A New Man am I

In seven days it will have been one whole year since my last on line journal entry, and my last post on Xanga. I have been keeping an on line journal for ten years; I have been making music for ten years; I began my first finished novel ten years ago, and I have been a philosopher for ten years. It has been ten years since I fell in love with a dream. How fitting- ten years later I broke free of that obsession with no regrets, as my reality is finally better. It has been six years since I broke free of a related obsession with hallucination. I have been trying to grow up for the past six years, peeling off narcissism, scraping away avoidant issues, and stomping out subtle delusions of grandeur. I am restoring the balance between thinking and feeling.

Ten years ago some thing changed in me. This body was per haps ten years of age when the name Shyft came to mind. The identity ‘Nick’ was pitiful, overwhelmed by anxiety, frequently experiencing what I know now were panic attacks, stress-induced debilitating stomach pain on par with food poisoning. He was terrified of the world, terrified of being judged poorly by his peers and his superiors. He took every thing personally. Academia was easy and boring; physical education was synonymous with embarrassment. Escaping in to fantasy, in to video games, books, movies, and pornography was all that he had. Some thing had to change, but no one said any thing. He was young, and did not question it. He created Shyft to do that for him. I was the critical, questioning, confident alter ego that would set things right. I remember keeping him awake at night with my encouraging words, that the words of others had no power over us. I told him that I would step in and take over to prove it. I would show him what it looked like to be in control of a situation, or lose control and not be bothered. It seemed promising. I failed. On March tenth of some forgotten year, I felt the identity of that poor, pathetic human die. I remember the moment well. The body was on roller skates in a gymnasium. I remember smiling; I admit that I was relieved to see him go. It would have been easier to teach him how to face the world than to face it my self, but I was relieved. I have always preferred to suffer than to watch those that I care for suffer.

Taking his place was awkward. I felt powerful and free, but I wasn’t. This caused me to feel that anxiety for my self, but no panic attacks; no stomach aches. No. I was not him. I was some thing else, and I never felt at home among humans. I continued his fantasies; I identified with them. After all, I was more or less a product of them. That was my home. Asleep and dreaming, I was at home. That is probably why at at the age of thirteen my dreaming became very vivid, easier to remember, and began to tell me stories. My emotional experiences in dreams were very genuine and intense, so it was easy to scorn emotion in my waking life. My old identity had died because it was too weak, and it was too weak because it felt too much. As many foolish extremists have said in the past, emotion was the enemy and I meant to destroy it. Lust was a thing to be conquered. I still spoke of love, but it was imagined as a meaningful bond between intellectuals of like minds, no thing more. I did not detest my feelings in dreams, because they were not real. I cheated my own system in many ways like this.

When I realized that friendship did not have to include disrespect and fear, I severed the ties with those that had treated me badly. High school began, but by then I had had enough. I signed up for a home schooling program. I kept four friends from school, three tied together by our parents’ money spent at Hot Topic. It seemed fitting. Two I kept to play video games with; two I kept to train in the martial arts with; two I kept for our shared views on the world. One moved away, and, with his encouragement, I adopted many on line friendships because those friends were like my friends in dreams: they could not gang up on me; they were surrounded by mystery, and I could imagine much of what I wanted about them. Their only choice was to interact with me in conversation, and so I deemed them intellectuals, ones who could carry on in-depth conversations. One of those friends that I kept from school, my girl friend, we were both visual artists using the graphite medium, I left her because she was real. I probably said things like, ‘You’re too emotional,’ or, ‘You don’t understand the world as I do,’ but now I am sure that I left her because she felt too real, and I hated the real world.

I felt much hate, but I was not allowed to hate or feel any thing, so I created an alter ego of my own. My journey in to the Internet began with the AIM screen name CackleFeind. I remember that I wanted the name CacklingFiend, my favorite Magic: The Gathering card, but that was taken. I remember that I originally spelled Feind wrong on accident. I remember liking the card because the graphic terrified me. Feynd’s thoughts were the ones that were shocking and evil, yet justified. I think identifying a separation between Feynd and Shyft occurred gradually. I do not know if it was the clash between creative Shyft and destructive Feynd that served as the catalyst, or if it was the increased obsession with the dreaming, or if it was the girl in red and black, but some thing went terribly wrong. To avoid telling you a different story altogether, I shall simply say that my dream united with my day. I was losing my mind, but I told my self the opposite. I wasn’t losing contact with reality, no. I was becoming enlightened.

I felt powerless, so I wanted power. I hated the world, so I wanted to change it. I began to meditate on the concept of manifestation. A very strange friend of mine called it ‘the burnt’, and, with no clear explanation, I adopted the term. I told my self that the key to unlocking the ability to manifest, to make my thoughts reality, was to cast away all of my hard-wired expectations of my environment and completely submit my self to belief. The hypothesis was that the only thing keeping us under the heel of physics as we understood them was our own natural belief in them. This was the perfect vehicle for madness, and the madness only made me believe that I was getting closer to absolute power.

