Supplanting another’s consciousness is a delicate balance of exploring and yielding. Because all memories are stored in meaningful layers within the folds of the brain, I do not have access to the entirety of my new past all at once. I must become aware, usually via serendipity.
This actually helps my cause due to the fact that all feelings today are shaped by how we view and remember past experiences. In the recalibration it is important that I maintain objectivity as much as possible (until I become too ensnared in this body and it’s processing faculties.) And so I spend my initial days just allowing the body to follow it’s normal unconscious routine. Humans don’t realize how often they move, talk, and respond simply out of muscle memory.
So far this morning I’ve experienced this body (again I need to get used to saying my body) waking up, playing on a phone for two hours, greeting his husband, pleasuring himself, attending therapy, and ordering a drink along the river walk needing absolutely no help from its consciousness: Me.
Pivoting from habit to choice is as simple as deciding to do so, and yet it is my most harrowing task and the reason I exist.
Over time, I’ve learned that mindful stillness is the best approach. Upon waking, or still cuddled up in that pre-conscious moment, I’ve found that focusing upon the body and noticing all sensations makes the absorption process more natural. It is not important to try and determine location or gender or age, these factors are immaterial, the only element I concern myself with is awareness. Vestiges of this body’s former Mind still dance among the neurons, and if I listen to them I can understand the path we will soon be traveling together.
This morning I heard anxious rumblings of regret as the gray matter attempted to cycle through it’s usual routine. I felt hypertension squeezing the inner-workings of this body, my body I should say, as the blood flowed from heart to limbs and crotch and brain. I became aware of extra elements, symptoms of past discord, like body fat concentrated in the midsection and cholesterol lining the inside of veins. But I also acknowledged an optimistic calm in the act of breathing, a sure sign that the body was awaking in the exact position in the world it was supposed to be. And so I released my stillness and moved toward the the necessary innervation.
And so began another excavation. An attempt to uncover the truth of a human’s existence unclouded by anxiety and pain and allow this truth to move us along on the path toward nirvana.
I just want you to see me. To understand me (or try to). To make me feel desired. To make love to me. It would really feel nice to feel special, not because of how I make you feel, but because as an individual I am compelling enough to draw you to me.
TGIF… might as well let it all hang out. (4ish days was a good run.)
… is not something I enjoy. It tends to muddy the waters rather than provide clarity. I’ll admit some of the conversation is helpful, but I still end the sessions with my anxiety cup over-flowing. I’m proud to say that I resisted (and even discussed with Thom) the temptation to have a drink in order to settle down once we got home. But I’m also going to confess that prior to going I added a shot of bourbon to my daily two glasses of wine.
“Situational irony occurs when the exact opposite of what is meant to happen, happens…. For situational irony to occur there has to be something that leads a person to think that a particular event or situation is unlikely happen.” (Courtesy of http://typesofirony.com/the-3-types-of-irony/)
So much for the anonymity of the internet. It turns out that even if you write about your life using the passé blog format, there’s a chance that someone will read what you write and reach out to you.
Now I’m not naive, I knew there was a chance someone other than Thom or my therapist would read my journal entries from this week (and who am I kidding, there was no chance that Thom would ever read them on his own), but I didn’t actually think it was likely to happen. And the irony is that I almost mentioned the blog to Thom today after I told him I was trying to monitor my alcohol intake, but at the last minute I opted out of that scenario and settled in to the fact of my lonely musings.
And then lo and behold a friend from work sends me an email referencing some of the intimate confessions I’ve been writing down this past week. He was very sweet and offered his company and compliments, as well as a vote in favor of my not dying anytime soon. The emotions I experienced in those few seconds I spent reading the email were: surprise, alarm, gratitude, embarrassment, and then some acceptance for dessert. Isn’t the point of writing about this experience (or these experiences) to own them and put them out there so I can effectively confront them? Well, sure, but I guess I’d planned to work my way writing solo to my Saturday morning therapy session and then control the narrative of telling my narrative.
Thankfully that didn’t happen. It actually feels nice to have shared these thoughts with someone else. Now although my friend apologized for crossing any boundaries, he helped me realize that boundaries have been my biggest problem. I keep too many things separate. Work and play. Smiles and pain. Public drinking and secret drinking. What I think and what I allow myself to say. Having him acknowledge the things I wrote about made them real.
And what is also real is how I spent my evening. Glasses of wine with Gertrude. Banjo lesson. A bit of hanging out with Thom before he left to get drinks with a friend. (I opted out to stick to my resolve this week.) Workout at the gym. Home to relax alone, enjoy good music, and write all of this down.
Last night I dreamt that I died. (Although it may have been my conscious fears before going to sleep that I’m remembering, because I was convinced that my heart was going to stop at some point, most likely as a symptom of alcohol withdrawal.) The saddest part for me in this scenario is that upon waking I realized that of all things to fixate upon after learning I was dead was the amount of Facebook interactions that my death may have generated. I couldn’t have been any more of a millennial cliche than if I’d gone out and got a tattoo of the poop emoji.
The good news is that Thom told me today he could see that I was making strides to change my life and mindset. (He was referencing the fact I’d both gone to the gym and practiced the banjo.) I’ve been reflecting on this as I sit at work feeling pains in my heart (Real? Imagined?) and awaiting again the inevitable death that will seize me at any minute. It’s great that he noticed the things I highlighted for myself yesterday, but for some reason it made me feel very silly. (Not quite as silly as my thoughts in the first paragraph 😬 however…) Mostly because I have so much farther to go.
My time at the gym was more about being there than it was actively focused on working out. I’m so uncomfortable in that space it takes a lot for me to even be there, let alone do a substantive workout that will help me lose 15 – 20 pounds and gain some confidence in my physique. (Which, let’s be honest, is my main motivation. The fact that it could also help my blood pressure and cholesterol is oddly secondary when I consider the gym.) Getting to a space where I go regularly with a plan and motivation seems ages away.
As for the banjo, that too felt very minimal. I managed to re-attach my armrest (which I broke last week) and semi-attach the resonator but my actual practice time found me fumbling with basic chords and tripping over alternate rhythms. And I feel pressure to practice way more effectively this evening in anticipation of my private lesson tomorrow. But as I texted my sister last week, fretting hurts my fingers.
Now she was generous and assumed I was being clever when I discussed the pain of fretting, because most of my wake time is spent fretting in one way or another. And although I was talking about my fingers on the strings, it does ring true that I am in pain these past few days. Every headache, every heartache, every pang in my side… it brings me back to my uphill battle I’m fighting silently (unless you count this blog) and alone. And I’m not yet sure yet to where it will get me in the end. (A positive report to my therapist this Saturday?!?)
But 48 hours in I’ve stuck to my plan of only two glasses of red wine a day. Which feels pretty good excepting for the fact that tonight I also felt the need to take my second to last klonopin pill. Ah so.