Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Flat As A Board

Monday, April 16, 2012—Irvine, CA

I’m back again. Feeling compelled to write here regularly all of a sudden. Maybe I just need to write and due to time constraints this is all that’s available to me now (at the moment I’m sitting at my desk in class waiting to give a test). I think there's more to it than that. Feeling a little odd recently, like I often do at the close of a semester only more so. That I’m burnt out is a given. But it seems to be more than that this time around. I’m feeling very out of touch with myself, like I need some extended time for contemplation. There’s something not right in me. I’m going in a million directions at once and all of them interest me up to a point, but none seem to give me much satisfaction (look at my reading list lately—everything and everywhere).

Looking back at that last sentence. Realizing that it of course means that I’m looking for something, in a very scattershot manner (which is of course what one does when one senses that something is missing but really isn’t sure what it might be). The best way I can describe the problem it to say that I feel really flat inside. (Really, Rob—that’s the best way you can describe it?) OK, let me try that again. For a while now I’ve felt kind of soulless. Or at least that I’ve lost touch with certain basic aspects of myself. Perhaps that’s not quite it. For so many years I was driven by certain problems that no longer exist for me. Maybe I’ve never been in touch with certain aspects of myself. Maybe I mistook those problems for the person who existed beneath them. Not sure how this is connected to the bigger picture, but lately I’ve found myself very annoyed by how pedestrian my dreams are; they seem to just skitter across the surface of my subconscious like a rock skipped across the surface of cold winter pond. A ten-year old could interpret my dreams these days: all I do bat around petty concerns from my day-to-day life (traffic on the way to work, deadlines to meet, etc.) in the most facile way. My dreams are so dull and pointless that a few times recently I’ve woken up disgusted with myself. “Is that all you’ve got in there, Rob,” I might as well have said. “Is that all there is to you?”

There’s an old saying that goes in order to write poetry a person needs to be in love. Lately I’ve had the faintest stirrings of poetic expression surfacing in me. I’m wondering if this means I’m entering a new phase or if I’m just dealing with the final fumes from something past. I’m not in love with anyone or anything—that would involve a kind of connection that I’m incapable of participating in right now (though I do love in a more agape sense). I spend most of my time dealing with a been-there-done-that feeling; nothing really excites me. This goes into the realm of sex too. Whereas I used to look at (certain) women and feel desire, sometimes to the point where it was all consuming, now I simply see trouble, hassles, the boring prospect of having to wade thru their issues (it took so much out of me to move past certain problems of my own that I simply have no energy left to do the same with others, which makes me feel kind of shitty about myself). Wondering if there’s something "wrong" with me or if this is just a natural outgrowth from the way my life has evolved. Or maybe this is just what getting old is all about—the dissipation of passion and urgency. (It’s hard to accept that being in one’s forties is old, especially since there’s a pretty good chance that I could be around for another forty-plus years. Then again, during most of our biological evolution we rarely lived out our potential lifespans, so perhaps there was little in the way of selective pressures pushing vibrancy after one’s thirties—from a reproductive point of view, which is the only point of view that matters in a Darwinian sense, we now live longer, in some cases much longer, than we have any reason to).

Or maybe all this has to do with my lack of time to create. That is what I do, who I am. So when I’m stuck spending my days and nights doing that which is not me I in a sense don’t exist. That’s part of it for sure—but I can’t deny all the other stuff I’ve just written about. What it comes down to, I guess, is do I need to break thru to some new understandings to regain my passion, my love of life, or do I just have to accept all this and somehow learn to love living a life that rises much above a low simmer and on many days is all but turned off. (Or I suppose I could land somewhere in between, where I do make some breakthroughs to new passions, but never really feel things to the degree I once did.) A pointless life is pointless. A very Gertrude Stein-like conclusion, but of course perfectly accurate. It’s also where I’m at, or nearly at, at the moment.

One other point for me to consider. Several years ago, when I first started re-grounding myself after coming thru the worst of all my days I felt pretty much what I’m feeling now, only more intensely. I did a little research then and saw that I was suffering a lot of the symptoms of post-traumatic-stress disorder. Maybe that’s still what I’m dealing with; I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve just gotten so used to those feelings that I’m not recognizing them anymore as being something other than just me, than just what life is. I’m still alienated from most people. I’m bored and feel (know?) that nothing I do will relieve that feeling to any real degree. It all seems pretty much the same as it was then, just at a lessor level. Maybe I haven’t moved beyond that. Maybe I’ve just learned to manage my personal and social dislocation.

What a drag.

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