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I Could Never Love Anyone More Than I Hate Myself

"I Could Never Love Anyone More Than i Hate Myself ." 4/30/15. Acrylic paint. 36x36".
“I Could Never Love Anyone More Than i Hate Myself .” 4/30/15. Acrylic paint. 36×36″.

For as much as I talk and write about Wallis, I’ve never really shared the full story of how we first came together. I’ll save the cute elements of the story for later and just give you the important part that hasn’t seemed relevant until now.

When I met Wallis, she was actively addicted to heroin. She was trying to not be on heroin but (like most addicts) she was finding that to be a little tougher than she could handle. We hit it off really quickly but I told her on our very first night together that I couldn’t be around that sort of thing. I told her that if she wanted to continue spending time with me, she couldn’t be using drugs. (I’m way too fucking fragile to not relapse if a pretty girl has a needle and a bag of dope to share with me). She told me she didn’t wanna use. I invited her to go with me on a road trip for a week – up to Illinois and back. In the course of that trip, we fell in love. Which was a problem because it meant we needed to figure out what we were gonna do to keep her from going back to heroin once we got back to Jacksonville. We decided that she’d need to quit the strip club and get another job (nobody can stay off drugs in that environment – no addict anyway). I told her I’d cover her ’til she got a new job and then – when it was time for me to leave Jacksonville – she’d quit her new job and come with me. Sound familiar? I did for Wallis the same thing I had done for my best friend, Chris, a year prior. I brought her out on the road with me to keep her off drugs. To show her another kind of life. Like Chris had done, in exchange for “all expenses paid” she’d just help me with my set-up, selling art, whatever. (And like Chris, it pretty much worked. She never used once; not while traveling with me anyway).

When we left Jacksonville, it was for Minneapolis, where I was to be featured in a gallery exhibit. Halfway through the exhibition’s run, we returned to Jacksonville for a week, so I could bank at One Spark. On the drive down, Wallis started talking about going to see old friends – friends that she had, historically, used drugs with. I told her that this was a terrible idea. She argued that I needed to have faith in her. I responded that I’d heard that same exact sentence and had this same exact conversation many, many times in the past (with another girl) and that I knew perfectly well how this was gonna end. I told her that if she wasn’t willing to forego the reunion (and the inevitable relapse that’d come with it) that I couldn’t be her boyfriend anymore. One Spark was going to be an incredibly important week for me financially and I didn’t wanna fuck it up by spending the whole time worried about whether Wallis was safe. She said okay (as in okay, then you don’t need to be my boyfriend anymore). There was no hostility or drama beyond that but when we got to Jacksonville, we went our separate ways. Wallis relapsed that very first night (thought she wouldn’t tell me until later), but called me the next morning and spent the rest of the week by my side like a lost puppy. On the night before I was to return to Minneapolis, she broke down crying, told me she had fucked up, and that she still wanted to be with me.

And I took her back.

I first had the thought years and years ago, upon hearing Rivethead’s “In My Heart a Warehouse Burns For You.” The last lyric in the song is “I love you just as much as I hate the man.” I’m not exactly the biggest fan of cops or authority figures of any kind but when I’m really fired up and full of hate, there’s only one target it’s ever directed at: me. I still listen to that record (The Cheap Wine of Youth) all the time so the idea of captioning a painting with “I love you just as much as I hate myself” had occurred to me on a couple occasions but I didn’t wanna be derivative. Then, when I bought Pretty Boy Thorson’s An Uneasy Peace (the final song of which is called “I Love You Even More Than I Hate Myself”) I had a bit of a god dammit moment. That should’ve been mine! The song’s awesome and it doesn’t matter that the lyric is similar to another. I started thinking about it though – that line – and whether or not it was actually true (for me). I was dating Wallis and I absolutely loved her but did I love her more than I hated myself? I wasn’t really sure. I decided that sometimes I’m afraid that I could never love anyone more than I hate myself. After all, we had weathered the storm of her relapse but I was sabotaging our relationship bit by bit with my low self-esteem. I wrote about some of that anxiety in the bottom-right corner of the painting:

It’s so much harder to travel with a second person. Staying with friends feels like a much bigger imposition and I can’t stay with girls I meet. That’s probably the hardest part. But I love Wallis. (And I really like fucking her). And I think she needs me. I tried to leave her in Jacksonville but it didn’t work out. I hope she’s with me because she really loves me and not just ‘cause she’s scared to go back to “real life.” It if doesn’t work out, it’s probably gonna be because I can’t stop thinking about fucking other girls, which I know hurts her (and is really so selfish and dumb - and even mean - on my part) but really has nothing to do with her. (She’s so fucking hot and sexy and cute and beautiful). It’s just my insecurity and my compulsion to fuck every pretty girl, to prove to the world (and myself) just how fucking wonderful and desirable I am. It’s not helping that girls are throwing themselves at me these days. But I know (or think) that shit won’t make me happy. And in the end, I’m just gonna want someone to love me and I love Wallis.

