(Sally, I have no idea what this story is going to be about yet. Proceed with caution if you choose, but be prepared to read something that disappoints you about your son. Edit: don’t read this. You will abhor some of the subject matter.)
My editor (and sister) and I don’t really see eye to eye when it comes to politics. After reading my last entry on this site, she responded by asking me when I became boring. What can I say? I finally graduated college (lots of people take 7 years to graduate college) and found a passion. Who knew it would be Libertarian politics and dating people who are 11 years younger than me? (actually, anyone who knows me probably saw the latter coming) The fact of the matter is I am boring now, and I hate that about who I have become. I spend most of my time alone. I do go out and hang out in public at night, but even as I’m out among the crowds, I am spending the bulk of that time in my head wondering what exactly happened in my life that lead me here. Am I upset about my lot in life? No. I would never say that. Anyone who has read my stories knows I enjoy drinking from the chalice of life allowing it to drip from my lips as I chug the sweet juice attempting to get every ounce of pleasure from it. Somewhere along the way though, that pleasure switched from blowing lines of cocaine and ketamine to organizing politically charged social gatherings, while dreading someone dropping off a free pan of lasagna on my front porch.
Less than a year ago I had everything I could possibly want. Everything was going my way. I may not have had a nice house (it was literally a prison, and no, I did not misuse literally), or a girlfriend, but I had hit a stride in my personal life and with my writing where everything was clicking at the right times. I had fallen into a routine that proved me to be so much more than a creature of habit. I had become a slave to this routine. I would awaken in the early afternoon, and after a short “session” with myself I would drag myself to the gym where I would swim out the alcohol still coursing through my veins from the previous night. Then I would go the greatest spot on earth, The Frothy Monkey, and work on a new story until I had to go to work. I was writing a story or two a week. It was the most amazing feeling I had ever experienced. Hemmingway one time said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” And bleed I did. I poured my heart and my soul into stories about my life from the viewpoint of a narcissistic sociopath and reveled in the fact I could look back on my entire past and know I had been working toward something that would be memorable. Once I was finished opening my entire soul to the world, I would go into work and serve the same world I had just bared my soul to slices of pizza and beer. The soul I had just bared was being sucked out of me at an exponential rate. So, as I’ve said before, and will undoubtedly say again (probably pretty soon actually), I have always been really good at running away. And when I run, I run far. I don’t change one little thing like my job, or move into a house that doesn’t hold more secrets than the NSA farms, no, I uproot my life and hit the reset button. Sometimes it’s what you need to do to feel alive.
The funny thing is, I thought the job where I was giving pizza slices to drunk assholes was sucking my soul. What I have discovered since I have left was that job was the only thing really keeping me grounded in reality. The world I was creating while I wrote was a world nobody should ever truly want to live in. I was playing a character I created in my writing in my real life. It’s pretty obvious to anyone who has ever met me I may be as narcissistic as I say, but to call myself sociopathic is a lie on proportion with “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” I created this character because not feeling, in my mind, is a better outcome than feeling everything all the time. Unfortunately, after I left, that character, for lack of a better term, died because I could lie to so many people about so many things, but I couldn’t lie about the feelings I was experiencing living in Florida. I missed people in ways I was unaware existed in the spectrum of human feelings. I had begun to forge better friendships with people I barely knew while living in Nashville than the people I would see around the city I was living in. I realized very early on in this adventure I had made a grisly mistake.
During this time I was still able to stay in character. I would go out to bars and talk to the most depraved of individuals and it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. I could not be rattled. I was unflappable. I could not be flapped. It wasn’t that what these people said, or did, didn’t bother me, it was that I was just preoccupied. My head was back in Tennessee, where I probably should have been. Everyday I considered the repercussions of moving back to the city I had fallen in love with, but like an ex girlfriend you didn’t realize how much you love until you break up with her, had left in my past. I struggled with internal questions that would plague my thoughts as I considered my move back; am I making the right choice? Am I moving back because I miss the city and my job? Am I moving back because I want to be with the greatest group of friends I possibly could have ever asked for? Or, am I moving back for some “stupid reason”? Much like how I ended up in Nashville (and Arizona…and other places…I never learn from my stupid mistakes) in the first place? Unfortunately for every one of my friends back in Nashville, the “stupid reason” changed the course of my life, with the help of people I consider friends.
