Monday, September 27, 2004

And what did you do during the war, Daddy?...

This isn't one of those "I got so drunk" stories… though I did get so drunk…

Something's changing in me. Something's different. People give me strange looks when I say that. I guess that's because most people aren't as in tune with their "selves" as much as I - and those who are would probably rather not think about how those "selves" don't even exist.
Then, let me put it this way. You know how you can feel when you're going to have diarrhea from that churning in your gut or you know when you've pulled your back out from that stabbing in your back? Well, that's what I feel in my psyche.

It's been a long road for me, this road of self awareness. It started in high school, with my first nervous breakdown, and never ended. It's a road constructed of experience, study, meditation, and just plain being.

But for all the benefits and perks of self-awareness, it's also been a real bitch.

Friday night, I heard the voice again. I was lying in bed, nearly ready to sleep, and they came, booming like a low-flying, supersonic jet. I closed my eyes, hoping it was a fluke or that I'd imagined it… and then they came again. And I have no idea what they said. They don't talk to communicate. They speak to provoke.

And I didn't go to sleep until 5am. I sat outside and smoked.

You're falling apart.

But why? Why now? Everything's fine!

Everything is not fine. You're falling apart.

It was scary because it was true.

But I tried to ignore it the next day, going about my business, and picked Tim up Saturday evening from the train station. He'd come in from San Diego to see the new place and, yes, to drink. Very important, that drinking part. But, for my money, I'd rather it had been chocolate shakes.

We make the obligatory (some might say superfluous) stop by DVD Planet and I spent about $130 on DVDs. Won't someone outlaw this horrible addiction? They outlawed crack, didn't they???

And when I got home, Vicky was there, looking beautiful. The apartment looked pretty nice, too. She'd really worked her buns off and I don't think I thanked her enough. Of course, my mind was on other things. I wanted to drink.

I mean, I really wanted to drink. And I don't often really want to drink. Oh, I'm always up for a drink. I could always use a drink. But there was something different going on here. We sat out on the porch, on the wood bench Vicky and I had assembled that day without fighting once (thank God!), and I had drink after drink after drink after drink after drink. As soon as one was empty, I was calling for another. I must have had Tim running laps! Need more! Need more! Need more, I kept thinking, until, after Tim and Vicky and Vicky's friend, Jeff, had gone in, I sat out there with my last drink. It was my last because, quite honestly, they weren't going to make me any more.

I sat out there like a boxer who'd stepped into the ring one too many times. My head was bowed. My eyes were half-shut. I could barely talk. I could barely move. But I'd be damned if I wasn't going to finish this drink. I took a swallow and my stomach nearly heaved. No, I thought, I'm going to drink this.

And then, from some sober recess of my mind came the question: Why? Why drink this? You're only going to be sick.

So what. I deserve to be sick. I deserve to be miserable. I'm gonna drink this and then, after, I'm gonna drink some more.

And hearing this, I kind of drew back from myself.

I also drank the rest of my martini. Actually, I kind of choked it down.

To Vicky, it must have looked like I was trying to kill myself, drown myself actually.

The only way I can possibly explain what was happening, without thinking of causes or motivations, is to say that it felt like my mind was curled up in a corner and my body had taken control. I was all Id, with nothing more to guide me than my self-destruction.

I entered the apartment, danced around like a marionette with its strings cut and fell down on the sofa. Vicky wasn't there. Tim wasn't there. Jeff must have gone home long ago.

There, on the sofa, I lay with my eyes wide open, thinking. What reason do I have to kill myself. What reason do I have to fall apart? I didn't know. Fine. Then, what reason do I have to be miserable…. No, not be miserable but deserve to be miserable. And then, it came to me, like a personal demon, shouting, You know what you did! You know how you broke Rosa's heart. And you're just going to do it again! How dare you behave like to deserve happiness after what you've done! How dare you behave as though everything's going to be all right! You're going to betray Vicky! You're going to hurt Vicky! And you don't have the guts to either leave or kill yourself before it happens!

The thoughts shook me off the sofa. I staggered into the bathroom, thinking I was going to throw up but I didn't, and I laid down on the tile floor. I love Vicky, I thought. I care very deeply about her happiness and her well being. I'm not going to betray her. I didn't betray Rosa; she betrayed me!

I got up from the floor and went into the bedroom… laid on the bed.

You fucking hypocrite!

I didn't stagger. I RAN into the bathroom. I thought I vomited four or five times but Vicky later told me that was multiplied by eight!

After I'd washed my face and brushed my teeth and returned to bed, I thought, Is it possible I have a drinking problem? No, that didn't ring true. I only drank about once a week (sometimes less) and hadn't drank that much in a year and a half. Drinking is not the problem. Ken is the problem. I hate Ken and feel I haven't been punished nearly enough. I keep knocking him to the floor but I keep getting back up again… eventually, I've got to get together with myself and have tea and talk.

I was sitting in bed with Vicky last night and mentioned this dual nature. As you can probably guess, she thought I was nuts.

But I think we're all like that. I think we all have different identities that fill different roles and the person everyone on the outside sees is the coach who keeps them all in check. This first occurred to me many years ago, when I suffered amnesia and, trying to figure out who I was, couldn't seem to make the pieces fit back together again.

Humpty-Dumpty Syndrome…

Maybe it was a result of amnesia that I see these pieces as more pronounced. But I told Vicky last night who they were. I tried to list them

* There's the Ken everybody knows and sees.
* There's the Ken who hates himself and wants to see himself suffer.
* There's the Ken who writes.
* There's the Ken who acts.
* There's philosopher Ken.
* The Super-Battle Ken with Action Grip…

None of these Kens could function without the other… and there may be more. But right now they're so split, so fragmented… it's no wonder they feel like they're shifting into a new pattern. And probably no wonder there's this internal conflict.

But that's me. To know me is to know the paradox of self-awareness and self-surprise, the struggle between serenity and chaos…

Oh, I'm a lot of fun!

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