There’s another, shorter string of text higher up in the painting, similarly inspired by punk rock: “I was listening to that Gateway District song where they sing, ‘I’m always falling way behind and you go on and on and on.’ If only I knew someone like that. Maybe I’d have someone to look to. Everybody I know is struggling. Everyone I know is as hopeless as I am. (Or worse).”

There’s a brighter, happier pair of sentences in the top-left corner – the product of a moment when everything was right in the world. Amazing sex with Wallis and I’m driving to the gallery showcasing my art while listening to “Another Way Out of Here” by The Murderburgers. The thought occurred to me that “nothing in this world makes me happier than an energetic, upbeat song about suicide.” I gave it a second thought. Is that true?  I concluded, “Except (maybe) hitting girls in the face during sex.” I smiled. That’s pretty funny. I’m pretty fucked up. The things that I enjoy are – well – a little odd. This was all well and good at the time. I posted a close-up of that part of the painting online and it was met with positive feedback and just a little bit of “Oh, Sam…” But before I even got the chance to write the statement for this painting (as I am now), that photograph – that caption – would make the rounds on the internet elsewhere and garner a very different kind of response. You see, when I wrote that, it was about sex with Wallis. Sex which includes light consensual fake-violence (or whatever the fuck you wanna call it). Wallis likes getting slapped in the face during sex. And I like doing it. Win-win, right? Well, yeah – until you get accused of a violent rape and the media picks up on the story and uses your art to support the idea that you’re the kind of person capable of violently raping a nineteen year-old girl you just met. Sitting in jail, I wondered how I was going to break the news to my friends and fans that I had been accused of this horrible fucking crime. I bailed out, Chris Spillane picked me up, and after ten minutes of discussion he tells me, “There’s one more thing we’ve gotta talk about, Sam. The publicity on this story is not good right now.” Publicity? This story? “What the fuck are you talking about?” I googled my name and discovered that I didn’t need to worry about breaking this news to anyone. Some reporter knew or figured out who I was, wrote an article about me complete with images of my art (like the “hitting girls in the face” one) and everyone else picked it up and ran with it. Suddenly, strangers on the internet were talking about how I was the kind of person who PUNCHES girls in the face. I was a scumbag and I was definitely guilty. What the fuck? I’ve never punched a girl in the face! I slap! Playfully! And only with girls that WANT me to! But none of that mattered. What mattered was that it was incredibly easy to paint me as some kind of violent sexual deviant who had finally gone off the rails and just started violently raping people. Freedom of expression has its fucking consequences apparently. The charges against me have since been dismissed by a judge who (after hearing all of the prosecution’s evidence and the girl’s testimony) ruled that there was no probable cause to believe that any crime had been committed but the evidence in the case isn’t all public yet and I’m still having to deal with (well-meaning) assholes who think I deserve to be castrated for something I never did. At the time of this writing, this is all still incredibly recent so I’m still working out exactly how a person does deal with something like that. (I’ll let you know when I figure it out).

Flashback to five months before that nightmare though – back to when I was still working on this painting (that’d later incriminate me in the court of public opinion). I wrote that I was feeling “stuck in a rut. This spot [on the street] isn’t super profitable [for selling prints]. I don’t even wanna write about what else is going on. I don’t want to muddle up this painting that I’m not even happy with. My little sister is killing herself and today I blocked her phone number because I’m tired of her asking for help, not taking my advice, and then texting me updates on her self-destruction that she knows will just upset me. I really need the validation of some sales to cheer me up today. If I make less than $100 today, I’m gonna feel super depressed.” And then – to remind myself what a dipshit I am for worrying about how much I make in one particular day, I added: “I’ve made $7,000 this month.” True as it was, it didn’t really help me feel any better in that moment. I continued writing – about an interaction I had with a guy who stopped to watch me paint: “Someone asked me yesterday if I really hate myself and why. I had a hard time articulating it [the way that I feel sometimes]. He said he thinks I’m not as unhappy as I let on. I’d do a much better job explaining it to him today: I’M UGLY, PALE, OUTTA SHAPE, MEAN, SHITTY, POOR, FEARFUL, AND IN A CONSTANT STATE OF STARVATION FOR VALIDATION.”

