The Mask I Wear

I’ve got my new office setup. While Alexis was in LA for a dance workshop I redid the apartment. And filmed a commercial. And ran three photoshoots. And made Christmas lists. And ate like shit. And didn’t do any of the things that make me a happy person. I got hungry and then just didn’t eat. Until I was nauseous. Then I didn’t have to eat.

If I were to keep track of all the things I need to do in a day to feel like myself then I would never start a day. You get 10 seconds in the morning where things are pure and there is potential and the mind is soft and then the memory kicks in – lays out the schedule for the day, replays the conversations from yesterday – and you remember you’re back trapped in the world you never intended to create. Every morning a fresh punch to your muted soul.

There’s the eating right – no grains because it makes my head feel like a thunder storm. But I need rice to fill me up. And I think the whole health industry might be a scam and if I thought nails were healthy I could eat them and feel great. So there’s a conflict right there. Enough conflict has compounded in me to where the small things are the most infuriating. Everything is poking me just enough to never let me ease into comfort. I’ve stopped looking for the wins. I’m looking for what’s wrong. Because it’s fucking everywhere. The world is filled with missteps and waste and blind people walking around getting fucked in every direction by everyone they know and still smiling and trying to make the best of it. I guess I’m waiting to see the worst of it. I’m hoping to be around during the time when we all stop being so fake.

We can go in any direction and be anything we want but we keep picking the straight line of those in front of us. To think for ourselves would be too scary. Somehow less scary than lying on our deathbeds filled to tears with regret. We say we’re waiting. For the right moment. Because we’ve learned over time to justify everything with clever reasons. We’re waiting for another time because this time just isn’t quite right. Meanwhile, those regrets are piling up. Inventory is getting hard to manage. We start to show the cracks.

Then there’s exercise. Creativity. Socializing. Meditation. Keeping a clean living environment. Completing my workload. The rest of my list. Each one with its own sublist.

I have a real fear of expressing my truest self. The comforts I have come to know could all be taken away. There’s also a soft whisper telling me it’s okay. That things will definitely change, but I’ll finally be me.

I’m angry at the world because I think it is the reason I can’t be myself. But I’m the reason. My deepest conflict is that I’m just as scared as everyone I see and judge so harshly. Because in my own version I’m walking a straight line and following the people in front of me. In my own way I’m scared to death to be me.

I think we’re all insane – at least a little – walking around having sick, twisted, and unhealthy thoughts all day and then we see someone and we have to snap out of it and play into our Stepford roll and ask about the weather and TV and smile through it even though we want to rip our fucking hearts out and stomp them to death to reflect how meaningless the conversation is. But if we all talked about what we really thought about then it would make everyone quiet. Because we aren’t equipped to deal with that stuff.

When we were younger there were moments. Family dinners. Gatherings. We were just at waist height for most of the crowd always looking up seeing who we wanted to be like. I remember the silence when I knew I needed to see courage. Someone to step up in the moment and show me what a true person looked like.

It’s possible all of the laws and all the stories in the bible were created because we are afraid of who we really are. That while we know we do a lot of good and feel a lot of love, there is an incredible amount of hate and rage and darkness in there too. Hate and rage and darkness that has put thoughts in our heads that are so uncomfortable we wouldn’t say them out loud. Only posed as jokes, just to gauge the reaction. Hey guys, do you ever think about….. haha, no, me either, I mean, that would be weird.

Alexis and I pretend to snap each other’s necks sometimes. I’ll walk up behind her and do a Rambo move and make the sound of a crack and then she’ll pretend to drop to the floor. She tells me that sometimes she wants to punch me really hard. And sometimes I tell her it’s okay and she hits me in the arm or shoulder a few times. And I can see her teeth clenched, I can see the tension in her body. She wants to destroy me. And not because she doesn’t love me, but because there are feelings people feel that make you want to destroy in the absence of articulate words. And it’s okay. At least in our house. But you’re not taught it’s okay. You’re taught to be happy and calm and look around the whole fucking world is miserable. And yet we go back to those things because at least they are established. Doesn’t matter we know they will fail and are completely failing. Doesn’t matter the people we love and swear to raise to be safe are floundering in this real world in all its tiny little jabs.

