Quarter of seven.
Behind the clouds, the sun is just making the horizon. In order to be free, first believe in freedom. Liberating myself from my past required belief in liberty. I just realized that my old psychiatrist presupposed Freudian ideas, and these things kept me mired down a long time. He sometimes evidenced a belief in ulterior motives and slips rather than accepting accidents as accidents. Since then, I’ve fought to disabuse myself of Freudian determinism and his tripartite model of the mind, especially the unconscious. The more I can make the mind an integrated unit, the better. There’s no reason to set up an impulsive boogeyman in opposition to the conscious ego, though it’s the classic paradigm as old as Plato. All the more reason to discard it. People believe in Freud and Jung just because other people do. It’s a tradition handed down by the generations, often unquestioned and untested. The sky won’t fall if you should try something different. The past is a bucket of ashes. Give liberty a chance.
Well it looks like I’m going to make it for my birthday tomorrow: five years of sobriety, and nothing really mysterious about it.
I actually sent an email to my former friend about the anniversary. I only did that to make myself feel better; it has nothing to do with him at all. I doubt if he’ll reply, and that’s just as well.
Tomorrow will come and go like every day, but the word of the day is “relief.” It’ll be a huge burden rolling off my shoulders, and then I can get on with my life.
I know it happened three years ago, but the house fire 🔥 is on my mind today. Amazing to me that I lived through a fire and what that means symbolically and psychologically, even in an occult way. For me, it means my transformation to an independent person, which is like the zodiac sign Aries and my life path number of 1. Sometimes I get into this kind of stuff. Maybe it’s stupid and bogus; or then again maybe it’s not. I think I’ll look up fire in the dictionary of symbols.
I feel pretty puffed up with myself just now. I feel really good about my recovery ❤️🩹 and how far I’ve come. I’m a much stronger and braver person now than before I quit drinking and took control of my life.
Woo hoo! It’s a very big deal!
I should order myself a pizza 🍕 tomorrow afternoon and pig out! Call it a birthday for Aesop and me.
Eleven thirty five at night.
It was a day of autumnal mildness and gentle breezes, the sky clear and a deep azure, while people in their cars came and went to visit friends in houses in my neighborhood. Also it was a time when I was visited by old memories of college, particularly 1989, the year I studied Joyce with an expert professor. What I remembered especially was the humor in Ulysses. And later, in the springtime, I had Chaucer with a hilarious teacher and we all laughed our brains out at the bawdy jokes in The Canterbury Tales. The following summer, I flew back to Michigan to see my brother and his pregnant wife, and he and I would watch the standup comics on HBO and likewise have hysterics. I was 23 and hadn’t been hit by real adversity yet; this would come in another year and a half. After that, it became harder to laugh at myself or at the absurdities of everyday life, thinking that a lot of humor is denial of what gives us pain. The boss of my job said, “If we weren’t laughing we’d be crying,” but I solved the problem by getting out of that situation.
I chose a life for myself that allowed me to go slower and easier, like the old song by CSN titled “You Don’t Have to Cry.” I went from a Type A personality to Type B, doing things at my own pace because there was no other way I could live. “You are living a reality / I left years ago / It quite nearly killed me… In the long run / It will make you cry / Make you crazy and old before your time.” The main thing I had to learn was how to manage the guilt and shame feelings, and basically tell my family to go to hell. The other thing was to teach myself a new language that liberated me from my family’s dynamics. Today they have no power over me whatsoever. What I did with my life was absolutely necessary to my sanity and relative happiness. And now I’m in the process of scraping the church off my shoe.
Everyone has options, more options than they acknowledge to themselves. It’s like when Michelle left her dead life in Eugene to take a job in Wyoming: a clean slate. She gave up the victim mentality and took control of the dice herself. The jaws of uncertainty lurked ahead of her, but she moved fearlessly forward.
I wonder what I’ll do after the church fiasco is blown over.
Nine forty at night.
I had some wild sexual dreams that may or may not have any relevance to real life. The desire can be strong but the opportunities will be scarce for a person like me. My old psychiatrist appeared in the beginning of the dream, with a sweaty suggestion of homosexuality for me, but the dream was transformed to something more to my liking. Even so, I never really did the deed with anybody. And why should a theory a hundred years old be taken seriously to explain schizophrenia? The friend of a woman from church a few years ago said her son was “a schizophrenic and a homosexual” with a bit of a sneer. But it doesn’t mean there’s a correlation between the illness and the sexual practice. Since I quit drinking, I’ve been subjected to a lot of opinions on my mental illness that can’t all be true. I believed I was doing an independent thing by embarking on my recovery, but the waters on my voyage have been quite choppy. I guess no one ever guaranteed me the sailing would be smooth. At some point there should be some discoveries on the way, else it’ll all be in vain. One thing I know is that the truth cannot be dictated to me by previous cartographers. Every individual draws their own map of their journey.
Quarter of six.
