I suppose that one of the reasons that I don’t write about suicide as often as I think about it is a fear of becoming tiresome or being another cliche. I’m tired of remembering those high school idiots and their fashionable depression. I’m tired of remembering that, no matter what I actually did have going on, I was one of them. I complain that I wasn’t taken seriously at a younger age, and, there’s something in that. But I don’t think that I’d have listened to thirteen year old me either, and I don’t think that he had a great deal to complain about. I mean, when it came to his little town, thirteen year old me had it pretty lousy. But I lived in a pretty great town.
I think that maybe it’s a good idea for me to write about this in here now. I don’t expect that I’ll kill myself, and, if I do, it won’t be for some time yet. Still, maybe talking about it will be a good idea? The problem is that the more I talk about it, the more obviously it seems to be the answer but for the fact that I am told that it isn’t and cannot be. I swore that I’d not kill myself until I was 25, and I’ve obviously stuck to that. As for what to do now, five years past my expiration date, well let’s consider.
My health I’ve detailed elsewhere. Although I am constantly inconvenienced, it’s only recently that anything, beyond my stomach, has left me in constant pain. A chiropractor could temporarily heal my back, but nobody has any suggests for my joints and eyes. This, of course, also ignores my constant and never ending exhaustion. I find these things steadily worsening. I do not see a way to remedy any of them.
Let us now catalog my emotional and mental state.
My life is a wasteland. This is a problem of long standing. Although I have many people that I can deal with socially, the last significant friendship I made was Anna, who is no longer on good terms with me. My other recent friendships with people who enjoyed, to any meaningful degree, my confidence are Simona and Amber. So, 2008 and 2014. The most recently made friend who I still speak with regularly is Tristan, and we met in 2001. While there is something to be said for the fact that my three closest friends, at present, were three of my closest friends fifteen years ago, it also reflects poorly on my ability to make meaningful connections. This wasn’t improved when I was back in the US. If anything, in many ways, I felt more alone. I feel the loneliest when I’ve just interacted with other foreigners in Japan. I feel that disgusting barrier come up and I know that they’re in some place that I’ll never be allowed into. My social skills only work when there’s a stable group of people, or, when I can make a stunning first impression and then exploit my breakthrough. These are too limited to be functional. At least, that’s what I’ve learned. The obvious solution, it seems, is to learn new social skills. Since I first set about scientifically determining how to act, at the age of thirteen, I have tried dozens of strategies. I have found two that work. Everything else ends in failure. I suspect that I have two strategies to make anyone like me, but these are not conducive to actual friendship.
Even within the confines of the friendships that I have, I feel constrained. I can’t unburden myself as I used to. I’m too often reminded of the damage I did in the past. I know that talking to Tristan makes him feel uncomfortable, though he endures it because he does honestly care. I was worried, for a time, that he didn’t. I’m glad to know that he does, though the way he shows it is often easy to overlook. Complaining to Kat, for all she loves to listen, just makes me feel miserably small and pathetic. Complaining to Courtney about things of this nature get me a great deal of bog-witch empathy, but not a great deal of . . . I don’t even know the word. I don’t understand her bog problems, and she doesn’t get this. I can worry about the negative impact of swamp gas on mayfly population, and she can worry about my overwhelming sense of dread, but we’re not even the same species, in some regards. And this is the person I feel closer to than anyone else in the world.
So, socially speaking, I have few relationships that allow me anything resembling an actual, human, connection. I have a great many well wishers, and I’m blessed with a large number of fans, but as for actual friendship . . . three and a half people? And even then, across various barriers and with sufficient constraints to hamstring anything close to what I, ashamedly, admit that I probably need. Compound to that my inability to make new and lasting friendships, be they in China, the US, or Japan, and my decreasing social ability and one sees that there’s little hope of improvement. I’ve got very little, and it is more likely to decrease than to increase. I live in dread of the day when Tristan finds a woman and I lose him utterly. Again.