Reading that now, remembering that day – it’s kinda scary. Everything in my life was going so well and I still had this monster inside me, gnawing at my insides, telling me that everything was awful. That I was awful. I’m really grateful that I don’t feel that way about myself all the time. Arguably, my life is way more fucked up now (on account of the VIOLENT RAPE ACCUSATION) but – I don’t know – I feel better today. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to fight this awful thing. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to become stronger. Maybe it’s because enough other people hate me now that I can take a break on the self-loathing. I don’t know. I’m not sure. But after separating in late-June and spending two months mostly apart, Wallis and I are back together full-time. We’re living together in an apartment in Chicago and it’s been really great. And you know what? I love her WAY more than I hate myself. Not just ‘cause I’m not hating myself so much right now but… This girl… After all we’ve been through. After all I’ve done for her and all she’s done for me… Words are insufficient to express my gratitude, affection, and love for her. I’m probably gonna marry her.

And you know what? When it comes to “falling way behind” versus “going on and on and on,” maybe I do a little more of the latter than I allow myself to recognize sometimes. Maybe I do a lot more of it.

HAPPY ENDING.



“I Love You Even More” by Pretty Boy Thorson & The Falling Angels


“Another Way Out of Here” by The Murderburgers


“Waves and Cars” by The Gateway District

“In My Heart a Warehouse Burns For You” by Rivethead

Status Update: 1/7/13

Part of it might be that there’s enough content on here that I don’t feel quite as strong a need to ensure that I’m putting up something new every single day; part of it might be that there’s been nothing this last week that I’ve been dying to share; but the unusually low level of activity on the site this last week definitely doesn’t have anything to do with a creative rut, a lack of output or anything like that.

Here’s what I’ve been up to:

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I got my hands on a canvas that’s more than twice the size of any other I’ve ever gotten to work with. So far I’ve put 22 hours into it and I’m really happy with how it’s coming along. I’d like to say that it’s mostly done but I still have so much little detail left that [you never know] things could take a dramatically different sort of direction and it might not end up anything like the painting that it is at this moment. And actually – I take back what I said – I’m DEFINITELY dying to share this painting (just not until it’s ready!)

I’ve also been spending a fair amount of time trying to get my artwork into some new galleries, businesses, and other spaces. It’s gone well so far and I’m hoping to pick up even more new locations soon. I’ll share more specific details about that stuff later in the week.

On a different sort of note, I took the first part of my motorcycle training course today and will finish tomorrow. As soon as I can get down to Sarasota (this or next weekend probably) I’ll swap out my little 50cc thrashBike for a 150cc. Which might not seem like anything that has tremendous artistic implications but is really exciting because it’s going to enable me to travel outside of Jacksonville (on my own) and get shows set up in other cities.

On top of all that, there are a couple other developments I’m really excited about but can’t quite talk about yet. Long story short though, things are going really well and only seem to be getting better. I’m thinking I’ll make time to resume with regular art/blog updates tomorrow. In the meantime…

Cotton Candy Skies [photo]I wouldn’t have even noticed the sky the other night (had Heather not commented on it). Within one second of looking up though, I was reaching in my pocket for my phone. I’m (obviously) not a photographer and I don’t usually take pictures of anything like this but it was just too perfect. Not because it’s beautiful (though it is) but because it reminded me of something else  that’s beautiful.

Last month, Rumspringer made a video for their song, “Love Poem to Irrigation.” It’s off their sophomore full-length, Stay Afloat, which came out last year on LP through Dirt Cult Records. (It’s also available on CD or as a digital download).

Though it wasn’t the first record I had lined up for Traffic Street, Rumspringer’s debut EP was the first release in my catalog to see the light of day. It makes me really happy that they’re not only still playing but that they continue to get better.

