Next

It is almost Tuesday now. On Friday afternoon I found out through quite indirect means that my claim for psychiatric disability had been approved and that in fact there was already money in my bank account as a consequence and I did not even realize it was there as I had not checked my balance in several days. The award letter itself was to have been mailed today, Monday, so I might get it tomorrow, Tuesday, unless it had to come from someplace farther away than Sacramento. It will, I imagine, say more about what I can expect every month and what to do with this Medicare card I received also on Friday with no instructions other than “show this to your provider.”

Since then I have grown somewhat paradoxically more and more anxious as I find it difficult to believe that the federal government could agree with what has been for some time my main proposition as to how I am not suited for adult life in the 21st century in a postindustrial society that emphasizes individualism and self-sufficiency and having fought with this system for thirty years trying to put together a livable way to put together a livable life it seems literally incredible that I could have addressed it in this particular way and found financial support for that which I lack in relation to it I always thought that I would be regarded in that same way the human race was said to me to be regarded by heavenly beings–as unworthy and blamable for anything untoward that may have happened to it at any time at all. And so it seems that I quite expect someone to say oh you know what we messed up nevermind you were not right after all.

Whether what follows is the sufficient and necessary etiology of my lack of faith is something I have no way of measuring and so anyone who might read this will have only themselves to consult for authority on this or any other matter I might take up for inquiry.

I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop since I was old enough to understand how we in the Western world project ourselves out into the future in a teleological way—or at least as soon as I developed the idea of a near future with consequences attendant on whatever I was doing now. No matter what temporary problem might be solved by whatever heroic effort I would have to put into it, and no matter what sort of trouble I might have been said to have brought on myself—for one always brought it on oneself—and managed somehow to navigate whatever necessary evil devolved from that trouble, there was always a bigger, far more serious problem waiting beyond it. Sometimes problems and trouble were stacked in layers many episodes deep but no matter how impossible their number or how involved their eventual solution, still the ultimate problem waited as placidly as death at the very end of all of them. It was itself insoluble and inevitable and pivoted around an arcane requirement of ritual that would seem trivial now had it not required then that I abandon all of my self-preservative instincts in order to go through with it.

Thus this last unsolvable dilemma was literally the problem to end all problems and also the problem that opened the possibility of there being a problem insofar as it placed me in a life and death struggle with life and death. This is not because it revolved around the question of my salvation, my destination in the next world or even whether I would have to live through the pre-millennial tribulation all on my own—or that is, find a way to die in the middle of it in order to avoid the Lake of Fire after all. Those were all the reasons why I had to solve this problem and they terrorized me apart from the question of the problem’s solution and actually did so for so long and with such intensity that the nightmares I still have about descents into hell via elevators, stairways, mineshafts, animal burrows and hollow spiraling metallic chutes all pitch black and shiny have become so commonplace that they do not even disturb me while they are happening anymore. I recognize the dreamscape instantaneously and it loses all its power to terrorize the dreamer.

No my unconscious comes out in the full daylight of wakefulness. In sleep little can perturb me. This may explain why I spend so much of my life asleep.

So I mean not to say nevermind to all that but rather that in addition to it, my regular everyday life was doubled by a dimension in which I felt the constant presence of an unsoluble problem at the same time as the demand that it be solved immediately. Which was impossible: for whatever reason that I am so introverted that I score “0” for extroversion on any personality test that measures and somewhere I might go into the social conditioning that underlies such a figuring of introversion as a negative characteristic, unable to contribute to the human personality but only subtract from it but not here for whatever reason it was that I did not want to talk to anyone but my mother and I did not want anyone touching me but my mother well past puberty—until suddenly I wanted no one touching or speaking to me, signaling the beginning of my emergence out of totalitarian rule by my mother’s version of a personal god and without which crisis I would not have survived long enough to be writing this while still waiting for the other shoe to drop and thus unable to comprehend what it might mean to feel as though one were free and clear—for whatever reason it was that I believed on some level close to a primary process it is that deeply written that I would not live through an unplanned or unwanted encounter with another human, the solution to this ultimate problem was impossible. Until one day I was told that I had no longer to wait and the answer overtook me without regard for the dread and terror with which I met it—but calmly, evenly, where no one could see. I had already begun not to be touched by anyone.

I was without any alternative. Until now I had nothing with which to answer the judge other than a feeble “I cannot” which was struck down with all the rage of a jealous god for every disloyalty shown him over the whole history of the heavens and the earth. It was not as though I were responsible for every accomplished offense but that I was the embodiment of every possible offense even those that had not yet occurred and so not only was my debt infinite it was beyond my power to pay—and even though I was taught that someone else had paid this debt and all I had to do was believe and I did believe I believed everything they told me without guile or doubt there was an additional price that may have been nothing for most to come up with but for me it was everything that kept me on this side of life and sanity.

I have an odd view of salvation because it approached me in such a way its cold and slippery cruelty was one long articulate dismantling of what I think most people feel as their relatively reasonable assurance of the universe’s benevolence. Nevermind that the universe feels nothing for us except insofar as we ourselves are prepared to love ourselves for we are the universe beholding itself and we have not treated ourselves well. Even in our love/hate relationship with ourselves it looks to me from here that most people do not register the destructive impulses that act through us quite as acutely as some others of us.

At any point I might could have been said already to have attained salvation except that the self-appointed arbiters of my eternal fate placed it always one arm’s length away from wherever I could reach. Their holy book said one thing but they insisted on something quite different and because the word is always interpreted for us by our circumstances I had no access to an objective reading or even one conditioned only by my own understanding.

Thus it became for me an everyday matter to be fighting both sides in the struggle of good and evil as though the whole story had been written and waiting for me for millennia so that the balance of the cosmos could rest its fulcrum on my rib cage while I lay stripped and naked in the desert bed of my own origin.

It was not enough that I had been asked to entrust my life to people I did not know and who could not know me. When I consider the possibility that we choose our birth and therefore the course of our lifetimes because the pattern that is touched off by one’s arrival may be chaotic and unpredictable but it is still patterned although only legible within a certain window that grows retroactively until the day I realize I am dying and that memory is all that remains and that it too will soon vanish—when I consider this I can only assume that I am engaged in some sort of search for an extended experience with the processes of nonsense as they produce what we call sense. There are times that I think I must have seen it all but of course I have seen only a very privileged view from some perspectives and a completely disenfranchised one from certain others but I think that what has happened is that having lived my formative years believing what I could not believe and not believing what I had no choice but to believe I now find it impossible not to be extremely vulnerable to persuasive arguments of all kinds even as I am quite sure of where it is that I am headed.

That is I go through temporary deviations from my aimless meandering where for a moment I assign a value and a goal to life but that never lasts for very long because it is simply not supportable.

But because of the wild range of belief I have noted ranging wildly through many who would have taken me in and kept me sheltered but each time I slither back out where relief is kept sharp but at a distance approaching the infinite circle of the earth for whom relief is not imminent and never will be because of the background noise that persists in the form of introjected voices of preachers and Sunday school teachers and because it was inconceivable to me that I would ever do the single necessary thing that I had to do, the extent of my own problematic nature reaches until the very end of memory whether projected into the yet to come or recalled from before.

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