I have an appointment for a video meeting this morning at eight o’clock. I hope it’s not very long… The clash I have with Pastor is the same as always: he’s a collectivist on the side of the majority of people while I advocate for the individual. His experience in high school was probably very different from mine. I saw a lot of kids suffer from the false oligarchy of the beautiful people. I doubt if Pastor would understand this. He doesn’t like Rush either, though the band spoke for many of us in school in the Eighties and Nineties. We learned from Rush that dreamers and misfits can overcome and be successful.
Quarter after nine.
Okay, I got the meeting over with… My sleep was troubled, riddled with thoughts of mortality and also individual freedom. Life feels like sort of a dead end today. Often I ask myself what I want out of my life, what would make me happy. I know I won’t find a friend who is exactly like me, though I’d like to meet someone with values close to mine… Is it really true that if you let go control, then you’ll get what you need? I knew someone who advised me, “They won’t come knocking on your door.” If you don’t seek for happiness, will it seek you? I have doubts about that.
Quarter after ten.
I get a haircut tomorrow. Right now there’s some wildfire smoke in the air… I don’t remember much of reading Madeleine L’Engle in the past. It’s hard for me to take it seriously. She said something about releasing control, because if you try to control things yourself then disaster will result. This presupposes a god that takes care of everything. Maybe she never heard of Voltaire: this is not the best of all possible worlds. But also I think of the young dissidents in high school who dropped out of advanced classes in protest of our indoctrination. They had a different agenda from school, which makes me curious. Perhaps they knew something that others of us didn’t know.
Six thirty at night.
I got on Amazon and ordered a CBT workbook to help myself with anxiety. The biggest problem I’ve been having is with mind reading, trying to second guess situations and people. But the only way to know the thoughts of others is to ask them to their face. It’s pretty stupid to weave a web of fantasy around people you know, or to dramatize your own life, maybe glorify it to heroic proportions. I may be divided on this perspective because I like existential philosophy so much. But it comes down to what is realistic, and really, life for most humans is quite ordinary and modest, not over the top with hubris and superhuman powers. Sometimes the need to empower yourself is so strong that life feels like a tremendous dare, a heroic struggle against overwhelming odds. So we produce brainchildren as Richard Wright produced Bigger Thomas, a larger than life martyr for racial and social justice. I suppose my blog has been something like this, but for mental health. And for this fact I feel a bit penitent and apologetic.
Maybe true strength consists in vulnerability, though I’m not yet persuaded of that. Does something take over when you surrender control? I think of Gandalf saying that even Gollum had a role to fulfill in the War of the Ring. It was a purpose bigger than Gollum himself, one that included all of them… Perhaps everyone is a pawn in a sociological game the horizon of which is past our understanding.
So far I don’t know how I feel today. I’ll be seeing Gloria at nine this morning and maybe we can go do something fun, like a trip to the bookstore. The day yesterday went pretty badly except for early morning. I guess I was feeling lonely and uninspired. It’s totally reasonable to do something for recreation, especially when I never do anything like that. Going to church is just a shot of indoctrination every Sunday and it gets wearisome and irritating after a while. “If it’s all compliance, it’s a runaway train.” For a change I want to take control of my life. For so long I’ve felt powerless like a man with no balls. So much of rock music is about liberty and happiness, a message I grew up with, but somehow my life got derailed all over again when I gave my power to authorities outside of myself. “You lock the door and throw away the key / There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.” I used to write lots of posts on empowerment and I believed every word of it. But at some point I sold out my values to the agency and let them take over everything— except my bank accounts. I still have power over my finances, luckily. Generally I feel that I’ve been bullied into my current state of affairs, and I wonder what it’ll take to reclaim my rightful will. Because, the power is ours originally, to either embrace or throw away. It’s very difficult to get it back once you give it to someone else. This is my circumstance today.
Seven twenty five.
I’ve got “Tea for One” playing in my ear, the old Led Zeppelin classic. I slept badly last night, but I’m thinking that Freud was close to the truth about human beings. The clouds are gray and puffy in the east; maybe we need a good rain today. Something to wash away cares and worries. Memories from my childhood keep haunting me, though I don’t know how important they are to the present day. My experience with the church was just a veneering with doctrines. The situation now is unique: I am sober and also have a lot of free time for soul searching… Freud is depressing. I prefer to feel happy and free and proud of myself. Like being in ninth grade again, and having a skill I was very good at. But even then, I had latent feelings for people, but it wasn’t my fault. You are just what you are.
After nine o’clock.
I’m in the waiting room of my doctor’s office. The music on the PA sucks; very drippy and sad sounding. No one here seems very happy, and I’m already having a bad day. The receptionist was rather rude and cold. I don’t know. Something is wrong with the whole scenario. I’m so sick of going to healthcare appointments one after the other. My life feels controlled by forces I can’t perceive, by god and government, by the media and whatever else. I don’t have the freedom to choose what I do with my life anymore.
Eleven o’clock. I guess I was just in a foul mood, and I waited a half hour past the time of my appointment, which lasted 15 minutes. My cab was there when I got back to the lobby. I didn’t want to keep him, so I hurried out to start our journey home.