I criticized every thing but my self. Some part of me was in doubt of my potential, because I began to write the story that I wanted my life to be. Some of my dreams connected, some of my dream characters returned, but I filled in many more gaps on the digital page. If I did not make it, my fictional self would. I thought that I was happy, but I was miserable. I did not recognize my depression. Per haps there was mania in there. I could work on music and writing for hours at a time without stopping, at any hours of the day or night. I felt both surrounded by my equals and terribly alone. Every thing felt in between. I feel the strongest nostalgia for my high school years, and yet I can not put my finger on any people or places. I realized how unhappy I was when I saw how easy it was for me to throw it all away.

Suddenly every thing began to change. I met a girl. She in no way reminds me of the girl in red and black now, but I imagine that I was far more desperate then. I thought that I had found the girl of my dreams in the flesh. I could not have been more wrong, but I decided then that my quest was over. I did not want to be all powerful, I just wanted to be loved by my equal. I gave up my world of dreams for that girl, and she ruined me. I learned that I had been on the wrong path, though, and just like that- poof! The madness faded away faster than it had come. My first girl friend returned to me, and I began to live a normal life. I began to try to balance my self, not knowing yet what it really meant to be balanced. I was left a hopeless romantic, obsessed with metaphysics.

That girl and I shared every thing. We were not always happy, but we were comforted. I think that we both took each other for granted. We went through the motions, trying to find our places in life together. I did not draw any more, having stopped as soon as I started to write music. I was determined to either make my life as a musician or an author or both. I missed my dream world, it fading away as well, but I never asked for it to return. That place was my home and I was lost without it, but I preferred to be depressed for that reason than because I was living a hopelessly secluded lie. I finished my story in three long books.

The six years after high school are a blur. I quarreled with Feynd. I began other stories. I declared my self a raver. With the help of two others, I invented Multiple Personality Solipsism. I headed a philosophy-oriented on line forum. In there, I learned that we were not the first to invent MPS. I felt so limited, but I did not want to let me self believe that it was because I was not a burnt user or a god. I felt rich for a while. I felt popular for a while. I felt in love from time to time. I did not know what to do. My explorations in metaphysics taught me to work from the top down, and that probably made things difficult for me.

Standing as an embarrassment to every thing that I thought that I stood for, my life collapsed when my high school sweetheart left me for an other man. Feynd told me that she was not right for me. I believed him some times. I believed that I did not need her, but that we shared a convenient situation. Per haps it was the shock; per haps it was the helplessness, but suddenly I felt that I needed her. Truly I had spent at least a year trying to stop being so cold and distant, breaking down that foolish hatred of emotion- ha! Truly I was starting to feel some thing new for her in the last few months, like I was finally beginning to understand the deepest of emotions. I have music and my own writing to thank for that. It was too late to keep our relationship, but it was perfect for an explosion of clarity, learning, character development, and purpose. I struggled and failed to create art for a whole year. I exchanged metaphysics for ethics. I grew my hair out and changed my style. The money had disappeared a long time ago, and I continued my college major in psychology and minor in philosophy. I forced my self to observe and test things that I had thought were useless and trivial- many of those things remained so, but new wisdom came regardless. I made dozens of real life friends, and finally dug my self in to the heart of the local rave scene, though real raves were a thing of the past. In the scene, of all places, I found an other psychoanalyst-philosopher and- and this is important- it was a she. This was my chance to prove that I was a new person. I am. I am obsessed now with this girl, a girl of flesh and bone, and convenience is hardly a factor. It is true, what Doctor Seuss said: ‘You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.’

I refrained from posting before because I felt as though things could change dramatically at any moment, and I did not wish to make claims only to quickly have to discredit them afterward. I also refrained because my girl friend and I have been keeping a shared journal for the sake of getting to know each other, so my thoughts would go in to that in stead. There are still matters of uncertainty, but now I can confidently outline the differences between right and wrong; I have definitive plans for success with my arts; my efforts are directed at school, promoting my craft, and building a life with this fantastic girl, and most importantly I am no longer afraid. Failure is a very possible and scary thought, but I do not sit alone, petrified of it. I worry about the girl, who suffers as I have suffered, but I know that, no matter what happens, things will turn out right.

I used to string random thoughts together, creating a sort of enigmatic thought stream. There are some notes that I have made to my self over the past year that might suit that style. Ready?

Some things can only be fixed after acquiring god-like power, but, after acquiring god-like power most of these things will no longer matter.

Studies show that the subconscious treats the future self as a different person. This plays a part in failing to achieve steps toward long term goals. Does empathy for other people makes it easier to comply with our own future needs? Is empathy key to discipline? Hmm. That sure would make for an interesting way of life.

One must find the balance between hedonism and nihilism, practically equatable to the balance between thinking and feeling.

I realize that there might be a healthy balance between depression and contentment. This realization is part of how I came to acknowledge how unhappy I’ve been for most of my life. The fantastic girl taught me that when I’m content I just want to sit back and relax because I love my life. When I’m depressed I just want to sit back and relax because I hate my life. Neither state promotes productivity!

I care less about what one does and more about why one does.

Unhappy pessimists and realists are unhappy because we’re really just bitter idealists.

That about does it for a nice, beefy first post on this thing. No thing about my projects this time, that should be the subject of my next post. Per haps tomorrow.

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