’s much harder when someone speaks well. I was so afraid of being evil (thanks, free will baptism) that I just avoided language like the plague. I realize now how stupid that was. But now begins the task of fixing it. And that’s going to be hard, considering how far behind I am because of my old way of thinking. You may say “You write well now,” but you have no idea how good it can become. I do.

For better or worse, ethics consume most of my thoughts. I think this is an evident combination of genes and environment. Certainly, my religious upbringing and journey has a lot to do with why thoughts of ethics almost consume me. But I know there’s definitely a major genetic component as well. Hypocrisy, especially if I do something “evil”, scares me. I just don’t want to do it. I, like everyone else, am torn between doing good and evil. I have, and will, do both throughout my life. And that bothers the fuck out of me. I guess one might say “The fact that it bothers you proves that you’re a good person.” But I will take no solace in that. The thought of being a hypocrite bothers me. Especially the thought of being a hypocrite on a very famous scale (and I desire “fame” only as a measure of success that I wish to have, so that I don’t get stuck in a life that I resent everyday. Maybe one day I’ll just be “content” like everyone else, but I have goals, and I want them. And that’s all I care about. I know that it takes that type of attitude to succeed, so now, all I need is that success, so that I can hand you the check and say “I told you so.” And if it doesn’t work, who cares? I’ll join you at the factory line and you can tell me about all of the time I’ve wasted, whereas I can say “At least I tried” and make fun of you for NOT trying). I find enjoyment in being critical, and that obviously puts a lot of pressure on me. “Just stop being so critical,” you might say. Criticism, especially humorous criticism, is too much fucking fun. I think it’s worth the anxiety of making a mistake. And, once again, I think that’s another reason why humility is a skill that I desperately need to develop.

And that never-ending war of trying to figure out how to “handle” other people. In a way where the advice of others doesn’t deafen my own independent thoughts. Trying to figure out truth is a lifelong battle: as is dealing with the evil of others. It will continue on forever, as you continue to get older, and, eventually, die. We do good, we do evil, then we think about and talk about the evil of others. Then, we listen to others talk about the evil of still yet others. I’m so fucking exhausted with it all. I want to take part in it, but I’m also fucking sick of it. “Hypocrisy”, I guess you’d say. And here comes the advice. And here’s where Cody has to say “Ignore it, because you want to.” And here’s where Cody hears others complaining that he said he’s going to ignore them. And here’s where Cody needs to tell himself “Just continue ignoring them.” And here’s where Cody hears them saying that “Yes, you need to ignore them.” And here’s where Cody realizes they are “them” so he shouldn’t listen to them. And on, and on, and fucking on. “Just stop”- I can’t- “You think too much”-no I don’t shut up haven’t you read fucking anything I’ve written up to this point? Maybe you realize the problem now.

I can’t wait to just become an old grouch. That’s what my heart ultimately longs for. It flies in the face of all “advice” you’ll hear. But who gives a shit. I’m a grumpy old grouch at heart, goddammit, and that’s what I want to be. So it’s going to fucking stay that way. Get out.

You can’t appreciate profundity when a bunch of stupid blabbermouths don’t see it and won’t shut the fuck up about what they do see.

…Stuff like this makes me wish that either I was older or that I end up dying younger. I can’t take 80 years of thinking like this, and I refuse to think like everyone else. I’m hopeful that this will change as time goes by. But, of course, I want it NOW. I already feel about 90. If I ever do make it to 90, I can’t imagine how I’d feel. That’s scary. Maybe I don’t want to make it to 90. But things do change…

Communication, like everything else, is hard. Regardless of what “natural” abilities you may have, everything gets hard at some point. There’s a reason why talented, say, basketball players practice. Michael Jordan has always been, and will always be, a better basketball player than me. And most. So why did he practice? Well……….what ELSE was he going to do? THAT was a question that he had to ask himself. And he ANSWERED it himself. That’s what I need to do. It doesn’t matter that I’ll (probably) never become the “Michael Jordan” of writing. That is so far removed from the point that that thought shouldn’t have even entered your head. The point is what do I want my writing and thoughts to be, and what do I want to do with them?

And that produces a fine line. Writing involves organization, knowing when to lengthen a piece, and knowing when to cut one off. My default position has just been to cut everything off short (because it’s easier). But something has been missing. I knew this day would come eventually, so I have never stressed about today not being around yesterday. But the day has come where I’m no longer satisfied with cutting things off prematurely. I’ve said stuff like this a million times, but it continues to be true. The process of writing is constant. I’ll probably say, throughout my entire life, that “I need to learn how to edit.” It doesn’t matter how much better I get from one year to the next, I anticipate that I’ll still say “I need to learn how to edit.” Why? Well, this is where the “Michael Jordan” analogy comes into play. What in the fuck ELSE am I going to do with my writing? If I don’t do that, but I want to write, the writing is just going to be “WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD WORD”. What’s the point in reading that? There IS none. Michael Jordan won a championship and an MVP one year. Why did he play the next year? It’s all about an attitude, and what one wants to do. I don’t care if I never win a writing MVP, or whatever. I don’t care if I’m not ranked among the 100,000 best writers ever. The point is that I want to write, and what attitude am I going to have while I do so? I pity those that don’t understand what I’m talking about. They’re kind of idiots.