Socially, I find little hope for improvement in my condition. The conditions wherein I am able to make friendships are rare. My existing friendships are wonderful and amazing, but there are an infinity minus one ways for them to get worse and only one for them to stay on course. The odds are that I’ll lose Tristan within three years. There is no likelihood of replacement. There is little hope here.
I couldn’t think of a better term than this. I have so many emotional connections to people from the past. And I wonder whether these connections have prevented me from embracing my future, or, if my future just cannot compare to what I have experienced? I spoke, this afternoon, to a young mother who, twelve years ago, I pulled into an audition for The Hobbit. She has such pleasant memories of The Starlight.
She was one of the March sisters, and it was the Little Women Google Doodle that inspired me to message her, and a few others. I didn’t even get replies from most. To me, both of those shows meant so much. I met Rachael in the straight play (and the mother in question was double cast with her, oddly enough, as Beth). I know I’ve written about it before, but I remember something that Beth says: She was never really one who was ready to live in the real world. To live and to go about in it. To grow up. She knew it, and she’d never really had dreams for the future. Well, I certainly had dreams, once, but . . . I don’t know that I was ever really a person able to do much about it.
I was the youngest, and the one who tolerated the ministrations of a distraught and neurotic mother. I was trained to say that I’d be her baby forever, and this little statement made at around the age of three was thrown in my face over and over. I can remember one instance, I was likely no older than ten, when I threw myself face down on my mother’s bed, no one was in the room, and sobbed because I was getting older. But I also knew, somewhere, that the tears weren’t really real because I could stop them. And I did. But that made it all even worse somehow. I have such a dread of the really real world, but, I don’t know what to do but to embrace it. Yet, I feel so woefully unprepared. Talking to Tristan is a blessing because I don’t feel the shame that I get when I talk to anybody else. I’m living a child’s life, at thirty, playing house by myself in Japan. And somehow losing the game. One by one, I lost even my childish dreams, and I’m left with a longing for a time which is gone and which can never come back. I even remember thinking how sweet it would be to set up Dean (I’d talked to Chris . . . Murray? about it years before) as a kind of successor to what I once was at The Theater. But . . . that’s not him. That’s not his group. The torch wasn’t passed. It was extinguished. And that’s a harder thing to bear.
The great “loves” and the great moments, the great memories and success and failures, the great triumphs and defeats, the highs and lows and . . . even the in-betweens: All of these were at a place which no longer exists. Among people who have likely forgotten me. And if they haven’t? I’m a fun tale to be told over a drink, or a harmless anecdote of a youthful fad. These things that meant the world to use lost their meaning to everyone by me, it seems, and I don’t know how I can hold onto them any longer. Yet, when I look at anything else . . . it all pales in comparison. I would trade anything to go back to that time, and I hate myself so much for it. Yes, I know, I know, I’ve been saying this for so long. But when I look at that time, yes, I was a miserable disappointment (as ever), but I was so happy! Sure, I was sad sometimes, and I can tell you the struggles that I had. But taken altogether . . . seven years removed from them . . . those were the happiest years of my life. And I am disgusted, horrified, appalled, and terrified, that these may have been the happiest years in my life.
As I type, the idea that perhaps I should try my hand at the adult world and make a new kind of happiness, the kind that will let the past stop seeming so vivid, stop overpowering everything that I have in front of me, comes to mind. And yet when I wonder, “How,” there is no answer. Just the empty echoing of a piano in an empty skull.
Nostalgically Speaking: I experienced much, at too young an age, and peaked too early. I find it unlikely that I will be able to experience fulfillment comparable to the old days.
Speaking of Dreams:
When I first took it into my mind to teach English in Japan, I was going to teach, but moonlight as a musician. Then as a writer. Then I was going to study and learn to be a translator, maybe business, or maybe literary. Or I was going to be a professor. None of these things seem to be possible or appealing. I see no great hope that this situation will change.