—-

This photo was taken from right outside my house so those shoes on the power line are (of course) my own. Well – not originally. Back when I still lived at Tranquil Shores, I got ’em from a friend  after my own Frankenshoes finally gave out

frankenshoe
My last valiant effort to repair my own shoes.
troy's shoes
The crappy painting I did on the shoes I got from Troy which (for the last six months or so) have lived up on the power lines.

The shoes were painted the same day as my Suicide Jacket.

"Suicide Jacket." 2/18/13. Acrylic paint on my winter coat. 15x24".
Can you tell which one I put more effort into?

 

Because Nihilism

"Because Nihilism." 4/22/13. Watercolor and acrylic paints, charcoal, and ink. 12x16".
“Because Nihilism.” 4/22/13. Watercolor and acrylic paints, charcoal, and ink. 12×16″.

 

I painted this in April. I like ants. It’s expressive art and the story behind it is enough like a million others that it’s not worth telling. Instead, here’s the story of my life in April 2011.

—–

When Taylor finally called me back, she sounded weird. “What’s going on?” She wouldn’t say. She was being evasive. I just came out and asked – “are you done with me?” She didn’t answer right away but – when she did – yeah, that was pretty much the gist of it.

Six years… I was in total shock. I had just gotten into my first “treatment” program eight days prior. (Methadone maintenance). I was cured! How could she break up with me now?!? Life was about to become a dream! This is preposterous!

Not to mention, I was in the middle of my final exams. My final final exams. She couldn’t wait two fucking weeks to do this? I was gonna be so busy for the next few weeks that, at most she might have seen me once. By breaking up with me now, it was guaranteeing that I’d fail my exams, not graduate from law school, lose at life, and DIE. What a selfish, miserable human being. (Her, I mean). (I’m really cool and great).

Granted, her timing was a little poor but I’m obviously still alive, and my interpretation of things has changed with time. Taylor didn’t leave me that day – because I had already left her – when I let heroin overtake her on my list of priorities. For the last eight months, I had barely existed in her life. I spent all my time hiding from her, out all day, out all night, shooting up at school or the basement of our building, ignoring her phone calls. Now that I had a couple pleasant days I thought everything was gonna be okay again?

But I couldn’t see that; I couldn’t see anything. I just hurt. More than hurt. I was fucking leveled. I didn’t want to use but… I had to. If I didn’t relapse, that’d mean I wasn’t really hurt. And I was really hurt so… I had to shoot some heroin to prove it. To myself. To Taylor. To the world. (I’m not really sure). And I had to buy a lot (two hundred bucks’ worth) ‘cause that was the best deal. (Money management’s an important skill!) My little bundle lasted me through the day with a few caps left over for the next. And then I put it out of my head and got back to the task at hand.

I hadn’t been to any of my courses all semester (I never even bothered to get textbooks). I logged in to the school’s website, found out which classes I was enrolled in, and settled into a couch in a (usually) empty room at school, where I’d spend the next few weeks, trying to learn as much as I could and just maybe graduate. When I couldn’t stay up any longer, I’d put my computer in my backpack and sleep on that same couch where I was studying. I didn’t get up for anything. Almost. Every six or seven days, I’d walk to the closest store to stock up on bagel bites and apples, which I kept in the fridge of a student organization to which I (of course) didn’t belong. There were three other reasons I’d occasionally leave the couch: to smoke a cigarette, use the bathroom, and (most importantly) – once a day, between the hours of 6AM and noon – go get my daily dose of methadone.

At one point, I saw myself in the bathroom mirror and was pretty impressed with how strung out I looked. (I guess the methadone / Adderall / sleep deprivation combo will do that you).  I took a picture for posterity.

April 2011
Less than a month after this photo was taken, THIS DRUG-ADDLED FUCK UP GOT A LAW DEGREE FROM GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY!

—–

“Barkmarket Fuckacy” by House Boat is my favorite song on the last record [The Thorns of Life CD/LP] to bear the Traffic Street Records logo.

In the liner notes for the record, there’s a special “thanks to Sam North for basically ruining his life to help get this record made.”

(On our way to the studio for the recording of the album, I caught two felony possession of heroin charges and more misdemeanor charges for needles and other paraphernalia than I can count/remember). And if that wasn’t bad enough, the cops didn’t even give me back my drugs when they let me go! So on top of everything else, I had to spend the next day scrambling around Indiana looking for heroin.

I’m Sorry

"I'm Sorry." 12/26/13. Pen and markers. 6½x9½".
“I’m Sorry.” 12/26/13. Pen and markers. 6½x9½”.

