Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Worst Version Of Myself

So, I've been on a bit of a spiritual deterioration lately. Nothing huge, mind you: this can't compare to, say, crisis in the Middle East, or people unprepared for the switch to DTV. (*Rolls eyes*) And those who know me well would be perfectly right in pointing out that, as a confirmed agnostic, I'm not really all that "spiritual" to begin with. Still. I'm kind of awash in "odd thinking" lately, and I'd like to try to get my head on straight.

I've often wondered about folks who go through some sort of "mid-life crisis." I always thought that was a bunch of shit, personally...people too scared to do what they really wanted when they were 18, now they're 40 and hate being a lawyer so they kill the wife & kids, take the barely-legal babysitter they've been shagging for months and hightail it to Mexico to be a parasail instructor. Hmmm. Maybe that's a bit extreme. Okay, I know: a friend of a friend (you know how that goes) remarked that his life "wasn't what I thought it would be." And my hard-nosed imaginary response was: well, tough shit, muthafuckah! What, you thought it would all be like college? A blissed out nirvana of permanent semi-stonedness and 24/7 Halo? GET. REAL. Welcome to the world, dickweed.

Yeah. Not a lot of sympathy on my part, as you can see. I guess, at my center, I'm too damned logical about things to allow for any sort of empathy for this stuff. But I'm wondering if a situation like that above - not the wife-killing part, the other one! - is just that guy's way of saying what I think I might be feeling. Don't get me wrong: this isn't any kind of web-wide announcement of separation or divorce from the scorchingly-hot Miss Tessmacher...far from it! Hell, if it wasn't for her, and the way she listens and intuits what I need most to hear, I doubt I would have survived THIS long! Heh. No, I'm just feeling a little...vacant right now, as if there are two versions of myself. One version is the way I actually am, a dude I like pretty well, actually, and he goes about the business of living my day-to-day life. But, every so often (and maybe more often than not, lately) I get this sense of a second version of myself. THIS guy, when I catch a glimpse of him, is the guy I actually want to be...but for some reason am not. Being a logical guy, that inconsistency drives me batshit. A couple of "for-instances"...

Guy I Am: pretty carefree, not prone to too much daily stress. And yet...when I walk down the halls, I notice I'm usually pulling my shoulders up around my ears, and not just from the arctic temps here in the Midwest. I also tend to have a "tight mind." In the Susanne Deason yoga video I like, at one point she encourages her practitioners to "strengthen your resolve without hardening the mind." I totally get that's like, there's this thin sheath of muscles all behind your face and around your skull. I hold that sheath tight. All the time. When I become aware of it, I can consciously relax...but seven seconds later I'm right back to Mr. Tight-Ass...Head. Or whatever.
Guy I Want To Be: still carefree, but much more "in the moment" about my physicality, so that I'm aware of stresses AND their causes. I sometimes wonder if I don't simply ignore stress, or downplay it as "unimportant"...and then I harden my mind all day long.

Guy I Am: hard-working, but with little time for enjoyable reading. I love to read...but work and parenting have become (easy?) scapegoats for "no time."
Guy I Want To Be: still hard-working, but maybe turn OFF Roadhouse for once and open a book. I've been trapped in the same novel since early August (Blue Mars, the third of a trilogy no less!), and I have at least a dozen books on the nightstand screaming for my attention. Plus, Tess is hipping me to some vaguely spiritual books by Lama Surya Das and Eckhart Tolle that I think would be beneficial to the process as a whole.

Guy I Am: sometimes, I become aware that I'm having these incredibly dark "fantasies" about what would happen if Roslyn died, or if I came down with cancer, or any other kind of grief-ridden mindplay. Maybe even more simple, like imagining an argument with Tess, and how it might unfold, and what I might say to "win," and then I'll realize that I'm actually all riled up and kind of spoiling for an argument...and think, "Wait a minute, here! I'm not actually in an argument...what am I doing?!?"
Guy I Want To Be: someone who focuses more on the NOW, and not what might happen down the road. Or what happened yesterday, when the cosmos "slighted" me, and how I'll "get back" at it. I want to be someone who says what he feels - within reason - and doesn't hold back for the most passive/aggressive way of dealing with a situation just to "prove" I'm right, or better, or whatever.

I guess I get concerned sometimes that there's this much more peacable person just under the surface of the skin I present to the public, and that's who I really want to be, but I'm not always able to figure out HOW to be him. I know he's there...I recognize the qualities of his that I'd like to display...but somehow I end up spending more time as the worst version of myself, instead of the best. If I was a guy given over to New Year's resolutions, I suppose that would be mine:

Live Better.


Blogger Strangeite said...

Good luck.

However, if you find out that this is NOT some spirtual journey but rather a manifestation into of reality of the Marvel Comic storyline "Infinity War" from 1992 wherin doppelgangers of Earth's heros do battle with the good guys, be sure to let me know.

3:59 PM  
Blogger Suze said...

Having recently turned 30, I'm having similar issues. I know 30 isn't middle-aged, but I'm not the person I thought I'd be, and in many ways I'm not the person I want to be. I haven't figured anything out yet, so I'm afraid I can't offer you advice...but you're not alone. There's that, anyway.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

Oh, Scott. I so understand this. I'm not quite at mid-life crisis age (neither are you), but lately I've been so frustrated with myself for being such a seemingly intractable hothead. I have to keep such an eagle eye on my freaking temper to avoid being an intolerable person. I also do that thing where I have arguments in my head that I have never had in real life. I just struggle so much with really strong emotions, which can be good in their place, but I don't want them dominating my life, you know? And that is exactly the same place I was ten years ago, at twenty-two, only I was less aware of it then.

I think living under Bush for eight years has made it harder for me to let go of the rage and those lower instincts. But who knows? I try to be more in the now; I find that I also just need things to do that burn off the anger fuel. Running has really helped me a lot.

Spiritually speaking, one thing that keeps me tethered to Christianity, albeit loosely, is that Jesus got really mad, and managed to use that energy in a transformative capacity. I need that kind of model. Jesus makes me feel like less of a monster, like my anger has some value if I treat it right. But Buddhist practices are great teachers too. Tess gave me a Lama Surya Das book once that I loved--Awakening the Buddha Within, I think it was. Let me know if you want it; I can send it to you. And by the way, I think you're a peach, so don't feel bad about where you are.

9:03 AM  
Blogger L*I*S*A said...


4:42 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Both "personalities" are you. You choose when to show each one, and maybe certain aspects are only known to yourself. Keep these as a small prize, because so much of our lives are open for all to see. Consider those traits a treat just for you (or the lovely Miss Tessmacher). Or just have a hell of a lot of fun role playing during sex...

11:21 AM  

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