Friday, April 13, 2012

Hank - An Essay About Living With Yourself

This actually isn’t going to be about Hank at all, nor even the documentary I made kind of about him. I think I made something that speaks for itself, for fucking once. Though, there were some other thoughts hovering around it that I decided to cut because they wouldn’t make sense and decided this is a better venue for them.

A part of growing up, and there are a lot of parts to it, involves the knowing of how little control you have of how other people feel happiness. It’s always worth trying and this isn’t to say that trying to do good for others does not yield happiness, because of course people make people happy all the time but of course happiness happens mostly within and not out and of course people are going to do what they do. Human relationships aren’t about getting lucky enough to find people who fit how you do happy perfectly. You don’t need a weatherman for these things, and I’m definitely not one. I don’t even own an umbrella.

Don’t read what I’m about to say in some sort of revelatory, bloggy raw sentimentality that does nothing but call pity and attention to myself- I used to be severely depressed- dangerously so. See, if I wanted to make this really weighty and dramatic, I’d’ve put it at the end after building up some narrative tension and some long-running sentences, but forget that right now. I don’t even think it makes me special. Everyone has a time like that. The point is I slept a lot and it’s a private part of my life that has gone away. I can hardly even recognize that time; I can only faintly remember how much it sucked. It’s a kind of emotional Huntington’s that’s as bad as an actual disease, a disease that makes you hate living with yourself, which we have no choice but to do all the time. Though from my experience, the suck doesn’t come from knowing too much, from having “too many thoughts,” as is so often dumbly put, but from tragically not internalizing some important things. Clinical illnesses completely aside, depressed people aren’t stupid for being upset, but they are annoying and selfish. This is about learning important things and not being annoying and selfish, but I’ll work from the outside in.

A huge thing I’ve learned from living with people is the kind of imperceptible and unsexy responsibility you have for other people. It’s strangely empowering to learn that you actually have some real meaning in someone’s life. It’s hard to put to words but you know it’s there. As obvious as this seems I don’t think we think about this unless we’re confronted with it (as with everything else). We aren’t confronted with it often because we’ve learned to exist without confrontation, tweeting merrily along in our word of God bubble. Sometimes when I’m studying in public I wonder how long I’ve gone without looking at another human being, and I wonder if this is how it used to be, or if even then everyone was hunched over their typewriters. I’ve said things to strangers and it’s as if I’ve burst their bubble, and it’s because I have. Yet at other times, I’ve found myself growing in such a bubble (we don’t have a choice not to grow) but not really developing. Bubbles are great for coasting and they’re pretty. Popping a bubble isn’t nearly as destructive as you may think. As I’ve been growing my way and watching others grow their way, I see some who’ve coasted so much that they can’t help but stop and wonder how they got here and why things aren’t different and how such a repulsive world did this to them. I think those people are going to be ok. It’s the ones who’re waiting five to ten more shitty undeveloped years to have this rueful and bitter thought that I’m worried about.

God do we suck sometimes, especially college kids. We measure human worth on a Kelvin scale of how much you rub your clothed, gullible penis on strangers in a loud and mean public space where you can only enjoy yourself if you’re appropriately fucked up. I don’t mean to say that it’s bad, but it is strange if you think about it (which is totally against the point, shut up nerd). It’s 3:50 in the morning and I just heard some drunken douchebag yell and a self-entitled bitch laughing way too loud in the street. They’re annoying me and I know nothing about them. I’ve been led to believe I’m asocial for thinking such things, but the truth is they’re annoying anyone who’s awake right now. I know people are awake around me, but I just don’t know where, and because of this I think I’m beginning to see some one of the great challenges of my generation, that there are those not all that far from us we could connect with rather easily but are somehow unable to. It’s kind of hard to be connected with all this connectivity.

Let’s not forget the first half of the battle- assholes. I don’t know how things so emotionally nourishing like love and faith can exist when you’re an asshole. Let’s simplify “asshole” and define it as a misinformed person who deludes his or herself into believing that the shit coming out of his or her mouth doesn’t stink. Delusion is possible and we’re caring about the wrong things all the time. It’s really not that hard to see why. Love and faith are pretty similar in that they’re about not caring about a lot of things while caring very much about something to an illogical end. The same is true of addiction, also rollerblading, also a lot of other stuff worth paying the precious currency of time and effort and attention. It’s the kind of things that are hard to put to words but you know are there. Still we try to put it to words, and love, and have faith, and grow addictions, and rollerblade (somewhere these brave people exist). There is something to be said for that, though I’m not sure what, but there’s an underlying interdependence to it. We, meaning I, have to accept the possibility that the something we’re, meaning I’m, caring very much about might be wrong, and that’s hard. Growing up is hard. I really should buy an umbrella. I’ve been told it’s gonna rain soon.

So many people hate the mundane of “everyday life,” a part of adult life I’m only beginning to learn exists. I’ve gathered it’s about learning to live with yourself, something we all do but aren’t saturated in yet. This part of life is inescapable, even for those who do nothing else but surrounding themselves with others. They were quite popular in high school.

While most of our moral choices change the way we live and think, I’d go as far to say they don’t really change how we carry about our day. It’s hard to approximate people when you get to know them, but it’s impossible in the language of noise that is everyday life. And yet, microcosmically beautiful things are happening here all the time, but noticing them requires a lot of patience, and empathy, and energy, and resourcefulness, and I honestly don’t really know the list.

Even though there’s a lot I don’t know, and won’t pretend to learn simply because I get older (those people are the worst), learning to live with yourself probably doesn’t get easier with just learning to live with it. So often people confuse living with yourself with petty boredom, and this is simply wrong.

Let’s consider that after a lot of work we reach a peace of mind and do a great job at living with ourselves. We even learn to healthily love ourselves from time to time. While this may change how we treat other people, maybe actually improving the lives of others, there will always be those who we’ll have no control how they do happy. They’ll misunderstand labored sentences you wrote for them and overlook those constructed metaphors and probably too-obvious allusions you laid out for them. They’re just not going to get it, and you’ve got to get that if you want to live with people. When I was damn near suicidal I sucked at living with myself because all I thought about was myself, about what I wanted and the myriad of things people weren’t doing to meet my bullshit standards. Knowing why this is annoying and selfish is learning how to live with people is learning how to live with yourself.

At least, this is a part of it.

I just remembered I have an umbrella in my car that I haven’t been using. BRB.