The other new piece from Thursday night. The one that’s mean and shitty and makes me not like myself.

“Diaper Baby” by Sass Dragons seems appropriate right now…
I don’t care. I want attention. It doesn’t matter just where it comes from.
I’m as needy as the day I was born. Like a crying baby.
SOMEBODY CHANGE ME. 

—–

28 [image]Before I went to bed at 8 AM, I uploaded the new high-resolution photos of 28 and Eradicating the Threat of Happiness.

Both are available in my webstore, as are prints of my newer pieces.

Eradicating the Threat of Happiness [image]

The good people of the Wunderground collective have been sweet enough to include me in their quarterly event at 1904 Music Hall. If you’re in/near Jacksonville, come hang out with me on January 11th. Art, music, burlesque, spoken word, food… IT’LL BE AN EVENING.

wunderground-flier

Going to Charlotte

"Going to Charlotte." 12/27/13. Ink. 4x6".
“Going to Charlotte.” 12/27/13. Ink. 4×6″.

This is the less objectionable of my two pieces from Thursday night. I started it while Heather and I were actually talking about all this (and finished it after she went to bed). It was strange because I felt like I had gotten to such a good place after my journal the other day but by late Thursday / early Friday, I felt more convinced than ever that our relationship was over. Today [by which I mean Friday; I haven’t gone to sleep yet] I sort of accepted that I honestly have no idea. It makes me feel less in control than I’d have been comfortable with in the past but – these days – I’ve sort of come to terms (or am at least gradually coming to terms) with the fact that my emotions (and my ideas or plans that find root in them) are subject to unpredictable, radical change at any time. At one point while this was happening, I actually said, “I wish you’d let me break up with you so we could just be friends already.”

This shit’s retarded… This fickle / flighty bullshit. I can’t possibly be worth it. There’s no self-pity in this – it’s just a reality and I feel at peace with it. I tried to make the case that I’m probably not fit for a relationship and was reminded of the (positive) impact I’ve already had. Okay – I can accept that; I’ve heard it before. But that doesn’t necessarily make me a good life choice. Taylor and I dated for six years and while she’s said her life would be wildly different (almost definitely for the worse) had it not been for me, that relationship wasn’t meant to go on; it served its purpose and it ended. So – I don’t know – maybe that’s the role I’m supposed to have. I might not be the best partner but maybe I’m a great detour – a stepping stone to something that, ultimately, makes more sense… something not necessarily better but … just … what it’s supposed to be.

Today – I don’t know what the fuck to make of any of that but there’s my explanation for all the dumb CLT/airport metaphor stuff.

My favorite part is where it says, “I’m pretty okay at fucking!”

—–

My title’s a Mountain Goats’ reference (for reasons that are too dull to bother sharing). But, in light of that, it seems like I oughta throw one out here. “No Children” is about wanting for the end of a relationship, but that’s the extent of its relevance to this piece/last night. The song’s all hostility, bitterness, resentment, and snarky, cynical hate, which has definitely been relatable at other points in my life but I didn’t feel that way at all when I made this. Not during our conversation and not at any point afterward. As crazy as it might sound (which I’m going to take as indication that it probably is) I felt like I was being practical and considerate…

In any case, the parts of the song that are self-deprecating or self-loathing – well, shit – that stuff’s always right on target! Even when I don’t feel it, I fucking love it.

But I wasn’t listening to this stuff then ’cause – like I said – it would have been too angry to fit. I was listening to Shorebirds and Pipsqueak (again), which matches this drawing way better.

Dog Food Doesn’t Grow on Trees

"Dog Food Doesn't Grow on Trees." 12/8/12. Colored pencil. 3x2".
“Dog Food Doesn’t Grow on Trees.” 12/8/12. Colored pencil. 3×2″.

This cartoon (about giving up on the things you’re supposed to care about) was my third (and final) piece on 12/8/12 – the first day ever that I did virtually nothing but draw and paint. (The first two were Why I Fail and Group Therapy).

This is one of the few pieces that I just flat out lost somewhere along the way. Not too shocking when you consider that it only measured three inches and that – just eight months ago – my art was nothing more than a heap of paper scraps, ripped cardboard, and a few pieces of loose canvas (all of which I carried around in grocery bags).

