Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Fog

I've been having an out-of-body experience lately.  As if an unseen hypnotist snapped his fingers and brought me out of a murky trance.  I strain to recall faint details and vague emotions from a strange time.  As time passes it becomes painfully clear that I was the hypnotist.  The trance was self-imposed.  And it had been going on for a very, very long time.  I call it The Fog.

I resent The Fog.  It's full of ethereal apparitions that are negative versions of myself.  And there are thousands of them.  They represent shame, fear, laziness, sorrow, anger, helplessness, hopelessness, cowardice, and an overwhelming sense of weakness.  I realize not all of the past is negative.  But I've sifted the good from the bad and isolated The Fog for what it is.  And I am determined to lift it.  Pierce it.  Forget it.

Recovery from extended hypnosis has significant challenges.  Old habits die hard.  In The Fog, every version of myself struggled with crippling co-dependence.  I've had that issue for a really long time.  Feels like forever.  The target of my co-dependence has shifted to different people or things during my trance, but it was ever-present.  I also became apathetic and found ways to assign blame.  In The Fog, I am a wonderful victim.  I was vapid.  I was hollow.  I was Lester.

Ironically I wrote a post called Don't Be A Lester years ago during my parents' divorce.  The whole idea was to grab life by the nutsack and live it.  Don't hoard wishes.  Use them.  In an odd, creatively reframed way, I became Lester myself:

Lester by Shel Silverstein

Lester was given a magic wish
By the goblin who lives in the banyan tree, 
And with his wish he wished for two more wishes—
So now instead of just one wish, he cleverly had three. 
And with each one of these
He simply wished for three more wishes, 
Which gave him three old wishes, plus nine new. 
And with each of these twelve
He slyly wished for three more wishes. 
Which added up to forty-six—or is it fifty-two? 
Well anyway, he used each wish
To wish for wishes ‘til he had
Five billion, seven million, eighteen thousand thirty-four. 
And then he spread them on the ground
And skipped and sang, and then sat down 
And wished for more. 
And more… And more… They multiplied
While other people smiled and cried
And loved and reached and touched and felt. 
Lester sat amid his wealth
Stacked mountain-high like stacks of gold. 
Sat and counted—and grew old. 
And then one Thursday night they found him
Dead—with his wishes piled around him. 
And they counted the lot and found that not
A single one was missing. 
All shiny and new—here, take a few
And think of Lester as you do. 
In a world of apples and kisses and shoes
He wasted his wishes on wishing. 

I didn't hoard wishes.  I hoarded fear.  Instead of apples and kisses and shoes I chose anxiety, depression, and sadness.  Yes...I chose to be sad.  I didn't know it at the time.  The Fog does that to you.  Like a funhouse mirror, it bends and contorts you into something strange and odd...but you don't feel any actual change.  And over time, you just accept your reflection for what it is.  I missed so much.  And I chose it.

With each passing new day I am feeling stronger.  More independent. The Fog is thinning.  Light pierces it every so often.  It won't be gone overnight, but I know what has to be done.  I have to accept the fact that I was never a victim of anyone but myself.  I don't need anyone to facilitate my happiness.  I chose to be weak and sad.  And it is just as easy to choose to be strong and happy.  There are honest-to-god, scientifically proven ways to achieve happiness.  If you don't like your body and the way you physically feel, there is a solution.  If you don't like the way you feel emotionally, there are tools.  If you don't like lying face down in the muck, then get on your goddamn feet.  I am perfectly confident that I will be happy, and that decision is made independently of anyone or anything but ME.

I have a plan.  I have a partner and mentor.  I am joining Fitness Connection today after work.  I am eating healthy and watching my calories.  I am cutting way back on adult beverage consumption.  I am playing piano and reading books.  I started an open Instagram account to document and track my metamorphosis, @bastardo_magnifico.  I find accountability when I involve others.  And yes... I shall be one magnificent bastard.  And soon.

As for Tylester, he's still in The Fog, protecting his hoard of miserable things.  And he can keep 'em.  He looks a lot like me.  But he's not me.  His eyes are dark and sunken.  Mine are bright.  And getting brighter every day.

Out of the night that covers me, 
      Black as the pit from pole to pole, 
I thank whatever gods may be 
      For my unconquerable soul. 

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
      I have not winced nor cried aloud. 
Under the bludgeonings of chance 
      My head is bloody, but unbowed. 

Beyond this place of wrath and tears 
      Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years 
      Finds and shall find me unafraid. 

It matters not how strait the gate, 
      How charged with punishments the scroll, 
I am the master of my fate, 
      I am the captain of my soul. 

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