Today I drove. 7 ½ hours up through the Sierra Nevada mountains from my sister's appartment in Mammoth Lakes to my parent's river view home in Redding. I listened to self-help tapes because my drunken advances on my sister's christian friends and that cute blogger from the conference were pathetically unsuccessful. But after listening to the tapes it seems that improving my pick-up game will require a lot of practice and with my life already outpacing me the way it is, I don't really have time to waste on girls right now anyway.
It was a clear day and the clouds took turns shaping the hue of the vast meadowland at the base of the mountain range. After passing several particularly inspiring vistas, I began forcing myself to pull over and take pictures whenever the thought struck me because I bought this expensive camera and I need to practice using it because I'm trying to be an artist now.
I didn't let myself play too much music because I told myself it was a waste of time since I was just using it to numb my mind and not really listening to it. I listened to some short stories from a collection entitled “Best American Short Stories” I tried to pay attention to the authors' techniques so that my own writing might improve, but the styles were so different and I kept getting caught up in the plots.
And I became frustrated because my blog is such shit I'd be embarrassed to let anyone read it, and not only do I need to create worthy content, but I have to design and organize the blog so that it is visually pleasing and accessible and can eventually be monetized and that part is actually proving lot harder than I'd thought. And at the same time I absolutely have to get out of my parent's house, and Redding for that matter, and that involves so much planning and arrangements I haven't even started to think about. And how am I going to do any of this when trying to clean my room leaves puts me on the verge of nervous breakdown?
And I'm telling myself that I need to love myself because if I can't love myself then I can't love anyone else and I will never be able to have a healthy relationship and I will always be alone like this and I had to let myself cry for a while because of how much everything hurts even though everything is going according to plan and I've worked out such a grand future for myself and there's not denying I am probably one of the luckiest people in the world considering all the shit I've done.
But there's no escaping it now. That terrifying feeling I've been trying to out maneuver this entire trip has cornered me now. That feeling that there's something intrinsically wrong with me. It's so obvious now. I'm broken. I'm a completely botched human being. The evidence is undeniable. My very normal family who tell me incessantly how much they care about me and how wonderful it is to see me and how they miss me so much, and even after 5 months abroad I can't manage a 10 minute conservation without screaming at them. I can't open up to anyone without being drunk off my ass.
I had a perfectly compatible girlfriend who showed me more love than anything I've seen, even on tv, all she wanted was to be with me and I told her I'd rather be alone. And now I am. I really am alone. Why do I hate people so much? Where does all this unrest and angst come from? Why can't I focus my energy on anything productive or creative or relational? I'm constantly bubbling over with self-loathing.
I pull over to the side of the road so that I can really cry because its too hard to fight with it anymore. And then I decide to write this down because the whole reason I went off my meds in the first place was I thought they stifled my creative flow and now that I'm completely uncorked, how wasteful would it be not to try and spill some of it onto paper? And then my car starts rolling back and forth like some teenagers are bouncing on it and I freak out because this whole time the corners of my eyes keep pretending there is a figure approaching in my side mirrors and then they laugh at me when I fall for their optical trick. So I lock the doors and look around but its become dark on the side of this heavily wooded highway and although my car is most certainly rocking, I cannot discern any external cause. Either a bear is trying to crawl under my rental car or this goddamned forest is haunted, but either way I decide its time to pop that cork back in and stick it in drive. 10 seconds later with my tires screeching in my ears and my mind, in its present state, perfectly mirrored in the eyes of the deer I'm about to hit, I decide to fuck all this artistic crap. I'm getting back on my meds and I'm going to go somewhere that doesn't remind me of anything painful and I'm going to rebuild myself from scratch and I'll have plenty of time for taking pictures and for writing stories after I get myself out of this goddamned thicket.
Since I've got home and learned about the 5.7 magnitude Earthquake I mistook for a bear and got back on my meds and worked (somewhat) diligently on my escape plan, I feel better about things. Except my photography is still shit.