This was the moment the sociopath inside of me died. If my choice was to never feel again, or to feel everything I was feeling at the time, I would have picked sociopathic tendencies every single time. It was pain I couldn’t explain to anyone. It was mood swings and crippling hatred for people I could potentially never see again. Every time I sat down to write a story from the viewpoint of the narcissistic sociopath I had spent the last few years pretending to be I couldn’t breathe. Even though the heart has no pain receptors, something in that general area was causing me a massive amount of discomfort that apparently could only be repaired by doing degrading and terrible things to women whose names I don’t have to change, because I never took the time to learn them (God, I hope Sally decided to skip this story). In the mornings when I would wake up, unsure of how I got there exactly, I would throw up from the flood of emotions I had buried deep in my soul with alcohol and whatever else I could take to make me forget for a short period of time the night before.
This was an actual conversation I had with a girl I met at a bar:
“Can I ask you a question?” – girl.
I glance over as I drink my beer.
“Are you gay?” – girl.
“No,” – me. I drink my beer.
“OK, I’m sorry, it’s just you’re so put together it was hard to tell,” – girl.
I slam the rest of my beer and turn and look at her.
“Want to get out of here?” – me.
“Ok,” – girl.
You can figure out the rest of that night yourself.
I can reference other stories where I feel bad for the same sort of behavior, but I was on a revenge mission for all the wrong reasons. I was living in a haze that, to this day, has never fully lifted (this could be because I have not spent more than 19 hours sober since that time, but I would rather think I may have cause some sort of serious brain damage to myself instead of quitting drinking for a few days). I would sit at my computer and just attempt to “bleed” the way I used to, but all that would come out was antiquated crap. It was writing on a level I had reached when I was in high school. I was slowly coming to terms with the fact that, with my sociopathic character, my dream was dying as well. I had lost my ability to the only thing I can honestly say I have ever truly loved doing.
I hated who I had become. I was not the same guy who had left Nashville only a few months before. I was someone else. Someone who had become a joke to everyone around him (I don’t know if that is true or not, I know some of my exploits have put me into a place admiration with some of my friends across the globe, but I had become a punchline to me, and that’s all that really matters). I wanted to be a better person. I didn’t want to be the narcissistic sociopath I wrote about. I didn’t want to be this shell of a human I had turned myself into. I wanted to be a real person. Unfortunately, I never learned how to do that. I was lost in every sense of the word in a city where the only people who knew my name were bartenders and pornography distributers (not a joke). To say I was sinking is a gross understatement.
The only joy I received every day came during my morning rituals of reading the online newspapers to which I subscribed. It was mildly enjoyable to realize that even while my life was going down the drain, so was the rest of the country while it remained locked in constant partisan battles and typical, boring, party rhetoric. Republicans blaming Democrats. Democrats blaming Republicans. People who weren’t exceptionally well-informed members of society blaming anyone their news station of choice told them to blame without forming an opinion for themselves. It was (and still is) bedlam, and it was the only thing I was finding some sort of sick solace in.
Luckily, I found myself living in Pinellas County. They were in the middle of a special election, due to the retirement, and unfortunate passing of Rep. C.W. Bill Young. The two candidates who were running, as far as I could tell from watching the news, were Democrat Alex Sink, and Republican David Jolly. Neither one of these two candidates seemed like anyone I would want in Washington to represent me. I felt disenfranchised (that’s an over used buzzword recently) by both parties. There’s the trivia question I have seen online asking “Which President doubled the national debt?” The options are A) George W. Bush, or B) Barack Obama (Hint: it’s a really easy question to get right). What I had realized over the last few years was they all suck at their jobs and none of them actually care about their constituents, unless you count the lobbyists who have them in their pockets.
I had grown up since I would have been considered a staunch conservative, Christian child. I no longer believed in the Christian definition of “God”.I didn’t care what my neighbors did as long as it didn’t affect me negatively. I started to see there is no need to give large corporations tax breaks for being successful. I also saw the welfare system as corrupt and mishandled. I loathed the idea of the government spying on me, my friends and my family with absolutely no regard for the constitution. And the fact the government had recently enacted a law legally requiring me to purchase a specific product made me absolutely livid (what’s next, telling me I have to buy Samsung products instead of my beloved Apple? I have to buy GM cars and I can no longer get a Mazda?). Nether of the two candidates were good enough in my opinion, so I started looking for other options. What else did I have to do at the time? I was unemployed, experiencing great difficulty trying to find a job (like so many other people in the country), and most of my days were spent binge watching Netflix, wishing I was able to sit down and write a truly great story again. It was during this time I found the Libertarian Party of Pinellas County.