I made two new pieces today but I can’t share ’em ’cause I’m an asshole and they’ve got the kinda raw poison in them that I shouldn’t ever let out of my brain and onto paper. Or one of ’em does anyway… Shit – it’s not even that bad but it would hurt the fuck out of my feelings if someone had a similar thought about me, so…

Here’s a really beautiful song that’s usually pretty good at fortifying my resolve and, other times, makes me wanna break down and cry.

With a pain that cuts me like a knife, I wanna know you won’t be hard to find. I wish that I could call you right now and tell you that I’m around. I wish you would’ve called me that night and told me you hurt inside.
Please don’t stop living.
– from “Upside Down” by Shorebirds.

 

Little Sam (Little Devil)

On the drive back to Jacksonville tonight, I wrote in my journal. At one point in the process, I felt like I’d had a major breakthrough. Now – just a couple hours later – I’m not so sure. In either case, I think it’s worth sharing. And (above all) what matters is that I was feeling tremendous anxiety when I started and (at least a semblance of) peace when I was done.

—–

Journal: Christmas 2013

The last time I made a playlist was July. The music I like gives most people anxiety but it’s an extremely rare occasion when it has that effect on me. But I’m feeling way too fragile right now to risk hearing anything that I’m not totally prepared for. I need really to be comforted right now and I’m counting on this music to do it.

We just hit the part of the highway with no lights. I’m writing in total darkness now.

Heather’s so sweet. I know she never intends to do me any harm. That’s why it’s hard to leave her. I don’t know if I understand love so – sadly – it has to be a practical consideration.

I know I can’t ever be alone. I fall in “love” way too fast. So if I’m gonna be with someone, it should (probably?) be her…

She’s not great at making me feel loved, which is something I desperately need. But maybe that sort of thing goes both ways. Maybe a girl that was better at making me feel loved would also be great at hurting me if/when she wanted to. Fuck. I can be (or am) such a fragile fucking baby.

I met this girl in November. She took in the whole story behind Autobiography and pointed at the girl in it. “That’s your mom,” she said.

I didn’t like that. I’m pretty sure my disgust registered on my face before I could even think to mask it. With a smile, I responded: “I reject that. I don’t agree at all.” I had just met this girl. What the fuck?

“That’s fine,” she said. “You can reject it. But it’s still true.”
When I shot down her interpretation, I meant what I said. But – of course – she’s fucking right. As much as it’s killed me to realize that and as much as I hate to admit it.

When my mom used to constantly badger me about how much I hated her, I’d tell her I loved her and ask her to stop. I really didn’t hate her. But I kind of do now.

It’s one thing to have an intellectual understanding that your parents did their best – and to use that to “forgive” them. It’s another thing to really make sense of everything emotionally, connect all the dots, and really get a grip on it. ‘Cause when you realize now that I’ve realized that it’s not about the individual incidents of especially fucked up shit that she did, it’s about the life-threatening defects ingrained into my every fiber that she cut in and fucking cultivated for years… It’s about the fact that every time I feel rejected by Heather in the slightest, I wanna run away from home all over again.

I told Heather again yesterday that she hadn’t done anything wrong – we’re just not a good match because she doesn’t have the kind of affectionate personality that I need to feel loved. She responded that she loves me 500% and didn’t I know that? I told her that I had that information in my brain but that I don’t often feel it. Shit – how could I?

No one’s ever gonna be able to do anything that’ll make me feel loved all the time. Just as my art (which is really just the maintenance of my (relative) sanity) is a full-time job, another person couldn’t possibly give me what I need unless that was their full-time job too. Or – more accurately – were on call 24/7. ‘Cause a lot of the time I need to be left alone to “work” (paint, write, or do various backend business-of-art or website kinds of tasks). But the second I need love, if [insert the name of any girl I’ve ever been with here] can’t deliver exactly to my specifications in that instant… well, then IT’S NOT WORKING AND WE’RE JUST NOT RIGHT FOR EACH OTHER.

So – contrary to my understanding up ’til this moment – this is on me more than it’s on Heather and it’s not some incurable defect that she needs to be solely responsible for maintaining an awareness of and behaving accordingly (because she “signed up for it” by getting involved with someone who’s so openly an emotional basketcase). I need to step back in these moments and remind myself of these things of which I need to be reminded. Still, if she’s my partner, she does need to be “in it” with me and make a little more of an effort to actually express that love she says she has for me. She can be pretty cold. And in some of those moments, there’s not gonna be anything I can do to not feel unattractive, unloved, and unwanted. Worthless, and undeserving of love. This new understanding of myself won’t always be enough. Sometimes feelings are more important than facts.

