When things aren't going well - like when what I thought was an ordinary virtue is apparently me being an asshole in a way that no one else is? - I become aware of how basically frightened I am.
On one level. And all the time - but not all the time; hell, with my ADD memory thing I can't be anything all the time. Sometimes I'm not on that level at all, not even suppressing it. But.
(People talk about the utter outmodedness of Sigmund Freud, how he's just poetry and forced frames and bullshit, but we're throwing him out too hard. There is no one like Freud in really drawing out the world in which we're just not thinking about everything all the time, and some of the things we're not thinking about are... deliberate.)
I mentioned Catholic guilt as a metaphor today. I could have said shame. What's the difference? I think shame is general. Or I could just have said fear.
ADD is a lot of it, yes.
I don't schedule a dental cleaning. Suddenly around 2012 it was covered by my insurance - and I didn't get around to figuring out who was a covered dentist - and then Gwen died, and I didn't get around to anything for a while - BUT.
I don't get around to scheduling a dental cleaning. Because I don't have any consistent habits in the world... and I actually LOST MY SONICARE TOOTHBRUSH, which is a deadly shameful secret because my mom cannot know my expensive toothbrush has been stupidly lost all this time...
Someone would think I'm scared of dentists. I'm not, at all. Not of pain. Not in that way.
It's: THEY'LL KNOW.
They'll know. They'll know I haven't been scheduling a cleaning. They'll know I haven't been brushing. They'll know I haven't been flossing. They'll SEE.
This is not just about my teeth.
In some way it is a proxy for everything that I don't have control of in my life. Everything I'm not handling. Everything that goes right by me. The way it might go right by a chimp. A really strangely addled chimp.
Listen: I love my bamboo hat in a lot of ways. It is the most successfully functional hat for what I use it for. I get compliments, too.
But what I love about it, or, no, what I love about it secretly, is a joke I make. A quip I probably heard somewhere from someone else; I'm sure I did.
"If you have a good hat, everything else you're wearing looks like a plan." "Like you did it on purpose."
I have a hat.
You know what? I have lots of hats.
Not everything is only a hat. My writing, or my opining, is my search for what I mean to mean... and now and then, when it works, it is the zone in which I manage my required order, real order, where I get it right, where there IS no addlement. It can sometimes - when I do something that I think is valuable, that someone should read, where they'd be better off if they did - be the point of the whole thing. In a sense it can be who I truly am, in the best sense.
But it can be a hat.
I think I learned some crucial mental habits for being an editor because I always have to check. Because I'm never on top of things. Because I'm always a day late, a dollar short, the kid asking the kid in front of me what the teacher just said the assignment was (and then not remembering it anyway), the last goddamn dancing mushroom in the line.
So much is ALWAYS flapping in the wind.
No one can know.
You can't look in my room. I am my room.
And I'm always afraid I've missed the crucial thing; I'm always afraid I'm off base.
... And this oddly hurts me more. I know this. You don't put your name forward, even if you would try like crazy, if you always know there are severe problems with the applicant. Or I don't. I'm never, "It's me!" I always believe they could pick somebody better. And - of course - in some areas I'm really bad at, I'm right; in some, I'm ALWAYS right. And that's a hell of a thing to find out about yourself.
And even at best: THIS IS THE THING. Even at best... With my little working memory - like a tea saucer trying to be a serving platter - it's not just the stuff that falls off, the lapses. It's the small amount of stuff on the tray. I am only ever thinking of PART OF a situation, PART of a subject. I'm borked. It's a mental limit. I am not as smart as "I am".
Beyond a certain point, my thing isn't a "handicap". Handicap implies something's getting in the way. Beyond a certain point, it's just me and I'm an idiot. And around the edges, in the hidden places, I'm ALWAYS dancing on the edge of that point.
I generally think I'm better off if I think as little about myself as possible - if I keep myself out of things as a factor.
Which can be good.
Look, some honesties are like suicide. Beyond a certain point you can't tell anyone how little you're coping. Because you'd be saying that all the time. And then who would you be, what would you be? Part of coping IS saying you're coping. And coping is shoulder to the wheel. It's what we're supposed to do. That's the job.
Grown up in this situation is this little kid's voice: "I just try to do a good job." (Or - the more I am unable to get my head together - I try to try. Or I try to try to try...) *earnest* "It's good to be polite!" Etc.
I try to do the right thing - to (the drum roll) Take Responsibility! Sometimes the results are... bizarre. But if I believe in anything I believe in that impulse, trying.
I say that because beliefs in the manifestations keep being fucking sawn off.
I feel like, if anyone knew about me, about the real state of me, they'd...
... maybe they'd treat me just the way they do right now and I just haven't properly interpreted it yet.
I am afraid.
I am NOT DEPRESSED. I don't think. Really I can't be. My heart bobs back to equable. The ground state. Just like I can't ever hold grudges. Down spurts like this are acute only.
But I am always frightened around the edges. And - well, Gwen held my hand - but otherwise no one can ever ask for hand-holding like that, and so it's a forever loneliness as well.
(And she was puzzled as she held my hand. And in the puzzlement I made her feel alone too sometimes, and that is something I can't bear to think about.)
And the more that people don't match what I am trying to do, the less there is between me and the fear, because it all starts looking to me like pointless and transparent hats.
Dammit to fuck, I'm sorry about everything. And I have to keep my secrets, even the apologies, and I'm always so confused. There's a virtue somewhere in here, if I keep digging, amid the ruins.
I can't wait till the next time when, isolated in time by my perpetual forgetfulness, and undiluted...
I can't wait till the next time I feel proud of myself.
I can't wait.