I just had my four newest large canvas paintings photographed, which means I can finally start adding them to the website. This one was started on June 2nd in Atlanta and finished June 20th in Chicago. I wrote the following statement for it a little over a week ago, on August 11th.
In May, I picked up Chris Spillane. I was grateful to have him and grateful to feel like I was doing something good for another human being (especially one that’s been such a good friend for so long) but having him with me in the first two months wasn’t always easy – being virtually chained to another person 24 hours a day. Especially since – a lot of that time – I felt responsible for him, like a babysitter or a one-man treatment facility. Chasing girls was suddenly totally impractical if not altogether impossible. I couldn’t leave Chris alone so that I could go on a date or hook up with some girl. Sure – he’s an adult and I’m not ultimately responsible for him (or anyone but myself) but I had taken on a responsibility of sorts and didn’t want to fuck it up, especially for something (that felt) as petty as sex.
If I had the kind of self-esteem (which legend holds is) possessed by normal, well-adjusted people, this might not have been a problem. Unfortunately, I need a steady stream of praise, sales, and sex in order to feel okay about myself. I wasn’t fully cognizant of it at the time but I’ve come to terms with it now. I had gone without virtually any episodes or incidents in May but in June, while painting “Something to Cry About,” I was perpetually sinking into dark depressions over the smallest little things. I tried to explain my bad moods to myself – rationalize and justify them – in all sorts of ways but, looking back, it’s not hard to nail down. First, I wasn’t having any luck getting a show booked in Atlanta (mostly because I had adopted a new, staid, respectful (and totally unimpressive and unmemorable) strategy for selling myself to galleries). That would have been okay if I hadn’t also just gone from a hedonistic period of total promiscuity to sudden and absolute abstinence. If I’m not having sex, how am I supposed to have any self-worth?!?
[I have issues].
Hindsight is 20/20 though and, while this was still going on, I tried to figure it out through journaling. A lot of that’s still visible on the canvas but I’m pretty bored by most of it. Only the last part is really at all interesting to me. Regarding my bad mood and the silent temper tantrum I was throwing: “I just let myself soak in it ‘cause – hey – if I didn’t lose my shit every so often, wouldn’t that call into question the authenticity of my stupid fucking gimmick as an artist? ‘I’m emotionally unstable! Count on it!’”
Borderline personality disorder is one of those conditions where the diagnosis is sometimes withheld from the patient himself because knowing the diagnosis can actually be harmful. I think that’s because in can exacerbate “borderline behaviors” insofar as the patient decides he “can’t help it” and acting that way is therefore excusable. I don’t think that I do that but I’ve definitely attempted to excuse myself (especially in relationships) by telling the girl that my emotional instability was “always part of the deal” and that she knew what she was getting into when we first got involved.
I’d like to think that I don’t use my diagnosis as a scapegoat; I always try to do my best in interacting with other people and I always apologize when I fuck up but I probably do allow myself to be somewhat more of an emotional basketcase sometimes than I otherwise might.