Blowing Smoke

I started writing a year ago.  At that time, I was a mess.  I look around now and see that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  When I started writing, I was going to “figure my shit out”, but I’ve come to realize that my life is more akin to the only port-a-potty at a festival.  I wanted to find concepts hidden by words I didn’t understand: peace, happiness, and love.  Writing gave me hope, but in reality, it gave me more questions.

A few months ago, those questions would have been a repetition of the same tired monologue I’ve carried as long as I can remember – “What the actual fuck is wrong with me?!”  I solved that one – the answer is everything and nothing.  The gift writing has given me is another concept I never understood – acceptance.  I remember learning about acceptance in the mental hospital and thinking they were full of shit.  “Radical acceptance” is the ability to accept an insolvable problem, and realize that, if there is no solution, it is not a problem.

But how does that even happen? Can I actually accept that absolutely nothing is as I expected or planned, by all definitions I have failed, and I am reinventing “hot mess” seemingly minute-by-minute? Can I actually accept that my life, like my wardrobe, doesn’t fit properly anymore? Can I accept that, though I could be surrounded by people, I have never felt more alone in my life? Of course! None of these are problems, after all, because I don’t know the answer.

Yesterday, I listened to Terence McKenna for a while.  His words are echoing in my mind, “Find the others…” What is weird is I wrote a similar note to myself weeks ago.  The hardest part of the past year is looking back and realizing that, in connecting with myself; I disconnected with almost everyone else.  The coolest part is finally believing, “I would rather lose everyone then lose myself again.” One of the first things I realized when I began writing was I gave the publishing rights of my life to everyone but me.  I said in the first thing I wrote, “From now on, I’m the only one who holds the pen in the story of my life.” Writing and living are two different things.  Writing became a form of validation for me, as opposed to me validating me.  More importantly, finding the place where I do not need any validation at all.  Am I there yet? I don’t really know, and I wouldn’t like to say, even if I did.

741486603-gary-sinise-as-lt-dan-taylor-in-forrest-gumpMy life is a re-occurrence of Lieutenant Dan shouting from the Crow’s Nest.  Except, it’s “Well, fuck me, it can’t possibly get any worse than this!” and proving myself wrong over, and over, and over.  I have to disagree with the sentiments that you always know when you’ve hit bottom, because I have found new lows my overactive imagination could not have possibly fathomed.  I refuse to acknowledge bottom, because there seems to be no floor in my rabbit holes.  On the flip side though, what if the lows we can all sink are reflections of how high we can all soar?  It doesn’t seem that farfetched – everything we see is a reflection of light in our eyes, the things we love and hate about others are reflections of ourselves, so maybe all the things we call failures or mistakes are reflections of what we call success.

That’s the funny thing about words.  I realized when I started writing, how obsessed I was with them.  I’m more walking thesaurus then conversationalist.  I can throw beautiful vocabulary at ugly problems. I realized I spent more time finding words to my problems then solutions.  Like a fart, a word is a passing sign of something to come.  It may alleviate some pressure, but it will take a lot more than words (and farting) to get the job done.  I started meditating, and I started listening more and using words less.  When my mind betrayed me, I spent months writing synonyms for “et tu brute?” Then I went back to meditation. My words come from my mind, my mind is a fair weather friend, at best, and I’ve wasted too much time courting myself.  All the I love you’s in the world are worthless if you run every time there is trouble.  All the self-care in the world is worthless, if you keep hunting for problems to fix and criticisms to critique.  In losing my mind, I found out how to actually love myself.  It’s funny, I never thought I’d find the reason why I lost my mind…

For months, I have been attempting to understand what is wrong with me, and what happened to me.  Did I really have psychosis? Am I really crazy? Of course I am! I talk to myself constantly.  Yet, apparently, if you talk to yourself you are a creative genius, so probably all the things that make me crazy are the things that make me me.  I spent so much time organizing myself into buckets of crazy, traumatized, like-able, fixable, etc. that I lost sight of the fact that I am a hot mess, so is everyone, but people hide it better than I do.  Or I hide it better than they do.  In fact, the entire thing is irrelevant.  It’s just a new way to validate.

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The best part about losing my mind is I gave up.  It’s taken months, actually, really, my whole life to give up.  At the last new moon, I looked at the black sky and whispered, “I surrender,” as I was clutching another cigarette and blowing smoke in the very place I sought god.  My spirituality started not in a church, but in standing on my porch, staring at the stars and asking “What the fuck is wrong with me?” Under those same stars, I have cried, cursed, laughed, smiled, lived and died I’m sure.  Under those same stars, I asked for help. No sooner did I ask, and then I realized how tiny I am among the universe.  I am such a tiny, tiny blot on an immense canvas of life, and my problems are even smaller, because they’re not all of me.  They’re part of me, just like my craziness, just like my pretty words.  So, I stopped trying to fix, I stopped organizing, I stopped talking.

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So what has changed in a year?

“Expect nothing, appreciate everything” inspired me to start writing, because my expectations were ruining my life…

Is hope a built in expectation? What separates the two?

Are dreams, hopes, and expectations all synonyms?

Where can I find the others?

Does anyone else feel like life is quicksand? That they’ve reached the point where they know fighting is akin to sinking, but are equally untrusting of being still? Does anyone hope that the quicksand is a beach, and they haven’t heard the ocean?

Does anyone else believe they’re questions are already answered, if they’d just stop asking them rhetorically?

Does anyone else want to sit on a beach with me and talk about philosophy until the sun rises?

…These questions, I think, are far, far more interesting than “What the actual fuck is wrong with me”.  Writing opened the door for my true passion and love, which I always thought was writing, but I was wrong.  Philosophy is the blood coursing in my veins, and the wisest thing I have ever been able to say, now and always, “I do not know the answers.”

In truth, losing my mind was the only way to find answers to the problems I did not have.  #irony

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