I used to believe that I had the creativity to make it in the arts, but that I simply lacked the discipline. I now believe that I lack even the creativity. I was a talented, but uninspired, musician when I applied myself, which was rarely. I had potential, but I was never the kind of person who was going to do much, though, Danny Jordan did think I was going to shake things up quite a bit. Though, he’s dead now, and I only lasted a semester in his department. Still, I never had the discipline to be a musician, and the age of the mediocre wind player is long since passed. My writing output consists of one unreadable play, about a half dozen short stories, dozens of hopeless beginnings scattered across numerous hard drives, and yes, even floppies. My Japanese is not up to its 2007 level at present. And I have no real desire to do much with it. I came to Japan looking for something. I haven’t found whatever it was that I was hoping for, and now . . . I don’t know what to do next. This ties into the above point. I see nothing in my future that looks promising or gives me any reason to hope. The notion of teaching English forever doesn’t really appeal, but, I have no other marketable skill.
Speaking of Dreams: When they have died, what’s the point of life?
Speaking of Fire:
I can remember when I first set about seducing women. It was my revenge on a hideous and unfair world, one that had made me universally repellent. Let’s not forget that even Courtney thought I was a toad when first we met. The notion that something as disgusting as I must have been could win the affection of ladies who were out of the league of my own obvious superiors was delicious revenge on a malicious universe. I can remember, even in the second grade, asking to be insulted as I competed a task just to prove how I could overcome people. I used to delight in proving people wrong. It was my passion. Anything I was told was beyond my abilities, I’d do just to show people that I was the best and they could go to hell. And when I set my mind to something, I did it. Things I said I’d do, even in jest, I did. I flew to California to win Courtney back. And if it had been cheaper, I’d have endured days on a bus or train to get there. I literally can no longer imagine having a feeling, or being capable of a feeling, sufficient to inspire that kind of action. I can no longer imagine having the pride that I once had in the value of my word and the meaning of my promise or action. It baffles me that I used to have pride. I am reading, in my doldrums, some of those Regency romance novels that I enjoy. I remember reading, in Durant’s history of Philosophy, some comment that the broken Nietzsche made to a visitor. The young man commented about something philosophical, and Nietzsche, devoid of understanding, said to him, sweetly, “I too, once, wrote some philosophy.” Yet he was utterly divorced from the reality of that philosophy, or from the reality of the man who had written it. When I read about “affairs of honor” or the value of a “name” or some such stuff in these books, I thing to myself, “I too, once, had some pride.” And I reflect that what little pride I have remaining is sufficient to keep me employed. My father was right, all those years ago: It’s when a man loses his job when he finally knows it’s time to end it all.
I remember wanting revenge on Courtney’s Cliff. I remember wanting revenge on Rachael’s folly. I remember hating. I remember the jealousy, jealousy overbearing, at the thought of the man who got to Amanda before me. I remember losing myself UTTERLY in the role of Heathcliff because that’s the man I wanted to be! I remember loving Gatsby, because he was, perhaps, a softer (but still acceptable) her for me. I remember losing myself in Brahms for . . . oh so many reasons.
Is this what it means to be old? To no longer know anything resembling love or hate or passion? To be worn out and tired? To no longer think of anything beyond convenience? Another woman would merely cause me problems, so I avoid them. More friends? Well, if I can’t open up to the ones I’ve got, then why bother with additions?
There was always, within me, some thing that resembles what Courtney calls the John Denver part of her. There was something of beauty that appreciated beauty and had a goodness and sweetness and innocence. But there was also a dark side to me, one that loved hatred, fed on negativity, and turned resistance into victory. That part of me is dead. It requires pride to maintain. I lost all of my pride. I lost my hate.
You have to be able to hate something else more than you hate yourself.
Speaking of Fire: I write this with ink made from ashes long since grown cold.
Speaking of Minds:
I feel my mind growing slower every day, and cloudier. I can’t recognize faces. I’ve never had mind for names, but faces stuck with me. For years, I could remember the face of a little girl I saw in Tel Twelve Mall near the Hanukkah display by that old toy store. I remember seeing her and thinking, “What if someday, we get married? I’ll be able to remember that this was the first time that I saw her.” And for years I held onto that memory. I haven’t got it any longer. Though I seem to remember the girl in the display was wearing a blue parka. My memory is slow. I used to memorize everything that I read. Now, I find myself rereading a page three times to get the gist of what happened. And this when I have no distractions. I used to arrive to class early, prop a book open with my elbows, close my ears with my thumbs, an be immersed in seconds. Now . . . I find that reading doesn’t do what it used to. And fiction is utterly absent from my life. Beyond rereadings, comedy, and Georgette Heyer.