I spent a restless night. I slept a little here and there and had a bad dream about my parents: they wanted me to sell my basses to compensate for some other expenses. Perhaps they wanted me to go to school. It was a bad dream because I was subordinate to them again, riding in the backseat of their car and being told what to do. But without autonomy, a person never knows who he is; thus independence is vital to your growth and wellbeing. I’d rather be my authentic self and make dumb mistakes than a servant to anyone else and be perfect. And who’s the judge of whether you do right or wrong? If grownups save their children from error, then who will save the grownups from the same thing? It’s silly to be an overprotective parent. Eventually we all have to stand on our own two feet, for good or bad. Just now, a police car siren goes off, but I only shrug and mind my own business. So my dream was a bad one; the return of my parents was like prison for me. People deserve to live with dignity, freedom, and power over their own future.
Quarter after seven.
I hardly ever go to Bi Mart anymore, even less on foot. I used to walk a mile anywhere I wanted to go. A few times I went as far as Santa Clara Square for physical therapy on foot. What’s up with the difference today? I don’t want to spend more money than I have to; but there’s something more. Dunno. Maybe money is mobility and poverty is staying put. Still, selling my guitars is out of the question. You got it, keep it.
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.
The next day it rained. Gloria is here now, doing some cleaning work in the kitchen. I feel pretty tired but a little anxious too. After one o’clock today I expect my loveseat to be delivered here. My prospect of playing music with others is looking less and less realistic, unless it’s just with the church. I don’t have much in common with the people who play rock and roll. Meanwhile my mother’s dream for me gets less relevant the longer she’s gone. Maybe I dreamed it for myself as well. I’ll hang onto my bass guitars just in case. My magnolia has one flower on it to symbolize the off chance to realize a dream. Down the hall, Aesop is scratching at the door to protest being shut in. He wants to be with me— or does he simply want liberty? Like the prop plane I hear flying overhead outdoors: free as a bird on the wing.
Eleven o’clock. Gloria was having a low energy day so she went home a bit early, and now Aesop gets his wish. The swallows in the chimney sound happy, as even the mourning dove does outside my window. It’s a day of cheerful domesticity and independence.
Six fifty AM.
Yesterday afternoon the clouds finally blew away to make a sunny day. This morning it’s still mostly clear with no breeze. It keeps hitting me that the key to everything resides in your own heart, whether it’s recovery from addiction or whatever. The original and ultimate arbiter of the truth is yourself; you are the alpha and omega of your life, and no one can rob you of that unless you give them permission. You can bow to an authority figure, but first you endow the person with the power that was yours to begin with. I did some reading in Emerson yesterday, and his message, repeated again and again, is self reliance and independence. For background noise, my mind plays “Coconut Grove” by The Lovin Spoonful, but the room is quiet and tranquil. I tell Aesop it’s 43 minutes to his breakfast and he settles down and waits patiently. Outside and in, the air is breathless as if expecting something to happen. But today I only expect good things.
Quarter of ten.
I begged Gloria for a light duty day since my dental ordeal Thursday morning and the long day yesterday. So now she’s mopping the floors while I take a siesta on the loveseat, languidly writing a desultory note to myself. The weather is rather lemon.
Eleven fifty five. The clouds have blown away to make a bright sunny Saturday. I was thinking that if humanity has free will, then anything is possible with our lives, including breaking bad habits like alcohol abuse. Independence is essential to everything we do, and often no one’s opinion matters but your own. Contrary to what people tell you, you are capable of thinking for yourself… I might go bash my four string war club down the hall a while, make a brash brutal rock and roll racket on it for my daily catharsis. Or I could read Richard Wright or Mark Twain. It’s possible to do both today. But I think I’ll be considerate of my dog’s anxiety and spend the day quietly. Even this, however, is a personal choice from a few available options. I merely looked before leaping… Everyone anticipated this beautiful weekend, but now that it’s here, I feel very tired, sore, and somewhat dodgy and daft. I think I’ll delay making a decision.
I ended up both reading and playing the bass, and both were fun. Outside, the quality of the sunlight feels rather obscure and filtered; maybe dark and sensuous. Church happens tomorrow, but if I went, I’d know my reasons were insincere, for I’m not a true Christian. I feel tugged in several directions. But what’s done is a done deal. The future presents options; but “when you look behind you there’s no open doors.” And there is no would’ve, could’ve, or should’ve: only what actually happened; what you did. Everything else is a trick of grammar.
Nothing really eventful is going on right now. Aesop gets breakfast at eight o’clock. For his optimism, I bought a new edition of Shelley’s poetry and prose, arriving Tuesday. He believed in the perfectibility of human nature, a contrast to his friend Lord Byron. It’s easy to be a hopeless pessimist with current events as they are. It takes love to see a better way of handling things… There’s a mourning dove hooting very close by. As I walked to market, my ears were filled with birdsongs all around. A squirrel scrambled up a tree on Steve’s property, and I was thinking, “Do you see the same things every day?” So I tried for something new and different. What I found was that nobody really hates me, unless it’s my brother, who can hold a grudge as long as he lives. The oddity is that I never trespassed against him directly, so how am I guilty? Only family dynamics can treat you shabbily, while the bigger family of humanity has an open heart. This is the truth I take home from my experience of the past five years. It may feel shameful to break with family, but if it messes with you, then dispensing with it is okay. In time, they might come to respect your independence, though perhaps never accept you as one of them. This can be to your benefit, particularly if you need to fix a bad habit. Your life is more important than their approval.