My house is also a mess. Not like years of buildup, although the guest (and storage) room has certainly gotten a bit more crowded. Not in organic waste, either, which I usually try and rid myself of as soon as I smell it. But time has become so scarce a commodity that even that has begun to slide. The cat box is now emitting cartoon-like rays of odor. Dishes are now starting to pile up and crust over. Laundry goes undone. It's bad.
So is my damn life. Lately, my attitude has sucked. If I haven't been sick or hurt, I have been at work, or working for a convention. Now I am not working for any conventions anymore (well, I mean, any work that requires a lot of pre-con work), but I feel bad because I left two conventions leaving a wake of unfinished crap. My last job with them ... sucked. Let's be honest here. I know they weren't my fault with the sickness and family death and stuff, but one thing I have learned in customer service is the customer doesn't care if the delivery truck broke down, or a supplier lost all his inventory in a flood, all they care about is whether they got the stuff they bought on time or not, and in proper condition. I screwed my customers, and that makes me feel so bad, it hurts. It stings. I will never live this down in the history of my own life. So I have been in a spiral of self-loathing and shame and anger. Depression is really pressing down hard on me, and it's taken so much energy to keep it at bay, I barely have time for anything else. And it's a losing battle.
When I was a kid, I was depressed a LOT. I mean, from age 8 through about 15, I would say depression accounted for 80-90% of my waking life. From 11-13, it was so self-critical, I wanted to end my own life, and made several attempts. And these recent events and the depression and the darkness that surrounds me has caused a GREAT deal of suffering. Thank God for friends. Thank God. There are times I am so grateful I have a great family and fantastic friends that my knees become weak and I want to grovel in front of some idol in pathetic gibberings of thanks.
It is because of random stuff that friends have said to me that I feel like a spark of enlightenment shined down on me through the rain. This moment happened at Katsucon, while I was alone in my hotel room, about to collapse into a horrific implosion of self-hatred, when the feeble supports of a smile and "suck it in and spit it out" just gave way. I don't know what combination it was, like something Rogue or Mark had said, I think, but I don't recall what. For a brief second, while sitting in a muddy patch under a huge tree in the darkness, with rain and thunder pouring all around me, a bronze ray of sunshine hit my head. This enlightenment showed me a glimpse of my whole core problem with myself, a control issue. It's all about control, and how I am, secretly, obsessed with it (at least to me, probably the audience that watches the movie of my life just said a collective "Duh!").
When you are a kid, living in chaos, it's all about control. It is. From the very beginning, all kids want control of some kind, because it's part of learning. It's a lot of what makes us human. We don't so much adapt to our environment through instinct, we control it. Cold out there? Make fire. Wear fur. Build hut. That sort of thing. We don't like what nature gave us? We change it. Other animals do that with nests and such, but we have taken it to extremes. So as kids, we all try and sort out the world. But what if your world is filled with random terror? Well, you try and adapt quickly, and you realize the more you control what happens to you, the less pain you suffer. It's ingrained into you. You become a control freak, because even a little slip can have devastating consequences. Or not. You never know, so you play it safe. You drop a glass one day, it's said, "Don't worry, it's an accident." A few days later, "ARE YOU A STUPID KLUTZ?? GOD DAMN YOU MAKE ME SICK!" Same event, different responses. No consistency. That's what causes neuroses.
So as an adult, I am still playing that game. Like I said in an earlier entry, I am still obsessed on patterns. Why do bad things happen in clumps? My brain keeps me awake during times of crisis, trying to find patterns. I use science, psychology, sociology, logic, and even superstition and spiritual patterns. Many lead to wrong paths. Sometimes I find other stuff, which I store for later. But why? For control.
This is what leads to self hatred. I think some of the assumptions one has about oneself is that you are in control over yourself. Makes sense, right? Want your left arm to lift, it lifts. You want to walk to the store, you go. But what if your leg breaks? Now going to the store is harder. Desire of control leads to frustration over obstacles. Now, a healthy person thinks challenges are exciting and a part of life. That's because at some long point in their life, probably childhood, they gained confidence in their own decisions and self-image. "If I make a mistake, that's okay. We all make mistakes. I will solve this latest challenge and succeed!" They believe that! For people like me, I say it like Catholics who only go to church during Christmas and Easter: you go through the motions, but don't practice what you preach. You say, "It's okay to make mistakes," because you hope that nobody notices you failed, and exposes that you aren't in control. You never solved that problem. Lack of control = weakness among the insecure. You are afraid of not being in control. Fear leads to hate, hate leads to anger ... but if you screwed up, where does it go? Some people hate others. "The world sucks, people suck, I hate life!" I used to hate life, but mine was, "I suck, I hate life!" I didn't realize that total control was unattainable, and while I type this, I logically know it's true ... but don't really believe it. In fact, I just got mad at all the spelling mistakes I made because I can't type as fast as I think. There's only so much brain-finger control us dyslexic people have, especially with motor control aphasia. But I still hate myself for it.
Gymnast Dan Millman once said there are no ordinary moments. We don't have control over everything, because every second of every day changes a little or a lot. The key to success in life is to know when to control, when to let go, and how you differentiate between the two. I still have a very crude method that's only slightly better than random, and since I have a lot of anger to work out, it's a very violent journey.
Oddly enough, it is the energy of depression (self-anger) that motivates me to clean up stuff. That's why I can't really clean in front of people, because half the time, I am swearing up and down about crap I hate about myself. In fact, I used to bang my head on walls just to reset the chain-reaction of self-hatred when things got really frustrating. Luckily, I have a hard head, and found that cleaning a kitchen used just about as much energy, and actually accomplished more than bruises and bumps on my noggin.
So when I am too depressed to clean? Red flag. Like when the boiler stops giving off steam, but it's still taking on fuel. Something's gonna blow.
This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000052.html