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Round 8: Hints of Shame, in No Particular Order

December 13, 2013

Fringe Benefit

The original intent of this blog thing was to chronicle my adventures in living alone. As it happens, that wasn’t terribly adventurous. I ended up blathering on about whatever crossed my mind when my keyboard was handy. My inability to stay on theme seems a benefit in retrospect. This area serves as something equal parts journal and confession booth. Things I might write in private journal lack the cathartic effect of confession – not the Catholic kind, mind you, just the sort that lessens the weight of one’s chest. Nobody really reads this blog, but it is public all the same. There is value in that fact alone.

Likewise, the friends whom I feel comfortable speaking to are largely either busy bees – conversations consist of making sure the other hasn’t died or become homicidal – or they lack a certain understanding that I feel is necessary to reflect properly on my words. That isn’t to say my friends are unintelligent, unsympathetic, or cold in any way. I only mean their perspective is, I believe, wrong sometimes.

For instance, I have noted that I occasionally go through bouts of what I imagine to be severe depression. No gun in my mouth yet, if only because I hate leaving stories unfinished. Also messes; they suck. I tested the waters of mental illness with a very good friend of mine by discussing the legitimate condition of OCD. It’s a common thing for someone with a pet peeve or tick to say, “I’m so OCD about [insert banal item here], and I’d never thought of it as anything other than exaggerated speech until reading this Cracked article (no I didn’t write it). Her response to my tales of people with real OCD was underwhelming, if not outright dismissive. “They just have to work through it,” she said. While not untrue, in the strictest sense, she seemed to place washing your hands until they bleed in the same category as the sniffles or a scratchy throat. That’s not the sort of attitude to bring a potentially life threatening problem toward. She is my friend and I love her dearly, but this is not for her.

You, my null audience, my faceless detractors and admirers, my infinitely large box in which I pack my words – you are my psychiatrist. You are my friend, my doctor, and my assassin all in one.

Prima Shame

There seems to be a running gag in my life. I’m not into the higher power thing, even in the abstract senses of pantheism or karma, but I’ll be right damned if I don’t have a rotten tendency to do the exact things I swear to myself I’ll never do.

  • No sex before marriage (granted this was a terrible idea. Sex is amazing. Be safe, folks.)
  • don’t drop out of high school
  • never be unemployed
  • don’t make large impulse purchases
  • don’t live with my family passed 18
  • never be in a position to have to move back in once I move out

Every damn thing that horrified me growing up I’ve done. This list is not exhaustive, for the record. It’s most likely a matter of the old “self fulfilling prophecy,” or as Kung-Fu Panda said, “one often meets his destiny on the road to avoid it,” or whatever the turtle said. He was very wise.

As it turns out my adventures in solo living will be coming to an end as soon as I have the nerve to tell my apartment complex I’m leaving. I’m already late on rent and accruing more debt for this month, O what joys are mine. Chalk it up to equal parts lazy accounting and outrageous medical bills. Five or so hours in the ER, two bags of saline, one shot of morphine, a couple of scans, and a warm blanket and BAM! Nearly $13,000 in the hole. All for one. goddamn. kidney stone. It hurt like a son of a bitch but if I had known what it was I swear I would have just popped the aspirin and sake and worked my way through it. The morphine wasn’t even that good, to be honest. Now I’m late on all of my usual bills – bike, insurance, credit card, etc. I weep for my credit score. I’ve worked so hard on it, too.

One person in particular will probably be quite angry and disappointed in my decision to relocate to the family home. This is unfortunate, however the person paying my bills has ultimate authority on these sorts of decisions. That person is me (usually), in case there was any confusion.

Tangentially…

Funny enough, there is no counter list of things I’ve said I would do, but haven’t. People talk about bucket lists, dream boards, setting life goals, blah blah blah. I’m sure that’s all fine and dandy for plenty of people. I tried it and immediately went back to reading random Wikipedia entries and playing World of Warcraft. Lists do nothing for me outside of very specific conditions; namely the ability to complete the list in one fell swoop. I tend to dislike things that take repeated efforts. I bring in groceries ten bags at a time because I hate making more than one trip, I write large papers in single sessions, and I absolutely hate the cheesy Facebook games like Mafia Wars that limit my ability to play without nagging all 10 of my friends for energy. When I want to grind I want to grind damnit!

That might be part of why it’s difficult for me to sit down and write consistently. I love to do it, but it conflicts with my desire to not repeat myself. I somewhat doubt my ability to crank out an entire novel in on sitting – without the aid of very potent drugs. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I write fan fiction in my free-time-that-shouldn’t-be. I publish my scribblings on a forum of like minded individuals. My most successful, which is to say complete, story to date was written in a single evening of Guinness fueled effort. It clocked in at a hair over 3,000 words and took the better part of a 12 pack and an evening. That includes editing, I suppose. My other piece I intended to write and release in independent chapters. Spoiler: didn’t work. I wrote the first bit and ignored it ever since. Partly due to lost interest in the premise, I admit, though I’ve since made better sense of it.

I think the crux of my issue is that I don’t like loose ends. When I go to bed I like knowing that nothing from this day will haunt the next. My last job was very day to day, and that worked very well. Sometimes I would have to repair the same thing more than once, but it felt like isolated issues since I had resolved them wholly prior. Don’t give me that look. Computers do all sorts of crazy stuff, especially in the hands of old people and children. And that’s fine for me. If little Billy downloads the same Elmo virus six times in a week I’ll clean it six times that week and it won’t give me that nagging feeling, though I may have to spank Billy’s parents for letting him on the computer so often.

If I leave a chapter unfinished, as I often do, it haunts me. I have a half-novel-half-comic script…thing…I started in Sophomore year of high school that I haven’t looked at in nearly a decade. Was looking to be a less traumatizing take on the out of place lawman idea, a la King’s The Gunslinger with a distinct Trigun flavor added for humor. I have several pages of a notebook scribbled with opening lines, themes, and bits of dialogue – every piece for a unique story.

I think I’ve found a common thread in all this not doing my thing and doing what I said I’d never. I said I don’t believe in karma or destiny or any of that jazz. A man (or woman, forgive the gender bias in English) can choose their own path in life. I believe that. Parallel to that idea is there being no right or wrong path. If you want to be a lawyer, or a baker, or a teacher, or what have you, go for it and to hell with all else. But I wonder if internally there are right and wrong things. What if Stephen King had pursued a career in nursing, or Ghandi opened a bakery, or Rowling chose to waitress instead of scribble on napkins. I wonder if, on some level, a person might know their path to optimal happiness, and then ignore it and spend years miserable because of their willful ignorance.

I think yes, one can.

~ Rao

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