I’m really not happy about having a PCA come to my house on Tuesday because the whole situation indicates my loss of control over my life. It’s been taken over by government agencies, these nonprofit organizations that don’t take no for an answer, but instead bulldoze over your will and your privacy. Maybe I don’t like the Democrats after all? It’s hard to say who’s in charge of the big changes since I started going to the agency in 2019. Do they really intend to be helpful or do they just want to force everyone to conform to the norms created by nobody in particular? At this juncture I don’t know what to do, though I want to assert myself in the teeth of this Big Brother thing and reclaim my self control, the right to govern my own life. While the mask mandate is going away, they still find ways to shepherd us and keep us obedient and scared. It’s as if the sun outside had to shine in chains just like every human being.
Eight twenty five.
The next day it rained. I had planned to do some soul searching today, but now I think I’ll just have a day in the life. My dreams this morning concerned issues of control and why I read so many Tarzan novels in my youth. Maybe it doesn’t matter what I fed my mind with when I was young. The last therapist I saw seemed to think that being a control person was a problem. I’m not even sure what she meant, and what would be the alternative to being in control? I asked her that and she had no answer. She was full of buzzwords and cliches and hadn’t really thought anything through. I don’t think she was capable of original thought but instead sponged her ideas from current trends. A lot of people do that. The result is that people go around prattling nonsense they know nothing about. They were never taught critical thinking skills in school, or how to think rather than what to think. It seems that society doesn’t encourage freethinking anymore. We’ve done away with philosophy classes in some schools or made them an elective to the point where students don’t bother with them. But without philosophy, people have no compass to steer their lives by. They just shoot the chutes of mass production and become model citizens with little self knowledge.
Quarter of ten. I observed something strange on my way to the store this morning. Two guys were working on the roof of a shed where Derek lives. Parked at the curb was their truck, a big white pickup with “Redneck” on the windshield and a Confederate flag for license plates, no number anywhere. Only a block away from them, Chico was still doing yard work for a neighbor on my street. I just hope that Aesop and I are safe here at home. It’s been raining all morning, so I took my umbrella to the market. People were fairly civil to each other inside the store, patiently waiting in line like they’re supposed to. I just wish I could do something to moderate the extremes I see in my neighborhood. What has the world come to? And how can we repair the damage? The situation is enough to make anybody paranoid.
Seven o’clock. I took a risk on Coca-Cola because I really wanted to drink beer or something else with alcohol. But I wonder why I picked now for a time to do this. I don’t feel very clever at this time. I feel disappointed in myself for being stupid. What was the stress that pushed me to do this? I shouldn’t be feeling any pressure at all, yet something has been bugging me since the heatwave hit us. Life seems out of control, or rather out of my own control, and maybe by drinking I believe that I could seize some power over events. At least, this is what makes sense to me. It used to be that drinking was one of the freedoms available to me, and by doing so I could assert my control over my life. In the face of everyone who said I mustn’t drink, I stubbornly persisted in doing it in order to be independent and free. Rebellion is absurd sometimes. We go to self destructive extremes in the name of freedom and power over our own lives. What is the contrary of rebellion— obedience? But what is it that we must obey? And this line of inquiry will lead me to Milton’s Paradise Lost. I never bothered to read the whole poem, but perhaps I should.
Nine twenty five.
The heat outside is already exhausting. It’s been hard on Aesop day after day. Today I’m going to try not to worry about anything. Whether I’m the master of my destiny or not is unknowable, so just resign myself to the ignorance. Maybe it’s desirable to take control where I can. The authorities can lock down on us all they want, but even then we have options. You can always choose to run a red light… The market has been out of burritos and Hot Pockets for over a week. I asked Vicki about a new shipment of food and she said tomorrow. So I’ll wait a little longer before making my run in the morning.
Lately the schizophrenia doesn’t bother me much. I still hear voices when there’s white noise in the room, but I mostly ignore them. I’m very thankful for my clarity of thought, which is owing to the Vraylar.
The sky is the same white color as yesterday, intense from the sun. This is one thing definitely out of my control. Nor will any amount of praying alter it. If I’m wrong, then I’ve been missing the boat all along. We seem oblivious to the fact that reality keeps going on even with our eyes closed. It doesn’t have to be looked at to exist. The things we wish for would’ve happened anyway. People are incredibly vain to believe that nature orbits around them, but human nature is another item out of my willpower.
Despite the heat, the sunshine is nice to look at. My dog had his breakfast at ten o’clock. I sort of miss drinking beer and being an honest reprobate, a rascal with some kindness about him. But in some ways, I’m still the very same person as when I drank. This is something I wouldn’t wish to change. So now I wonder if nirvana is for real. Is it really possible to eradicate all of your selfish desires and be the hole in the donut? They say progress, not perfection, but perhaps the ideal is not so great. But I can agree that kindness is a perpetual good. Sometimes it’s enough to just be who we are, and never mind living by doctrines and principles. One size never fits all. And those who judge us for merely existing have problems of their own.
It’s going to be a good day.
Quarter after five. The above doesn’t sound like me much. What helped my mood at three o’clock was my success with the screwdriver in fixing the door knob. This gave me proof that I have some control over my circumstances. The reason why I was despairing was because I can’t control the hot weather or the spread of the coronavirus beyond just myself. I felt overwhelmed by the heatwave, from which we won’t be getting a break. At my most fundamental level I am a control freak, so having no control over a situation tends to depress me. Admitting powerlessness is not in my method for recovery, and maybe this is my problem with Alcoholics Anonymous. My belief system depends on freedom and responsibility. In every situation we have a set of options and are free to choose from among them. We are never denied this free agency.