Emperically, I know that I don't have control over much of anything except for myself. This is a very rudimentary idea that I think most people just intrisically know and live. I think that because of my upbringing, because I feel a hole within myself, I rely on these external things to give me value. I wasn't given a system by which to value myself because my father was someone that didn't value himself. He set the mold for me from the onset. It wasn't intentional, given the circumstances of which he grew up in, but it still happened and it's impared my ability to be happy with myself up until now. I'm not happy with myself still, but at least I have a general idea as to why, whereas I had my head straight up my ass before.
I was a kid, though, and I don't think kids need to be that self-aware of what's wrong with them. As I'm looking back through my old LiveJournal entries, I'm finding that I was delighfully naive, and I think it served me well to a degree. It kept me from letting reality destroy me.
I was naive, and yet now, somewhat more mature and levelheaded about myself, I still do these same things to try to cope with the pain of my identity. I rely on my wife to fill the void where before, on a couple of occassions I can point directly to, I put this burden on my friends. I have no regrets in regards to doing that; it is what it is and it doesn't seem like anyone got hurt, but I was clearly wanted someone to just parent me, tell me what to do and how to live, and love me. I felt, even (or especially) as a teenager, that I wasn't loved and I had no value unless someone loved me.
My mother loves me, and loved me then. She's done all she can for me, and I'm forever grateful for that. However much she cared or tried to protect me, she couldn't undo the damage that my father did to me. Unfortunately, nobody can do that but me at this point. I'm a grown man now, I'll be 30 in three months. I can't use the world around me as a crutch, or an excuse, for how I am anymore. I can make that decision for myself and I should be making it by myself, not through council or some surrogate person.
Knowing this doesn't make it any easy to try, though. There's a certain fear of improvement. It's the fear of losing that which is familiar to me. Feeling like shit constantly and being able to bet the house on whatever emotional craps game I'm playing at the time is like a warm blanket now. It's the same reason beaten wives stay with abusive husbands: they don't know a world where pain isn't a constant. It's scary to think about. I'm almost married to my baggage, in a way, because I feel like on some level it defines me as a person. And honestly, it does, because I let it, just like I've constantly tried to let labels define me. "Writer. Musician. Comedian." Those are just words. They mean nothing in regards to who I am as a person. I'm still a person without those titles. No matter how hard I try to run from it, I'll always be Richard Keller, whether I'm playing guitar, drinking, smoking, being an asshole, or what. That's what I really have to reckon with.
I have to become okay with being Richard Keller and not trying to hide behind a title or moniker that's supposed to throw you off the stink trail of my desperation. I have to figure out, for myself, who I am and what that all really means and not let other things define me because those other things are constructs. They may serve a part of who I am on some level, but they aren't the flesh and bones that compose me.
Thankfully, within the last couple of years, I've come to the realization about the whole label thing. Calling myself a writer doesn't make me special, it just makes me yet another asshole who calls himself a writer. It's not completely inaccurrate, because I do write. I don't do if professionally, but I do write for personal satisfaction, moreso that most people I'd imagine. That doesn't mean dick to anyone though. Even in small talk, it still says nothing about me. Like I already stated, that's not something that makes me a particularly special human being.
Maybe there's something to be gleened from Fight Club, in that we are the all singing, all dancing crap of the world. We aren't beautiful and unique snowflakes. But the takeaway of that for me, in hindsight, is that we are generalizing to avoid facing a specific issue. By saying you aren't a unique individual and you are part of the flock, you're dodging the obvious problem that you have with yourself. If you're like everyone else, then how can anything be wrong with you? You're normal.
There is no normal though, and that's the problem I've had with society at large for the better part of my adult life. When you get raised on movies and television that has a very narrow point of view on how the world is formed, and you don't have a stronger influence in your life to help you draw the line between fantasy and reality, you're left with an adult that will have a hard time coping with the several undeniable truths about the "real world" that are essential for one's well being to know.
- There is no such thing as "normal" outside of a statistical sense.
- "Perfect" is a subjective construct and since no one can agree on what it is, it doesn't exist.
- You are on your own for the most part, so you better get good with yourself because you'll have to live with that guy/gal for awhile.
- No one else is responsible for you. It's up to you.
- No one else really cares about what you're doing unless you are hurting others.
That situation probably didn't help with the whole perfection thing. It then became about control and avoiding the feelings of weirdness. I adopted, in my mind, what a perfect relationship would look like. It wouldn't be what I witnessed with my parents. The problem with these kinds of plans (and why I think I tend to plan lightly as a general rule) is that it takes no consideration for external factors. Like I stated, "perfect" is a subjective construct, and everyone's going to have a different take on that. The other problem is that the concept of perfection leaves no margin for error, no room for compromise. The standard is the standard and anything that falls short of that is nothing, it's not what you were looking for. Even machines in industrial plants that manufacture things have room for adjustment. Shit happens, not everything is going to be ideal all the time. The best one can hope for is a higher average success rate.
I'm out of steam now. Until next time.