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feelings are bad
2004-03-11 - 10:05 p.m.

I feel weak and sad and I don’t want to be cheered up. I don’t laugh when things are funny, or, I pretend to laugh at things because I guess from cues outside of the joke that they are intended to be funny.

I feel separated from other people. I’m not able to connect with…

There’s this thing, I think I read it in this Alice Miller book ages ago, I’m not sure where I read it, anyway… it’s this person talking about how they aren’t able to relate to other people in pain except through “helping” them, which has a distancing structure because it’s like… “helping” someone is like reaching down from your horse to give something to a beggar in the gutter. You remain separate, aloof, in a better place… I think I feel the pain of being on that horse, now. I feel as though… in my heart I am in the gutter, but I don’t know why and I can’t figure it out on my own but there’s no-one I can talk to about it.

I resent my intelligence and my education. I feel as though I spend so much time engaged in reading and thinking about such complex, abstract concepts that I’ve made my “home” in a place which is utterly remote and inaccessible. I am stuck in a mode of either not speaking to people, or speaking to people and them not understanding me, or being in the mode of explaining things to people… which is one of the rare ways I can connect with someone. But, see, it’s fucked because “explaining” is just like “helping”, it has that same aloof, distant structure, that same assumption of superiority and inferiority… I’m not better than anyone. And yet, my shame at being what I am compels me to try and act better than I am, and in acting better than I am I make myself appear to desire to be better than others, too.

I am ashamed of being an ordinary human being. I am in pain and I have no justification or excuse for it, no “better” reason to be in pain than the reason a five-year-old is in pain when they scream because they can’t have their own way… but I have learned not to scream.

Last night “Carla” invited me to go out to her birthday dinner with a group of her friends, and apart from the whole deadly awkwardness of it (seriously, I am beginning to think this girl is from another planet… I think she’s just so nice that she can’t understand any of the ugly feelings that other people might have. For some strange reason that she didn’t quite get, her boyfriend didn’t want to talk to me. Argh! And of course, as soon as I realised her boyfriend was there, I didn’t want to be there. But I had to politely pretend to be enjoying myself for the duration…) I had this awful feeling of jealousy… surrounded by happy, beautiful, smiling faces, people laughing, people telling stories… you know what I hate? I hate sad songs that aren’t really sad, that are just “sad-genre” songs that… blah. You know, give the band the chance to play a down-tempo number to break up the up-tempo monotony. I hate being the wet blanket at a party, I hate ruining other people’s fun, and so of course I don’t, I hide it away, hide away what I’m really feeling, but why go? Why go out? I say things to people, I make little self-deprecating jokes about how I’m a bit of a hermit, ha ha ha, but why would I want to go out? Dishonesty takes work. I feel drained by the effort of smiling, of trying to think of jokes, trying to think of some appropriate comment to make… I live in another world. Someone tells me an anecdote and in my head I’m doing a textual analysis… identifying the hallmarks of the genre, picking out the archetypes on which the characters are based… I’m a fucking loon.

Bloody… I think my insecurity is based on a kind of narcissism... or maybe autism describes it better. I pretend to be something that I’m not because I assume that people will be freaked out or alienated by even a glimpse of the real me… but that’s just projection, isn’t it? I mean, it’s completely unfair to assume that someone will judge me and hate me for being my real self without giving them the chance to find out what that real self is. I’m projecting my own disdain onto them… making them the disdainful ones in order to cover my own disdain for them. Not quite a beggar at the feast… but a killjoy. I’m a fucking killjoy.

My aunt is staying here and she’s one of the most miserable bloody people I’ve ever met and the thing that makes her so unbearable is the endless effort she makes to project a false lightness and cheerfulness… interrupted only by her gleeful recounting of bad things that happen to her, because when something bad happens she’s got an excuse to let out her real hatred of the world.

I started reading “The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching” by Thich Nhat Hanh today, and the following paragraph made me cry:

“Without suffering, you cannot grow. Without suffering, you cannot get the peace and joy you deserve. Please don’t run away from your suffering. Embrace it and cherish it. Go to the Buddha, sit with him, and show him your pain. He will look at you with loving kindness, compassion, and mindfulness, and show you ways to embrace your suffering and look deeply into it.”

Lying there in bed, surrounded by mosquito netting, I touched the netting, looking at the way the overlaps created geometric patterns, I thought… my mind is not fruitful. In the barrenness of my solitude, I turn everything into repetitions of the same pattern. I am “starving in some deep mystery like a man who is sure what is true”. I thought about… the way I have become so separated from all of my old friends. I’m writing this now to try to get real, get real with my pain, to… understand why I feel so bad.

I want to be a joyful, loving, open person. I want to be the kind of person who wouldn’t hate my aunt, who would have enjoyed the birthday party last night, who would laugh at funny stories. I want to make people happy... I want to be able to be happy myself. I am not happy. I am not what I want to be. I want to be giving without… that “helping” business, that awful distance.

I think I make it hard for people to touch me. I don’t let anyone in… I. I don’t know. I am afraid to be in anyone’s debt. I like to be the generous one, the one that is…

I like to be the one who is giving more, because then I feel free not to keep score. When I am receiving more than I am giving, I feel humiliated, I feel compelled to keep score. It means I can’t ask for help without the cover of having offered something myself first. But then… I get angry when people ask more from me than I have chosen to give.

This isn’t going anywhere, I guess I’ll do some more reading.


"I'm moaning the blues" - Hank Williams

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