My memory is failing. My ability to learn has slowed considerably. My ability to recognize people is right out. I feel like I’m in a haze that grows thicker with every passing day. It’s been like this for years, but only as it grows this bad am I realizing that the origins lay back farther than I’d imagined. I do not see this trend reversing.
Speaking of Minds:
I see no reason to suspect that the trajectory of mine will improve.
Speaking of Mono no Aware:
A sensitivity to things. I don’t have it. I briefly felt, recently, a shocked beauty at a sunset. But, in the end, pulling over was too much trouble, especially when I had . . . nowhere in particular to go and no time to arrive there. Tea ceremony is a bore. I hear the sound of water pouring into the kettle, or the bowls, and I know, I know that it’s beautiful. I know it’s the sound that used to mean so much to me. I can almost remember the feeling I got, once, pouring tea for Katie even in our mean JCMU tea sets. But I get no satisfaction from these sounds. I only get pleasure from eating and drinking. From satisfying cravings or finding new ones. I suppose that it’s just as good that women either find me repulsive, or, I have the decency to know that they should. Actually, it’s just as well. My sexual appetite is almost entirely gone. If I lose all interest at the thought of me naked, I cannot imagine anybody else would disagree. I think about my last two “conquests” (not counting Simona) and I’m filled with even more shame. Oh how low I was willing to sink to feel even moderately acceptable. But Jordan and Audrey were like the pastries and sweets that I gorge myself on. In and of themselves, bland and not terribly satisfying, yet, somehow, there is a compulsion, and the sicker I feel, the less satisfied, the less content, the more my stomach screams out in agony, the more I want to eat. I can feel it ripping itself open, and yet I still want more. Thank goodness alcohol hurts it too much for me to drink as I’d like or else I’d likely be dead. On second thought, maybe that’s not something to be thankful for.
I cannot imagine shaking while arranging flowers. And, if I did so, I cannot imagine sharing it with anybody. And, if I did, it would be in the same way of telling a doctor that I’d gotten over some symptom. It wouldn’t be the heartfelt expression of a man overflowing. It’d be a status update. And, maybe, that’s even worse. I cannot imagine feeling the unspeakable bliss of dancing with a woman. I cannot imagine being enraptured by music anymore. I remember when I had Amanda compete with Brahms, and I told her to finish after the CD did because I was busy. I cannot imagine that now. I cannot imagine who that person was. And that disgusts me. I’ve become a slave to pleasures that are not even pleasures. I don’t even know if there is a word base enough for what I am.
Speaking of Mono no Aware: There is no beauty even in silence.
Speaking of Speaking:
I know that you, Courtney and Kat, have read all of this. And I love and adore both of you for this. But, it’s hard to explain the distance that exists between us now. You’re both real people. I’m not. You’re both adults. I’m not. You’ve got serious issues and real life-altering things that have happened or are happening. I’m sitting in a Captain Kirk bathrobe, listening to overly emotional piano music, and typing onto the internet about how I’m sad for no reason. I wish, I wish in so many ways, that I could talk to the two of you like in the old days, and I can’t. It’s not because you wouldn’t care, and it’s not that you wouldn’t do all you could. It’s not that you’d care less than in the old days. You may even care more, and in a more real way. But I can’t bring myself to do it. And even if I could, I don’t and wouldn’t know how. I spent so many years whining to so many people about so many things, and being ashamed of myself, and being later shamed by the recipients, that I’ve found that it’s easier to just shut up. Oh, sure, I bitch and whine and moan. But mostly in here. Or in vague ways. I mean, maybe it always was? I don’t know. It feels different. Somehow, it feels fundamentally different. I suppose that it’s a lack of experience and connection again. We are in very different worlds, all of us, and the two of you have more in common with each other than I have with either of you.
