Analysis, CPJ-Saga, Reflection, Uncategorized

CPJ-6: A Retrospective Morning Part A

It’s not by mere chance tarpits are full of doomed dire-wolves because they were the most likely animal to come sniffing for other trapped animals. I would write more about my inertia if I didn’t think that trying to write about it would reinforce it. The harder the fly beats her wings, the more entangled in the spider’s web. I don’t want to get stuck in this paragraph.

I’ve almost finished watching eight seasons of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” in less than a month. To be fair to myself, it’s the best show ever (for me). So, I’ve shared almost every meal with the characters of ‘the nine-nine’. I’ve over-medicated myself with it. Still, it’s the right medicine. I miss being part of a team. I want to fall in in love with a beautiful, nerdy woman like Amy Santiago (thank you, Melissa Fumero, for your performance)– or be the beautiful, nerdy one falling in love– or giving dap to my best-friend a la Charles Boyle, or be the sergeant/captain who always has his squad’s back (like Terry and Holt, respectively)… I could prattle on for way too long about how much I love that show. They really find the fun in every scene without abandoning high-stakes. I notice the writing usually undercuts overly-sentimental scenes with a gag but escalating plot-twists can happen at any time. Sitcoms struggle to build a story that spans entire seasons or series without scuttling episodes. I feel like “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” doesn’t have that problem. I can’t do it justice in just a paragraph– maybe I’ll expand when I finish season 5 (my marathon started out-of-order: 8, 7, 6, 1, 2, 3, 4). I’m approaching the precise end-point that will make me the most emotional: Jake & Amy’s wedding.

*singing* I’m lonely… so lonely… holy shit, so lonely… so lonely I could [say clichés]… so lonesome these waning days…

I’m trying to quit three things at once but I have trouble talking about one of them. I’m quitting Facebook with plans to return with a more detached attitude. So far, really good. I miss it less and less. I’m doing much better at noticing when and why I might think about getting on FB and simply thinking “why would I do that?” Usually, it’s to express an opinion that I wish mattered. You read that right: when I don’t feel reassured that my opinion matters, I feel the urge to post it so it might be validated. “Well,” replying to my own question, “I don’t need that right now.” I guess it’s been a couple weeks? Quitting Facebook gets precipitously easier!

The second thing I’m quitting is caffeine with plans to occasionally drink green tea. Once my tolerance is gone, green tea should have powerful medicinal affects on me again. It hasn’t been easy but that’s why it’s so amazing that I haven’t relented. I haven’t had any caffeine in the past week. It feels like longer!

Then, there’s smut. Quitting goes well for a while, then a relent a little and have to re-dedicate myself. I’m doing much better on a large scale. During the darkest and most lonely points, I enjoyed some smut for sure. I never talked about it~ strange: the fact that I’ve accepted this blog won’t be widely read is freeing me to just say what I need to say! The problem with smut is coming from deeper places than Facebook and caffeine. I’ve tried at various points to drop all of them. Now I’m getting a sharp comparative perspective on all three.

It’s coming from a mixture of physical realities and emotional isolation. The rare times I’ve almost connected to someone, in the 3+ years since my last relationship, dropping the smut is easy. When the opportunity slips away, it’s not. I’m not wired to never have sexual feelings but I’m also not wired to… be so gross. Getting something from smut has always required me to dissociate from myself a little because I’m a sensitive dude who would rather have a partner. I was always drawn to second person stuff– to women alone with themselves or women playing pretend with the camera. Everything else bothers me. So, I found stuff that seemed to meet my needs… but that lost its luster over the years. I found ways to justify it but the impossible knot remains: I don’t want to have sex outside of a loving relationship. If I were given a devil’s dilemma (sex without relationships or relationships without sex) my answer now would be different than it was a year ago: I would choose relationships. I’m going to get old (*shivers*) and my desire for conversation is going to overtake my need for sex. Moreover, that’s what my answer would have been five or ten years ago. The hopeless that surfaced in the past five years is an outlier. I’m glad that I’m not in a bad marriage, especially with kids, but I still want to be in a committed partnership. I’ve always wanted that. For a time, smut seemed like a stop-gap that would allow me to, frankly, not commit suicide no matter how lonely I became but perhaps that threat has passed. I’m glad I’m losing interest in smut.

Maybe writing so openly about it signifies that I’m mostly done with it. It’s hard to talk about because I’m afraid of alienating the person I need the most: my potential partner. What would she think? I wish I had more often asked “what do I think?” *ponders* It’s hard not to be managing my ‘presenting self’ as I answer that on my blog. Right? I think it was a phase. Phases can last a long time, they can have sub-phases. A lot has changed about the way I understand myself. There’s not anything to condemn nor to celebrate about a smut phase. Sometimes I was depressed or withdrawn (from caffeine, for example)– there’s a physical need attached. It’s too complicated to treat like caffeine and Facebook because it’s “urge and procreant urge” (thank you, Walt Whitman). I could spend too much time describing and excusing the particular kind of smut but it’s excused. I could spend too much time researching the topic but I already know what’s wrong: I’m lonely. Some people never get to stop being lonely and it’s terrifying. However, if I stop dissociating and look in the mirror I can see that I don’t have to be one of those people. Frankly, there’s more to indicate that I won’t be. So much of this phase is entangled with fear and despair. It’s a lot easier to talk about smut than the despair beneath it. If the despair is irrational, I feel like my mental health could be judged. If the fear is rational then, holy shit, how will I motivate myself to do anything other than watch good shows?

The tarpit seems unavoidable.

I came to an odd epiphany: “I’m bad at being myself”.

That’s what I said to myself yesterday. It’s freeing. At first, I didn’t think so. It seemed like a profoundly negative thing to say (“I’m bad at being me? What does that even mean?”) Think about what that statement assumes. My true self is something else. The components of this phase are temporary. Practice makes happy. There is a point: to see myself as I really am, behaving as I really would if I’m given the chance to grow. If I know that this isn’t me, then I have a vague idea about who I could be. That’s good, overall. I can face the dark because I know that I’m ‘in there’ somewhere. Diving in doesn’t seem as pointless… I might not ever find myself but at least I don’t have to wonder “do I have a true self?” I do. I must know that or else I couldn’t assess. “I’m bad at being myself.”

I’m not a wolf: I have thumbs. I can grab a tree root and pull myself out of the tar.

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