This is a real breakthrough for me. Right now, in this moment. It’s not the only one from the last 48 hours though.

Driving to Manatee from Jacksonville, we had another of our four hour drives without speaking. Not in as hostile a way, but things were tense so I kept busy as she drove and, when I took the wheel, she slept. Then, when we got to the Owens, I went in alone without a goodbye. (We both just looked at each other, waiting for the other to initiate it, as I collected my things from the backseat). Then she went to her parents’. I did my thing with the Owens and with my friends in Sarasota and we didn’t see each other for two days. We didn’t spend the holiday (which means nothing to me but something to her) together. The few texts we exchanged were not especially productive.

I opened up to some friends yesterday and acknowledged that a lot of the problem – what I felt – was sexual rejection. I’ll decide in an instant, at anytime, that I want to fool around, make some gesture toward that, she’ll shoot me down for whatever reason, and I’ll feel like shit. In her defense, I know where and when she will/would be in the right frame of mind for that and I rarely act on it because it’s when I’ll usually be busy working. Our schedules are wildly different and I need to work on compromising mine more, seeing as hers is handed down from a company and mind can be whatever the fuck I want it to be. It sucks but I feel constantly burdened with a need to be productive and I’m rarely willing to set aside and stop working because I’m terrified that I won’t be able to get back on course fast enough once I’m free to pick back up.

“It’s harder to be yourself than it is to be anybody else.” My problems are so petty, small, and (really) within the bounds of my control. Still, they’re monumental monster motherfuckers and THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES WITH WHICH ANY HUMAN BEING HAS EVER BEEN FACED. I say that jokingly but it’s equally true and false. It’s real and it’s a struggle that won’t ever end. It’ll only morph and evolve. As I do…

I got away from myself and the other “breakthrough” to which I alluded. I was talking to some friends about this stuff yesterday and the response I got went from “you gotta end it (for your own sake)” to “you gotta end it (for her sake).” At one point in the conversation, the feedback I was getting, the direction that the conversation had taken, and the things coming out of my own mouth had me feeling like the most sociopathic, seriously damaged, selfish mental case on the planet. I felt like a calculating monster with an impressively evil skill-set, who was so distinct from normal people that he didn’t even have the slightest idea or awareness of what he was doing or the full implications of his decisions and behavior. I felt sicker than I’ve ever felt – like I could be some murderer, smiling at the cameras.

I probably could be. I just remembered – I had been thinking about conscience just earlier in the day. Some friend of Clifford’s murdered his girlfriend and then turned himself in. What a sap, I thought, when Mclane told me about it. What a weak human being.

I considered it further: I would never do that. You buckle down and live with the secret. No good comes from that confession; just move forward, asshole.

Well – not really. He needed to be caught; I mean, he’s clearly dangerous. But if I killed someone, I should just move forward… Learn from my mistake and accept that the consequence for my actions is having another fascinating story that I can’t ever share with the world.

WHAT’S WORSE THAN THAT?

—–

So… that’s what I wrote as we made our way back to Jacksonville tonight. I probably started around 9pm and put the pen down a little after 10…

I looked in my other notebook at the pieces I have left to add to the website and – given everything I wrote about tonight – one of them jumped off the page and struck me as being a perfect fit.

(Relatively) early in my stay at Tranquil Shores, we got an assignment, in art therapy group – to make a figure of our “inner-child.” Like most of my inner-child stuff, I focused on myself at age four.

"Little Sam (Little Devil)." 11/7/12. Tin foil, masking tape, felt, marker, glue. 4" (tall).
“Little Sam (Little Devil).” 11/7/12. Tin foil, masking tape, felt, marker, glue. 4″ (tall).

This thing isn’t totally devoid of substantive meaning but – obviously – this wasn’t an especially probing assignment. It was mostly fun though and I felt pretty pleased with myself when I finished it.

—–

  • When I typed up my journal entry, I linked to a few entries which struck me as relevant.
  • After I journaled, I felt well enough to skip around and listen to songs that would have made me nervous earlier in the night. One of them was “Debt” by Pipsqueak, the acoustic band which was initially just the kid that sang in Snuggle (and – more recently – Murmurs) but now has a second member, playing cello and also singing. It was great before and it’s great now.