I hope I don’t burn out too quickly. This has been a lifetime coming, but, ultimately, I think everything is. Everything has been leading up to everything. That’s unavoidable. But being able to explain that in certain ways is a skill that I wish to develop. One of the skills that I wish to develop.

I also need to work on the fact that even if someone’s advice doesn’t help me, at least they want to. I can ignore it, but at least I can say “Well, they’re trying to help, even if they aren’t.” At least give them that credit. And then, get back to my alone time as quickly as possible. I’m sure they’ll understand. At least, if I’ve explained myself well enough, they will. I think my main frustration with advice is that I haven’t been able to effectively speak for myself. That’s a pattern that I continue to notice. I’ve never been happy with my ability to speak for myself, and it’s something I’ve worked on for many, many years. And I have a long fucking way to go. It’s all a complicated weave that I have in my head that I want to be able to elaborate. And it’s exasperating. And it just keeps building more and more and more. It’s hard to handle, but this is the best time in my life to handle it financially. I can’t afford to waste this opportunity. I want all of my ideas to come fast, and just get them all done as rapidly as possible. But they need to mature to maintain a quality that I’m happy with. It’s not about writing a bestseller, it’s just about writing good stuff, goddammit. My heart has always hurt when inspiration has hit me and I couldn’t write because I was at work, or had to go to school the next day. Staying up for hours later than I should just because “It hit me.” Feeling frustrated because I had other responsibilities that kept me from writing. So much of that has changed. This is the time that I’ve been desperate for my whole life. SO WHY IN THE FUCK WOULD I EVER STRUGGLE TO WRITE?????????? Write NOW, dammit!!! In truth, there’s still stuff to figure out, as there always has been. But this is, more than likely, the best time I will EVER HAVE to create. EVER. I’ll have more free time now than I’ve ever had. That pressure is terrifying. But if I get in too much of a hurry, the work sucks. And I need to absorb more before I can regurgitate more. I haven’t been happy with much of my writing for a long time now, and it’s mainly because I just didn’t have enough within me to get it done the way I wanted to get done. There’s too much for me to elaborate on here, but I want to do it eventually. All of my work is a tangled weave of my life. It all connects, in the grand scheme of things. I’m a “mad scientist”. It’s a delicate balance. I guess I’ll just have to hope that I don’t see it all as a mistake down the road, and figure out exactly what I’m going to do today, and how.

Technical ability to improve quality (of things like video) is a skill I need to learn without burning myself out trying to do so. Software, camera work, lighting. No, I don’t need to go to school for it. I’ll experiment with it myself eventually. But I need a better outlook of completing good work. A – you guessed it – philosophical approach to quality and effort. I know that probably sounds weird to you. But I want to be able to explain what I mean eventually. I want to be able to explain everything. How I write, etc.

I need to hurry up and get better so I can churn out more stuff, and keep improving it. The gaps in time between my writings are far too fucking long for my taste. But I can’t just type “BLAH BLAH BLAH” and say I’ve written something. It just takes a lot of time. Everything does. And then, I’ll get old and say “Holy fuck. Where did the time go?”

I still have a lot of things that I want to say about the past. About writing. I want to be able to explain what is going on inside of my head. If that doesn’t interest you, that’s fine. If it enrages you, I find that humorous. If it inspires you, that’s terrifying. But the ultimate point is that I want to be lost inside of my own head to find some peace in this world. That’s mainly what I care about at the moment. That, and just learning how to do everything better, such as my attitude and “dealing with” other people. And editing, and organizing, etc.

So that’s what I’m working on, I guess. Lmfao (When to work? When to break? When to write? When to listen to music? Who to listen to? Who to ignore? WHEN WHEN WHEN? It never ends).

The hardest part about all of this is having known, for a long time, that all of this was going to happen (or at least significant parts of it), but having it not happen. Realizing “Yep, this is definitely a waiting game.” As my favorite childhood musician once said, “The waiting is the hardest part.”

Bulleted lists of what I like about writing and what I hate about writing.

Why Express?

Highly Sensitive Mind.

My poetry.

A potential stumbling block for me on my way to success…

Social anxiety may be the only thing that can prevent me from succeeding, as when I begin to get more success, I may feel the need to become more reclusive, when I need to keep the gas pedal going to keep receiving the money…

I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Insightful.

Where you can financially support me if you so desire (T-shirts included; please share all of these links).

Failure is Not an Option.

“Normal” conversation and the “cockiness” of smart people.

How many times can you hear the same things over and over and over, for years, in “conversation” before you start to lose your mind?

Are people so forgetful that they need to have the same pieces of information repeated to them over and over and over again?

Is this why they watch the news as well?

Are the same people that call people “smartypants” so insecure that they feel the need to condemn such “prideful” traits as paying attention and a desire to learn novel things, instead of repeating the same basic facts over and over and over again?

Intelligence.

The Reason that I Don’t Talk to People.