Tris and I have much in common, but he’s not a person to discuss feels with in that navel gazing way that was always so enjoyable. He can cheer me up with distractions and logic and fun things like that. But he’s not somebody to open your heart to. He’d put up with it. I don’t doubt that any of the three of you would be willing to do anything that you thought would make me feel better. But . . . nothing would, you see. And that’s the problem.
I realize that I’ve written a lot here, but I really do feel like I’ve lost a lot of my capacity for self expression. My vocabulary is decreasing daily. But even my capacity to discuss things is going away. I’m too ashamed of myself to find the words to talk. I’m afraid of hijacking conversations. Granted, that’s most of what I do, but there’s so much MORE that I want to do. So much more I want to say. So much deeper I want to probe.
But what’s the point?
What’s the point when these are the same questions that I’ve been bothering everybody with for fifteen, sixteen, and seventeen years? Why bother upsetting anybody any further because I don’t have the capacity to make it out of my teenage years at thirty?
I still remember the horrible things that Amber said to me after the first breakup. The Rachael mess, the Courtney abandonment, and the Amber debacle really destroyed what was left of my sense of worth. The three all hitting when they hit was too much and I had nowhere to turn. Adding to that Tris leaving and The Starlight closing . . . who was I anymore? I was nothing. And that’s what I’ve stayed. And what right does nothing have to impose on his friends like that? Even now as I write this, I feel shameful and disgusting and self indulgent. I’m reminded of all the drama I caused on OD because of my incessant posting about people who knew me. Well, oh well. This may be stuff that I should have said some time ago.
Speaking of Speaking: Maybe if I can’t communicate, I should just shut up about it.
I find that, piece by piece, everything that used to mean something to me is slipping from me. I cannot listen to songs that used to make me feel. Things that I’ve enjoyed are distasteful. Nothing seems to do anything but either distract me, or make things worse.
It’s a dark place that I’m in. And I am growing increasingly certain that it will never be truly light.
The only things I can think of that sounds appealing, the only things I can think of that seem as though they would improve anything are things that are either so wild as to be unthinkable, or things so very base and shameful as to convince me that they are the deranged wants of a madman deep within his fever dream. I would love, of course, to be able to sleep and to suddenly have perfect health. I suspect that would put me in a better frame of mind. But that is unlikely. As for comfort, I think of how lovely it would be to have some Rachael figure to hold onto and just relax with. To maybe even cry a bit? Or to sit in (what I once believed to be) understanding silence as I feel the years of filth and contamination sublimate off of me. I have dreamed of Rachael, and relatively often. They’re not traumatic like they used to be. I know that the Rachael in my dreams is mine, and that she’s as real as the old one used to be. Which is to say that she exists only in my dreams. That there happens to be a woman actually named Rachael who looks like an emaciated and prematurely aged version of this one is incidental. She doesn’t matter. The one in my dreams though? I feel. And when I touch her, I feel happy. I feel something that’s indescribable. I feel, even in my dreams, the weight, and the filth, and the failure, and the disappointment, disappear. Vanish off of me into the ether. And the feeling nearly brings tears to my eyes now, even though I cannot seem to really recollect the specifics of how it felt. I am crying over something that I must feel within me, yet which fails to reach the surface of my thoughts.
But these dreams are, for all their pleasantness, hideous, too. Because there won’t be a Rachael, or any woman, to come along and to make me feel better. I’m 30. That’s about five years too old to believe in Manic Pixie Dream Girls anymore. Would one help? I really don’t know. If there’s anything left in me, buried under all of this, I don’t know what it is. And maybe somebody could help me to scrape it off.
But, covered in all of this, why would she want to?
And so, she is best left as a figure to periodically grace my dreams.
Because there’s a bit of hope in that. There’s a bit of hope that as long as I can feel something in my dreams, maybe it will be there when I wake. But I find this to be about as likely as an eyeless man who dreams of what he once saw, then wakes up to a more profound darkness.
I’ve lost something. I doubt that I’ll get it back.
I’ve lost something.
And there’s nobody anywhere to find me.
Not even me.