I had previously associated myself as a Libertarian. I was registered no party affiliation in Tennessee (I think, I don’t really remember), but had gotten in with a large number of Libertarians who I respected and looked up to. I had voted for Bob Barr in the 2008 Presidential election, but I did (begrudgingly. You’re welcome, Dad) vote Romney in 2012 due to the fear of four more years of Obama. That was when I decided I would no longer vote defensively, and I would always vote with my heart from that point on. After a decent amount of research, I found out the local Libertarian Party affiliate was having a meeting in my area that was open to the public. I decided to attend, and see if they were actually as crazy as, professional manipulator, Aaron Sorkin made them out to be.
I am not going to lie, that was one boring meeting. I mean boring. They were electing a new executive committee who were to take over for the next year. It was about as exciting as watching reality TV (it’s boring and stupid people, and allows people like Kim Kardashian to become famous for unknown reasons) for someone like me who didn’t know anyone, and wasn’t allowed to vote on the issues. The only part I found exciting was I was sitting next to the congressional candidate for the district for the Libertarian party, Lucas Overby. I had a chance to listen to what he had to say about the election, the state party, and many other subjects. He was well-spoken, intelligent, funny, and I agreed with many of the issues he brought up, if not all of them. He was someone I felt would be able to represent my voice, and not the voice of lobbyists, or party heads. I could see myself being on board with Team Overby.
I met a few guys that night at the meeting and we headed off to a bar to discuss topics of the day. We sat around a table at Quaker Steak & Lube in Clearwater and talked about war, gay marriage, whether or not the banks needed to be punished for their roll in the financial collapse of 2008, health care, and many, many other topics. I had been living in Pinellas County for six months at this point, and this was the first time I had felt as though I could potentially be part of something real, which was a feeling I had every moment while I was in Nashville. I had missed that feeling. I needed that feeling again. I decided I needed to get involved with the Libertarian Party of Pinellas County.
I won’t actually bore you with the details of the rest of this story. I walked precincts. I took notes. I got involved. It’s not very exciting. But slowly I was feeling like I was part of something again. When “stupid reason” did what she did I don’t think I was so much upset about losing her, but I had been holding onto the idea of my joy of living in Nashville through her. When we broke up I realized I wasn’t part of that anymore and I wasn’t ready to let go of that part of my life.
I had things in Nashville to believe in, and that was a big part of what kept me going and what made me feel alive. There were friends who had bands I honestly believed were going to make it huge in the music industry (if you want to know who these bands are message me on Facebook and I will give you a list of them). There were friends who were starting websites, getting involved in photography, entrepreneurs in a plethora of industries that all possess the potential to become very successful, and while I was living there I was a part of the adventure we all were collectively on. When I came to Florida I changed my routine, the routine I had run from in Nashville. The routine I was now in was not one that cultivated creativity. It was a harbinger of a hermit-esque existence. I have always told people I do my best work when around other people, not while holed up in my house attempting to avoid distractions instead of embracing them.
As I stated earlier, I no longer believe in the Christian version of “God”. I have actively poked fun at friends who go to church every Sunday morning, not understanding their need to believe in something they’ve never seen. What I have learned though is that having something in this world, or in this life, to believe in makes life worth living. To everyone of my friends who believe in “God”, I am sorry for poking fun at something you look towards to give purpose, meaning and guidance to your lives. I now truly understand the importance of having beliefs in something other than yourself, whether that is a deity, or just a political ideal you want to spread across the county.
As for what my sister said, she’s right. I did become boring, and I have always been someone who lived well above boring. As Thoreau said, and I have tattooed on my calf, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined!” Currently, while living a life many people would see as blessed, I still feel I am not flying close enough to the sun, because I have not had enough chances as of late to sit down at my typewriter and bleed. While I may not be the sociopathic genius I once touted myself as, I am ready to bleed once again, with all the gratuitous self-indulgence as before, and the added benefit of knowing how I was truly affected by these experiences.
Oh, and about that lasagna…I still haven’t gotten it, and while I really love lasagna I’m afraid I will have to actually engage in a conversation with the girl making it for me. Thinking about it though, I am really hungry right now, hopefully she drops it off for me soon.