Just stick to the program because watching our entire life slowly turn insane is more comfortable than trying something new and possibly failing.

I can’t go 5 minutes without checking my phone. I need the screen. I don’t know why, I just have to look. First it’s Instagram, then the Chase app, then FB, then my Bitcoin app, then gmail – at this point I’m starting to get desperate because I’m coming to the end of my arsenal and have felt no satisfaction – so I might open Instagram again in hopes that 30 new people have come out of the woods and started following me and one of them might happen to be a famous producer that is looking for a guy that produces above-average digital media.

And then there are all the things I actually want – learning how to play piano. Speaking Spanish. A deeper meditation practice. Health and fitness. A deep connection to my wife. To be a dancer. A writer. To live in NYC and ride the subway and walk quickly because I know where I’m going. I want to be a better dog parent. But his fucking bark. Last night he wouldn’t stop and I smacked him on the butt with a kitchen towel. Sometimes I do better. Sometimes I work with him and practice our training and get treats and distract and reward but it’s so much work and I know he’s just going to bark at the next dog he hears walking by so I lose my patience and I become angry. And once I give into anger I can no longer see anything else. I can’t dig a hole deep enough to bury this redness.

A simple thing like exercise. Essential for someone like me. A clean hit of endorphins that only requires 45 minutes of my day. But I’ll start saying some shit like I haven’t eaten enough and my blood sugar will be too low to perform well. Or I don’t like the gym because it’s too small and I can never build out a proper circuit.

The piano sits there and doesn’t get touched every day. Doesn’t matter that I had to have it. Now that I do it’s just another burdensome obligation.

All the things I need to do to become who I want to be. I know them all.

And they are the things I avoid the most.

This, of course, is when I’m on the downswing of a manic-depressive brain I have reluctantly accepted. There are many days, even weeks, when I’m doing all these things well and life seems to be fair and possibly even hopeful. I see an ab or two and I can finally play sharps and flats in tempo.

But then an interesting thing happens, once I see the results of my efforts, I stop giving a fuck. I am no longer interested. I know what is going to happen so I stop wanting to participate. It’s so boring now. And I need raw life experiences. Once a week I don’t brush my teeth before bed. Because I’m tired of people telling me to brush my fucking teeth. I want them to be dirty and anyone that cocks their head sideways can kiss my ass. I explain it as an immune system building activity. Preparing my body slowly for the apocalypse one less brush stroke at a time.

We have to eat three times a day. And we spend so long preparing it. And then it’s gone and we have to do it again. Many people have accepted this as inevitable. I get upset about it at least once a day. There are people who enjoy cooking, love the smells and the tastes. Want to let the garlic and onions cook 5 minutes before the rest to build the flavor. Just fucking feed me please.

My body seeks an alternative to whatever environment I am in. I am kind in New York, angry in San Diego, talkative around introverts, and cold in the face of love and affection. I just can’t be where the moment is.

They don’t really teach you the things you need to know when you’re young. How to love, how to be vulnerable, admitting when you’re wrong, recognizing your own ego, having difficult conversations – they leave most of that out. Because it’s a dark hole and no one exactly knows what’s inside. Instead we tuck it neatly away and focus on algebra, something that has a definitive process and answer while the subtleties of life and relationships start to pick us apart and over time we are left with the messes we never intended to create but unfortunately didn’t know any better. Look around you and see all of the broken relationships, the resentment, the lack of joy. We’re broken.

I don’t have the tools I want to have. I am trying to teach myself. Trying to change behavior. But I’m going against a lifetime of wiring and conditioning and the battle isn’t easy. I wonder sometimes how people can stay the same. How someone I went to school with can be the same person now, 15 years later. It’s just more comfortable.

We know comfort slowly destroys us. But we insist on having it. Our best memories aren’t of all the days we made the fucking bed.

Some days I wonder what happens if I don’t pull all this together. If there is no great life revelation at the end of this constant personal push of paradigms.

We’ve built an economy of hope and faith. A white sheet to cover the fear and darkness. A few people propping up an entire world on the idea that their lives are cleaner, loves are deeper, and bills are paid on time. Then you meet them and see in their eyes that they are broken too.

Who is going to pull away the mask?

Spread the word!